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:

Continue 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

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

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