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Archive for the ‘Online Advertising / SEM / Display’ Category

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3 Reasons Why SEO & PPC Are More Powerful Together

By | October 10, 2014

We all know that SEO can be a longer term investment and PPC can be up and operating in a matter of days. Both digital strategies require research, analytics and weekly, if not daily, management. Both are equally important. However, should companies be focused on one and not the other? Or, cut one program when the other begins to show results? The answer is no! SEO and PPC work better together and there are distinct advantages for continuing both simultaneously.

1. SERP domination and visibility

If you have specific keywords that have moved to position number one or two organically, this doesn’t mean it is time to turn off PPC. PPC still gives you the top two or three listings of page and having more visibility and page domination will ensure more traffic, leads and business. By utilizing SEO and PPC, you are pushing your competitors out of the most coveted spots in the search results page. Moreover, potential customers see companies with multiple listings as being more established and trustworthy.

2. Learn what keywords perform well with PPC, apply them to SEO

Take advantage of the quick-turnaround results in PPC by testing additional keywords to understand which produce more clicks and conversions. Integrate those that are performing well into your title tag strategy. You can also experiment with your meta descriptions depending what ad content is performing well.

3. PPC remarketing campaigns help drive conversions for ALL campaigns

Remarketing campaigns are paid ads that target customers that have visited your website, but did not convert. These campaigns can be set up to target second-time visitors to your website regardless of their original source – PPC campaign, social media, organic listing or even TV ads. These ads show up when someone is again checking out your company and will strengthen your brand identity and awareness which in turn encourages more traffic to your website.

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Facebook Relaunches Atlas: What Does It Mean?

By | October 8, 2014

Last week, Facebook announced the relaunch of its Atlas advertising platform. Facebook described it as a tool that delivers “people-based marketing.” So, what’s the big deal?

We already know that both Facebook and Google use our data to target ads – when you search for a washing machine on Google, you will notice that advertisements on appliances will follow you for a few days/weeks on sites within the Google ad network. It is important to understand the tipping point we are potentially experiencing.

What’s new?

The first part of the announcement states the fact that the platform will not be based on cookies. This will give Atlas an advantage in cross-device compatibility and the edge on mobile. (More details on how they did it further below.)

Second, we know that all online ad platforms collect data on us and our behavior. The new situation is that Facebook knows who we are and has an absurdly vast amount of data on us.

Google and other platforms know that an anonymous individual is looking for a specific product and will direct relevant ads to that user. They can also sell the information to marketers, but our personal identities are still protected.

Facebook, on the other hand, identifies you specifically and aggregates all the data in your profile. This enables the company to sell the data in the context of your personal information.

To simplify the difference, here are two examples:

  1. Someone was looking for a washing machine on Google. Google doesn’t have much to do with it except list target ads.
  2. You were looking for a washing machine. You also posted on your Facebook profile that your old one just died and that you just bought a new house. These facts—along with your personal information, shopping history and contact information—may perhaps be passed to any interested party that is willing to pay for it.

How Facebook did it: The not-so-innocent like

Facebook is achieving a “cookie-less” solution by using its current scripts that exist on almost all websites in the world. Every time a website developer adds a ‘like’ button, a ‘share this’ icon or any other Facebook widget, a script allows Facebook to identify the visitors to the site. The only condition is that they are logged on to Facebook … and this behavior can now be collected and stored by Facebook under your profile.

This access to your activity gives it an advantage over Google in supporting identity across multiple devices. Furthermore, it provides supremacy in mobile and potentially an appealing dataset for marketers: A package of personal/behavioral information.

Bottom line

Even though Facebook, Google and other major sites have been collecting information on us for years, the thought that every advertiser can buy our information is not what we signed up for. At this moment, Facebook is collecting and storing accumulative data and trends, but promises it will not be sharing our personal information with advertisers.

I wonder how this will develop: Will we see the migration of advertisers from Google’s DoubleClick to Atlas? What will Google do in response?


For more details, check out the WSJ’s “What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Atlas.”

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Finding the Diamond in the Rough – Driving Qualified Traffic for Niche Markets

By | October 8, 2014

There are nearly 40,000 searches per second and 3.5 billion searches per day in Google. Just let that digest for a second. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people could be searching for you or your product each day! While this is a great statistic, it can also be a curse if you don’t have the right strategies in place to find the most qualified traffic for your brand or product.

Let’s say you have a very niche product in a very niche market. How can you reach and find these people or as I’ll refer to them as, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, amongst the broad and frequent searches that are out there each day in Google? Here are several strategies that will help you drive more qualified traffic through paid search campaigns.


Make Your Keyword Set Focused and Specific

The first step in creating a successful campaign is targeting relevant keywords. To ensure that you are reaching the highest valued and qualified traffic possible, make sure your keyword set is precise and focused.   Put yourself in your consumers’ mind. If you were them, what would you search to find your product or service? For example, if your product is Pet Insurance, you would want to create a keyword set tailored specifically for pet insurance (i.e. ‘pet insurance’, ‘dog insurance’, ‘insurance for cat’, etc.). It may also be important to only focus on match types that are narrow such as phrase or exact.

On the contrary, you wouldn’t want to bid on ‘insurance’ or other broad keywords that would create irrelevant and unqualified traffic. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to prevent irrelevant traffic from reaching your site is to determine negative keywords to add into your account. Sticking with the Pet Insurance example, you would want to come up with a bunch of keywords that you would NOT want to appear for. Some of these could be other types of insurances that people would search for – ‘auto’, ‘home’, ‘life’, etc.


Create Relevant Ad Copy

Although it may seem obvious, many advertisers can sometimes overlook their ad copy and landing pages and display misleading messaging to the user. A successful ad copy consists of not only your brand and trademark but also the product or service that you offer along with straight forward call-to-actions. By displaying the specific product or service that you offer, you can help rid out the irrelevant traffic.   Here is an example of an ad that would not drive qualified traffic based on a search for ‘dress shoes’. Clearly, the ad’s headline shows ‘dress shoes’ but the body of the ad calls out ‘water shoes’.

ad copy fathom blog example

Conflicting messaging that is confusing to the user will look ‘spammy’ and only create a negative image for your brand. It could also create irrelevant spend as the user clicks on it expecting to find dress shoes when your company only sells water shoes.


Drive Traffic to a Detailed Landing Page

Once the user clicks on your ad, you’ve already gathered their interest in your brand or offering. From here, detailed content about your product or service can be the next step in driving quality leads.  Outline exactly what your product or service is along with any restrictions that may prevent someone from converting. This way, there are no surprises to your potential consumer.


Use Retargeting to Your Advantage

Retargeting is a great way to reach qualified traffic that have already been to your site. There are several possibilities of why they may have left your site without converting, but the good news is that they showed interest initially and chances are, they may convert later with some more time and help from retargeting. When using retargeting as part of your strategy, make sure you use messaging that is relevant to the user. For example, if the decision buying process involves emotions, use messaging around ‘We’re Here to Help’. On the other hand, if the decision buying process is short and straight forward, serve the user with an incentive to come back (i.e. coupons or other promotions).


Use your niche market or product to your advantage. By keeping the user experience in mind along with the few steps above, you can drive successful and efficient digital traffic and dig deep to find those consumers that are ‘diamonds in the rough’.



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[New Guide] Avoiding Lumps of Coal: Marketing Strategy for Profitable Retail Holidays

By | September 30, 2014

Holiday Shopping Guide 2014Much like 2013, planning in 2014 is more critical than usual because the holiday shopping season is shorter. With Thanksgiving falling at the end of November, this season has relatively few shopping days, making each single one more valuable. By knowing and preparing ahead of time, retailer marketers can set realistic expectations with their bosses and budget accordingly.

Start by downloading our free 20-pg. guide for tips on how to survive the season, including an in-depth look at 5 winning approaches in Santa’s holiday marketing bag. You will learn about:

  • Using SEO to sell more.
  • Incorporating mobile, automating PPC ads, boosting Google Shopping.
  • Adding important dates/tasks to your email and conversion testing calendars.
  • Enhancing email subscriptions, loyalty and sales with holiday-specific approaches.
  • Increasing overall conversions with testing and clean data.

Holiday marketing need not be madness. Marketers who plan all the way to the end are sure to enjoy the power of strategic foresight and emerge victorious by the new year.

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What I Learned by Monitoring Competitors in Higher Education

By | September 12, 2014

My post, below, was also published by The Search Monitor on September 4, 2014.

When it comes to paid search, every college and university wants the same thing: more leads at a lower cost per lead. Although competitor monitoring is one small piece to the puzzle, it’s an aspect of paid search that will help you increase your market share. During the peak season, we do a lot of competitor monitoring. Below are 5 things I’ve learned from The Search Monitor (TSM) to help increase leads and decrease cost per leads during this time. To understand what some of these tools are, review my post, How to Use The Search Monitor in Higher-Education Advertising.

 1. Trademark Violators:

TSM makes this easy with its setup automated emails you can use to submit your trademark violations directly to the engines for faster processing. Not only does this target ad copy violators, but it also lets you know who is bidding on your terms in the space. In most cases, I will notify the competitors of their bidding and ask them to stop. You can do some more research on Trademark Monitoring.

2. Market Share Reports:

Breakout your keyword sets by categories – this is key. I like to use this simultaneously with a CRM to find out which programs we’re losing leads with. This helps explain who owns more market share in that program space, and it gives you reasoning to increase or decrease bids. It’s extremely helpful during the peak months when you know you need to gain as many leads as possible.

 Rank by Day Part Report:

Day parting is one of the easiest ways to cut spend, lower CPCs, and bring down your CPL. I love this tool because it gives me the ability to filter by program offerings and find out the times of the day and days of the week my competitors are bidding heavily. I’ve found that most higher-education advertisers’ increase in the beginning of the week and decrease as the week goes on.

 4. Ad Copy Details Report:

Although you don’t know the conversions of your competitors, you can assume an ad is converting better based on its “times seen” number. The more “times seen” an ad has, the more you know they are spending and/or are in a higher position. It’s interesting to look at what they are using in their copy and try to replicate or test some of the wording they’re using. Maybe they’re using a catchy call to action that you haven’t tested yet.

 5. Rank Report:

Do you have program offerings broken out? With Rank Report, you can not only see the “times seen” here but also the average rank each advertiser sees on that particular keyword set. Need even more detail? Click on the individual keywords to see which ones your competitors are heavily bidding on compared to you.

Keep up with what competitors are doing in the space, especially during your peak seasons. We were recently in our peak last month, and we did all the monitoring mentioned above to maintain CPL’s and increase leads. Monitoring competitors in higher education is time-consuming but well worth it at the end of the month. What are you doing during peak months to gain market share for your university?

Happy Monitoring!

Get deep analysis and take advantage of the latest marketing trends in higher education:

Edu Standard, 2nd Edition

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