For many clients who participate in pay per click (ppc) advertising, the one engine that seems to get the most attention is Google. Clients want to concentrate most, if not all, of their budget on Google AdWords. While advertising on Google is important, there are many other search engines that deliver qualified customers to your site, sometimes for a lower cost per click. According to HitWise, as of February 2009, Google accounted for 72.11% of the search engine market share, which still leaves a huge amount of advertising opportunities in other search engines.
Engines such as Yahoo have modified and improved their demographic targeting functionality, to not only attract more advertisers, but to deliver more qualified customers. Yahoo’s improved targeting tools now allow advertisers to focus on their core customer base by selecting age, gender, location and time of day.
Bing is another search engine that everyone is talking about. MSN launched Bing just over a month ago and the buzz surrounding Bing continues to grow. MSN’s reinvention of their search engine has many advertisers questioning what demographic they expect to reach with this new makeover. Wister Walcott of Search Engine Land says ‘Bing is a blend of the old and the new, and best-practices in search marketing still apply. If you are managing very large search marketing programs, Bing probably won’t be the main focus of your job, but it was and is still a great place to pick up some incremental traffic.’
When creating your search engine marketing (SEM) campaign don’t discount the amount of traffic that lies just beyond the threshold of Google. Just because a search engine is smaller, does not mean that the traffic should be disregarded completely; not every search engine will perform the same. Each campaign will need to be fine tuned, according to the search engine, but by proactively managing and monitoring your campaign, you can make smaller search engines work for you.
A long, long time ago in 2004, two social network sites began; Facebook and MySpace. Who would have foreseen the dramatic impact both of these networking portals would have on our lives in a short span of five years.
Since their foundation in 2004, each of these social networks has experienced dramatic changes, not only in the way they function, but also in the amount of user interaction. For several years, MySpace rode on top of the social media phenomenon; until recently. In May of2009, Comscore reported that Facebook has exceeded the amount of MySpace users in the United States. With a shrinking number of users and more advertising dollars being allocated to Facebook, MySpace has been forced to layoff 30% of employees, as well as reduce its payroll to only 1,000 people. With over 60 million Facebook users in the United States alone, Facebook has made it possible for teens, adults and seniors to connect in a simple, easy to navigate arena. Capturing the baby boomer users, Facebook has been able to exceed the amount of MySpace users.
So the question is what’s next for Facebook? With Twitter gaining momentum and nipping at Facebook’s heels, only time will tell. Although, both platforms are very different in some aspects, both offer users the opportunity to connect with other users and share information. Could Twitter be the Facebook killer? Without adapting to current trends and listening to user feedback, Facebook could experience what MySpace is struggling with right now.
For many advertisers who run a search engine marketing campaign, it is very common to get comfortable with a certain amount of visitors. Over the life of a campaign, advertisers may notice trends in regard to their paid efforts.
But, what should an advertiser do when the amount of paid traffic to the site begins to decrease or halt completely? It is important for advertisers to try multiple methods in order to maintain a consistent performance level. By using an analytics platform, such as Google Analytics, advertisers can identify which keywords are causing the campaign bounce rate to increase. An analytics program can also help you identify geographic locations where your ads are performing better.
Checking the Quality Score or Quality Index of your keywords gives you an indication of whether or not a low score could be preventing your ads from showing. Also, by reviewing your minimum bid requirements, you can see if your keyword bids are not aggressive enough to have your ads display on the first page of search results. It is important to check cost per click bids regularly, as over time certain industries may become more competitive; this may cause cost per click bids to increase.
If keyword bids and quality scores are not the problem, it might be your ad copy; stale ad copy can certainly impact campaign performance. Creating fresh, exciting ads with captivating offers or specials can not only attract new visitors to your site, but also improve the amount of sales you generate.
Another suggestion to increase your online marketing campaign performance is to conduct new keyword research. Many advertisers consistently use the same keywords in their paid online efforts year after year and do not perform research on what additional keywords may be added to the campaign. The addition of new keywords allows advertisers to capitalize on ones that they have not in the past. Also, by using geographic analytics data, you can include geographic areas within your keywords to attract new customers. Geo-specific keywords resonate highly with searchers and more often than not, lead to significantly higher conversion rates.
Increasing campaign performance is never an easy task, once the traffic has slowed to a crawl or stopped completely. However, by habitually reviewing different aspects of the campaign you may be able to prevent dips in traffic from even happening.