Insights: Making Your Google Search Ads Cost-Effective



In search advertising on Google, less-known brands benefit from top positions a lot more than well-known companies. At least that’s the conclusion on click-through rates from a Stanford research study released in 2015.

“If it’s Amazon.com versus a small retailer, the Amazon ad is likely to catch our attention at any position because we recognize the brand,” says Stanford business Professor Sridhar Narayanan.

“Whereas a small advertiser with weaker experience with consumers benefits much more from being in a higher position,” he explains.

Sometimes, there’s no effect from ad positioning.

“It’s way smaller than correlational estimates would suggest,” says Dr. Narayanan. “Sometimes a third or a fourth as small.”

Dr. Narayanan and Santa Clara University Professor Kirthi Kalyanam conducted the study (Position Effects in Search Advertising: A Regression Discontinuity Approach).

A lot of marketing money is at stake. Advertisers spend more on paid search than on any other channel – more than $18 billion in 2013.

Quality score

Another insight: Your ad investment doesn’t determine where Google inserts your ad. Just as it does in ranking Web sites, Google uses a “quality score” in deciding where to place your ad.

“If Google expects more people to click on a particular company’s ad, [that ad] gets a higher quality score,” explains Professor Narayanan.

So it’s difficult to determine the reasons why an ad gets a lot of users’ attention.

The researchers were allowed access to Google’s data. They studied four consumer product retailers, but were not permitted to divulge the names of the companies nor their product categories.

A 50-year-old nationwide company had acquired the other three. But after the buying the companies, the four continued to use different marketing approaches.

The professors looked the companies’ bidding history, ad positions, click-through rates, sales numbers, and Google quality scores. They used “regression discontinuity” as a tool to analyze the ads’ positioning.

Your ad investment doesn’t determine where Google inserts your ad. Just as it does in ranking Web sites, Google uses a “quality score” in deciding where to place your ad.

Ad positioning

The most prominent ad positions: The first ad on the right of the page and just below the search box.

The ads inserted just below the search box were the most popular. Both locations benefited from 20 percent higher click-throughs than the ads inserted below them. But there was no difference between the second and third positions.

“This is important because these advertisers were paying much more for position two than three, yet they were getting no increase in clicks,” says Professor Narayanan.

There was a difference, though, between the third and fourth positions. The third position attracted 10.7 percent clicks. Why? The third position is situated adjacent to the right of the first organic link — where many users read first.

If your ad appears just below where the Internet user starts to scroll down, you’ll experience more clicks.

Such ads are in positions five, six, seven and eight. Ads in position five or six receive 16.7 percent more clicks.

Moving your ad from position seven to six received 19.5 percent more clicks. But there was no benefit in moving from eight to seven.

Again, higher positioning isn’t always the best investment. But relevance and quality of copy are.

“When consumers already have lots of experience with a brand and its products,” says Professor Narayanan, “being at a higher position in search results really doesn’t make much of a difference.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more marketing insights:

What are the Secrets for Success in Advertising? Creating 5 Perceptions — There is evidence that links advertising quality and execution to making the cash register ring, and it shows creative counts more than the media plan.

By Watching Digital Marketing Trends, We Can Best Choose Priorities — True, marketing has evolved rapidly in the last quarter century. And yes, it’s important to be mindful of trends, especially in digital marketing — good and bad.

4 Best Practices to Enhance Your Google Ranking with Digital Content –There are four best practices if you want strong ranking from Google’s search rank algorithms, higher click-through rates and more social sharing from your content and press releases. That’s according to the Ranking Factors Study from Searchmetrics. The study shows the four practices improve message visibility and campaign results on the Internet.

8 Ways to Get Transparency from Your Retargeting Campaign — If you’re a major advertiser, you probably use behavioral remarketing or retargeting strategies. That’s to reach prospective customers based on their Internet searches, if they leave your Web site and don’t buy from you. Other firms use retargeting to purchase advertising. Basically, retargeting is accomplished by using a cookie or pixel, to show banner ads to Internet users. But transparency is a significant problem for advertisers.

How Mobile Strategies Are Most Effective with Cross-Channel Marketing — Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products, but the most successful know how best. They use cross-channel marketing tools.

“Human nature has a tendency to admire complexity but reward simplicity.”

-Ben Huh 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Digital Marketing Trends: Choose Your Best Tactics



True, marketing has evolved rapidly in the last quarter century. And yes, it’s important to be mindful of trends, especially in digital marketing — good and bad.

Just like your finances, human resources and other aspects of your business, your Web site should be continuously monitored for red flags and to be sure it’s not out-of date.

It’s time-consuming and expensive, but any problems should be solved. The trick is to do it right, cost-effectively.

computer,smartphoneMake certain your Web site is not out-of-date.

But digital marketing involves a lot more than building a good Web site.

Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products, but the most successful use best practices.

They use cross-channel marketing tools because that’s how mobile strategies are most effective.

For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews.

They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you.

They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant. So you must profit from online customer reviews.

In addition, Robert Fleming, CEO of www.emarketingassociation.com, has identified several digital trends.

Here’s an edited excerpt of Mr. Fleming’s observations: 

– Social media marketing budgets will double over the next five years.

– Nearly 50 percent of companies now have content marketing strategies. Content is the king and always be will be, thus there will always be need for organic content which will attract your audience’s attention.

– Email with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158 percent. Creating email marketing campaigns with more shareable content and the ability to easily share will help increase your reach.

– Seventy percent of B2B content marketers are finding events to be a very effective marketing tactic.

– Seventy-four percent of reporters think press releases should include images. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words and three-fourths of the reporters agree with the same quote as well.

– SEO (search engine optimization) is vital – 33 percent of traffic from Google organic search results goes to the first item listed. Make certain you are optimizing all of the Google tools such as authorship markup, Google+ Local listings, Maps, etc.

To his SEO point, I’d add it’s important to avoid six SEO errors.

While I don’t disagree with his observations, I think it’s important to remember too many marketing campaigns have focused on fads.

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

But they haven’t delivered a cost-effective return on investment.

Marketing fails to work when it isn’t grounded in principles. Integrated brand strategies should be reality-based.

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

So what is important is being relevant to your target audience.

Focus on these priorities:

– You need to emphasize tailored marketing messages for your target demographics. You won’t ever lose by using cause-related marketing. But you must remember to target increasingly narrowed audience segments.

– Learn from traditional principles. For instance, just as radio personalities have been successful at talking with listeners – one at a time – you must focus on personalizing your messages.

– Relevance matters. Information overload is clutter to people. Cut through the clutter with short messages with links to comprehensive content.

– Streamline your marketing with mobility and real-time experiences. Customers want fast interaction – increasingly with mobile devices.

– Focus on developing centers of influence – Web sites and individual influencers – to send business your way.

– Tell your story with videos.

– Be consistent – never let up.

-Be aware of trends in micro-content marketing – for example, Apple Watch.

– Data is fine but very buying decision is based on emotion. That goes for B2B marketing, too. Businesspeople make emotional decisionjs to buy. So tap into emotions.

– Make marketing content shareable.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Critical Factors Google Uses to Judge Your Content Quality – As you no doubt know, Google has long judged your Web site on content quality. But unless you are a mega brand, new research reveals vital factors about Google’s algorithm changes.

4 Best Practices to Enhance Your Google Ranking with Digital Content – There are four best practices if you want strong ranking from Google’s search rank algorithms, higher click-through rates and more social sharing from your content and press releases. That’s according to the Ranking Factors Study from Searchmetrics. The study shows the four practices improve message visibility and campaign results on the Internet.

8 Ways to Get Transparency from Your Retargeting Campaign – If you’re a major advertiser, you probably use behavioral remarketing or retargeting strategies. That’s to reach prospective customers based on their Internet searches, if they leave your Web site and don’t buy from you. Other firms use retargeting to purchase advertising. Basically, retargeting is accomplished by using a cookie or pixel, to show banner ads to Internet users. But transparency is a significant problem for advertisers.

Forecasting 5 Trends and the Future of Marketing – With all the dynamic changes that businesses have experienced in opportunities and threats, it’s important to anticipate the future. But forecasting can be tricky. So, the one dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative. Be aware of these five marketing trends.

“What happens when you combine blogs, Google and millions of dissatisfied customers? An e-mob.”

– Bob Garfield


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Task-Management Checklist for Digital Marketing



To generate revenue from digital marketing, naturally, you must strategize to use best practices for customer relationship management and for pursuing new business.

What are the task-management tips to maximize your time and energies in digital marketing?

You need an up-to-date Web presence that ranges from effective mobile apps to social media.

Business Growth 1Your revenue will ascend with these strategies:

1. Assess your big-picture.

Consider all elements in your marketing and how they fit in your big-picture objectives.

Like a championship football team, protect your turf. Always remember your prospects and stakeholders want to be able to trust you.  

So your digital behavior must match your goals. Be consistent without any surprises.

For example, if you’re a professional-services firm, the last thing want to do is launch a wild, crazy campaign that conflicts with your objectives.  

With the competitive marketplace changing daily, your No. 1 objective should be a vibrant, integrated presence. 

2. Be courageous with your time and funding for long-term sustainability.

Keep all channels current. Freshen your content and be timely in your customer engagement with a sense of urgency. 

Continue to monitor your progress and fine-tune when necessary. But don’t engage in self-doubt, which leads to panic. 

Whenever you have a bad-hair day, it isn’t the end of the world. Marketing is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. 

Always remember your prospects and stakeholders want to be able to trust you.  

3. Focus on your customers.

Find out what they want. Develop and implement strategies to meet their interests. 

Each of your initiatives should be an enhancement to maintain a dialogue with customers and to grow your company. 

4. Be unique.

Get ahead of the pack and stay there. In the perceptions of your target audience, differentiate from your competition. 

If you’re in B2B, here’s a hint: Your clientele will always want to save time and money while increasing revenue. So address those needs for value. 

If you’re in B2C, consumers have similar wants and needs. So always think 1930s for business success. Consumer attitudes are changing.

5. Monitor your progress and respond accordingly.

Implement the right tools to gain maximum customer awareness and loyalty. But knowledge without action is unproductive. 

Identify the reasons for your challenges. Then address your customers’ attitudes and emotions in order to create a happy buying environment. 

6. Perform due diligence before any new programs.

Research and plan. Perform an analysis before diving into a new program. Ask yourself: “What’s my payoff — my return on investment?  

Keep in mind you need to capitalize on your assets by generating data to find out what’s working and what isn’t. 

So as you compete in the age of the geek, good luck! 

From the Coach’s Corner, related content: 

Want More Business? Build Trust with Consumers…Here’s How — With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices. 

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study — There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks.

Google Tips – 23 Key Questions about Your Web Site — Google has unveiled vital information about what it considers important for Web site ranking. Without divulging proprietary information, Google emphasized it’s all about value – quality for Internet users. In other words, there are no shortcuts for success.

You Risk Sales If You Don’t Use This Mobile-Web Strategy — You know, of course, strong brand perceptions and emotional engagement drive sales. You also know your mobile-site strategy should be a priority, as a  result of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices. But here’s a question: Is your mobile site actually hindering brand perception and emotional engagement?

13 Tips to Develop the Best Content for a Top-Rated Blog — Content marketing has become an art form via blogs. Google the term, blog, and you’ll see millions of search results. At last count there were 190 million blogs.

“Number one, cash is king… number two, communicate… number three, buy or bury the competition.”

-Jack Welch


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication



Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study.

Consumers have become more and more discerning.

“The possibilities for the future of customer loyalty are profound.” said Martin Hayward, vice president of global digital strategy at Aimia and the author of the study. “The real challenge for the marketing and loyalty industries is to embrace the digital transition with both hands while showing enough restraint and respect for consumers’ permissions and preferences.”

Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, released the study, “The Four Futures,” in June 2013.

Results indicate “offer anarchy” is a very real threat to relationships with half of consumers feeling overwhelmed.

Mr. Hayward said the 86 percent of consumers who receive marketing emails, only 12 percent look forward to receiving them and 46 percent think they receive too many.

Ironically, targeted marketing communications are acceptable. Of those surveyed, 70 percent are happy to receive voucher offers for products purchased regularly.

Fifty-five percent are happy to receive product recommendations based on their lifestyle data.

Marketing desperation

But the study warns marketers to avoid the temptation to adopt a short-term approach and overload consumers with communications.

“Building ‘real relationships’ with consumers provides the key to success and enlightened companies that understand how to effectively and responsibly use new data and new channels in the right way will have a significant competitive advantage in the future,” added Mr. Hayward.

To help marketers navigate the digital transition, Aimia has assessed the possible outcomes that lie ahead and developed four futures:

Future 1: Offer anarchy
The increasing volume of customer data created by digitalization remains freely available and loosely controlled. Customers tend to be over-exploited by many vendors, leading to highly transactional, deal-based behaviors, limited loyalty and frustrated, over-messaged consumers.

Future 2: Pay to play
A market where data is increasingly acknowledged to be valuable and powerful – data begins to be controlled and traded as a valued commodity, requiring businesses to pay to access customers through increased rewards.

Future 3: The hunt for affinity
An environment where consumers and brands realize that it is possible to locate meaningful relationships that offer more relevance, value and affinity, which ultimately allows for long-term relationships to be built.

Future 4: Real relationships
Winning companies build deep, trusting, long-term relationships with customers – a truly virtuous partnership to help consumers manage a complex environment and achieve value and satisfaction from their commercial relationships.

Mr. Hayward says the ultimate future requires marketers to leverage data and build long-term customer loyalty while giving customers control over how, when and where their data is used. It is a future of “real relationships” and one where everyone wins.

See the full report here.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these related articles:

A Lesson in Great E-mail Marketing Using Social Media, VideosDog lovers would love a promotion by Orvis. Actually, you don’t have to own a dog to appreciate the digital marketing by the firm. Orvis is a nationwide high-end purveyor of men’s and women’s clothing, products for the home and travel, and of course you can buy gifts for your dog. 

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters?There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers. Further, as a form of content marketing, they’re a favorite of B2B marketers.

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

“What happens when you combine blogs, Google and millions of dissatisfied customers? An e-mob.

-Bob Garfield

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

 Image Credit: Discerning woman consumer by Vera Kratochvil


Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.