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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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

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

Finding New Customers Online (Part 2)

New Customers for Retail BrandsPart 1 of “Finding New Customers” addressed why new customers are important to a brand or retailer.

Part 2 will cover how to find new customers from among the choices of online media programs that are in widespread use.  Note that all of these channels are effective at yielding sales, but some drive more new customers than others.  Here is a rundown:

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs):  Consistently one of the top media sources for yielding new customers – often in the 80%+ range.  Continue reading