Why “Big Data” Won’t Win You The Battle For Online Revenue

Marin Software Revenue Connect With so much attention currently being focused on big data, advertisers are beginning to lose sight of one crucial truth: big data is worthless if it's not the right data. So what is the right data? We all know that the digital advertising landscape has dramatically matured over the past decade, and businesses are now wise to invest in technology that enables marketing sophistication. But, the right data is what makes that marketing sophistication meaningful. It's what marketers use to power more complex, strategic and smarter marketing decisions. It's the data that matters most to your [...]


The Right Way To Do Click-To-Call In An Enhanced Campaign World

SMX East - Up Close Logo Earlier this week, I attended the How To Do Click-To-Call In An Enhanced Campaign World session at SMX East. As a search usability professional, my primary interest is to understand not only how searchers locate and discover desired content, but also why searchers make specific choices. For example, when does a searcher prefer to use a smartphone or some other mobile device to access desired content? Is there a clear benefit for using a mobile device, such as convenience or urgency? If so, can ad analytics truly help me understand what mobile searchers prefer to see and click on, and their [...]


Bing Ads Launches Call Extensions With Skype On All Devices

bing-ads-featured Long anticipated, Bing Ads has rolled out call extensions powered by fellow Microsoft entity, Skype. The use of Skype uniquely allows Bing Ads call extensions to be delivered across all devices, including desktops. Call extensions can be set up using the web UI, Bing Ads Editor or the new Bing Ads APIs.  They will also import directly from Google AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads. The set up options are very similar to AdWords, though there is the option to use a local or toll-free forwarding number. As with the "directions" link that rolled out in Bing Ads location extensions last m [...]


New Bing Ads Location Extension Features Roll Out To All US Advertisers

bing-ads-square The added features Bing Ads introduced to Location Extensions in June are now available to all advertisers in the US. If you're running mobile or local paid search campaigns, you'll want to be sure your location extension data is comprehensive to take advantage of these features. Here's a look at the latest location extensions in Bing Ads: Click For Directions: When enhancing an ad with location details, a "Directions" link automatically appears next to the business address. Clicks on the Directions link (shown below) are charged on CPC basis just like clicks on ad headlines. Clicks on the [...]


Google Says No To Phone Numbers In PPC Ads, Forcing The Use Of Call Extensions

Google logo You may have missed Google’s quiet and brief announcement that starting in April, AdWords ads with phone numbers in the text will be disapproved. Advertisers who want to display phone numbers will have to use the call extensions feature instead. Google states in the announcement, “We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.” As others have stated, what this change really does is allow Google to charge for mobile ad engagements as part of its transition to enhanced campaigns. With call extensions, advertise [...]


The Big AdWords Update: Enhanced Campaigns Puts The Focus On Mobile

google-adwords-featured “If we were going to build AdWords today, what would it look like?” That’s the question Google’s Nick Fox, VP of Product Management, and his team began asking last year. The result is AdWords enhanced campaigns, a major update announced today that is designed to simplify campaign management across multiple devices, and to increase adoption rates of mobile advertising among small and medium sized businesses. PPC managers have become accustomed to the time-consuming workarounds needed to target ads by device type and location by cloning campaigns and managing granular settings and bid [...]


Google Introduces “Bid For Calls” On The PC

phone-money-featured Earlier this summer Google gave an indication this was coming. Now Google is rolling out what it's calling "bid for calls," a pay per call (PPCall) offering on the PC. This is distinct from Click to Call, its successful mobile PPCall product. The program will launch in the US and UK at first and relies on the Call Metrics (Google Voice) infrastructure. AdWords advertisers must use Call Metrics and a Google Voice-generated call tracking number to participate. But rather than just paying $1 per completed call for call tracking, advertisers can now separately bid on calls. In the near f [...]


Marchex Acquires 800-Free-411 Owner Jingle Networks

Marchex announced this morning that it was buying Jingle Networks, operator of free directory assistance service 800-Free-411, for $62 million in cash and stock. Founded in 2004, Jingle Networks also has a pay-per-call mobile ad network. Jingle's 800-Free-411 competed with GOOG-411, which was closed down last year, and Microsoft's Bing-411, which is still operating. However Jingle was the leader in the "free directory assistance" segment. At one point I called free-DA "local-mobile search for the rest of us." That was before the dramatic growth of smartphones, which have continued to ero [...]


Yext Takes Google Tags Idea Across Web

Local advertising provider Yext has spearheaded the launch of a Google-like "tags" product that receives distribution across a vast array of local sites including Yelp, Yahoo, Mapquest, Superpages, Topix, Patch, Citysearch and others. It's being characterized as an "anti-Google alliance." That's not exactly correct. As a practical matter it gives advertisers a way to run promotions across what is in effect a new local ad network, which in the aggregate constitutes a massive number of search queries and impressions. The program is the brainchild of Howard Lerman, Yext's CEO. In the wake of G [...]


The Unexpected Re-Evolution Of The Phone Call

Quick: Are you a digital marketing pro? If so, complete this sentence: In the future, advertisers will combine online media with mobile ads to drive:____________. What did you put in the blank? Let me guess. Branding, combining rich online experiences with mobile mini-experiences? E-commerce, as more people surf the Web using both devices? Coupons and promotions, taking advantage of the new, mobile media? Let me try a radical idea out on you: In the future, advertisers will combine online media with mobile ads to drive... wait for it... Phone calls! Here’s [...]


Five Rules For Running A Successful Pay-Per-Call Campaign

Although it's been around for years, pay-per-call advertising may be finally hitting its stride. Greg Sterling, a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land, recently wrote: We've long known that calls are much more valuable than clicks to small businesses in particular, but also to many larger entities with call-center sales operations. However... it's taken PPCall much longer to get going than I originally anticipated. Sterling sees pay-per-call growth in traditional media and mobile. He also notes that pay-per-call programs are now increasingly being used in print Yellow Page dir [...]


Attributing Value To Phone Calls: Dynamic Number Insertion Can Help

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) technology allows advertisers to track the specific search engine, web page or keyword that generated an inbound phone call using tracking numbers. Advertisers are using DNI to measure the performance of their online advertising campaigns and the impact on call volume. At the most basic level, DNI seamlessly replaces select contact phone numbers on a web page with call tracking numbers, which allows advertisers to measure volume. Combined with pay per click programs, DNI can help complete the online advertising performance picture by clearly outlining the results [...]


Google Testing Click To Call Again?

Search Engine Journal alerted us to an apparently renewed test of click-to-call at Google. Google had been testing click to call in 2005 and 2006 with an eye toward implementing pay-per-phone call. Rather than show local or 800 tracking numbers, Google was using a field that remembered users' telephone numbers (once entered) and connected calls. It also had been using the functionality on Google Maps. However, in roughly June or July of last year Google stopped accepting click-to-call advertisers and the ads stopped showing up. Simultaneously, click-to-call or call completion was terminated [...]


CallGenie Buys Mobile “Ad Exchange” PhoneSpots

Voice services provider CallGenie announced the acquisition of mobile content provider and ad exchange PhoneSpots. The mostly stock transaction was valued at $5.75 million and provides a range of new client relationships and capabilities to Canada-based CallGenie. PhoneSpots has been around since 1999 and pioneered the "send to mobile" feature now in widespread use on local search sites. PhoneSpots originally partnered with European mobile operators to offer enhanced results (additional content and links) from directory assistance queries when users opted to receive them as text messages. Mo [...]


PPCall Provider Ingenio Bought By AT&T

AT&T has announced that it acquired pay-per-call (PPCall) vendor and ad network Ingenio for an undisclosed amount. The press release suggests that the company was acquired primarily as a technology platform and perhaps secondarily for its distribution network. That network includes AOL, Microsoft (mobile), Jingle Networks (1-800-Free411), Medio Systems and JumpTap (mobile), Switchboard and go2 (mobile), among a few other sites. Ingenio was founded in 1999 and had revenues in 2006 of approximately $85 million, primarily from its legacy online advice business. [...]


Marchex Acquires Call Vendor VoiceStar

Marchex announced this afternoon that it has acquired VoiceStar, which provides pay-per-phone-call (PPCall) and call tracking services to a range of companies online and their advertisers. The reported acquisition/investment price is $28 million. VoiceStar is expected to generate $1.5 million for the full year 2007 and double that in 2008. However Marchex sees a much bigger opportunity in integrating VoiceStar's technology and PPCall capabilities into its current advertising and search distribution platforms. I have more detail on my personal blog. [...]


thinkingVOICE And Clear Channel Take PPCall Outdoors

Pay per phone call (PPCall) probably qualifies as something of a disappointment to date. While there has been adoption by advertisers and some good results, revenues have not kept pace with early expectations (which, admittedly, I helped create). In mobile it's a natural business model and that may be the arena in which PPCall ultimately lives up to its potential. Despite this, PPCall remains a fascinating and promising marriage of performance-based advertising with a traditional medium (the phone). And it can go anywhere a phone number can go. Indeed, Idearc/SuperPages has been using PPCall [...]


Ingenio Adds Medio Systems To Mobile Distribution

Pay-per-call provider Ingenio has added white label mobile search vendor Medio Systems to its distribution network. In addition to a range of online destinations, Ingenio is working with a number of mobile search sites and providers: JumpTap, Live.com/MSFT, AOL, go2, UpSnap and 1-800-FREE411. Last week Medio put out this release, claiming the be the leader in North American mobile search. And Medio also just announced the launch of its own mobile ad network. [...]


1-800-Free411 To Launch Local Category Search

Jingle Networks' free directory assistance (DA) service 1-800-FREE411 is slated this week to launch a new "category search" option, where you call to get matches of businesses in an area that relate to a category of interest (such as movie theaters in Los Angeles, or a dentist in San Francisco). To date Jingle has offered a free, ad-supported alternative to consumer-paid 411 services, which has largely duplicated the "what city, what listing?" model of conventional DA -- albeit with ads. With the addition of category search, callers will now be able search with more flexibility by business ty [...]


Will Paid Search Conquer The Mobile Internet?

To say there's a lot going on with mobile right now is to state something more than obvious. The carriers, the handset makers and the mobile content providers are in what amounts to a frenzy of competition and business development as they try and position themselves for what they see as the next really big opportunity: the mobile Internet. Two articles that simultaneously appeared in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) yesterday capture this mood and activity. The first article, "Companies Vie For Ad Dollars On Mobile Web," was a broad survey of the state of the mobile marketplac [...]


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