Paid Search RFPs: What You Need To Know

January-2016-CalendarIn the online retail world, the dust doesn’t quite settle on Holiday until the January sales are over.  That said, the intensity pales in comparison to the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  January is somewhat of a roller coaster month in which priorities shift between sales and introducing Resort and/or Spring merchandise.  It has also always been a tricky time with paid search, in particular, in that advertising discounted merchandise can often lead to strong conversion rates while yielding AOVs so low that achieving P&L goals is tricky.

Once January has passed and Holiday is finally actually over, February is the time to reset the agenda and start moving toward rolling out new ecommerce priorities.  Often this entails assessing partners and vendors and determining whether or not it’s the right time to consider making a change.  Continue reading

How to get Google Certified for Paid Search

testing

Having just re-upped my Google Certification, I thought it might be helpful to pass along some tips.

Google offers three different certifications: SEM, Display, and Analytics. All three require passing 2 exams: A single Fundamentals test that is taken for all three certifications and an advanced exam that is specific to each certification area. For a search marketer, the Fundamentals exam is not difficult. You are allotted 90 minutes: I finished in about 30. I have not taken the Analytics or Display exams (yet) so the information covered in this post pertains only to the Fundamental and Advanced Search Exams. Continue reading

6 Ways to Say Goodbye to Last Click Tracking

Last Click Attribution causes channel overlapUsing last click attribution to evaluate the success of a digital campaign is an antiquated system. Most online marketers acknowledge this but use the model nonetheless.

If you break down the reasons why, they usually include some form of the following:

– CMOs are not in the day-to-day nor may they be digitally savvy depending on from where in the ranks they ascended. Continue reading

Who Owns Management of Datafeed Programs?

structured data land grab by agenciesSince Product Listing Ads (PLAs) were introduced, there has been a land grab between the SEMs and the datafeed companies over ownership.

The back history is that the datafeed providers who fed to the comparison shopping engines (CSEs) also fed to the free Google Product Search program (which subsequently became PLAs). Continue reading

Online Lead Generation: Tracking 101

Tracking issues in digital marketing are complicatedIt is surprising how much investment some brands put toward generating leads online and then only read front-end results when assessing the performance of a digital campaign.

Note that “front end” can mean two things:

1. Driving traffic to the site

2. Completing an online form

If driving traffic is a campaign’s sole KPI, presumably there is a good reason. If not, keep reading because this is typically not a best practice and likely indicates that unsophisticated tracking is in place. Continue reading

Forrester Wave Cross-Channel Attribution Providers 2014

Forrester picks their top attribution providers for 2014On Friday, Forrester released their most recent Wave Report on cross-channel attribution technology providers. The companies evaluated fell into 4 buckets: Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Risky Bets. The companies assessed were bucketed as follows:

Leaders: Visual IQ, AOL Convertro, and Google Adometry

Strong Performers: EBay Enterprises (Clear Saleing), MarketShare, Marketing Evolution

Contenders: Rakuten DC Storm, Abakus

Risky Bets: None* Continue reading

Mischief Night: A Look at Online Retail Hijinks

Mischief Night Hijinks with online marketingDoes anyone remember URL targeting, in which through a “normal” media buy, an advertiser was able to hijack a person trying to go to one site and navigate them to another?   This was legal, as was Gator  — another popular ad-supported media machine that eventually went away for similar, deceptive reasons.

There is some tremendously illegal and egregious internet activity in 2014 that deserves the attention of the serious security people trying to catch it and shut it down.  Not nearly as serious but annoying nonetheless is the legal, albeit black hat activity, that happens occasionally with online retail. Continue reading