Search engine marketing (SEM) is a rapidly changing field rife with opportunities, but it takes expertise and experience to run optimal interactive advertising campaigns. When engaging in digital advertising, such as paid search, display media, social media advertising and remarketing, it's extremely important that your efforts are backed by knowledge and strategy. Here, our SEM experts provide the tips and information you can use to improve your campaigns, and your ROI. To stay up to date on our search engine marketing blog, subscribe to our feed.
Each day Online Marketing is looking more and more like Global Marketing. You can place text ads on third party news source sites (Contextual Marketing) ala newspapers or magazines. Banner and Image ads can be placed on many websites as can also be done in any city with billboards. Google has recently launched its click to view video ads, which are basically 30 second TV commercials. Google has also launched its Beta test of radio ads which can be heard on Google partnered radio stations.
The great thing is that there are so many ad networks to choose from. For search engine marketing of course you have Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com to name a few. It is also rumored that WikiPedia is currently working on a search engine that may finally give Google the competition the online marketing world has been waiting for. You can run your Site Targeted or Contextual ad campaign on Google, Yahoo, AOL or AdBrite. MSN also has launched its Beta version of Contextual ad placements earlier this year. Banner ad campaigns can be created in Google, AOL, 24/7 and AdKnowledge. And if you want to get really creative, you can create brand recognition for your website through video advertising, which Google and Tremor Media seem to be the frontrunners in. Quigo looks to be focusing more on creating a video ad channel and bypassing image or banner ads. Finally, Google has recently launched a beta test for radio ads, which they are hoping will work better then the very expensive pay for call ads.
Sounds like a lot huh? Well, the great thing is there are so many different channels you can use now when creating an online marketing campaign for your website. Though it may be costly, creating brand awareness through each network can payoff. If you do move ahead with running campaigns on different networks, I suggest using an analytics tool to watch the different channels closely. Some networks can spend very fast and may not exactly work for your site, so you will need to optimize your campaign quickly if your ads aren’t returning any sales or conversions on each of the networks. The ad networks have created so much more then just using keywords for search engine marketing; they have created an online marketing arsenal that approach the searcher from every angle on the internet.
For many, until recent mention in the New York Times Quigo was an unknown. A recent post on our blog highlights positive impact clients have seen by driving traffic through Quigo. This prompted me to dig a little deeper into this contender.
Although this smaller company may be viewed as a lightweight by many, this is not the view of seasoned SEM advertisers. In reality the opposite is true….Quigo is providing an ad network that attracts both large advertisers and publishers. Working for an SEO/SEM managing clients’ advertising dollars….the benefits for the advertiser are pretty clear to me:
All of this has helped Quigo become the contender they are today in the contextual ad space. It is very attractive to be able to hand pick sites where advertising dollars are to be spent….and to stay away from those that may not fit with the demographic you are reaching out to. Further, by giving the advertiser the capability to choose a specific section, there is an opportunity to reach site visitors as they dig deeper into a publisher’s content. Another cool thing about choosing site placement is the ability to go local with contextual text ads. Quigo’s network contains many local newspaper and television sites. By selecting placement on these sites and customizing your ad copy – local advertisers are presented with cost-effective channels to reach their local readers (or readers with interest in the local area).
Publishers also benefit from the transparency Quigo offers. In short, advertisers are willing to pay more for ads on sites like Foxnews.com, ESPN.com, etc than for ads on unheard of blogs and forums.
While Google is moving toward this same type of transparency…it could be a too late to gain (back) some advertisers. For Google, this does not seem to be a concern. Kim Malone, director of online sales and operations for Google AdSense, said “We don’t expect a lot of demand for that placement targeting…it’s the brand, the display advertisers who care where they run.” In my experience working with advertisers of all sizes, I have found otherwise. While larger companies may have larger budgets to work with, companies of all sizes see the importance of being able to focus in on a target audience. I would pay for a TV commercial…but would not be willing to pay very much if all I knew is that the commercial would be on TV at some point during the day. What if I want to see my commercial? Where do I begin to look? With no further direction, I could be surfing all day. However, if I was given the chance to pay for a commercial on NBC, airing during The Office….I would be willing to pay more than if the commercial was aired on the Sunshine Network during a program about martial arts weapons.
Although they have not expressed concern with Quigo overtaking the contextual ad space, Google is making moves to align AdSense more closely with Quigo’s model….be on the lookout for changes to reports in the coming month(s).
At a recent South Florida Interactive Marketing Association (SFIMA) meeting, there was a panel of representatives, one from each of the 4 main search engines. When they were asked a set of questions, geared toward unveiling the differences between them, I gained insight into how Google, Yahoo, MSN, and ASK want to be viewed.
Google knows if they provide value, the ad benefit will come. They are all about the end user and making marketing more efficient for all marketers. For example, dMark radio ads, print ads, etc. Google wants to be viewed as a new product. I think this is smart simply because it is what people want to hear (the optimistic people preoccupied with the Internet or the world of Internet Marketing).
ASK really pushes their search tools. They are replacing brand with value, using Smart Answers, the Binoculars Site Review tool, etc., also ASK City which replaced ASK local. They also offer Narrow Your Search and Expand Your Search on the right of the SERPs. I like that they always use this space to offer related search results for a more interesting user experience. Relevancy and ease of use are important to ASK.
MSN is also trying to build information that is relevant and quick to the end user. With the MSN search experience for entertainment and news and Live.com being the customizable search portal built for the user, it’s no secret that MSN sees themselves long term as more of a function integrated into everyday life from products to search.
Yahoo is focused on social search. From Flickr, del.ici.ous, My Web, etc. it seems Yahoo believes the concept of friends will grow their social search network. And with Flickr geo-targeting and Y labs geo-referenced photos, Yahoo from a consumer perspective is the largest local destination on the web. And now with smart phones in your pockets, there is no reason not to use Yahoo mobile search.