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Search Marketing: 3 questions every marketer should ask when starting an AdWords campaign

July 9th, 2013 5 comments

Google AdWords campaigns are a terrific way to target specific audiences.

Unlike advertising on television or billboards, which tries to convince consumers they have a need for the product, search advertising tries to fulfill a need the customer already has.

The only problem is figuring out exactly what searches your customers are performing to express the need your product is the answer to.

Answering the following three questions is a great start to understanding your customers a little more, and will help you fulfill their needs and provide them with solutions.

 

Question #1.  What phase of the sales funnel are our targeted customers in?

Understanding where your target customers are within your sales funnel will help you know how they are searching for your products and what kind of queries they will be using to find them.

Here are a few points to consider when creating a Google AdWords campaign based on what stage of the purchase decision process a potential customer is in before they buy:

Initial – Very early on in the funnel, your potential customers may not even know your product exists. It is up to you to make them aware of your product, and to let them know what the benefits are of using it. For example, if a customer is just beginning their search for a new computer, they’ll probably start with general keywords like “laptop deals” or “cheap desktops.”

Intermediate – Even if your customers have a good understanding of what your product is and are interested in it, they are going to do more research on your product and compare it to similar products. This is where search queries will become more specific for products like “lightweight laptops with dual-core processors.”

Also, keep in mind at this stage, customers may begin to query brand names in their search efforts as well. This is where your keywords should become more specific about the details of your products.

Advanced – This is the stage where a customer has done their research and has reached a decision. In keeping with our computer example, it’s where search terms will likely be brand or name specific as the focus has now shifted to buying.

So if you are aware of what stage in the purchase decision process your customers are in, you can alter keywords to meet their specific needs.

You can even create different ads to match specific keywords customers will search for during each of the different phases as shown above. This will also help you discern which phases you should focus your paid search marketing efforts on.

For example, if most of your keywords are targeting customers in the early stages, you may want to concentrate on adding keywords they would use later in the funnel to make sure they follow through with the buy as ultimately every phase has the potential to turn into a buy.

 

Question #2. How are customers searching for us?

Potential customers generally search the Internet to find answers to questions or solutions to problems.

So, how will customers search for the answers and solutions your products can provide?

There are an infinite number of possibilities considering their queries may be an actual question, a symptom that they have a description of their problem or the cause of their problem.

For example, if someone’s air conditioner is broken, they may search “broken ac” or “how to fix a broken ac,” “why is my ac freezing over?” or  “ac repair in [anytown USA].”

Your ultimate goal is to answer those questions and solve those problems.

And, in order to do this successfully, your AdWords campaign should consider as many of the different search possibilities that relate to your products as possible.

It’s also worth mentioning whichever search terms customers use will also set certain expectations that your landing page or process needs to deliver.

So, when conducting your keyword research, you should list as many search query possibilities customers would likely use to search for your products, and match those searches with keywords that offer the most relevant solutions and answers.

Read more…

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Online Advertising: Retargeting drives 3% to 7% in incremental topline revenue for CafePress

November 15th, 2012 No comments

I’ve been put in the audiences’ shoes a little more than usual this month. My idea, The Tomato Upstairs, has been chosen as one of five finalists in a national idea program. And since there is daily voting on the ideas until November 26, I’ve been promoting and marketing away to get some votes.

One thing I did was create a t-shirt to sell on the site, with proceeds going to a worthy cause. I created these sites and helped the cause open a store on CafePress.com, an online retailer of stock and user-customized on-demand products.

 

Then, something really caught my eye …


Like you, I see retargeting ads all the time. In fact, I’ve jokingly talked about them this way … “I visit your website once, and you stalk me across the Internet for the rest of my days.”

However, these ads really caught the attention of even my keenly skeptical eyes. After all, they were showing shirts that I created.

So, I reached out to Sumant Sridharan, VP & General Manager, CafePress.com, to get a quick background about the site’s retargeting efforts, and thought you might find these insights helpful for your own efforts …

Read more…

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PPC Marketing: A look at analytic and monitoring tools

August 25th, 2011 No comments

Here at MarketingSherpa we are always looking to bring you actionable tactics and interesting insights based on surveys of your marketing peers. You can pre-order our latest research — the 2012 Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition. Better yet, you can even download the executive summary from the report at no cost.

The direct download of this excerpt is free and does not require registration.

In the executive summary you’ll find six charts outlining the key findings from our research, but one of the perks of working here at Sherpa is I get the chance to take an early look at entire report (and the rest of the 125 charts.)

During this sneak preview I found a couple of charts that highlight an area where many marketers can improve their pay-per-click efforts. Read more…

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Online Advertising: How your peers optimize banner ads

March 29th, 2011 No comments

Online display ad spending by B2C marketers increased 57 percent over the last two years…which means more competition for your ads to get that click, and more pressure to deliver ROI on your ad spending.

To help you get the most from your banner ads, we’re hosting a webinar this Thursday, sponsored by TRUSTe, to teach you “How to optimize your banner ad performance while complying with new privacy regulations.”

But before we share our discoveries, we wanted to hear what you had to say. Here are a couple of our favorite tips for optimizing display advertising…

Match your ad closely with the landing page

Create a landing page for this ad, don’t send people to your homepage and make them figure out what to do next or where to look for their answer. Your ad attracted them for a reason – usually to solve a problem, so make sure you offer a solution that they can find easily before they lose interest:

  • Make sure your ad matches the look and feel of the page they will be landing on – from wording used, to matching the colors of the display ad with the landing page. You want to ensure the person who clicked on your ad knows they have arrived at the right site.
  • Reinforce your message from the ad through headlines and copy on the page, as well as images.
  • Along with your solution, make sure both the ad and the landing page have a call to action that clearly tells the visitor what step they need to take next in order to complete the desired action. Whether it be signing up for a newsletter or adding something to their shopping cart, a direct call to action promotes user activity.
  • Test. Don’t assume your first ad you created is working out well. Always test and see what you can do to improve the ad and landing page. When you have determined a winning ad – test a new one, make it a continual process.

Rebekah May, Founder, Whole SEO

 

First ask “Why?”

You need to know why you’re running display ads long before you start. So many companies have said “we need to try banner” with no idea of whether they want to run a branded campaign or a direct response campaign, and whether they want to run on a CPA, CPC or CPM basis. Display will flop dramatically if you don’t have a goal.

And then make sure that whatever your goal is, you must design your creative around it. There’s no point putting a brand ad out on a direct response campaign (or vice versa). I’ve seen people create banners that are so pretty but have no call to action, and then wonder why they get no clicks.

– Carl Eisenstein, Founder, DropDigger



Related Resources

How to optimize your banner ad performance while complying with new privacy regulations — Webinar, Thursday, March  31, 2011, 1-2 PM.

Sherpa 101: Online Display Ads, Part II – Copywriting, Design Tips & Ad Networks + How to Counter ‘Banner Blindness’

Online Advertising: The 3 obstacles you must overcome to create an effective banner ad

This Just Tested: PPC vs. banner ads?

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Online Advertising: Behavioral Ads Threatened

December 28th, 2010 1 comment

There has been a lot of talk this month about the future of behavioral advertising and privacy on the Internet. This coming year could change if and how your team uses ads that target people’s browsing history.

The Federal Trade Commission published preliminary proposals for targeting online ads on Dec. 1, and the Department of Commerce published preliminary proposals for protecting consumer privacy on Dec. 16.

These statements came about two months after the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) launched a program that lets users ‘opt-out’ of behavioral tracking. The DAA is a coalition of industry groups that supports industry-based self-regulation for behavioral ads.

Outcome far from certain

What does all this mean? No one is entirely sure. The FTC and the Commerce Department’s proposals are not laws, but folks from the FTC have been speaking with Congress about the issue. And FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has expressed dissatisfaction with the industry’s self regulation.

This much is clear: behaviorally targeted advertising is raising privacy concerns. Consumers are seeing the shoes they just shopped for appear in ads on other websites, and that is freaking some people out. Two solutions have been floated:

- The FTC’s preliminary proposal: have a browser-based solution that signals to websites that a consumer has ‘opted-out’ of tracking

- The DAA’s program: let users ‘opt-out’ by clicking on an icon next to an ad. This program has been adopted by at least one major media-buying agency.

The potential for impact

Should either of these options — or some other ‘opt-out’ system — become a wide-spread reality, it could have serious implications for online advertising. Here are two stats to consider:

- An Interactive Advertising Bureau survey of ad agencies earlier this year found that 80% or more of digital advertising campaigns were touched by behavioral targeting.

- A USA Today/Gallup poll in December found that 67% of U.S. Internet users say advertisers should not be allowed to match ads to their browsing history.

A tremendous leap of faith is not required to assume that a sizeable portion of that 67% would gladly opt-out of all behaviorally based ads.

What you can do in the meantime

While Washington and the industry figure out what, if anything, will change, your team should look at its marketing and understand the importance of behavioral ads and tracking in your programs.

Consider what would happen if the ads stopped working as well, stopped working completely, or did not change — and what you should do in each case.

Also, talk to your agencies, affiliates and ad-networks. Find out what this means for the marketing they do on your behalf. The last thing you want to do is to be caught off guard by any changes.

Related resources:

Follow the FTC’s Street Team Guidelines: 4 Recommendations for Offline and Online Promos

FTC’s New Endorsement Guidelines: 6 Key Areas to Examine

The Google Slap: Affiliate Marketers must stay in compliance with Google and the FTC

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Guide to Facebook Ads

May 27th, 2010 No comments

Facebook this week launched a free Guide to Facebook Ads to give advertisers more information on how to build successful campaigns on the social network.

Facebook Display AdThe guide covers the basics, such as the types of ads Facebook offers, as well as detailed information on how to budget campaigns, target an audience and improve performance.

For example, the guide’s “Best Practices” section provides the following tips:

- Choose one goal for your campaign to better focus your efforts and set a budget

- Create ads with captivating titles, relevant images and a strong calls-to-action

- Use demographic and psychographic reports available in the Ads Manager to determine which audiences your ads best resonate with

- Closely relate landing pages to ads

- Test multiple ads to uncover the best approach for your audience

For marketers already advertising in Facebook, the guide is worth going through to round-out your knowledge and to fill in any gaps. For marketers who are just getting started, or who are considering a campaign on the network — it’s a vital resource.

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Slow Converting PPC Clicks

April 23rd, 2010 5 comments

I spoke with several paid search experts over the last two weeks for an article about timing PPC ads to optimize performance, and an interesting side-topic came up.

Seeing which PPC clicks are helping your bottom line is not always crystal clear. For example, a consumer may click an ad on Saturday and purchase the advertised item on Tuesday. These slow-converting, or latent clicks help drive sales. But by how much?

One way you can help figure this out is by looking to see whether an ad’s search phrase contains branded terms. Branded searches are likely driven by another marketing channel — because the consumer knew your brand name. Conversions on generic, non-branded search terms signal that your PPC ad had a much stronger influence on the sale.

You can track these slow-converting clicks using cookies — but even that can be challenging. Consumers often search the Web at work on one computer, and surf at home on another. Unless you’re able to connect those two machines, you’ll likely be missing some clicks that later become sales.

The lesson here is you should track the behavior of consumers who click your ads as well as you can. Doing so will give you a better idea of which clicks are driving delayed sales, and that information can help you better allocate your spending.

Have you found a good way to uncover slow-converting clicks? Has it helped you much? Let us know in the comments…

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Rich Media Mobile Ads

March 10th, 2010 1 comment

As the mobile market continues to grow, mobile advertising opportunities are growing right along with it. The capabilities of the ads, too, are quickly expanding.

This week the Mobile Marketing Association released a Rich Media Mobile Advertising whitepaper. You can take a look at the free six-page guide to get a quick introduction to the types of rich mobile ads in the market (not including apps or games).

While mobile display advertising mimics some aspects of online display advertising, there is one key difference I noticed from the whitepaper’s examples. Mobile ads are more likely to expand into a full-screen experience—which is not a common feature in online display ads.

“As highly interactive and feature-rich smartphones continue to dominate new mobile device sales, rich media mobile ad units will comprise an ever-growing portion of the mobile advertisement display market in the U.S. and around the world,” according to the MMA’s whitepaper.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, an average of 19% of mobile advertisers used rich media mobile ad units, according to the whitepaper. These ads include:
o Ads with video, sound or interactive features
o Expandable ads
o Animated ads
o Floating ads

Take a look at the report for great examples from promotions involving The Weather Channel, Alice in Wonderland and Lincoln. The examples include high-quality screenshots and brief descriptions of the ads’ functionality.

If you’re interested in rich mobile advertising, the report can give you a few examples for inspiration, and a few guidelines around sizing, functionality, and why you should give users “close” and “skip” buttons in the ads.

Are you buying these types of ads? If so, let us know what you think of them in the comments…

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Twitter Impacts Web Traffic

March 4th, 2009 No comments

Is there a way to measure the ROI of social media?

I ask this question all the time and rarely get a concrete answer because it’s just one of those tactics that’s difficult to measure.

Research from MarketingSherpa’s new Social Media Marketing & PR Benchmark Guide suggests that 43% of marketers rank the inability to measure ROI the most significant barrier to social media adoption.

I still don’t have the answer, but here’s one example of a way social media can impact an Internet marketing campaign:

Read more…

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Online Ads: Find Commonality Among Consumers

January 19th, 2009 1 comment

I wasn’t looking for advice about online advertising when I scheduled time to talk to Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO, Grandparents.com, for a MarketingSherpa article I’m writing about marketing to grandparents.

That is what I should have expected from someone with 39 years of experience in the industry who last year took the helm of an ad-supported resource site for grandparents.

Read more…

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