How Social Media – Facebook & Twitter – Impact Search Marketing Results

Are your web statistics revealing that more people are finding your site via social media channels? It’s no secret that social sites – Facebook and Twitter – are now significant players when it comes to search market share. Marketers are finding themselves investing more time and resources into social media marketing and with good reason–your potential customers could be among the Facebook and Twitter masses. Now more than ever, consumer decision making patterns are based on the correlation between search and brand discovery through social media.

A search and social media industry study revealed that searchers exposed to a brand via both Social Media and Paid Search are more willing to take action. These findings are proof  that consumers exposed to social media are more likely to click on a brand’s paid search ad compared to those exposed to the brand’s paid search alone. When users searched a brand’s product name, the CTR nearly tripled (from 4.5% up to 11.8%) from being exposed to a brand in social media and paid search.

Search and Social Media Survey Shows Consumers are Taking Action:
>   2.8x more likely to search for a brand’s products compared to users who only saw paid search
>   50% increase click thru rate (CTR) in paid search when exposed to both social media and paid search
>   42-point lift in searcher penetration for brand terms when consumers were exposed to social media and paid search
*Source: Research study by comScore, GroupM Search & M80.

Delivering Effective Social Media Marketing Communications on Facebook & Twitter
There is no question the interplay between search and social media will impact your search marketing ROI. And more importantly, how you  communicate your message via social media makes the difference.

>   Do: Approach social media marketing with the mindset of “sharing quality content” to inform and to offer relevant information.
>   Don’t: Use “push-marketing” tactics–avoid direct and blatant sales messages around your products or services.

An essential component in helping your customers find you in search and social media is about creating and sharing quality content. Providing relevant information, keeping content fresh, and making it easily accessible to your potential customers is key in increasing your online marketing results. Since just about everythig begins in search, an important element in both disciplines – search and social media marketing - is offering your customers relevant information to help them answer questions and address their needs.

For example, in Facebook, people ”like” content–and the more compelling your content is, the more potential there is for your message to be read and shared across unlimited social networks. Did you know a Facebook ‘liker’ clicks on 5x more links to external sites than typical Facebook users? This is great news if you are looking to increase your social media click thru rates! The same goes for Twitter–the new sharing of content capabilities on Twitter allow for more creative marketing. The chances of your message going viral is even greater as Twitter becomes more of an information channel.

With over 500 million Facebook users and 160 million Twitterers, the customer outreach potential is unlimited. Social Media’s upside over Google is the ability to take your message viral. The more ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ your message has, the more visibility you gain, thus increasing your viral chances. New search mindsets are evolving with ‘Facebook Likes’ being compared to page rank due to the direct connection between likes and search. The search and social possibilities are endless as people turn to Facebook as a more common place to search and people use Twitter for more than just tweeting.

It boils down to helping your customers find you across both search and social media channels–and how you gain their attention is key! How are social networks (Twitter and Facebook) impacting your search marketing results? Share your thoughts.

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Twitter, social media on October 7,2010

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Book Interview: Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing An Hour A Day

Interview by Kelly Larsen, PPC Summit Director of Marketing

Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing An Hour A Day
Authors: David Szetela and Joseph Kerschbaum, with Michael Flores

We recently had the opportunity to talk with David Szetela about his new book 
Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing An Hour a Day and learned some exclusive insights into how Search Marketers can better leverage Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing channels and tools. From the search engines to social media, David’s new book offers some invaluable tips that every Search Marketer should know.

A regular speaker at our PPC Summits, David Szetela is a master of the art in PPC Advertising. He has a unique ability to share his wealth of Search Marketing knowledge in a no-nonsense, easy-to-understand format. And in the new book, Szetela and co-writers do a great job sharing their PPC wisdom including everything from the basics to rules and best practices. The book covers it all from campaign development, management and measurement–offering many important takeaways for PPC success. 

Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing An Hour A Day provides clear guidance for improving campaign architecture and creative execution. *****************************************************************************************************************

1. What led to the book’s creation and why are these lessons important for Marketing and Advertising Professionals?

Szetela: We decided to write the book because we wanted to provide a soup-to-nuts instruction manual for new PPC advertisers–even those with no formal training in marketing and advertising. The excellent books already on the market seemed to assume some familiarity with PPC advertising. We took a different approach: the book covers basic advertising and marketing topics before diving into the skills necessary to become an expert PPC campaign manager.

2. Tell us about your background and experience managing PPC/SEM campaigns?

Szetela: Even though I started gaining expertise in PPC advertising a few years after it became available, I had a head start by virtue of my 30 years of experience with direct response advertising.  When I discovered PPC advertising in 2003, I realized that it was classified advertising on steroids–a challenge to write persuasive ads using a small number of characters and an opportunity to improve performance over time by testing and improving ad copy.

3. Name the most important thing every PPC advertiser should do when setting up and managing a campaign?

Szetela: The most important thing is to fully understand your customers. Usually the set of a company’s customers can be broken down into separate sub-groups–each with its own unique jargon and perceptions of benefits. Understanding these differences are important in crafting persuasive ad copy and advertising on sites that are frequented by the customer sub-segments.

4. Sum up your top 3 tips for being a more effective SEM/PPC advertiser and maximizing your results? 

  1. Understand that the creative aspects of the job – ad copywriting and landing page design – are as crucial to success as the scientific aspects like ad group and campaign structure, keyword bids, etc.
  2. Adopt the philosophy that continual testing and optimization will produce continual improvement in sales volume and conversion rates
  3. Learn how to spot the early signs of campaign problems like falling click-through-rates and rising costs

5. What is the most challenging piece of PPC/SEM (from your own experience), and what is your advice on how to tackle it?

Szetela: Over the years, as more and more companies have realized that PPC advertising provides the best ROI of any kind of marketing, the competition has steadily driven average click prices up. To counteract this, expert PPC campaign managers use exact and phrase match versions of popular keywords and continually test ad copy to obtain progressively higher click-through-rates. This improves keyword quality scores which helps advertisers obtain higher ad rank than their competitors at a lower average cost-per-click.

6. In this industry it is tough to stay current. How do you stay up to speed with current industry trends?

Szetela: I read every article that I can find on: Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, MediaPost, MarketingSherpa etc. I also Tweet about the most important developments in the PPC world so people who follow me on Twitter can keep up (@ Szetela) or http://twitter.com/szetela. I also moderate a PPC discussion group on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1217347.

Overall the book covers many facets of search engine marketing—going beyond Google and much more than just AdWords. It takes you outside of the search engine results, into content networks and on to social media (Facebook). It’s a must read for all marketers!

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About the Author: Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing An Hour a Day
David Szetela is Owner and CEO of Clix Marketing and specializes in PPC advertising: Google AdWords, Yahoo! and Microsoft. Szetela’s 25+ years working for small magazine publishers, Apple Computer and Ziff-Davis Publishing has provided him a deep experience in direct response marketing. David is a frequent speaker at industry conferences like Search Engine Strategies, PPC Summit and  MarketingSherpa Summit.

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, social media on September 22,2010

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Google Instant Search: What’s the Impact on PPC?

Last week Google launched “Instant Search.” Instant search essentially fills in words and phrases for you as you conduct a search on Google. For example, let’s say you start to type in “goo”. Before you get further, you’ll see a list of potential queries, like “Google” and “Goo Goo Dolls” and so on.

Google’s reasoning for launching this innovation, as with pretty much everything they do, is – on its face – simple: to improve user experience by helping users find what they need faster.  For search engine marketers, however, what’s good for users is not necessarily good for PPC campaigns. Will Instant Search fundamentally change PPC forever?

As I see it, there are two big impacts from Google Instant Search that SEMs need to immediately address.

1. Instant Search increases the importance of head terms. Head terms refer to generic or very popular keywords in your account. Tail terms (or “long tail”) are the much targeted keywords with few queries. A head term example might be “mortgage” whereas a tail term would be “mortgage rates in Miami Florida for bad credit.” Because Instant Search immediately starts to suggest words as a user types, it stands to reason that this feature will result in more head term keywords and less long tail keywords.

In the example I gave above, a user who typed in “mort” might immediately see a suggested query of “mortgage rates” and decide to click on these results long before they complete a much longer query like “mortgage rates in Miami Florida . . .”

From a PPC perspective, this means that volume on head terms – and therefore the importance of showing up on these terms – will increase. Another way of thinking about this is that the head terms will be taking traffic from the tail terms. Hence, if advertisers currently making money on the tail still want to get the same volume they were previously getting, they will now need to spend more of their budget on the head terms. More advertisers bidding on fewer keywords will result in higher CPCs and more money for Google.

I believe that this is pretty consistent with Google’s existing policies. Several years ago I pondered whether keywords even mattered anymore and whether Google would one day go from a keyword-based system to a “category” based system. This move to Instant Search is consistent with that prediction. Long tail keywords cost Google money; getting as many advertisers as possible to bid on fewer keywords is very profitable!

2. Instant Search increases the importance of bidding separately for Google versus the Google Search Partners Network. Many people do not realize that when you buy ads through AdWords, your ad can essentially show up in one of three places: Google search results, the Google Display Network (content sites), or on Google search partners like AOL and Ask.com. Often, the performance on Google search and Partner search sites can be very different, as the demographics of users on these sites vary.

The advent of Google Instant Search will further change the results between Google and Partner search results. Because partners like AOL and Ask do not have Instant Search functionality, you can expect to get more results on long tail queries on Google partners than on Google. If you assume that long tail queries are more valuable (since they are more targeted) than head terms, the result may well be that the relative value of partner search results vis-à-vis Google search results will increase.

While Google doesn’t currently allow you to bid only on the Partner network, you can at least set up two campaigns with one set to Google only and one to Google plus the Partner network. You could then focus on head terms in the Google only campaign, and focus on tail terms in the Google plus Partner network campaign, and adjust bids over time to reflect differences in performance.

Keep in mind that Instant Search is only days old at this point so no one really knows how this functionality will really impact AdWords campaigns. And like many Google product launches, the initial launch is usually fundamentally different than subsequent releases. So watch your AdWords campaigns closely, watch for announcements from Google, and don’t make rash changes until the metrics suggest to do so!

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David Rodnitzky is Founder of PPC Associates, a leading SEM agency in San Francisco. To learn more about full service AdWords management from PPC Associates, contact David at david@ppcassociates.com.

Posted by admin in Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Tools, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research on September 22,2010

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Is Google Quietly Trying to Compete with PPC Software Companies?

Over the years, Google has been consistently adding more “bells & whistles” to their AdWords Platform, and they are continuing to show signs of becoming their own PPC Management Software Company that could be a real threat to the existing leading companies in the marketplace today. In fact, if Google was able to get widespread adoption of the management tools by marketing to advertisers that, instead of spending  extra dollars for these tools, why not just use Google’s free tools and take that money and put it back into their monthly ad spend.

The movement by Google to offer similar PPC optimization tools for Free as compared to other companies such as Acquisio, ClickEquations , and others, where the advertiser has to pay, makes it a pretty good investment for Google and advertisers because those extra dollars would go back into advertising, or, in other words, Google’s Pocket. With that said, there are many questions that come to mind:

  • How good is Google compared to those other PPC Management Companies who, not only have a loyal following, but also have familiarity with their products?
  • Will the Advertiser see a higher Return on Investment using Google’s Tools?
  • Will it force the 3rd party companies to lower their rates to compete with Google?

Of all of the tools that Google is rolling out to their advertisers, there is one in particular which struck a cord with me and hinted on the fact that this maybe Google’s next frontier. For example, their new automatic bidding tool called Enhanced CPC is designed to increase ROI on an advertiser’s Max CPC campaign. Many PPC Marketers used to rely on this automation from third party companies so  time could be better spent on more important things.

Furthermore, another interesting point to note is the marketing language that Google is using to promote the tool. Here is a snippet from Google “Enhanced CPC can be thought of as an ‘‘ROI turbocharge” setting for your existing Max CPC campaigns. Simply check a box and let the AdWords system get to work improving your ROI.”  In essence, Google is trying to inadvertently eliminate the need for 3rd party bid management tools, or at the very least take the API integration to the 3rd parties out of the mix. However, in their marketing language, Google appears to be more sympathetic to other outside bid management tools by mentioning their Bid Tool is compatible with third party bid management systems.  This statement, even though soft and fuzzy, does not make a lot of sense to me because it forces the advertiser to make a choice of one or the other. How can an advertiser use both at the same time?

Another interesting tool from Google is their Analyze Competition product where advertisers can see what their competition is doing. Even though this is full release mode and was first introduced back in June 2010 and then expanded to all advertisers in August 2010, it’s another sign of more competing tools to come. In the past, we had to pay for this service from other 3rd parties to get this information. But again, the marketing messaging that Google uses to describe this service reveals more than just a nifty tool. According to Google, “For the first time, you can see how your AdWords performance compares that of other advertisers.” So it’s pretty clear that Google wants to provide every possible tool to get their advertisers to spend more money with them.

In conclusion:

No matter how we view the trend of Google pushing more and more PPC tools that were once only provided by third party companies, it provokes competition, and that can only benefit Google and the advertiser. However, it does motivate and open the door for PPC Management companies to come up with something new and exciting that Google does not already have in their arsenal. On the other hand, Google could just buy out those companies and eliminate the competition altogether. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Greg Meyers is the President/Founder of iGESSO Internet Marketing, LLC and author the Search Marketing Blog SemGeek.com.

Posted by admin in Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization on September 22,2010

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What the New Twitter Redesign Means for Search Marketers

The goal of the new Twitter interface is to provide a richer user experience and a more robust platform to search, share, access, and explore content and information. All 160 million registered users will soon be privy to the new features which include embedded media capabilities,  easier content sharing and more accessibility. Over the coming weeks, Twitter will continue to roll out the updated version to all users through the process of random account selection.

The upgrades are significant, and overall the new interface is a step in the right direction, especially from a marketing standpoint. As Twitter becomes more of a destination site and offers more than just ‘tweeting’,  it stands to provide ample ways for marketers to reach more targeted customers in real-time.

According to Augie Ray, analyst for Forrester Research, “Twitter’s new web functionality is a significant evolution that promises to attract more visits to Twitter.com, improve Twitterers’ interactions with content and each other, and ease adoption for Twitter newbies.”

The numbers speak for themselves!  In August Twitter generated nearly 3 billion tweets, which was up 33% from May. According to WebProNews, an average of 85 million tweets were posted on Twitter each day in August.  Now, with Twitter’s improved usability, marketers should take advantage of the increased customer engagement they can gain.

Twitter has now integrated features previously only available from third party vendors. This should ultimately help Twitter win back the 20% of users who have turned to third party tools such as Tweetdeck, Seesmic  etc. The new features go beyond just tweeting, as CEO Evan Williams suggests the site can be used as an exploring tool–and the new interface does just that. Not only is it more user friendly, it provides improved resources to access information and opens the doors to increase marketing outreach.

Here’s A Glance at the Twitter Redesign Impacts on Search Capabilities:

  • Prominently displayed Search box is at the top of the page
  • Unlimited scrolling option on search results
  • Additional filtering features: Tweets with links and Tweets Near You
  • Save this Search option is more visible
  • Enhanced search features for retweets

Twitter’s Redesign Improvement Highlights:

  1. New Interface Design: The infinite scroll and new architecture is more user friendly and allows for faster ways to view more related information. In the top navigation, you can easily access your timeline, mentions, retweets, searches and lists. The tweet stream on the left remains the same, however, when one clicks on a tweet, the right side populates with more detailed content.
  2. Embedded Media/Photos/Videos: You can easily embed and view photos, watch live video and more within your Twitter account (offered by Twitter media partners: DailyBooth, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, YouTube and more). Media is displayed on the right side.
  3. Additional Pane for Related Content: It’s easier to view more detailed insight on information related to tweets – see author or subject info, replies, other Tweets and a map for geo-tagged Tweets. You can now use the new pad/pen icon (overlay box) to tweet and not lose your place in Twitter. If a tweet links to a product on an e-commerce site partnering with Twitter, you can view the product.
  4. Mini Profile View: You can get fast access to user account details without off-page navigation including bio information and Tweets.

The verdict will remain open until the roll out is complete, but it seems to be a step in the right direction. We will keep watch and report back with any findings at the end of the transition.

Let us know what you think of the new Twitter interface. Feel free to share your thoughts on the features that you like or dislike in the comments.

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, social media on September 22,2010

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Navigating the Yahoo & Microsoft adCenter Search Alliance: What You Need to Know

Most PPC managers should be well aware that over the next six to eight weeks, Yahoo & Microsoft will be merging their PPC platforms into an integrated platform called, ominously, “The Search Alliance”. Understanding how the Yahoo & Microsoft Search Alliance will impact your business will help to ensure that any impact is a positive one. This article will provide a brief background of the Search Alliance and more detailed insights into three things you should do to prepare your PPC campaigns.

The Basics of the Yahoo & Microsoft Search Alliance

It’s no secret that Yahoo & Microsoft’s PPC offerings have long been a distant #2 and #3 to Google’s AdWords platform. By the beginning of Q4 2010, Yahoo & Microsoft’s PPC platforms will be merged and all PPC campaigns will be managed under what is now Microsoft adCenter. This will create a larger consolidated network that is likely to pose a greater threat to Google AdWords than either Yahoo or Microsoft ever did on their own. Yahoo Search Marketing will effectively phase itself out and adCenter powered ads will supply both Yahoo & Microsoft properties with paid advertising. This is all slated to be completed before the beginning of the 2010 holiday season.

For more detailed information and regular updates about the Search Alliance, check out the official site: http://www.searchalliance.com/home

How to Make the Search Alliance a Positive for Your Business

Although there are many more nuances to the Search Alliance that could be written about at great length, the three main things to understand about the Search Alliance are:

        I.            Decide Which Transition Option to Use

In preparation for the upcoming Yahoo & adCenter Search Alliance, Yahoo advertisers should now all be seeing a new “adCenter” tab in their Yahoo accounts with three options for transition:

Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter (Bing)

  1. Help Me Transition: Will allow you to move existing campaigns from Yahoo into an adCenter account. Since Yahoo campaigns are inherently structured differently than adCenter, I would rarely recommend this option.
  2. Set Up Account Only: Create a new adCenter account where you will be able to import campaigns from AdWords, for example, or create new campaigns from scratch. If you don’t currently have an AdCenter account at all, this is the choice for you.
  3. No Help Needed: If you have an AdCenter account that is already fairly optimized, then select this option. Your Yahoo account will essentially phase itself out as the transition gets underway.

Note that once you select one of these three options, there isn’t an “undo” button – so be sure about your choice!

      II.            Start Optimizing for AdCenter Now

The sooner you can begin to make sure you adCenter campaigns are optimized, the better. This will help to ensure you hit the ground running when adCenter ads start receiving more and more traffic from Yahoo properties. A great place to start with optimization is to look at what you are doing in Google AdWords. AdWords and adCenter are more similar than Yahoo and adCenter on many levels – some examples of similarities include:

  • Keyword matching options: broad, phrase, exact match keywords
  • Ad text: 25 character limit headlines, 70 characters total in description

Due to these and other similarities, AdWords campaigns often translate quite well to adCenter. In fact, the adCenter Desktop Tool allows for easy transition of AdWords campaigns by using a simple AdWords Editor export. However, keep in mind that there are still differences between AdWords and adCenter, for example:

  • adCenter limits the quantity of negative keywords in each campaign.
  • adCenter’s dynamic text functionality is very different than AdWords’ – however it is more robust and many would say better than AdWords, so this is something to learn and become comfortable with to make the most of your campaigns here.

Ensure that you are comfortable with these differences – start optimizing now.

    III.            Be Prepared for Changes Once the Transition Begins

Slated to begin late September through early October, the transition will mean less traffic flowing through your Yahoo PPC ads and more flowing through your adCenter ads until Yahoo is entirely phased out. As that happens, I predict there will be some noticeable changes to your adCenter campaigns. Some things to keep watch for:

  1. Increasing CPCs. More market share means that more advertisers are likely to sign on to adCenter, increasing competition and driving up CPC’s in the auction.
  2. More traffic. This is obvious, but remember to account for this when looking at your web analytics data, as paid traffic from Yahoo will trail off. For the time being, there is going to be no way to differentiate targeting to either Yahoo or Microsoft properties via adCenter – so report on performance accordingly.
  3. Improving functionality in adCenter. If you are already an adCenter user, this will be a welcome change. adCenter has several updates planned between now and the transition, and will need to continue to develop to bring themselves in line with the superior functionality offered by AdWords.

By considering all of the options, making the choice that best suits your business and preparing for the changes still to come, you can help ensure that the Search Alliances is something that doesn’t bruise your business but instead bolsters it.

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Leisa Hall is an Account Director at Anvil Media, Inc. – a search engine marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. Leisa directs Search Engine Marketing strategy for primarily B2C clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500.

Posted by admin in Bing, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Microsoft Search Alliance, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Tools, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization on September 7,2010

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11 Killer Ways to Increase Your Facebook CTR

Like AdWords, in Facebook the #1 factor governing your CPC is your Click-Through Rate (CTR).  While Facebook doesn’t reveal your ad or keyword Quality Score, you bet that it makes a huge difference. We have some ads that we bid $2 a click and end up paying 5 cents, while we have some ads bid at 20 cents, in which we’re paying 15 cents.

 Why?  CTR.  If you’re reading this, odds are that your CTR is in the 0.030% range or less–which will cause your clicks to be in the 75 cents range for US traffic.  But if you can get a 0.100% CTR, you might pay only 25 cents.  In some cases, you could hit a home run and get a 1.000% CTR and pay a penny a click for high quality traffic that converts.

Ok, so here are some principles to follow to increase your CTR:

  1. Ask a question in the ad: Not only will this drive in-line likes (fans), but encourages participation. Consider asking them if they like you or the interest you’re targeting– but make sure you’re still relevant or you’ll be disapproved.
  2. Write short ad copy: Sure you can use up all 135 characters in the body and 25 characters in the headline, but odds are that people won’t read it all.  This is Facebook– people are likely not conducting serious business, so make it light and easy.
  3. Use a close-up face in your image: Smiling is better, as well as looking directly at you.  This is FACEbook, so use FACEs in your ads.
  4. Personalize the image: If they’re a 45 year old white female in the Bible Belt, we’re not going to show an urban teenager rocking out. People usually convert better when the ad model is closer to them– the exception is dating and beauty products. Baby products can be like that, too.  Whatever the case, test it.  We know if they’re married or not on Facebook and can even guess their race– so that is something you can personalize the image with.
  5. Capitalize a couple words: Saying FREE is not okay in AdWords, but we see it all the time in Facebook.  You might try it.
  6. Use numbers and unusual characters: This works in regular PPC, too.  And if you make a claim– don’t say “We can help you save money on insurance.”  Don’t even say “We can save you 15% on your insurance.”  You need to be more specific– “Save 17.3% in just 3 minutes!”
  7. Stimulate emotion:  ”You’ll be sorry.  That’s what you’ll say if you miss Portland Honda’s Labor Day blowout sale!”  Arouse curiosity. Message it as if it was a personal friend talking to a personal friend– “Doris, you wouldn’t believe the sale at Luckys on hotdogs this weekend.”  
  8. Send users to your Facebook page: This is where custom tabs, especially a reveal tab or engagement app positively rules.
  9. Follow through on the promise on the landing page: Almost nobody does right– if you see it done right, please let me know. In PPC, we know that we must tightly map the keyword to the ad to the landing page. That means if someone is looking for patio furniture, we don’t say “cheap furniture” and dump them on our home page.  But that’s what most folks do in Facebook- send everyone to exactly the same page, as opposed to differing landing pages based on what’s targeted in the interests and ads.
  10. Dayparting: We run Facebook campaigns for a number of food companies.  I suppose you could promote breakfast foods at night, but why would you?  Consider how time of day may affect the messaging as well as the type of user you see.  For example, if you’re selling cold and flu medication, you might run ads between midnight and 6 am saying “If you were using X, you’d be sound asleep right now.”  By the way, dayparting is not a feature in Facebook yet, so we had to build our own.
  11. Fan targeting: Once you have all these fans, you have to keep the conversation going.  The fan targeting won’t give you much volume, but I’ll bet it has the highest CTR of any ads you run.  It’s the equivalent of social retargeting.

There you have it–now go kick some CTR butt with these tips and let me know how they worked for you!

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 Dennis Yu is CEO of BlitzLocal, a firm specializing in Facebook and local advertising.

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Tools, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, social media on September 7,2010

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Why an Active Social Media Presence is Important for Search Engine Optimization

As a discipline, search engine marketing (SEM) is made up of several components, traditionally including both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click marketing (PPC).  Internet marketing, however, is a game that is constantly changing.  With the rise of social networking and social media, it is critical that Internet marketers understand the impact of these channels on search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

Social Media as Content Distribution Channel

Previously, if a company or individual had a blog, post, or article they wanted to get noticed, they might concentrate on SEO, hoping to get better placement in the search engines and boost traffic, getting more people to notice their article.  These days, social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become new ways of distributing, searching for, accessing, and interacting with content.

This is a trend that is not going to halt or reverse – currently, Facebook users share over 30 billion pieces of content, which includes web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, etc., each month.  Twitter has grown from about 5,000 tweets per day in 2007 to a reported 65 million tweets a day as of June, 2010; because of Twitter’s 140 character limit, many of these tweets contain embedded links to third-party websites.  While not social networks in the strictest sense, social bookmarking and content sharing sites like Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon also offer novel channels of distributing and searching for content outside of the traditional search engine.

While Google remains the most trafficked site in the United States, Facebook is already the 2nd most trafficked, Twitter the 7th, and LinkedIn the 17th most trafficked in the United States; according to Alexa, Facebook is the top website in five countries.

How Does Social Media Impact Search Engine Optimization?

Twitter is now recognized as a legitimate information source and distribution channel – it is indexed by Google (tip- try typing in site:twitter.com into Google.  Over 100,000,000 pages are indexed) and the United States Library of Congress even archives all public tweets.  The social web is the future–Google knows this and, in order to stay competitive, Google has been and will continue to integrate social media assets into its search algorithm and search engine results pages.

While Facebook has long been more of a “walled garden” than Twitter, due to the higher privacy expectations of its users, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook’s impact on SEO.  There are two key things to consider when thinking about Facebook and search engine optimization: the first and most obvious is, “How does Facebook impact traditional search engines like Google and Bing?”.

But don’t ignore the second question–how do you optimize your website to appear in the search results WITHIN Facebook.  That’s right – if you haven’t noticed, when searching from within Facebook, after results from Facebook itself are displayed, “Web Results”, supplied by Bing, are also displayed.  This may not seem like a big deal right now, but you can bet that Facebook will continue to leverage its dominance in the social space to try to become a serious player in the search space.

Facebook’s Impact on Traditional Search Engines and SEO

Because this is such a new area and is continuing to develop, it is hard to gauge the direct and indirect impact Facebook and sharing content through Facebook has on SEO.  If your company has a blog or website and post links to that site on your Facebook, does this benefit your SEO?  If you integrate a “Like” button into your website, and visitors use it to share your content, does this benefit your SEO?

Directly – probably not – these links are running through Facebook and redirects, which likely eliminates any ‘link credit’ you might get.  But that said, it is nearly impossible to quantify the ‘indirect’ benefit to your search engine optimization efforts – that is, users who see your link, visit your site, bookmark it, tweet about it, email it to friends, and so on.

Key Tips About Social Media and Search Engine Optimization

  • If your business doesn’t already have profiles on major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), establish them now.  If you’re not on these services, users who search for you there won’t find you.
  • Keep your profiles active – they’re not going to help drive traffic and improve your SEO standing if you’re not using these channels to distribute content.
  • Don’t ONLY use social media as a distribution channel - one of the most powerful aspects of social networking is that it is bi-directional.  You’ll gain the most benefit by engaging users, not just throwing content at them.

Stay up-to-date.  The web and the technologies behind it are constantly changing.  Make sure you follow and understand developments at Google, Facebook, Twitter and how they impact your social media, SEO, and search engine marketing efforts. 

PPC Summit offers online training in areas including search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

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Jason Mikula works as a freelance search engine marketing and social media marketing consultant.  He has experience working with pay per click, search engine optimization, and email and web marketing.

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Tools, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, social media on September 7,2010

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Getting to Know AdWords’ New Modified Broad Match

Google recently introduced a new keyword matching option in Google AdWords: modified broad match. As you can probably guess, modified broad match is similar to the traditional broad match option, but gives you a little more control as the advertiser. Let’s take a look at how this new option works. 

What is modified broad match?

Modified broad match is a new AdWords feature that allows pay-per-click (PPC) marketers to set keywords to a more targeted level than broad match, while still having a greater reach than phrase match or exact match keywords.

To use modified broad match, add a plus sign (+) in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. The word or words that are preceded by a (+) sign must appear in the user’s search query, exactly or in close variation. Close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations, acronyms, and stemmed forms.

The words that are not preceded by a plus sign may vary more significantly or not appear at all in the user’s search query, as with regular broad match.

This is potentially a very interesting and profitable opportunity for AdWords advertisers, as effective modified broad match keywords are likely to drive more traffic than phrase or exact match keywords, while attracting more qualified, targeted traffic than broad match.

What are some examples of modified broad match keywords?

Let’s start with the keyword “aromatherapy oils”—if this keyword was set to broad match, your ad might display in response to queries like “cooking oils” and “oil spill.” Not very targeted and not very good for your click-through rate, cost per click or Quality Score.

If you modify the keyword with a plus sign before “aromatherapy” (+aromatherapy oils), you’ll guarantee that only queries that include that word or close variations trigger your ad. For example, queries that trigger you ad might include:

  • aromatherapy
  • aromatherapeutic oils
  • aromatherapy massage
  • organic aromatherapy products

But your ad won’t display in response to queries like “massage oil.” As you can see, this gives you the ability to define your target audience much more closely, while still catching some interesting variants.

As another example, say your keyword is “anti wrinkle cream.” Set to broad match, your ad might show up in the results for queries like “wrinkle resistant pants” and “acne cream.” If you modify your keyword with plus signs like so (anti +wrinkle +cream), only queries with close variations of both “wrinkle” and “cream” will prompt your ad.

Hasn’t broad match always worked this way?

Originally, AdWords’ default broad match type was more restrictive than its current broad match feature. Close variations of your keyword could trigger your ad, but the field of possible queries that could trigger it was narrower. For example, the words in your keyword phrase could appear in any order, and along with any other words, but they all had to be there.

Eventually broad match became less targeted (as it is today), and many Google AdWords users complained. These advertisers felt that the change was allowing their ads to display against terms that weren’t relevant to their offerings, requiring them to develop extensive lists of negative keywords. Negative keywords are crucial for high return on investment when using broad match, but some users felt the new broad match was still too inclusive. For example, one user complained that “zebras near Chicago” showed up in his search query report for the keyword “widgets near Chicago.”

Now AdWords users can get the same control offered by the first version of broad match, but they also have the option to use today’s broader broad match.

How do I enable modified broad match?

In your AdWords account, click on the Keywords tab and select the keyword phrase you want to edit. In the Type column, click on the current match type and choose Modified Broad Match from the drop-down menu. Edit your keyword as necessary with (+) signs.

Is modified broad match is a good idea for my campaign?

Unless you are perfectly happy with your campaign performance given your current keyword settings, it’s a great idea to give modified broad match a try. If you’re mostly using phrase and exact match because you like to have more control over your keywords, you might find that modified broad match gives you a high degree of control while increasing your reach, impressions and clicks. If you’re mostly using standard broad match, you might find that enabling modified broad match on some of your keywords reduces wasteful spend on irrelevant traffic, and improves Quality Score and other key metrics.

As with any change to your AdWords campaign, be sure to keep close track of how your campaign performance evolves. Take note of how clicks, CPCs, conversion rates, and ROI change. Helpfully, Google lets you produce a performance report with information solely about your modified broad match keywords.

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Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of PPC tools and an advanced keyword research tool to help PPC advertisers discover profitable head, mid and long-tail keywords.

 

Posted by admin in Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research, social media on September 7,2010

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A Recent PPC Summit Survey Reveals What Advertisers Need to Focus on To Improve Their Search Marketing Results

As search engine marketing evolves at light speed pace, new opportunities are constantly arising–making Search Engine Marketing (SEM) that much more challenging and harder for marketers to keep up with. PPC Summit recently surveyed 3500 past PPC Summit attendees who provided valuable insight on the top areas where Search Engine Marketers feel they need more education. 

According to survey respondents, the topics that Search Marketers want to learn more about to improve their ROI are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign Optimization
  • Integrating Paid Search, Organic and Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

While Search Marketing and Search Engine Optimization remain strong revenue drivers for online marketers, Social Media is rapidly moving up in importance. With social media sites like Facebook (500+ million users), LinkedIn (70+ million users), Twitter (106+ million users) and YouTube (300 million accounts) all securing their justifiable placement in the marketing mix, SEM specialists have to be on top of their game in order to keep up.

ISSUE #1 – Pay Per Click Campaign Optimization: The goal in pay per click marketing is to write compelling ad copy that directs prospects to your site or landing page and then entices them to sign up or buy your product/service. Easier said than done, right?

According to the Survey Results, 82.5% of SEM respondents feel they need to focus more on PPC Campaign Strategies by:
 

  • Improving their Quality Score. One way to improve your Quality Score–and pay less per click– is by properly using header tags (more here).
  • Utilizing Website Optimizer & Google Analytics: Paying more attention to your analytics and constantly analyzing your cost-per-customer can really help your results.
  • Fine-tuning Google AdWords PPC strategies: Save time and optimize your AdWords campaigns with the AdWords Interface.

ISSUE #2 – Social Media and Search Marketing Merge: Your customers are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. Incorporating these social media sites into your marketing mix is a must in today’s SEM world. Use Social Media Marketing to complement your paid search and organic marketing strategy and reach a broader audience.

More than two-thirds of Survey Respondents ranked “Integrating Social Media with Search Marketing” in their top three priorities. Here are some quick tips: 

  • Incorporate Keywords. Use keywords in your account names and all SMM communications ie. SEO blog postings, Tweets, Facebook updates, etc
  • Develop Quality Content. This is critical in attracting quality prospects through the Social Media Channel.
  • Social Media Time Management. Streamline your communications with automation tools.

ISSUE #3 – Search Engine Optimization: We have heard from attendees–countless times–how they invested so much time and money on creating a fabulous SEO campaign, but in the end conversions were low due to poorly structured websites or landing pages.

Up to 82% of the SEMs polled told us they need help with their SEO campaigns. You can start by: 

  • Creating Appropriate Site Architecture. Customers should be able to find what they are looking for on your site in a click or two. If it’s more than three clicks, then you should re-think your site structure and messaging.
  • Using Tools Many SEO Experts Use. Utilize the industry leading tools like:

You can learn more about these challenges and how to solve them at the upcoming
PPC Summit Presents: Search & Social Media Successconference. We built a brand new three-track curriculum based on the results from this attendee survey. On Sept. 21-22 Marketing Professionals will gather in Los Angeles to hear from an impressive line up of experts in SEM/SEO/SMM who will share their top strategies to increase search and social media marketing ROI.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

Kelly Larsen
Director of Marketing, PPC Summit

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Landing Page Optimization, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research, social media on August 11,2010

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