Articles in the Advanced Digital Marketing Strategy Category

Use these advanced digital marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition, and drive qualified traffic to your website. Learn the latest advanced digital marketing techniques, including our latest thoughts on remarketing, paid search, display media, social media advertising and local search.

July 28 2011

Another Programming Update

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It has been a very busy summer for IT departments that have integrated web services as part of their Application Program Interface (API) for business automation. Web services are designed to bridge the gap between business processes available over HTTP via standard browsers and the groups of companies that have developed business processes and APIs that are consumers of this information. For example, a search engine’s portal provides on-line reports concerning click data as well as maintenance panels for online marketing campaigns to humans via HTTP and a browser. In order to efficiently manage reports and track this data, APIs are developed to automate these human interactions with the search engines portal via leveraging their web services.

Due in part to rapid advancements in the technology supporting these channels, search engines are moving forward with so many new features such as re-marketing, mobile and video ads, that the pace of new web services is at an all time high. This means more work for the search engines to not only develop and deploy a human portal available over HTTP, but to also provide the interfaces for exchanging these new elements to their web services consumers; and attempt tokeep backward compatibility with previous releases.

Luckily, many years ago, IBM and MicroSoft teamed up to standardize how programs obtain their road map for using web services and created the Web Services Description Language, WSDL. It is an XML formatted document that describes the service being offered and its’ variables and method parameters. In theory, developers obtain the new updated WSDL and use one of the many tools that convert this XML document into source code in the form of Java, VB.Net, C#.Net, RPG or whatever language is being used by their IT department. The next step is to locate documentation and note deprecated processes and develop new logic to replace or possibly remove this logic from their API.

The challenges arise when the new web services no longer provide existing functionality, and are not backward compatible. It can be labor intensive to convert your logic to the latest version of the web services and then discover after hours of testing that it is not backward compatible. At this point, a developer has to begin lobbying the web service provider to reconsider this “fork” in their applications logic and to hopefully better understand what caused the vendor to change their logic. This process can either fall on deaf ears or be embraced and a patch released in a timely fashion. I am finding that vendors are human and may have overlooked a feature and attempt to patch quickly if resources are available and the number of complaints sufficient to warrant the work. Developers must present their detailed findings and provide ample documentation and supporting evidence to persuade the vendor to spend valuable time and resources to make the programming changes necessary to rectify. It helps if the communities of developers come to agreement when presenting their request for modification. Yes the blogs and forums are a key part to gaining a voice with the vendor and moving the modification through the process or to discuss ideas for a work around in the event the vendor is not receptive to the proposed modifications.

March 10 2011

Are Your Competitors Bidding On Your Name & Trademark Terms?

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A California federal appeals court recently ruled that bidding on competitor keywords and trademark terms is not a violation of trademark law. According to the court, since Google and Bing have partitioned their SERPs so that the advertisements appear in separately labeled sections for “sponsored links”, a consumer will not be misled by a company using a rival’s trademark term to trigger a search ad.

This recent ruling opens the door for marketers to have more opportunities in pay-per-click campaigns. It has become standard practice in recent years for brands to bid on competitor’s trademarks and include the terms in ad copy in pay-per-click ads.

So this leads to the question of whether your competitors are bidding on your name and trademark terms. The answer is most likely, yes. This highlights the importance of bidding on your brand and trademark terms. If you are not showing up for your brand terms, it is most likely that your competition is, and you could be losing out on valuable, qualified traffic to your site.

In order to have your pay-per-click ads stand out against your competition, you can use terms like “official site” and “authentic” so that visitors know that they are getting to the correct web site.

Alternatively, when bidding on competitor names and trademark terms, it is advantageous to include discounts and/or special promotions to steer visitors to your site instead of the competitor the user was originally searching for.

Let the bidding games begin.

March 3 2011

Do They Know Your Name? The Case for Branding

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Many companies are focused on their ROI goals. They want to know how much they are getting in return for every dollar they spend. It is good for companies to want to have good metrics, but not at the expense of getting their branding message to the public.

Branding is important for every business. A company can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows who they are, it is to no avail. In the world of online marketing, there are several ways for businesses to brand themselves. Content targeting is a great way to convey a message to the public. A content campaign can be set up that allows a company’s ads to show when people are browsing different sites that are related to what the company does. For example, let’s say Company A has a local dry cleaning business and they are running a geo-targeted content campaign related to dry cleaning and how to clean delicate clothes. As a local searcher goes online to research how to get a stain out of a delicate shirt, they see an ad by Company A. The ad gets their attention, but they don’t click on it. They continue to do their research on stain removal and after a few days of research they decide that they are better off going to a local dry cleaner. As they do a search for local dry cleaners, an ad for Company A appears. They remember that they have seen an ad for Company A before and they decide to click on the ad. As they browse Company A’s website they decide to try them. If Company A hadn’t been running branding ads on the content network, they might have lost that sale. In this case, the content ad didn’t get the credit for the sale, but Company A did receive profits from it even though there was no visible action trail.

Running branding campaigns helps people to know that your business is out there. One fact that businesses seem to miss is that just because they have a website or a store front, doesn’t mean that people know your company exists.

Another tactic is to bid on competitor’s names. Many times people may know who your competitor is, but they may not know about your company. If a company continually bids on a competitor’s name, they have an opportunity to get their name out there and also to garner some of the business of their competitors. It may not produce instant gratification, but it has shown to be effective. Think about it. When you switched car insurance companies or tried a new breakfast place, who was the first company that came to mind? More than likely, it was the company that kept appearing in front of your face, long before you ever thought of leaving the car insurance company or the breakfast place that you currently frequent.

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