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Article Archive by Emily MacNair


September 27 2010

More Opportunities for Testing

by Emily MacNair

Those of you who are familiar with Google Website Optimizer (GWO) know the importance of testing your online marketing efforts.  Testing really is the best way to know whether or not proposed changes to your website are going to have a positive or negative impact on your bottom line.  If you haven’t tried a GWO experiment, I would highly recommend it.  For more info on conducting an experiment, you should read the blog post 6 Critical Steps for Starting you Google Website Optimizer Experiments.

The world of website testing is continuing to develop, which is great.  All online marketers should be testing their online marketing initiatives, whether it is elements on their website or keywords within their campaigns. Google AdWords has followed Google Website Optimizer’s lead and is now offering another way to conduct tests; this time with your AdWords campaigns. This new program, called AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE), will enable you to test changes to your bids, keywords, and ad groups before applying those changes to all auctions for which your ad could appear. 

For example, if you want to measure the impact of increasing a keyword’s bid, you can easily accomplish that without having to test all auctions.  With ACE, you have the ability to select the control / experiment split for your changes. You can choose 50% control / 50% experiment, 60% control / 40% experiment, and so on.  Similar to GWO experiments, ACE runs the experiment or test seamlessly with the existing campaign set up.

This tool can be found within the settings tab for your campaigns, and since you can set the experiment splits and the start and stop dates, you lower the risk of testing new ideas.  If you want to test increasing a keyword’s bid without ACE, the new bid would be applied to all auctions.  The problem is that even if the results were good, it is difficult to be 100% positive that the results were not due to other contributing factors.

So, next time you are thinking about making changes to your campaigns and would like to test the results first, look into using ACE.  It may help you to determine whether or not this change would be beneficial.

July 16 2010

LinkedIn Groups have a new look!

by Emily MacNair

This month LinkedIn is revamping the Groups section of their site.  You may already be a member of a group on LinkedIn, but if not, I would highly encourage it.  More than likely, there are groups about your industry or a specific topic that is of interest to you.  LinkedIn’s groups have always been a great way to portray your expertise in a particular area or stay up to date on news topics, but with this recent update I imagine that they will become even more helpful.

The focus of this revamp seems to be to place an emphasis on discussions within groups.  You will now be able to find news and discussions all in one place, making it easier to start discussions around recent news topics.  One of my favorite features is the carousel within the discussions section. This area is a great place to highlight topics, such as blog posts, as MoreVisibility’s group features. Members of the group can then scroll through the different featured topics.

Individuals within these groups can comment on an article, news, or discussion topic.  When they do, a thumbnail image of that member will appear. Simply scrolling over that user’s image will enable you to see their comment.

Other features include an area called Top Influencers This Week.  Following top influencers can help you to stay current with their topics and discussions. You can actually follow any members within a group. This follow feature in particular seems to be very “Twitter-like”.

There is also a Manager’s Choice section, where the Manager of the group can select a discussion topic of their choice to feature. You can also search discussions to find a specific topic that interests you. 

Become a member of a LinkedIn group today to learn about how you can get involved.

July 12 2010

The Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance

by Emily MacNair

The search engine marketing landscape is ever changing, and the second half of this year will prove to be no different.  There is one change that we’ve talked about with many of our clients, but unless you are immersed within the industry on a daily basis, this still may be unknown to you.  Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing) have created a partnership called the Search Alliance

So you may be asking, what exactly will be happening? Essentially two major changes will be taking place.  One is with the organic search results and the other with the paid search results.

For organic search, Bing will be the driving force (algorithm) behind the results.  Therefore, once this transition takes place, when you conduct a search on Yahoo!, the results that you see will be determined by the same algorithm that determines Bing’s organic results.  That being said, we expect that soon Yahoo! and Bing will have the same organic results.  The testing for the organic results is said to begin this summer, with the full (organic) transition taking place in August / September.  Keep in mind that once this transition takes place, Yahoo’s search results may still have a Yahoo look and feel.  So if you’ve never really cared or paid attention to your Bing positions, you definitely need to now!

On the paid search side, a lot of changes are also being made. Until now, marketers have been using two different platforms for managing their advertising on Bing and Yahoo. With the Search Alliance, marketers will now use one platform — Microsoft’s adCenter — to manage their paid search. The paid search transition should be finalized before the holiday season, but it could be pushed back into 2011 if needed. While many are touting that this will be easier for advertisers as they’ll have one place to manage their ads for both Yahoo and Bing, there are a few critical things that should be considered. First, there will no longer be a way to monitor your Bing ads separately from your Yahoo! ads. Your ads will soon be eligible to show on the “Search Alliance”.  In addition, as you probably have experienced, Bing and Yahoo! have different searcher demographics. As this Search Alliance takes place, your campaigns will likely require lots of initial monitoring and optimization tactics as a result of this “new” market. Also, if you transition your campaigns from another account over to adCenter, you will be starting with a blank slate in terms of historical performance, which will have to be built up over time.

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