Article Archive by Katherine Bennett

September 28 2011

Google+ Vs. Facebook- Is their a Hidden Advertising Agenda?

by Katherine Bennett

 There’s been a lot of buzz around Google+ and Facebook these last few days. Google+ recently made its social network available to the public and Facebook had its F8 conference touting the new features that will be rolling out.  Both Google+ and Facebook want to be the social media site that everyone goes to for social interaction. The real question is why?  It could be because they want to boast that they have the most visitors, but Facebook (see the Computerworld article) already won that title. Plus, it’s safe to say that neither Facebook nor Google+ is improving their social media site for that warm and fuzzy feeling.  So what’s the real reason? It could be that by reaching out to people, they are both competing for the attention of businesses and their advertising dollars.

Facebook and Google+ know that companies will pay top dollar to reach their target audience. Businesses already pay to reach their target audience, so what’s the big deal?  The social media sites can use data and information to predict a user’s actions.
According to an article on CNET, Facebook’s  “algorithm can determine what you’re likely to like based on who you like, what you do, where you go, which apps you use (and how), and so forth–all of which is information that Facebook will now collect through its own service and all the apps that are being built to run on it.”   This is a game changer.

It means that Facebook and Google+ (at a later date) can help corporations pinpoint people who should be in their target audience based on their social behavior.  This makes advertising dollars even more valuable.  In the past people’s profile information, their interests and their “likes” determined which ads would be relevant.  Now, their actual behavior and interactions will be watched and ads will be served based on those actions. Its one thing for a social media site to say a user is interested in country songs based on their status; it’s another thing to say that they listen to the song “Sweet Home Alabama” once a week.  By collecting and providing more valuable data, a social media site can make itself of greater worth to advertisers. In fact, it can help advertisers adjust their strategy based on the data received.  According to CNET, if this works, “Facebook is on its way to becoming the source of the most valuable information on the Web: who likes what, who they influence, and how to reach the people most likely to influence others (hint: go through their friends).”

It’s no wonder that Facebook and Google+ continue to attempt to out-do each other. In the end, it adds up to greater revenue for both companies.

September 22 2011

Google Works With Advertisers and Approves Paused Ads

by Katherine Bennett

 As the holiday season quickly approaches, businesses and advertisers alike know that it’s a good time to get ahead of the game. Many already have or are actively planning their advertising strategies. However, for many businesses Google was throwing a wrench into their Adwords advertising strategies with their ad policy review. 

In past years, Google’s ad policy review was proving to be a challenge to advertisers when it came to banner ads.  Per Google, it takes one to three business days to get banner ads approved, but here’s the catch, the banner ads had to be active. Do you see the dilemma? When an advertiser uploaded active banner ads, their status would change to pending approval and once it was approved the ads would start running (meaning it could now be shown to searchers).  Many advertisers would upload banner ads early in order to get approval, and be ahead of sales and holiday time crunches. However, their banner ads could get displayed before their intended time, depending on when the banner ads were approved. Plus, Google didn’t send an alert to let advertisers know their banner ads were approved; they just had to check on their banner ads’ status periodically.  If an advertiser waited until the day before or the day of to upload their banner ads, those banner ads might not get approved for three days and then their banner ads would be late to show. Imagine doing banners ads for each one of the 12 days before Christmas, it could prove to be quite challenging, some of your ads could show beforehand and some could end up behind schedule. But as I mentioned, those were days past.  

Google started approving paused ads at the beginning of September. This is a huge benefit to advertisers and businesses alike, especially for those who like to plan ahead. This means that banner ads can be uploaded in paused status, approved and then those banner ads stay paused and can be activated on the day they are intended to run.  No more showing ads ahead of time because they’re approved and slipping out into the display world before they can be paused, and no more ads being displayed after their scheduled launch date because they’re still waiting on approval. Advertisers should truly be grateful, especially since this change comes right before the holiday season.

So this year, feel free to upload your paused banner ads early and enjoy the fact that no one will know about your surprise sale or product until its time.

September 16 2011

Checking out Mobile Marketing- Is It Really Worth a Try?

by Katherine Bennett

Has your business ever thought about doing mobile marketing or creating special ads to target tablet users? Is it even worth trying? If you were able to test it and see how it worked, your business would probably consider initiating mobile and tablet targeting. But how do you test the waters without diving in? It’s quite simple. Take a deeper look at analytics.

What most companies don’t realize is that they are doing mobile marketing without even knowing it. Many of the default settings on search engines opt advertisers into mobile marketing. In the eyes of the search engine, this means that they can show your ads to any phone with a full internet browser. Plus your organic listings can also be pulling in mobile users. Even if your company doesn’t have a mobile website, users can still get to your page from their smart phone, although it won’t make for a good user experience. If a user is not going to a website that’s designed for a mobile device, then the website can appear distorted. Keep this in mind when you decide to take a look at your mobile stats in Google Analytics.

Let’s look at the new version of Google Analytics and go step by step to view the mobile data.

Step 1. Go to the menu bar on the left and click on the Visitors section. Click on the category of Mobile. Step 2. Select the Devices option from the drop down menu.

This will show a breakdown of the mobile devices. The standard sorting options are

available to be viewed. Sort by Visits, Average Time On Site, Page Views etc. If you want to get more granular, change your viewing heading to Mobile Device Branding or Service Provider or Operating System, etc.

By taking a look at how Mobile performs, a company can get a general idea of how well it’s working for them. If your mobile stats seem decent, think about how much better they could be if you had ads that were targeted to mobile users, along with a mobile website. Get the picture?

Mobile marketing can be a great asset and if it’s working for your company when you’re not even trying, imagine what can happen if your company actually puts some effort into it.

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