Article Archive by Katherine Bennett


November 18 2008

Incentives is the Keyword this Holiday Season

by Katherine Bennett

This holiday season the keyword is incentives. Most consumers aren’t frivolously spending their money; they’re cutting back and searching for the best deals. If you want to be the retailer that they choose, you’d better consider incentives. This statement might sound forward, however the statistics don’t lie. Let’s look at some incentives that consumers are searching for before making a purchase.

Coupons are a big hit and they are becoming more popular. According to comScore, a global internet information provider, 62% of consumers are using coupons to help cut back on their shopping expenses. A survey by eMarketer, a market research company, shows that 59% of consumers will be using coupons to decrease their shopping expenses. Surprisingly enough, wealthy consumers, those that make $100,000 plus a year are turning to coupons. According to a survey by comScore, coupon site visits by the wealthy increased by 37% compared to this same period last year. Here’s a hint, if you have an ecommerce site, coupons are a definite plus and consumers will be looking for you.

Consumers are also motivated by free shipping. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it twice, “If a site doesn’t offer free shipping, I’ll find a site that does.” If you don’t believe me check the statistics. According to a survey by comScore, 72% of consumers said, “If an online retailer charged them for shipping they would search for an online retailer that offered free shipping.” Now more than ever before consumers are becoming more savvy. If a competitor is offering the same product with free shipping, I’d bet money that you’re going to lose the sale if you’re not offering the same.

Sales and deals are being sought out by consumers. Everyone loves a discount. According to a survey by e-Marketer, 40% of consumers will be looking for sales and 24% will be looking for deals in order to lower their shopping expenses. Why do you think Black Friday is such a busy shopping day, not to mention Cyber Monday which follows a few days later?

Incentives are the key this year. More and more consumers are comparison shopping and not just buying items on the first site they see. Comparison shopping sites are seeing an increase in traffic and more competitors are allocating their advertising budget towards online spending. If a retailer wants to be competitive this year, they need to have an incentive, even if it’s not coupons, free shipping or big sales, there needs to be an offer that tells the consumer they are getting the best deals on a particular site.

October 30 2008

Will Yahoo and MSN Ever Catch Up to Google?

by Katherine Bennett

It’s a question that at some point and time has crossed our minds.  Will Google always be the stand alone giant with internet revenue double and even triple the competitions? I think that as long as they keep offering new tools, new promotions, and expanding into new areas, they will stay ahead of the curve.

I recently received site update e-mails about Yahoo and MSN showing the new capabilities and features that they had added. Yahoo now allows users to geo-target at the country, state and zip code level. Google allows the user to do custom geo-targeting. The user actually pulls up a map and draws the area that they want to target. Yahoo still has some catching up to do, but they are definitely making progress.

Let’s look at MSN and how keywords are handled.  MSN now enables users to pause their keywords. There used to be a time when the only option was “active” and “delete. It may seem that MSN is behind the curve, but in their defense they have a tool similar to AdWords Editor in beta. Yahoo says they are working on one as well.

It seems that Google will continue to stay ahead of the game because they make it feasible for both small and mid size players to operate effectively.  Google has also branched out into other industries. They launched their G1 Google phone with cell phone carrier T-Mobile. They also offer traditional advertising through the internet and give out free 800 tracking telephone numbers for a traditional media buy placed and bought through them. The next thing you know they’ll be a Google shoe. Don’t laugh! Did you ever think they’d launch a phone?  It seems that Google is pulling away from the competition and delving into new areas.  Only time will tell if the G1 Google phone and the selling of traditional advertising will work for Google. If Yahoo and MSN ever intend to catch up with Google they are going to have to step up their offerings in a number of areas.

September 23 2008

A Negative That’s a Positive

by Katherine Bennett

It might sound like a contradictory statement or an optimistic proverb but the truth of the matter is a negative, a negative keyword that is can be a positive asset to your cpc campaign. A negative keyword is a keyword matching option that keeps your ads from showing when someone types in that particular word or phrase.

Every cpc campaign should have negative keywords. Negative keywords help to tighten the targeting of cpc campaigns. They are the gate keepers that help to keep unwanted clicks and traffic away. Let’s look at an example. If you sell coffee franchises nationally then you’re probably bidding on keywords such as “franchise” “franchise opportunity” “franchise opportunities”, “franchise business opportunity” “franchise business opportunities”  etc. Yet, what happens when someone does a search for “sports franchise opportunity” “car wash franchise opportunity” or even “international franchise business opportunities” your ads are going to show up. However, you only want to target people interested in buying coffee franchises. This is where your gate keepers, the negative keywords come into play. Make a list of the words that you don’t want to show up for these would include other types of franchises such as  “hotel”, “sports”, “home based”, “international”, “automotive”, “golf” etc.  This is only a start, your negative keyword list can be as long or short as you want it to be. It all depends on how targeted you want your cpc campaign to be.

Negative keywords also come in handy when you’re bidding on abbreviations. For example what if you’re a restaurant bidding on the term “nra.”  For those in the restaurant field it stands for “national restaurant association”, but for those in the field of rehabilitation it means “national rehabilitation association” and event still for those who are experts in the area of weapons it means the “national rifle association.” In this case your negative keywords could be “rehabilitation” “weapons” “rifles” etc.  Again, your negative keywords are protecting your cpc campaign from unwanted impressions and clicks.

A negative can be a positive when you’re talking about negative keywords for a cpc campaign. Negative keywords help you target the audience you want and keep away the audience you don’t want. Negative keywords are great gate keepers for cpc campaigns.

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