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  • NorCalSEM 8:16 am on July 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bid managment, , display, google, , interface, microsoft adcenter, , , , search, , yahoo bing alliance   

    i bing. you bing? 

    Let’s face it, in search, Google is King.  And they have been for a while.  But finally, after Yahoo and Bing struck a deal to work together last year, a Queen has been crowned in search engine land.  Microsoft AdCenter is now a viable play for every serious search marketer and a great way to increase a brand’s share of voice across the web.  But it wasn’t always so.  For years search marketers paid less attention to advertising on (now)Bing and Yahoo than they did on Google’s AdWords.  Usually, marketers who could meet their traffic needs with Google alone would skip Yahoo and Bing.  Clunky UI’s, inept editing tools and small market shares just made the time spent outside of Google AdWords not worth the effort for some. If this is you, it might be time to give things a closer look.  You might just find that Bing is better than ever.

    i bing. you bing?

    Here are some of the reasons why:

    • Larger Market Share

    AdCenter now reaches nearly 30% of all web searchers.  With numbers like that it’s important for marketers to have a strong presence for their brands on Bing and Yahoo.  And remember marketers, not everybody is using Chrome and Firefox like you are.  Yahoo and Bing especially, benefit from being default search engines in web browsers, tool bars, and mobile devices all bundled on the latest laptops through Office and Windows.

    • Greater Control

    The alliance between Bing and Yahoo gives marketers a chance to manage both networks now through one UI, Microsoft AdCenter.  This helps marketers by reducing resources previously used across three separate networks.  With AdCenter, the functionality has been updated to make working in the UI easier than ever before.  Microsoft does offer an offline editing tool, AdCenter Desktop, but larger campaign managers may find this tool’s power, or lack thereof, a bit frustrating.  I’d love to see this upgraded to the quality of Google’s AdWords Editor.  I think this is the Achilles heel at the moment for this network.

    • Quality

    Like Google, AdCenter has implemented a quality score rating.  Where Google uses a scale of 1-10, AdCenter uses a 1-3 rating system.  The basic premise is the same, provide the user with a quality experience, including ad copy and landing page relevancy, load times, and various other factors.  It’s now more important than ever to start campaigns off right and watch them closely while new keywords and ads establish themselves in the network.

    • Mobile

    Device usage is huge and, according to most blogs out there, web searches on mobile devices should be eclipsing web searches on computers any day now.  It’s important to maximize the growing market share AdCenter offers on mobile devices. Bing offers the ability to target smartphones, as well as feature phones.  Tablets and other devices are part of the regular search option for now.  Smart marketers should segment their campaigns for even greater control and flexibility.  Here’s an example from an online retailer advertising on AdCenter’s mobile networks:

     

    • Display

    While both networks have aligned on search, which runs through AdCenter, Yahoo and Bing still compete for business in display.  Yahoo display is more robust than Bing, but both offer you a chance to target the entire network or select specific categories or domains.  Good marketers understand the value display can add to the overall marketing mix.  Display ads help increase brand awareness and drive users to search for your brand.  If users don’t click on your display you don’t pay.  If you look at it as really cheap impressions, it’s essentially free marketing.  Why wouldn’t you do it?

    • Good Service

    I think for the most part, the service is pretty good at YaBing, especially the Yahoo rep I’ve worked with for the last several years.  Because of the clunky UI and unpopular editing tools, I rely on the network reps to handle large tasks for me.  Save your own resources for things that are more important to your brand, like your overall strategy and subsequent micro-strategies.  Push those large uploads and bulk edit tasks to your reps, that’s what they’re there for.

    If you’re not extending and maximizing your brand’s digital footprint, then what are you doing?  If you’re not using AdCenter, now is a great time to start doing so.  Take advantage of the increased market share and traffic quality that AdCenter offers now, segment your campaigns by devices for greater clarity and control, and branch out beyond just search into mobile and display.  Your reps will be happy for the business and your brand will thank you for the exposure.

     

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  • NorCalSEM 5:57 pm on September 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: google, , google suggest, keyword list generation, , ,   

    Wrapped up like a deuce…? 

    I just caught up on some reading and wanted to talk a bit about the new Google Suggest.  You’ve probably all encountered this technology at some point on the web while doing a search.  I’ve been using this for some time through the Firefox search box, but didn’t know the history behind it.   As you type the first few letters of a search query, a drop down menu appears offering you suggestions based on your intent.  This can be extremely helpful if your not sure on spelling, or if you are searching for something you’re really not sure about, like song lyrics or famous quotes.  And for those of you looking for an edge in your keyword list generation, you can add this to your list of suggestion tools as well.    After making its way through the Labs at Google, Google Suggest is now available on Google.com.   I use iGoogle quite a bit and I don’t see that feature working there yet, other than showing you suggestions based on your search history.  Another great feature about this, especially for SEM/PPC folks is that it couples those query suggestions with an approximate search volume for each.

    Google Suggest in action

    Check out the Google Suggest feature next time you go to Google.  Do you think this is useful for SEM purposes?

     
  • NorCalSEM 12:24 am on June 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dynamic insertion, google, google dance, , piggybacking   

    Piggyback rides – Nobody rides for free! 

    As a former lead generation pirate, I know a thing or two about piggybacking. And in the online lead generation world, where the world of black hat and white hat gets lost in all the gray haze it bears noting that this does piss people off, namely the person who is giving the piggyback. At some point, they will get tired and decide not only to put you down, but send you a nice letter from their lawyer. Hope you enjoyed the ride. Does Google bear any responsibility to police this since the action is occurring in their AdWords product? Google says no. Don’t shoot the messenger is probably what they think. In my experiences we used a multitude of brand names that corresponded to products we were collecting leads for. It makes sense, because many people type in brand names or head terms into Google and then click on an ad rather than using direct navigation or bookmarks. In some cases, a trademarked term used in your ad creative would cause Google to issue a warning and decline your ad copy due to infringement. But that is the ad, not the keywords, which are usually free game to bid on. A little dynamic insertion technique will render the title you need regardless of Google’s attempt to keep that term out of your ad copy. The net net here is that you can effectively siphon brand name traffic searches into your site…in droves!! I made it a practice [personal ethics] not to officially claim, falsely, that the searcher was going to enter the branded site, but if the ad copy is good enough you can still get the click and pull the customer in under an inference that you are somehow “affiliated” with the company you are bidding on you win, even if you do feel a bit “dirty”. To make this even worth doing, you’ll need content on your site that discusses the brands that you are using in your copy and bidding on in your keyword inventory, or your quality score will suffer immediately before your “gray” hat project even works out for you.

    So what do you do when you get the letter from that company’s lawyer telling you to stop using their name in your ad copy? Well, you can take out the dynamic insertion and play it straight on the ad copy, but continue to advertise your “similar” product by bidding on the trademarked terms (known as a ‘conquest buy’) until your heart’s desire. Google only goes after trademark issues in ad copy and they usually won’t investigate this type of stuff unless they are alerted by a company that has been victimized. Every so often, Google makes changes to it’s algorithm, affectionately known in the industry as a “Google Dance” and you can just cross your fingers and hold your breath. I have heard of and personally witnessed the “Dance” crush some PPC campaigns into tiny little pieces. I mean, it makes sense. As a consumer, don’t you want an environment where you are not subject to any “slight of hand” to complete your transaction? You don’t want to be confused and Google doesn’t want you to be confused either. What I mean is this….doing this is a short-term gain! At some point, you will either be buried in legal paperwork or Google will kill you. When Google kills you and a keyword bid jumps from $.10 to $10, you know you had better get into another vertical. Many online lead gen companies own so many urls that they will vanish and reappear under a new url and new AdWords account, using the same content that worked before. Sometimes this will work and sometimes it won’t. Affiliates will always keep living on the edge of ethics, they need the clicks and many figure the risks are worth it. If you are selling mesothelioma leads then you’re probably right, the legal fees and harassments may be worth every penny.

     
    • EMay 9:45 pm on June 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Way to go Clay! You’re blog is great reading.

      I must offer one contradictory point to your article, which is that some companies who have trademarked terms, have ONLY their trademark going for them. Consumers may click on their ads and be directed to un-navigable sites that neither answer consumer questions nor offer appropriate follow up for their inquiries.

      Take the following case, albeit, this “gray” case: There are third party affiliate sites, who bid on trademarked terms, use DKI in their ads, but use benign language like “compare ‘such & such’ with ‘such & such’ and save”, but who also offers consumers a site with more information (i.e. unique content), more follow up (wholesale lead market/brokers), and a site that is easier to navigate (based on the perceived search engine coding preferences and consumer conversion rates), than the company who’s trademark off of which they’re profiting.

      As long as the consumer is not misled.

      Furthermore, I am also still stuck on the “brand name” search logic. I want auto insurance, so I search for “geico”, not because I want geico insurance, but because Geico is synonymous with online auto insurance…ultimately, I, the consumer, want the cheapest price, regardless of which brand name and/or lizard-friend is stuck in my head.

      In the meantime, I’ve got to go grab a “starbucks” at peets and go add toner to the “xerox” machine.

  • NorCalSEM 6:34 pm on June 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cell phone, google, , google mobile apps, google search, , , mobile search, phone   

    Google Search Bar on Your Mobile Phone 

    So continuing on a bit further down the mobile road I was cruising on in my last post….I recently downloaded the Google Apps that are available for mobile to my phone. One of the features that I have been using a little is the Google search bar that now sits right in the middle of the home screen on my phone. This makes accessing Google super easy and takes out the annoying steps of connecting to your internet, waiting for your carrier’s boxed environment home page to load, then selecting favorites and going to Google. It even makes it easier than connecting to the internet on a phone with Google set as the home page. You just type in your search and click select on your phone’s keypad and you are instantly taken to a Google (mobile format) SERP (search engine results page). This is a phenomenal application for solving that argument you might have in the cab with your buddy about whether that was Tom Sizemore in that movie you saw last night or Mickey Rourke. It works well on local searches it too, so typing in pizza on your way home could pay off really well for you. (for local search, I have been more impressed lately with MSN’s Live Search for mobile – more on that in another post). But Google knows that the mobile medium is/will be huge and that is why these mobile apps have graduated from the lab in mountain view and are now available to the general public. By getting that Google search bar on my phone’s home screen I bet I shave at least 10sec. of my mobile search time. That almost makes up for the time it takes me to dig the phone out of my pants pocket. At least I’m breaking even!

     
  • NorCalSEM 11:47 pm on May 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adwords editor, google, , google editor, ,   

    PPC Management Tools 

    The Google AdWords Editor is a beautiful thing. I rarely work on AdWords from within the AdWords UI anymore. The current company that I am managing PPC for has over 14 Google accounts, so the Editor is the only real way to get any work done.

    My colleague and business partner, Jeff Lane, is currently working on specs for a PPC management tool that will allow us to operate Google, Yahoo, and MSN from one, single UI. There are other applications out there already, such as Aquisio, but we have too many accounts for most applications to manage. Also, most companies want to charge a percentage of spend and a licensing fee.  We are simply interested in an outright purchase.   Perhaps we will have our own custom editor at some point.

    The opportunity costs of not properly advertising on MSN and Yahoo are huge.  But Panama and AdCenter leave a lot to be desired when it comes to usability and efficiency.   Perhaps we will have our own custom editor at some point and can leap this hurdle and open up even more traffic volume!

     
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