Google SEM Machine Learning: Love It or Hate It?

Today I am writing about machine learning in search – a hot topic and debate these days. I expect this to be one of several posts on the topic.  This particular writing intends to summarize both sides.

On the “Pro” side, Google is preaching that their new machine learning algorithms replace the need for keyword creation and manual bidding.  Additionally, Responsive Search Ads (RSA) negate the need to write ad copy.  With the elimination of this busy work, SEMs should now have more time back in their day which should be replaced with strategic input. If not, they lose their value to their clients.

On the “Con” side, having just attended SMX Advanced in Seattle, there is reluctance on the part of SEMs to adopt machine learning as aggressively as Google wants them to. Essentially, this debate comes down to those who are in the weeds vs. those who are not as well as Google who is pushing the agenda.

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Digital Marketing Agency RFPs: April is High Season For a Reason

There may still be snow on the ground from this past winter in some parts of the country, but with digital marketing, Holiday prep for next winter should start in Spring. This is especially true for brands who are launching their marketing efforts for the first time. 

For larger brands and/or brands already running digital marketing campaigns, the months from late Spring and Summer through to Q4 are when account health checks are done. Best practices are implemented, new interface features are tested and put in place, and other efforts are tried such as new copy, promos, etc.  By testing and iterating in the months leading up to Holiday, when Q4 arrives, these accounts should be running their A game.  This is why April is RFP season in digital marketing.  Brands want to give themselves and their new agencies ample time to get their marketing campaigns in the best possible shape for Holiday.

For brands who are new to digital marketing and Paid Search, though, there are different considerations for why it is critical to launch well in advance of Holiday.  All have to do with particulars in the Google Ads interface which work quite differently for new rather than existing advertisers.  Here are some examples:

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A Case for Silos

marketing silos

Let me preface this post by saying that I am cognizant of and a believer in the fractured customer journey to purchase. Multiple channels play a part in influencing a sale which has been proven and quantified through attribution and/or media mix modeling data for many marketers.

My case for silos is less about integrating the media and more about the manpower needed to manage the channels. And in this particular post, I am focusing specifically on agencies who service their clients — with a word of advice for the clients who use them. Continue reading

Using Prospecting Display as a Means to Feed the Remarketing Cookie Pool

display

In Digital, we are always on the lookout for a new ROI-producing channel.  We willed for that (unsuccessfully) with Facebook organic.  Mobile, while not a channel, continues to vex those struggling with sub-par conversion rates.  Programmatic display provided hope of a new standalone prospecting source that could yield efficient sales on a last-click basis.  Each has a solid place in the marketing mix, but none has emerged as the new high-producing direct response channel of its day.

An exception is that for marketers with a high level of resources and sophistication, programmatic display is that new channel from both a CRM and acquisition standpoint.  It is one of the key pillars to their DMPs.  For medium and smaller digital marketers, though, the amount of resources needed to build and activate a DMP may not be particularly accessible.  Continue reading

Dynamic Online Pricing: Maintaining Consistency with the Store

online vs offline pricingOn a recent business trip to Miami, I decided to check out a local fabric store (a hobby of mine).  I live close to NYC, which is where many people – even those who live thousands of miles away – aspire to buy fabric because of the assortment and quality.  In my case, though, I sometimes like to visit stores in other cities that have a strong design aesthetic, and Miami fits that bill for me.

In using Yelp to decide where to go, I came across one store in particular that had many reviews, which is among the criteria I use when assessing a business on Yelp.  Unfortunately, not many were positive.  The negative comments were consistent in that there was a certain complaint that the owner charges prices based on how a person physically looks.  Wealthier-looking people got charged more and vice versa.  This practice incensed this store’s clientele.

There was a recent article in the NY Times that talked about the widening gap among some service providers in terms of giving better amenities and exclusivity to customers who are willing to pay moreContinue reading

Best Practices for Retargeting (Part 1):  Are you reaching new customers or just annoying your best ones? 

retargeting best practicesJohn Wanamaker once said he’s wasting half his advertising but not sure which half.  In today’s programmatic buying, this sentiment can be updated to “I’m only buying the good half and annoying half of them with the wrong ad.”

Creative seldom has a seat at the table when planning a programmatic buy.  Media planners are more focused on the media logistics such as which audience to target and what to do in the platform itself to make it all work.  Continue reading

Oscars Coverage – Samsung is Killing It

oscarsThe Oscars haven’t started yet – Countdown to the Red Carpet is on right now – but I am impressed, so far, with Samsung for lining up key personalities to promote their new products at the event.

Casey Neistat has been vlogging for the past few days on attending the Oscars on behalf of Samsung.  None of us have seen his actual Oscar coverage yet, but he has been promoting the new products they supplied him with to cover the event leading up to today.

When asked who Guliana Rancic was wearing (they meant her gown and jewels!), she gave a shout out to Samsung for her smartwatch that she says can do just about anything.

Bravo Samsung for lining up these influencers.  Each reaches a completely different audience.  As such, this is a really great example of influencer marketing.