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.
Before I left the NFL Experience, billed as “… pro football’s interactive theme park. …” last Thursday night, I thought I found the perfect place to pick up an extra Chicago Bear’s shirt to bring my team good luck for the big game. (This strategy backfired: It’s not the Defense’s, or Grossman’s fault: it’s mine. And for those of you that only tuned in for the commercials, the Bears were the team in the dark jerseys.)
Inside a massive tent, which could have housed every item from the historic Marshall Field’s department store in downtown Chicago, lurked every piece of NFL, Bears and Colts paraphernalia ever made. There were jerseys, hats, helmets, footballs and jogging suits adorned with the SuperBowl XLI and Colts and Bears logos. As I took it all in, it quickly became apparent that although there were thousands of items for the big game, the selection was limited. While there were many styles and colors, almost every item included a team logo with both teams.
You could buy a Chicago Bears SuperBowl shirt or hat, but right there across from the insignia of my beloved Bears was an ugly, blue horseshoe (The Colts logo.)
Are you wondering how this translates to you SEM efforts? It’s quite simple:
1. Know your customers. In this case, the NFL was on the right path, most people that come to a SuperBowl game are more interested in the event and not the individual teams. But there were fans of each team there who would have appreciated some more team specific options, and like me, walked out of
there without buying anything. Remember when McDonalds only served hamburgers? How many sales are you missing by not looking at a more diversified product mix? Do follow up research on your customers; ask them questions about their interests and how they spend their time online.
2. Keep an eye on your business. Use an analytics package that can help you track what your customers are doing. How did they come to the site and what keywords were they looking for? Which keywords and engines have the best ROI? Looking at your data and understanding it is the equivalent to walking around and watching your customers in a brick and mortar store. Are they searching through the racks or simply breezing through the aisles?
3. Interact with your customers. If your customers are abandoning the shopping process — find out why. Are your prices too high? Is your site too difficult to navigate? Do they try very hard to buy from you or do they rarely browse through your inventory? Do they look diligently through your selections
and compare items? Leverage surveys and user registration data. E-mail your customers or pick up the phone and ask them what they like about your site and what they don’t. If you talked to one customer a month, what kind of free feedback and consultation could you get for your business?
The bottom-line is that an effective PPC campaign only can do so much to generate extremely targeted traffic to your site, but you need to invest time and effort into what happens when your customers arrive on your doorstep.
Everyone knows Google, and as a result new online advertisers are relatively comfortable to dabble with its Adwords program and its seemingly simple interface. They usually will also experiment with Yahoo and even the new MSN AdCenter. More sophisticated Internet advertisers, familiar with cpc marketing, may also venture into Shopping Feeds or Comparison Engines and/or Travel Portals, if sites are within those verticals. But what else is out there?
An option to consider is some of the lesser known or newer entrants into the cost per click market, including contextual platforms. Based on your industry or vertical, some may be more applicable than others. These can potentially deliver some very qualified and targeted traffic at a reasonable cost. Again, any new marketing venture should be carefully analyzed for performance and ROI data prior to making a long term implementation strategy or large financial investment.
Here are some Ad Networks/Engines to consider:
ASK– listings override those supplied by Google AdWords. Pricing is determined by Engine and is typically market priced to Google. There are only 3 advertisers accepted per Keyword — Engine gaining marketshare; it’s about 6% currently.
SuperPages (previously Verizon) — this popular offline brand provides online premium ads via Yellow Page listings (local or national) through Keyword / Category cpc advertising. They also offer a Pay Per Call program — great for those advertisers preferring a phone call from web traffic over a click to their website.
Quigo — Adsonar program allows content-targeted advertising through a cpc model. Option of ads to be displayed on specific pages selected, in relevant sections of sites requested, within targeted RSS Feeds or email newsletters.
Amazon/ClickRiver — Sponsored ads on Amazon.com search results and product details pages via cpc, which compliment the shopper’s experience. Not all advertisers accepted, based on competitiveness to company (Amazon) itself. Program still in Beta but is performing well so far
Industry Brains – Contextually based cpc and cpm advertising — ability to target specific sites/portals that match your demographic or are complimentary to your target market.
Banners and text ads offered — targeting by industry offered.
AdKnowledge – contextually driven cpc advertising, based upon category and sub categories self-selected. Text ads can appear in header/footer of network emails.
StumbledUpon & Performancing — Very new opportunities; these are geared toward advertising within Blogs or social media platforms, via CPC or CPM contextual ads
Google announced this week it’s plan to to stretch it’s muscular arm into a new advertising medium. According to a Wall Street Journal article, Google is in talks with AdScape Media, whose specialty is advertising in video games for consoles like Nintendo, Xbox or PlayStation. According to a PaidContent.org article, most new gaming systems offer the option of online game play, which makes this type of advertising possible. Google said “We are always considering new ways to extend Google’s advertising program to benefit our users, advertisers and publishers. In-game advertising offers one such possible extension among many others.” I think that this type of advertising will allow for an interesting edge in putting very targeted advertising in front of a virtually untapped audience, but I’m curious of how success will be tracked. Will this be a CPM project for branding or will players be expected to pause game play to visit a sponsor’s site? I will be very interested to see how this idea unfolds into statistics and conversion rates.
Please check back often for the latest information as it becomes available either at our blog or www.MoreVisibility.com.