10 Things RTB Rookies Can Learn From SEM Vets

ppc-paid-search-200px If I were to describe to you a digital media channel in which marketers bid on ad inventory in an auction-based model, would you think of paid search? Of course! But this also describes the relatively new online display category of real-time bidding (RTB) in which banner impressions are sold in a similar fashion. eMarketer recently released Programmatic Advertising Forecast and Future Growth Trends, in which it projects that RTB digital display ad spending in the US will reach $9.03 billion by 2017 and will represent 29.0% of total U.S. digital display ad spending. Although RTB has been [...]


Paid Search Spend Surges 27%, Mobile Grabs 40% Thanksgiving, Black Friday Spend

black-friday-cash-mouse-featured Amid reports that brick and mortar sales were lackluster over the Thanksgiving weekend, ecommerce is looking like a bright spot this holiday season, with mobile devices playing an increasingly important role. Mercent, which powers major retailer campaigns online for brands including Brookstone, Office Depot and HSN reports same seller online sales increased 40 percent on Thanksgiving Day compared to 2012. Black Friday same seller sales hit a record high, increasing 35 percent Paid search saw big increases in click volume and retailer spend. Retailers spent 27 percent more on paid search [...]


How Paid Search Can Aid Your SEO Efforts

Don't you feel smarter? PPC and SEO have always been complementary marketing channels -- but have you been using this combination to its full potential? With keyword data now largely gone and Hummingbird making quality content vital to your SEO strategy, it has never been more important to invest in SEO -- but you may not have the time or the resources to wait and see how your SEO strategy shakes out. This is where PPC can help. Paid search provides immediate, measurable feedback into which keywords and content are performing well, so we can use PPC as a testing environment for SEO strategies. In today's colum [...]


Optimizing For Seasonality: 4 Critical Paid Search Strategies

Holiday Snowflakes November and December are the most seasonal months for search marketers. For retailers, this holiday shopping period continues to be the most profitable time of the year. In fact, in 2012, over $42 billion was spent online by consumers in these two months alone, a 14% increase over 2011. For other online advertisers, however, the holiday season represents a significantly quiet period as consumers shift their focus toward retail shopping. Regardless, seasonal shifts in customer behavior throughout the year, such as during the holidays, influence ad performance and result in opportunities [...]


3 Ways B2B Search Marketers Can Stand Out With Rich Ad Formats

b2b-building-blocks We all know B2B customers differ from regular consumers for a variety of reasons. Their purchase cycle is longer, as they have to consult more options before pulling the trigger on signing a contract for a solution or purchasing a product. There is also more risk involved when a B2B client finally makes a purchase, as the success of their business may hinge on the decisions they make. We also know it's critical for paid search to be present to finally close the loop on the sale or lead when that B2B client is ready. But when the search engine results page is a sea of text ads and organic li [...]


How B2B Sites Can Align Their Website Strategy With SEM Tactics

aligning website strategies A B2B website that does not drive traffic, promote the brand, deliver company messaging or convert users into customers represents a waste of online marketing investments. A good B2B website should help build a strong brand while educating relevant users on industry topics and promoting products and services. Fully integrating all SEM tactics with website strategies will help the website achieve optimal results. This involves combining analytics, content marketing, SEO, conversion optimization and website maintenance into one large, overarching website strategy where all website changes are [...]


Study Finds Small Businesses Waste 25 Percent Of Their PPC Budgets

money-garbage-shutterstock While pay-per-click marketing has become an integral part of many small businesses' marketing plans, most SMBs struggle to find the time and resources to manage their PPC campaigns. A new study finds that, due to managerial and strategic errors, SMBs inadvertently waste a quarter of their paid search budgets. Paid search software firm, WordStream, conducted the study by reviewing the accounts of 500 small and mid-sized business clients who manage their own AdWords accounts. WordStream found that less than half of the businesses have conversion tracking installed on their landing pages. A la [...]


Out With The Old, In With The New: Google Partners Replaces Google Certification Program

google-adwords-certified-partner-logo1 Google launched its new Google Partners program yesterday, a certification platform that provides agencies and online marketers with free certification exams, access to "Google experts" and other members in the Google Partners community, along with sales and marketing toolkits. After the initial announcement was published on the Google Agency Blog, an addendum was added, clarifying that the new certification "experience" on Google Partners will replace the Google Certification Program beginning November 13. According to a report on Search Engine Round Table by Search Engine Land news edi [...]


Google’s Hummingbird Takes Flight: SEOs Give Insight On Google’s New Algorithm

google-hummingbird4-featured On the eve of its 15th birthday last week, Google revealed a new search algorithm named Hummingbird. Designed to be more precise and provide faster query results, the algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms. As Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan explained in his FAQ: All About the New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm: Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query - the whole sentence or conversation or meaning - is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages match [...]


Organic Vs. Paid: What $10 Million In Search Revenue For Hewlett-Packard Tells Us

click-share-top-position It certainly isn't the first look at the relationship between paid and organic search, but new a new study by Resolution Media and Kenshoo claims to put an end to the debate over whether paid search campaigns cannibalize organic revenue or add incremental value, even when organic visibility is substantial. Search agency Resolution Media and Kenshoo, a marketing technology company, analyzed a year's worth of US paid and organic campaign data from Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) of Hewlett Packard (HP). The data set included only clicks and visits in instances where both a paid listing and a [...]


Google Expands AdWords Conversion Window Settings

google-adwords-square-logo In a small but significant change, Google is doing away with the 30-day conversion window in AdWords. Now advertisers can customize the conversion window from 7 to 90 days. Extending the window up to 90 days is good news for marketers whose sales cycles typically take longer than 30 days after an ad click or for those advertisers focused on luring repeat buyers back to the site and want to track performance on that metric. Advertisers with shorter sales cycles that don't want lagging conversions to cloud their attribution data, can opt to shorten the window. Some may wish for an even sho [...]


Paid Search Drives Store Revenue… But How Much?

Category Test Set Up RKG has long been interested in the question of online to offline spillover. We've also long been critical of the sloppy, ill-conceived tests that have misled many advertisers on this spillover in the past. We've recently participated with a few of our retail-chain clients on more carefully designed studies to get a more responsible answer to this question. The Conventional Wisdom You hear numbers thrown around all the time about the online to offline spillover factor. I've heard that for every order tracked online there are 4, 6, 7 -- I even heard 10 once -- offline orders driven. All of th [...]


3 Paid Search Strategies For Maximizing Brand Equity In Retail

consumer shopping online Paid search continues to be a highly effective channel for retailers, driving traffic and a profitable return on investment (ROI). In fact, retail advertisers invest more in paid search than almost any other industry. [caption id="attachment_170720" align="alignright" width="239"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] For the most part, search represents an integrated step in the purchase cycle for consumers with selection, price-transparency and convenience as differentiating factors compared to traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Unfortunately, these factors result in a constant struggl [...]


Innovating In The B2B Search Space: Testing Geo Bid Multipliers

All Online Campaigns In a recent article in AdAge, Bert DuMars cites Forrester research which found that "only 11% of marketers set aside a specific budget for marketing innovation efforts, and only 9% make marketing innovation a part of every marketer's budget." I won't go into how to secure that budget, as he details some good tips -- but as one of those lucky enough to be in that 11%, I'd like to talk about a test we ran with that innovation budget and some findings we learned along the way. Testing Geo Bid Multipliers With Enhanced Campaigns A new feature of AdWords enhanced campaigns, geo bid multipliers [...]


“Big Data” Is Not “Big Data” Unless It Gives You Actionable Insight

SEL-conductor-big-data-product-adoption Occasionally, marketers want something because the media attention around it demands it.  There was a time, not too long ago, when CMOs sent urgent, late-night emails to their teams asking about their "link-shortening strategy." In some ways, "big data" technology falls into that category. Mainstream tech media and even traditional media outlets write about it incessantly -- there are 5 pages of results for "big data" on Techcrunch... ...and the "infinite scroll" of Mashable’s search results really is infinite when it comes to results for "big data." While I don't wish to disparage [...]


New B2B Content Consumption Habits In An Ever-Changing Advertising Funnel

1st Riff In my last article, I discussed how some marketing tactics and concepts of yesteryear can still be applied in advertising to B2B customers today. Inevitably, however, some marketing media and channels have changed. The world of advertising has shifted from a one-step advertising funnel to a multi-step funnel, caused simply by the inception of the Internet and the ability it's given people to easily access content. Knowing that, we'll investigate how B2B content consumption habits have changed and discuss how to leverage these new habits for a successful PPC advertising campaign. Content [...]


Does Weather Affect Site Traffic & SEM Performance?

SEL_July2013_3 Omni-channel retail marketers with online sites and offline stores have often wondered about the effect that weather might have on their site traffic (which in turn would affect their paid search bidding strategies). There appear to be three competing hypotheses about weather affecting site traffic: Hypothesis #1: Site traffic is negatively correlated with weather quality -- the better the weather, the lower the site traffic as people like to get out and buy products in store (substitution effect). Hypothesis #2: Weather has little to no effect on site traffic because surfing online [...]


What B2B SEO Professionals Need To Know About Marketing Automation

A few weeks ago, Marketing Land covered the release of an update to the Digital Marketing Depot 2013 B2B Marketing Automation Tools Buyer’s Guide. The 61-page report covers "key trends impacting the marketing automation software market, as well as detailed information about the leading pure play marketing automation platforms that primarily target the B2B market." This column takes an in-depth look at topics discussed in this guide, as well as perspective and recommendations for B2B SEO professionals. Growing Interest In Marketing Automation First off, what is marketing automation? Acc [...]


Search Engines Keep The Lights Out On Fireworks Ads, Mostly

fireworks-stand-featured Happy 4th of July! It's fireworks season here in the US, a time when online searches for "fireworks" skyrocket. Yet, ads for explosives and pyrotechnic devices like "firecrackers," "bottle rockets," and "fireworks" are not allowed per the advertising policies of Google and Bing -- and their respective search partners like AOL, Ask, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Sam Engle at BrandVerity took a look at how well the search engines are doing at enforcing their own rules during this peak season for festive explosives. Engle found a few ads that managed to get through. One ad for an Indiana-base [...]


How to Counter Your Ignorant Boss’ Misconceptions About SEO

office-boss-angry-featured Any in-house SEO professional (or consultant) who has been in the industry for even a short time has likely had to dispel misconceptions and inaccuracies about SEO to a senior manager, budget holder or client.  These misconceptions can often be so embedded that they result in an underfunded, under-resourced and under "mind-shared" SEO program. To address many of these misconceptions -- and also have a little fun with the SEO-ignorant Boss -- we put together a sample interaction between "Ann," the Director of Online Marketing at medium-sized clothing retailer ACME Co., and her VP of Marketi [...]


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