As we all know, the economy isn’t as strong as we would like. The challenges are stiff, but companies who take advantage of the flexibility of online adverting can still reap big rewards. Most people start their search for goods and services online, and companies advertising budgets are still rising in the main search engines. Google reported a 28% increase in online ad revenue in the third quarter, while Microsoft announced an increase of 15%, and Yahoo came in with a modest 1.2% boost.
Given these figures, its obvious advertisers recognize that search is a strong channel to attract and retain customers given a troubled economy. But spending money online is not enough. People are shopping more aggressively and will take the extra time to do their competitive analysis before they make a buying decision. Because of this customer behavior, it is very important to increase your conversion rates. More consumers shopping multiple offers can mean more traffic to your site, but also more clicks on your ads. If these clicks do not turn into conversions, then your return on ad spend (ROAS) is weakened.
Take advantage of the flexibility that online advertising allows and get creative with your message. It would be very expensive to create 5 different TV commercials or 5 separate radio spots to communicate your message to potential customers. However, the cost to accomplish this with a search marketing campaign is minimal compared to traditional marketing channels. You have the ability to change ad copy every day, or every hour. You have the flexibility to rotate different messages in your Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaigns to test which works best. You can get creative with special offers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 15% off for example, then turn around and create a new offer on Sunday (free shipping on all orders over $50). Online ad spending is up but that doesn’t ensure customer acquisition or retention. You must convert that traffic for the campaign to be a success. Be flexible, get creative and increase the chances that your message is the one that convinces a searcher that they should buy from you!
Just like all businesses in tough economic times, Google is finding ways to increase the online advertising opportunities for marketers. Google has been offering new areas on several of their products for marketers to place online ads. Interestingly, they aren’t making it outwardly known to marketers where this new ads real estate is. But, if you do some research, you’ll start to find new online ads displayed in areas once not possible. I’ll explore some advertising opportunities that are new for you to consider.
I was recently on youtube.com searching for a new song I had heard, and in doing so, noticed a new category called “promoted videos”. I hadn’t seen this before, and wondered to myself, how long has this been here? Did I just notice this? So, as any online marketer would do, I started to research how videos are populated in this new category. I found out that Google has made a cost per click program for video content, and it works similarly to that of an AdWords campaign. I think it’s a great idea. There are thousands of videos being posted to youtube.com on a daily basis, making it a challenge to ensure that your video content stays in the top listings. Given this challenge, this is a wonderful solution to have your video show up during relevant searches. If you post videos on youtube.com, I would definitely look into this new online advertising opportunity.
I also noticed recently that on another Google Product, Google Images (www.google.com/images), that they are now offering sponsored listings. This is another area previously not possible to advertise. Since this listing is image based, it is particularly ideal for e-commerce sites to place online ads. The number of sponsored listings they are offering is pretty limited. So far I’ve only seen 2 sponsored listings per page for any particular search query. However, since this is so new, there isn’t much competition yet. If you are looking for another great way to advertise online, this is definitely another great avenue to look into.
I am sure most of you know by now that Google Maps has been starting to offer sponsored listings. This isn’t as new, but just as important to highlight. For those of you who haven’t already done so, your business should have a listing in Google Maps. There is good reason why, too! By having your business listed in Google Maps, you have the ability to be placed in two of Google’s most popular products. Google.com pulls in relevant Google Map listings, and then of course, you get your listing on the actual Google Maps product. Now, take this strategy a step further and add a sponsored listing on Google Maps. The result is having 3 places that you’re ads are appearing, increasing your exposure, and boosting your brand awareness. I’d say this is a pretty good bang for your buck! If you’re looking to make sure you’re efficiently spending your online advertising budgets, this should be a no-brainer.
These ideas will help you to start doing some exploration on Google’s products and find where the different online advertising opportunities are, beyond the traditional AdWords campaigns. Google has many products and many advertising opportunities on each of them. The associated costs are lower, since not as many marketers are taking advantage of them yet. I would encourage you to look into incorporating these strategies into you online advertising campaigns.
When it comes to pay per click advertising, it is important to ensure that you are being seen for your own name. Seems like a no brainer, right? Surprisingly, one of the most common misconceptions I hear (almost daily) is when clients’ tell me they already show up in the organic search results under their own name; thus there is no need to spend additional advertising dollars. This could not be any further from the truth. Here are just a few reasons why it’s extraordinarily beneficial to bid on your own name.
Online Advertising has become increasingly competitive. If you want to make a name for yourself, it is essential to stay ahead with your competition! How does that old saying go? If I had a nickel for every time people told me it was not necessary to bid on their company name…