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Why use PPC branding campaigns?
Nowadays, PPC branding campaigns are becoming more and more common. Instead of the ‘traditional’ method of selecting websites to show your banners, branding campaigns are created on PPC networks (such as Google’s Display Network).
And that makes sense: paying per click is a valuable business model, and easy to sell to advertisers. No clicks? No cost!
Spamming banners IS NOT branding!
This gave way to a common misconception regarding PPC branding campaigns. Just create a quick-and-dirty generic PPC branding campaign and – hey presto! Lots of impressions and hardly any clicks – or costs. Sounds great! But is it?
Ultimately, you will pay a severe price. Search engine networks are getting more and more sophisticated. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft know very well that impressions without clicks make them lose money, and will penalize your PPC branding campaign – and your PPC account.
Without proper targeting, PPC branding campaigns will generate a very low clickrate (CTR). Savvy PPC advertising networks will notice that your campaign does not generate many clicks. And that means that they’re not making any money from your PPC branding campaign. As a result, they’ll show your branding campaign in less and less desirable places.
Examples of bad places for your brand to be shown are:
- Under the fold (scrolling needed to see the ad)
- Dimeaning topics, such as: sexual content or coarse language
- 404 error-pages or ‘filler’-pages
- Webpages relating to death or tragedy
You definately don’t want your brand to be associated with such topics!
How to set up PPC branding campaigns
So how do you set up PPC branding campaigns? Head the following PPC branding guidelines and you’re well on your way:
- Measure the effects
PPC branding campaigns are not geared towards sales or lead generation. Still, it is smart to optimize PPC branding campaigns for a soft KPI (key performance index). Examples are: bouncerate (BR), clickrate (CTR), cost-per-non-bounce-visit (CPNBV) or cost-per-pageview (CPPV). People seeing your branding ads is great, but interaction indicates that your campaign reaches the right audience. And an engaged visitor is more likely to remember your brand, your slogan and your USP’s.
- Don’t worry about clicks
Clicks are good. It means you’ve reached the right target audience. It does cost some advertising budget, but you can’t run effective PPC branding campaigns without willing to invest a little.
- AB-testing for branding
Test all your advertisements, including your branding ads. This allows you to maximize the engagement and branding value generated by your PPC branding campaigns.
- Engage your visitors
Once someone clicks on your banner, makes sure that they land on a proper landing page. Often, PPC branding campaigns just point to a company’s homepage. That is rarely the right page to inform an interested visitor about your brand. Lead visitors to a special landing page that communicates your logo, slogan and USP’s. Ask them to subscribe to your RSS feed or newsletter, to continue branding in the near future.
- Use negative keywords
Negative keywords are keywords that you don’t want your brand to be assoicated with. You want to list those in your PPC branding campaigns, so your banners don’t show up on undesireable websites. Take a touroperator, for example. They would probably not want their banners to show on webpages with keywords as “tsunami”, “war” or “piracy” and should include such keywords as negatives. Search advertising bureaus have tried and tested lists of negative keywords, allowing them to quick-start your PPC branding campaigns.
- Avoid telephone numbers
Some PPC advertisers show their phone number in their ads. They hope that people will call instead of click. This way they still can get customers, but don’t have to pay for any clicks. This is a very cheap, short-term advertising strategy. It will affect all your PPC campaigns in your account in a negative way. Again, the lower your CTR, the more you will have to be willing to pay for each click, unless you want your banners to end up on nasty websites.
- Capitalise on your own brand
Don’t forget to include your own brand in your keywords, combined with “review”, “testimonials”, “experience”, etc. This will ensure that when people are looking for your brand online, you’ll be there.
Why you need a PPC brand strategy
Do you want to protect your brand online? Keep competition at bay? And in the mean time, benefit from higher ad positions and lower click prices? Then use a solid PPC strategy for your brand!
Bidding on your your own brand keywords is often frowned upon by businesses. They reason (and they’re at least partly right!) that people searching for their brand name are already familiar with their products and services. As such, it would be a waste of good advertising budget to pay for their visits. Or would it?
Launching a PPC strategy for your brand name is absolutely worth the effort. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important parts of your PPC advertising campaign and your online media mix. Any business that wants to be visible online should implement a PPC strategy for their own brand!
Why? Because a solid PPC strategy for your own brand has a lot of important benefits:
- Cut off the competition
This PPC strategy keeps your competitors from bidding on YOUR brand name. Without a PPC strategy, your website will only show up in the organic search results. Even worse, your website will probably be shown BENEATH your competitors! A PPC strategy on your own brand is very likely to appear in the no. 1 spot, pushing your competitors down the ranks. You taking your rightful place on top will prevent direct competitors from continuously cashing in on YOUR brand name and nibbling on YOUR market share.
- Gain additional exposure
A PPC strategy for your brand will make your website show up in both organic and paid search results. This provides additional exposure, against an extremely low cost per click (CPC).
- PPC discounts and higher ad positions across ALL keywords
The clickrate (CTR) of your brand name PPC campaign will be much, much higher than the average CTR in your account. A higher overall CTR will also increase your standing within the PPC advertising networks. In Google AdWords, for example, a higher CTR will increase your Quality Score (QS). This will provide higher ad positions against a lower CPC, across ALL keywords within your account.
- Create a testing ground
Your PPC strategy with your own brand keywords is likely to generate traffic with a high conversion rate. This allows you to AB-test new advertising propositions and USP’s. Lessons learned can be applied throughout other PPC campaigns and ad groups, increasing the effectivity of these as well. Ultimately, this also allows you to test the effectivity of slogans and propositions before using them in (costly) offline media.
- Increase customer satisfaction
Within Google AdWords, high quality PPC campaigns are awarded with extra links beneath the main advertisement. This additional exposure can be used to present future customers with additional choices and ways to reach their goal. Not only does this increase traffic and sales, but also consumer satisfaction and brand credibility.
- Invoke trust in your brand
Research shows that visitors have more thrust in websies they find through advertisements, compared to organic search results. This leads to higher conversion rates and online branding value.
- The bottom line: sales!
In many cases, shutting down the PPC branding campaign has led to an overall decrease in sales across all media sources. Although a PPC strategy for your brand keywords will not increase the amount unique visitors, it WILL increase the amount of sales and leads!
PPC Strategy Recap:
Even engaged visitors need a push towards the finish line. Be there for all your clients. Don’t let them slip away, and make sure they receive a royal treatment or this last little nudge. Add some sense of urgency or an important USP. These are the easiest sales you will make!
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Google Zeitgeist Canada 2011
So what did we Canadians look for on the internet in 2011? As at the end of every year, Google Zeitgeist Canada 2011 provides insight into various Canadian’s top 10′s of most popular searches, people and products.
Some results are no surprise, such as “Justin Bieber”. He even managed to get his girlfriend (Selena Gomez) straight into the top 10! As every year, major tragic or turningpoint events dominate the charts. That’s why we see much of the unfortunate earthquake in Japan, but also of the hopeful upraisings in Libya, Iran and Egypt.
So what use is this to you as a marketeer? Not much, but using Google’s Insights for Search you have the tools at your disposal to make your own lists. Use it to search for competitor info, keyword negatives, seasonal trends, search volume, keyword spelling etc.
For your convenience we’ve listed all the results of Google Zeitgeist Canada 2011 below:
Fastest Rising in Google Zeitgeist:
2. Skyrim (a long-awaited fantasy game)
3. Canda Post Strike
4. Rebecca Black
5. Ryan Dunn (of MTV Jackass fame)
6. Japan Earthquake (due to lingering nuclear problems)
7. Game of Thrones
8. Jack Layton
9. Royal Wedding
10. Google Plus
Fastest Rising People in Google Zeitgeist:
- Rebecca Black
- Pippa Middleton
- Ryan Dunn
- Jack Layton
- Casey Anthony
- Amy Winehouse
- Osama Bin Laden
- Charlie Sheen
- Steve Jobs
What is…? in Google Zeitgeist:
1. What is love
2. What is Wikipedia
3. What is Android
4. What is Tumblr
5. What is 3g
6. What is Gluten
7. What is Depression
8. What is Planking
9. What is Global Warming
10. What is Dubstep (love it!)
Popular Google News in Google Zeitgeist:
2. Vancouver Canucks (more due to rioting, to our shame)
4. Justin Bieber
5. Blue Jays
7. Selena Gomez
8. Jack Layton
10. Stephen Harper
Most popular images in Google Zeitgeist:
1. Justin Bieber
2. Selena Gomez
3. Kim Kardashian
4. Katy Perry
6. Megan Fox
7. Lady Gaga
8. Nicki Minaj
10. iphone 5
Most popular movies in Google Zeitgeist:
1. True Grit
2. Fast Five
3. Captain America
4. Scream 4
5. Straw Dogs
6. Little Fockers
7. Mean Girls 2
8. Final Destination 5
9. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
10. Twilight: Breaking Dawn
Most popular recipes in Google Zeitgeist:
1. Pork Tenderloin
2. Pumpkin Pie
3. Butter Chicken
4. Quinoa Salad
5. Cake Pops
7. Macaroni Salad
8. Red Velvet Cupcakes
9. Rice Krispies Treat
10. Shepherd’s Pie
Most popular music in Google Zeitgeist:
1. Someone Like You
2. Born This Way
3. Friday Lyrics
4. Super Bass Lyrics
5. Give Me Everything
6. We Found Love
7. Judas Lyrics
8. Forget You Lyrics
9. Price Tag Lyrics
10. Lighters Eminem Lyrics
Popular travel destinations in Google Zeitgeist:
1. Las Vegas
4. New York
7. Dominican Republic
What is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator)?
A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is a number or percentage that shows the performance or results of an online marketing campaign, a website, a/b-test, advertisement, form or pretty much any element of an online campaign or website.
Measuring campaign KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) is an excellent way to determine the effectivity of your campaigns and media. A good KPI (Key performance Indicator) should be:
Examples of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are:
- Bounce rate (how many visitors leave your website immediately upon arrival?)
- Conversion rate (how high or low is the percentage of visitors making a sale?)
- ROI or ROAS (how much revenue do you make in comparison to your media spend?)
- Pageviews/Visit (how interested are the visitors from this campaign in your website?)
- CPA (Cost-Per-Action): how much does it cost to generate a lead or sale?
- Quality Score within Google AdWords
- Minimum visited pages per visit, to measure website interaction
There are thousands of KPI’s (Key performance Indicators). Define them, depending on the needs of your company and target groups and the possibilities within your web analytics software.
How to define KPI’s
Defining KPI’s is not an easy task. There are many in- and external factor that have to be taken into account. Mind the following when defining KPI’s:
- What is important?Analyse your website data and see how your customers interact with your websites. Define interaction ‘milestones’ (e.g. visiting a contact page, white paper download, start of sales funnel, etc.).
- Is there enough data? Many businesses focus on sales, but often lack the amount of data to make a valid decision. If you lack the needed amount of data, use a different KPI that focuses on a goal earlier in the conversion funnel (e.g. leads instead of sales. Sometimes you have to go back to the roots, such as Non-Bounce visitors as a KPI. Making decisions on “lower” KPI’s is more effective than making decisions on insufficient data.)
- What can you do to improve results? If you can’t influence results, don’t bother to focus on it. Think of how to improve results and make plans accordingly!
Would you like to know which KPI’s are most important to your business? Improve them to gain more conversions? And optimize your marketing strategy accordingly? Searchify can help! Have a look at our SEM services (some of them are FREE – no strings attached!)!
Internet on iPad and Mobile
Internet use on mobile devices is a sleeping giant that has begun to wake up. Analysts have spoken about this event for over 10 years now, but we finally have reached a point where smartphones are commonplace. Walk into any mobile phone store: the amount of smartphones has surpasssed that of phones without a touchscreen.
But in the mean time, the rate of tablet PC’s is growing even faster – with Apple’s iPad as a clear winner, but other brands following in their footprints. With a bigger screen and keyboard, iPads offer better usability and readability than smartphones. How does that translate to sales and how can you benefit from targeting iPads within Google AdWords campaigns?
Google Adwords on iPad vs. smartphone
The amount of sales through smartphones is low. Mobile devices are (much) less frequently used to make a purchase. It’s not only that consumers don’t like the limited interface on a smartphone, but also that the timing just isn’t right. Smartphone users are on the go and easily interrupted.
iPads are often used in a completely different manner. An iPad offers better readability and usability, while the consumers holding it are often in the comfort of their own home. What does this mean for the results of your Google AdWords campaigns?
Google AdWords succesful on iPad
The volume of advertising traffic from tablet PC’s and iPads is often substantially lower in comparison to campaigns targeted to PC’s or even smartphones. Would that justify the time and expense needed to create additional campaigns, targeted to tablets only? It usually does!
Google AdWords campaigns geared towards iPads usually yield much better results in comparison to the same campaigns on PC’s:
- A CPC that’s 65% lower
- The CTR almost triples
- The conversion rate is 90% higher
- This leads to over 80% savings on the average CPA!
So where’s the catch?
I admit, there are a few things you have to take into consideration. Volume is low, so take the overhead cost into consideration. These will likely be small, as you can copy existing Google AdWords campaigns and change the settings. Also, the market of tablets is likely to grow in the near future, with many laptop producers launching some sort of tablet PC.
Click prices are likely to rise as competition picks up. However, by starting asap you can ensure a solid no. 1 position, build up your Quality Score and leave the competition in your dust.
Setting up Google AdWords campaigns for iPads
Creating new iPad campaigns is easy and is set up in minutes. Just copy your existing campaign and change the setting in both the old and the new campaigns to reach the right devices.
Splitting these campaigns offers you flexibility and these advantages:
- Adapt your ads towards the consumer, as they might behave differently
- Set specific targets per campaign and device
- Individual budgets per campaign and device
- Specific bid management for tablet-campaigns
- Device-specific Quality Score!
Naturally, these advantages also apply to Google AdWords campaigns targeting mobile phones. Feel free to create separate Google AdWords accounts for them, too!
A website migration to a new domain is a hazardous event, that can have a profound impact on your SEO results. As all the site URLs will change, all your incoming links will cease to drive traffic to your site, as well as pass “linkjuice”. A temporary dip in SEO-results is normal, but failing to head the following SEO tactics can prove disastrous!
Website migration SEO checklist
- Make sure Google Webmaster Tools is implemented and verified. The sooner, the better!
- Create an XML sitemap of the old website. There’s plenty of free tools available, such as XML Sitemaps or Xenu.
- Create an XML sitemap of the new website
- Add both the old AND the new XML sitemaps to Google Webmaster Tools
- Create decent 404-pages (including links to well-frequented pages and a call-to-action)
- Update conversion trackers (if any)
- Update URls in running campaigns and AdWords (NOTE: AdWords only allows for one root domain in a campaign, so you either have to change the URLs after go-live, or copy and modify the existing campaigns and pausing the old ones (so you won’t lose any campaign data)
- Is it impossible, for any reason, to redirect all old URls to new ones, at least ensure that all pages that receive organic traffic and/or referral traffic are being redirected. You can create lists of these landing URLs from your web analytics.
- Check whether the analytics software is implemented and working properly (NOTE: feel free to cretae a test-only profile or segment, to keep testing data from polluting your analytics data).
Checklist after website migration
- Check the redirects using the site-command on Google (e.g. site:oldsite.com)
- Check your new site for defective links (using Xenu or the W3C Link checker).
- Check Google Webmaster Tools often (NOTE: it takes a few days for Google Webmaster Tools to show results)
- Check the crawl statistics for errors
- Check the HTTP-status codes for errors
- Check the server logs for errors (404, 500, etc.)
- Use 301-redirects to solve all errors you have ancounterd
- Remove the XML sitemap of the old website after a month.
Stress, stress, stress
I can’t stress this enough: a website migration can pose a HUGE risk. If your website is highly dependend on organic traffic, and you’re not sure how to handle the migration exactly, we advise to get help from a SEO-professional to oversee the process. Make sure you’re on top of any errors and fix them as soon as possible.
Update: If you want to learn more about SEO for a website migration, here’s some advice, directly from Google.
Good luck migrating your website!
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Google Shopping – Hot or Not?
This new feature combines Google’s powerful search engine with AdWords to ensure better visibility of commercial products. Google Shopping allows for additional information (even images!) to be shown within organic search results, ensuring:
- Higher clickrates,
- More visitors, and
- A highly engaged audience.
To make it even more interesting: it’s FREE! Does your website sell commercial products (say, anything with a barcode)? Read on, and we’ll tell you what to expect.
Google Shopping enables consumers to quickly find the products they need, showing more and detailed product information. This leads to interesting results, both within organic searches (SEO) and AdWords (SEA).
NEW: adding product extentions in Adwords
Product extentions are new among the many kinds of ad-extentions that Adwords has to offer. These extentions allows for the enrichment of existing AdWords ads, adding useful and specific data.
This is what Google has to say:
You can upload your products with a data feed. You’ll be taken to the Google Merchant Center to submit your product information. Your products will appear on Google Product Search and may be displayed on Google.com. Your store and products will be shown to shoppers when they type in search terms relevant to your product offerings. Shoppers simply click on your listing to be brought to your site.
NEW: Google Merchant Center: organic results
Products that are uploaded in Google Merchant Center will not only be shown in AdWords ads, but also within organic search results. Current data indicates that Google uses the ‘standard’ SEO practices and ranking mechanisms as to determine whether and if so, at which position the product data will be shown.
NEW: Google Shopping-tab
Another new feature is the Shopping-tab. Click on ‘Shopping’ in Google’s left navigation column, and Google brings up list of products, including information such as:
- An image of the product
- A product description
- Prices (including a price comparison tool)
- Product reviews
- Your store location, as well as shops in your neighbourhood
If you decide to click on a product, Google Shopping shows a more specific product page, including even more information, such as sending costs, product details and similar products.
What’s in it for me?
So why is this interesting for businesses? Because:
- Products will receive much more attention and generate more clicks and visitors.
- Consumers that are looking for specific products are low in the search funnel, and are ready to buy.
- Consumers that click know what to expect from the page they’re visiting, and are more likely to lead to a sale.
- Limited competition, high clickrates and high conversion rates enable sales with a very low CPA in AdWords
- Businesses that aren’t featured in lower rankings will be pushed further down the SERPs, and more search results will disappear below the fold.
- Search results point to websites as well as brick-and-mortar stores, pushing offline sales as well
Want to know more about Google Shopping or Google Merchant Center? Then keep an eye on this blog, as we will be posting more on Google Shopping as we gather more data. Please subscribe using our RSS-feed.