Google Launches Customer Match: How to Maximize the Opportunity

Google's Customer Match and finding look alikes in Paid SearchGoogle’s Customer Match announcement earlier this week is welcome news to advertisers who have run successful first-party digital advertising campaigns with other media partners such as Facebook, Twitter, and the DSPs.  Google’s new product will enable advertisers to target their first-party data in search, You Tube, and Gmail. Advertisers upload their email files into the AdWords interface, and then Google matches it to their log-in data. From there, ads show to matched individuals.

Google has enabled first-party targeting with RLSA for some time but never before allowed it for search, which they said was due to privacy concerns. 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

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

What is a Paid Search Restructure, Anyway?

Paid search campaign restructureMany paid search advertisers turn over the keys of their campaign to an agency to manage it and don’t typically get under the hood too often to see how the campaign is structured. There is a lot of minutia in the search tools, and if someone is not a regular, taking a look now and again exposes a world that is potentially too complex from which to draw any meaningful, actionable conclusions.

However, there is much industry buzz right now around the campaign restructure and the belief that it could be the magic bullet that improves paid search performance. Continue reading

Troubleshooting Paid Search Performance

Identifying a decline in paid search performanceWhen sales from paid search suddenly spike in the wrong direction, it can be a nightmare figuring out how and why. It shouldn’t have to be, though. There is always a reason, and it can be found. If conversions from paid search suddenly fall off, here are some ways to troubleshoot.

Contribution: If the paid search channel typically makes up a steady percentage of total online sales, check web analytics to see if the percentage is the same or has fallen.  Continue reading

Staffing for Digital: More Important Than Ever to Get It Right

Hiring good staff for digital marketing is importantBefore talking about present-day staffing needs in digital, here is a quick look back at the evolution.  For a time, digital marketing was a sexy new career choice.  People in offline businesses were jumping ship to digital.

Now, though, for any company who sells something, digital marketing is a means to an end:  customers need to be followed and serviced in the channel in which they have chosen to interact with the business.  First it was offline, then it was the internet, and now it is shifting quickly to mobile.  People are choosing digital careers because it is where the jobs are.  Continue reading

Close Variant Match Type: Time to Benchmark is Now!

close-variant-match-typeWith the recent announcement that at the end of September Google will remove the ability for search marketers to opt out of close variant matching for exact and phrase keywords, there is less than a month away to benchmark the impact of this change before it is gone for good.

When Google first implemented the close variant match type feature in 2012, which enables search queries that contain plurals, abbreviations and misspellings to trigger exact match or phrase match ads, 80% of search advertisers began using it (granted, using it by default since they have to manually opt out to disable it).  Continue reading

Real-Time Marketing: How to Leverage a Sudden Surge in Impressions

Real time marketing leverages a surge in impressionsOne of the hottest trends in digital right now is real-time marketing.   The goal of real-time marketing is to leverage an abberationally high level of impressions in order to yield sales.

We are in the midst of one of those moments in which back-to-school searches and social impressions are at their peak for the year.  By now, most retailers for whom back to school matters have already built strategies and are executing against them in an attempt to win the highest impression share possible on key terms.  Other important retail events that drive huge impression volume throughout the year are Continue reading

The Role of Non-Brand Text Ads in an Evolving SERP

Non-brand paid search text ads are decliningThe Google SERP now presents three types of formats when someone searches for a product:  Organic, PLAs, and Non-Brand Text Ads.  These same three options have existed for a few years, but the PLAs used to be buried below the fold and were called Product Search (and Froogle, a really long time ago).

All search marketers know that visibility drives volume, and with PLAs now showing at the top of the page and non-brand text pushed below the fold, clicks to the image-friendly PLAs have soared; whereas, clicks to non-brand text ads are on the decline.  Continue reading