Mark Ballard

Mark Ballard is the Vice President of Research at Merkle. He manages and writes for the popular Merkle Blog and heads the production of Merkle's quarterly Digital Marketing Reports, which cover Paid Search, SEO, Display, Social Media and more. Mark's time at Merkle has included building and managing paid search programs for clients in the retail, finance, B2B and automotive sectors.

Google Ads

How Google Can Help Enhanced Campaigns Reach Their Potential

It’s been over a year since Google publicly announced Enhanced Campaigns for AdWords, and just shy of a year since the mandatory transition date in late July of 2013. Early on, there was a great deal of consternation surrounding the changes brought by this new campaign model, but advertiser sentiment improved as some of their […]

Google Ads

Does Google Want to Cut Out AdWords Middlemen?

The launch of Google AdWords and its subsequent rapid growth in the early 2000s helped spawn an entire industry around paid search advertising. The ecosystem that arose includes Google and its advertisers, as well as a slew of agencies, consultants, software platforms, data providers, third party tools and various combinations thereof in between them. Almost […]

Amazon

Google PLAs May Be Bigger And Better Than You Think

As someone responsible for compiling, analyzing and putting narratives to raw marketing data, I spend a good portion of my time reviewing similar material from other sources in our industry. This is helpful for generating new ideas for analyses and serves as a basic sanity check of the results we are finding at RKG. On […]

Google

Getting A Better Read On The Value Of Smartphone Paid Search

The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices has been a mixed blessing for paid search advertisers. On the one hand, most industry stats show smartphones and tablets driving nearly all Internet traffic growth, while volume from traditional desktop and laptop computers has begun to fade. But as more consumers have taken to using new devices for […]

Google

Will Enhanced Campaigns Drive Mobile CPCs Down?

There are two pieces of conventional wisdom surrounding Google’s Enhanced Campaigns that seem to get tossed around a lot without much thought or examination. The first is that this new campaign model will make it easier for small advertisers to get into the mobile advertising game. The second related piece is that Enhanced Campaigns will […]

Amazon

Relax, The Search Industry Is Doing Just Fine

For enterprise SEM practitioners looking to set budgets or otherwise anticipate their needs in the space for the months and years ahead, it’s been a particularly difficult time to get a read on how the industry is really trending. Conflicting data and opinions abound; new threats to the hegemony of search, real or just perceived, […]

Amazon

Will Facebook’s Graph Search Be Big For Bing Advertisers?

Following Facebook’s announcement of Graph Search a few weeks back, there’s been no shortage of analysis and speculation on what the move will mean for Facebook, its users, marketers and possible Facebook competitors, including the traditional search engines. At least in one arena, we can try to put some specific numbers together to shed some light […]

PPC

6 Holiday Trend Shifts That Heavily Impact SEM

Anyone involved with online retail should be well aware of just how critical holiday revenues are, not only to a strong fourth quarter, but to our success for the entire year. An RKG analysis of 2011 paid-search results shows that, on average, retailers generated 18% of their annual revenues over the 30 day period starting […]

Amazon

Is It Time To Revisit Your PPC Strategy For Tablets?

Going by the last couple of months, the humble tablet computer is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the strategic plans of many of the biggest names in tech, and it will continue to hold greater significance to paid search advertisers as we move toward the holiday season. Following the March release of the new […]