“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 [...]


How to Double Your Revenue With SEO

In 2012, I was privileged to handle SEO for some of the biggest Norwegian e-commerce sites. This is the story about how I doubled (and even tripled) revenue for them by following a simple, easy, yet unconventional approach that anyone -- even you -- can implement starting today. At the heart of this accomplishment lie two things which are related to one another: A focus on uncovering user intent, and then filling that need The ability (and budget) to do all that's necessary This may sound easy, but when you consult with a business that is stratified and compartmentalized into water [...]


Last Year’s Top 3 U.S. Search Marketing Agencies Continue To Lead In 2013 Report

top3-awards-featured Every year, Ad Age ranks the top performing U.S. search marketing agencies based on the previous year's U.S. and worldwide revenue. This year, the top three agencies held their 2012 report rankings, with iCrossing, 360i and iProspect coming in at No. 1, 2, and 3 on the list of largest U.S. search marketing agencies. 360i was responsible for the fast-thinking Oreo tweet during the blackout at this year's Superbowl. The agency also received a Facebook Studio Award for an Oreo social media marketing campaign. iCrossing recently received a Shorty Award for their Maker's Mark #CocktailParty2012 [...]


AdWords Product Listing Ad CPCs Close In On Text Ads [RKG Report]

Are those sweet efficiencies early adopters of AdWords product listing ads saw in their holiday numbers coming to an end?  Well, CPCs are rising, but ROI is still solid. RKG's Q1 Digital Marketing Report finds that as more merchants come on board, product listing ad CPCs are now just 10% lower than comparable text ads. Yet, even with the stiffer competition, RKGs client base saw 22% higher ROI from PLAs than non-brand text ads in Q1. PLAs garnered 33% of their e-commerce clients' Google search spend, a sharp increase from Q4. Product Listing Ads   PLAs helped drive up Google' [...]


Where To Begin With SEM Benchmarking

I love benchmarking. I measure the progress of my diet (not going well), the MPG of my car, how my stock portfolio is doing against the market, whether my favorite football team is better than it was last year, and so forth. And, since everyone reading this is a search engine marketer, you are probably just like me – a benchmarking fiend. Indeed, when it comes to SEM, benchmarking seemingly plays a big role. It’s hard to go through any SEM conversation without the mention of “deltas” and “year-over-year” data being discussed. I’ve noticed, however, that many SEMs only take [...]


Bing Ads Redesigns Hub For Ad Manager Resources

bing-ads-resource-site Bing Ads has launched a redesign of its search advertising site. The site is designed to provide a single access point for content and resources about Bing Ads and search advertising on the Yahoo! Bing Network. It consolidates materials from the Bing Ads Community site, the Bing Ads search advertising support center and the help files found within the Bing Ads platform itself.  The Bing Ads blog, forum and training materials  as well as vertical insights (which covers the finance, health & fitness, home & garden and travel industries) and tool downloads like Bing Ads Editor are [...]


AdWords “Ineffective” Says eBay, Google “Meta-Pause Analysis” Contradicts Those Findings

google-adwords-numbers-featured A story generating buzz and controversy earlier this week amounts to a stinging indictment of the paid search industry as a whole. It was based on new research from eBay that argues SEM is all but worthless and has little or no impact on traffic and sales -- except in marginal cases. However, Google studies argue SEM delivers clear and tangible benefits to advertisers and publishers. In a paper published last week eBay describes its study (.pdf) and related results. The company says it sought to determine the impact of pausing paid-search ads on its organic traffic and sales. eBay: SEM "In [...]


Bing Ads Makes Campaign & Ad Group Targeting Improvements

bing-ads-featured In its Februrary release, Bing Ads made changes to how ad group and campaign targets relate to each other. Prior to the release on February 18th, ad group targets overrode campaign targets. Now, both target settings will be considered together to improve ad relevancy and delivery. Here is the company's summary of the change: If you are using ad group level targets, Bing recommends looking for any intended or unintended differences in chosen targets at your campaign and ad group levels. Also in the February release, keyword research tool upgrades and Bing Ads Intelligence rolle [...]


Why Pay Per Click Is Such A Beautiful Tool For SEO

SEO and PPC fans often find themselves in different parts of the building, on different floors and sometimes on a different planet. This shouldn't really be the case, but is. If you start to think of PPC as a device of SEO, it takes on a very different light and your own attitude shifts slightly. Now, I know you're already ahead of me and thinking of keywords and the dreaded "not provided" category of keywords as the point of this post -- but in fact, that isn't my main point. Rather, the insights which pay per click campaigns deliver to marketers are crucial to making the right decision [...]


Marin Software Files For IPO

Marin Software logo Marin Software, one of the leading search and social marketing platform providers, has filed to go public. The amount the company expects to raise right now is uncertain because, "The number of shares to be sold and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined." Marin has been around for a little less than six years and says its software platform helps manage more than $4 billion in digital ad spending. It lists a range of clients, including "many of the world’s largest interactive agencies and advertisers . . . [such as] University of Phoenix, Macy’s, Razorfis [...]


Bing Ads Updates Pro Accreditation Training; Exam Is Now Free

Bing Ads Logo Bing has announced updates to its Bing Ads Accredited Professional Program for search marketers looking to get certified as “Pro Bingers”.  Among the changes, Bing transitioned the training segments from video based to text based content. Users can now view the training on the Bing Ads website or print out the training materials, a frequent customer request according to a Bing spokesperson. The number of training sections increased from 25 to 29 to provide more in-depth content. Users can share the trainings via Facebook, Twitter, and email with the new social media bar. The co [...]


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 Tests B2B Market With Google Shopping For Suppliers

Google Shopping For Suppliers Beta Google is entering the B2B shopping segment with Google Shopping for Suppliers. CPC Strategy reported yesterday on the quiet roll-out, noting that the beta is open only to electrical and electronics industries at this time. The beta started about two weeks ago and is showing in the US only. Google has built Google Shopping for Suppliers to accommodate the unique aspects of B2B selling that has limited supplier participation on Google Shopping. Recognizing that B2B transactions often involve negotiations on shipping costs and volume discounts, many Google Shopping policies on Pricing and [...]


Sign of Hope? Banned Advertisers Rises Just 8 Percent in 2012

Google Ad Security Badge The battle against bad ads getting past the AdWords review process rages on.  Google announced in a blog post this week that the company axed 224 million bad ads in 2012. That’s up 67% from 2011. The 2012 numbers underscore that there is no shortage of scammers, however they may also point to a sign of hope. The number of banned advertisers plateaued from 2011, rising just 8%. Last year the number of banned advertisers increased by 70%. That leveling off could mean Google’s efforts are paying off and scammers aren’t flocking to AdWords the way they used to. Last year, Google announce [...]


Report: PLAs Drove 28% Of Google Non-Brand Ad Clicks In Q4

2012-holiday-paid-search-weekly-revenue-growth-RKG Google Product Listing Ads generated 28% of Google non-brand clicks in Q4 according to RKG's latest Digital Marketing Report released today. PLA CPCs were 26% lower than CPCs for competitive text ads. RKG also found a larger than average gap between bids and actual CPCs for PLAs, suggesting competition is still relatively light. Product Listing Ads are also having a big impact on non-brand Google ROI when compared to Bing. RKG reports, “As Google CPCs have declined overall and compared to Bing, the non-brand ROI for Google now stands 22% higher than that for Bing.” Google Nonbrand Paid [...]


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