Holiday 2015 Paid Search Best Practices: Bid Indexing

Bid indexing will improve paid search performanceNow that it is officially Fall and Holiday is fast approaching, it is time to dot every “I” and cross every “t” to make sure paid search campaigns are in top shape.  A surefire way to improve year-over-year paid search results during the critical six-week period from mid-November through December is to index daily bids based on prior year performance.  There are two reasons why indexing can help.

First is that there is always a crush of new entrants trying to win Holiday impression share on key terms.  Continue reading

SEM Best Practices for Voice Search

Best SEM practices for voice searchA look through search query reports reveals more than a few obvious voice search queries.  These searches originate from Siri, Google, or Cortana. When you spot these, they remind me of how someone sounds when speaking to an automated attendant: the communication is abrupt, different, and slightly rude.

The most obvious voice search queries appear with the word “Google” before them, such as “Google steakhouse in Muncie.”  Even without “Google” in the search term, they are still fairly easy to identify.  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

Can brands — and now Etsy — compete with Amazon?

Amazon launching Handmade to compete with EtsyI am not an Etsy shopper but am pained nonetheless to hear that Amazon is launching Handmade — a marketplace that will compete directly with Etsy.

The truth is that I am conflicted about being pained. In my personal life — and I know this is true for many of my industry colleagues — I buy many things from Amazon.

In my professional (digital marketing) life, though, I prefer to buy from brands direct because I’ve seen Amazon assert itself as a category killer, which is not good for competition and causes lots of angst in the industry. This was a big topic at  IRCE15, same as it’s been in prior years. 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

Adopting a Mobile-First Approach

mobile first approach to marketingAs a strategic advisor to brands, I try to provide strategic insights while recognizing and respecting limitations to what brands can and cannot do. 2015 is no different than any other year from a tech development standpoint: the docket is still jam packed with many priorities waiting on deck for implementation.

With my phone and email blowing up this week about Mobilegeddon (Google’s algorithm change giving preference to mobile-friendly sites), I tied to recall how far back the first time I heard Google say that they would eventually give ranking preference to responsive sites. 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

Viewability Needs to Matter for all Advertisers, Big and Small

Viewability terms for digital advertisersI have been exposed to many advertisers who are pushing hard for 100% viewability terms for standard banner buys, which I saw referred to yesterday as a crisis by the IAB. In December, the IAB recommended 70% as the standard, but the large agencies are forcing 100% in their I/O terms, and they are having success obtaining it. Large media budgets, not surprisingly, can be the catalyst for change.  This level of change, though, is of a larger scale than we’ve seen before.

Beyond the suppliers who are the obvious party being squeezed is this scenario, the other disadvantaged party is the small advertisers. 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