The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

The online marketing industry is complex and volatile, but an exciting one for anybody who stays up on modern trends. Each year, new hardware, new software, new companies, and new user preferences dictate a host of sweeping changes that either get adopted or ignored by the businesses of the world. Early adopters get a leg up on the competition, appealing to new markets or cementing their reputations as industry leaders, while those lagging behind miss out on a key opportunity to retain their positions.

2016 looks to be a great year for online marketing, and I anticipate it shaking up the game with these seven trends:

1. Video ads will start dominating. Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options. 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. App indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them. Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owner’s perspectives.

3. Mobile will completely dominate desktop. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

4. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

5. Virtual reality will emerge. There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.

6. Wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will pave new ground. While not quite to the level of virtual reality, wearable “smart” devices should start gaining more traction into 2016. 2015 saw the unveiling of the Apple Watch, a first-generation smart watch, but more smart watches and similar wearable devices should start emerging next year. Such devices will change the landscape of local marketing, and will do more to blur the lines between “online” marketing and “real” marketing.

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Local Business Marketing Trends for 2016

Heading into Q4, now is the time to start thinking about what your business’s goals will be in the next year, including how you’ll to organize your budget and what your overall marketing plan will include.

You already know the organization of your current digital marketing channels — from SEO to coupons and deals — and which were the most effective for you this past year. Going into the next year, you’ll want to make sure that your local business takes advantage of 2016 digital marketing trends so that you can reach new customers that use these mediums.

This article will provide you with guidance about how to structure the different pieces of your marketing plan — 2016 digital marketing trends included — so that you can build a successful marketing strategy. From the up-and-coming social networks to the next mobile device your local business can use for quick customer check-outs, we’ve got the most important 2016 digital marketing trends that can help you start the year on the right foot.


PREDICTION

Instagram will take off

Since Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, the social media giant has been consistently making small changes to the photo-sharing platform. In late 2015 and 2016, all these smaller changes will start to culminate into big developments on the platform.

2016 digital marketing trends, instagram takes off

Facebook is now the social media network that every local business needs to have a Business Page on, accompanied by an advertising package so that you can reach the followers you worked hard to amass.

Reaching your followers on Facebook with a post used to be free — just like it currently is on Instagram. However, with Instagram offering advertising in the form of “sponsored posts,” we predict that soon you’ll have to pay to ensure that your post is seen by your followers (just like you do on Facebook).

Instagram advertising gets strong results for its advertisers. The photo-sharing app says that their ad recall is 2.8x higher than other online advertising platforms, making it an attractive option for those businesses looking to get the most bang for their marketing buck.

Ad recall on Instagram is 2.8xhigher than other online advertising platforms.

New tools that combine trending topics on Facebook and Instragam, such asSignal, are further proof that Facebook plans to continue integrating Instagram into its platform. As the two continue to be more tightly integrated, Instagram will certainly become a bigger and bigger player in the 2016 digital marketing trend arena.

It has been predicted that by 2017 Instagram will have $2.8 billion in advertising sales (it already has $600 million in advertising revenue YTD for 2015). Instagram is available exclusively via mobile and tablet apps, positioning it for a clear leadership role as small business marketing shifts to mobile.

CONCLUSION

Expand your social media presence on the network that will get the most user engagement in 2016: Instagram.


PREDICTION

Search will expand beyond search engines

Search is moving beyond Google, Bing and Yahoo and onto social networks where search capabilities are expanding.

Pinterest jumped into the search engine game, expanding its search algorithm and incorporating “guided searches.” Pinterest isn’t the only one in the search game either; Facebook is already working on tests for its own search engine and Twitter is, once again, being indexed by Google so that public tweets are seen on both the micro-blogging network and the wider Internet.

88% of consumers are influenced by reviews and comments online and the ability to search on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube will connect people to these comments quickly. For small businesses that have been monitoring and building up the amount of positive customer reviews on social media sites, such as Facebook, you’ll be pleased to hear one of the side effects of a search engine: your business’s reviews are about to get a lot more attention because they will show up in searches.

2016 digital marketing trends

CONCLUSION

Expanded search means that your business needs to invest in expanding your listings and start monitoring social more closely. Not only should your local businesses claim a social profile on every popular network (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn), but you also need to be able to respond to what may be said about it online.

If you’re looking for help with reputation management, The Berry Company provides a service that you can use to track everything being said about your business. With this reputation management service, you’ll be able to learn what is being said about your business and also respond to it.


PREDICTION

Targeting will be the new black

As the digital market continues to expand, the more consumer data it collects along the way. With all this data, more sophisticated targeting algorithms can be created to help you get better results by using more targeted messaging.

Depending on the state of your business’s online marketing strategy, targeted messaging can be a good or bad thing.You’ll be excited about targeted data if you have a comprehensive local online marketing program that you would like to refine and get more qualified results out of. You’ll be bummed if you don’t use local online marketing because your competitors are — and they’ll be able to reach more local customers than you can.

CONCLUSION

Take advantage of targeting by starting pay-per-click or re-marketing display ad campaigns. As more and more data is added to the funnel, your ads will automatically take advantage of new targeting capabilities.


PREDICTION

Mobile payments will skyrocket

With the development of Apply Pay and the reliance on cell phones, mobile payments will have a steep increase this year.

In 2015, nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already began paying for their daily latte fix with their mobile devices. As a whole, nearly 60% of consumers use their smartphone to pay, so that they receive some sort of reward or benefit from the business.

Furthermore, mobile technology continues to become more and more affordable, as demonstrated at Apple’s latest conference with its line of iPhones. As prices continue to drop, smartphones will replace older phones — eliminating limited payment functionality.

CONCLUSION

As mobile technology becomes more affordable, mobile payments will continue to penetrate the market. Start looking into different platforms and hardware that your business can invest in to accept mobile payments.


PREDICTION

Webrooming will become as important as showrooming

Consumers want to know exactly what they will be buying before they make a purchase, consulting 10+ sources before making a purchase.

Now these savvy-shoppers can use the web want to see how a product or service will fit in their lifestyle before they head to the store to make a purchase. By showcasing your product or service, or “webrooming” (it took me a minute to get that, web-rooming for anyone like me who didn’t get it ), you can help a consumer imagine how your product/service fits into their lifestyle.

ikea on instagram

Ikea does a remarkable job of marketing their products to many generations, from millennials who prefer webrooming, to baby boomers who are used to showrooms and window shopping.

CONCLUSION

Pick up a few of Ikea’s out-of-the-box marketing strategies to expand your offline experience with your online one.


PREDICTION

Video will get the most views

Video has been a part of many online marketing strategies for years, but 2016 will make video the center of attention.

From 2013-2015 there was a 360% increase in video views. Facebook jumped on the video bandwagon and began hosting videos to keep more users on their network (instead of sending them to YouTube).

CONCLUSION

Your local business can leverage video in 2016, too. Share (and host when available) videos so that you can to attract more views to your content and your business.

Video is an incredibly versatile medium. From showcasing a product to sharing behind the scenes look at your business, start creating videos to drive up your customer engagement.


It may be 2015, but these 2016 digital marketing trends will have a big impact on your 2016 budget and strategy. Make sure you stay in the know with the latest digital marketing trends for local business by subscribing to the LocalVox blog which will also help you implement and track your marketing success.

Yahoo & Google Together Again In New Search Deal

Three year deal to put Google’s results and ads into some of Yahoo’s search results needs US Department of Justice approval and still might get vetoed by India or EU action.

 

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Reunited, and it feels so good. Well, we’ll see if that line from the classic song plays out for Yahoo, which has revealed it wants to be together with Google again in a deal for search results. The deal excludes Europe, almost certainly to avoid anti-trust issues there. It also will depend on US Department of Justice approval.

The Deal, In Summary

As part of today’s Yahoo earning news, it revealed a new search deal with Google:

In October, the Company reached an agreement with Google that provides Yahoo with additional flexibility to choose among suppliers of search results and ads. Google’s offerings complement the search services provided by Microsoft, which remains a strong partner, as well as Yahoo’s own search technologies and ad products.

Wondering how Yahoo and Google can be together, when Yahoo is supposed to be with Microsoft? What we mean by Yahoo and Google being together again? And what’s in the deal? Come along.

Isn’t Yahoo With Microsoft?

If you’re thinking that Yahoo and Microsoft have a search deal, you remember correctly. They do and renewed that in April of this. year. Our FAQ: The New Yahoo-Microsoft Deal, Explained story also had more background on that.

As part of the renewal, Yahoo agreed that Bing’s ads would appear on 51% of the desktop searches that Yahoo delivers. The other 49% could be “powered” by Yahoo’s own ad system or from any third-party that Yahoo wanted to use.

As it turns out, by July, Yahoo was spotted testing using Google’s search results and ads. Clearly, Yahoo liked how it went. Now it’s planning to do more.

And Yahoo Had Been With Google Before?

Years ago — back in 2000 — Yahoo was partnered with Google to carry both Google’s search results and ads. That partnership maintained for many years, until Yahoo eventually developed its own in-house search technology and ad serving systems in 2004.

Yahoo gave up its own internal search technology when its search deal with Microsoft was formally established and got the go-ahead in 2010. But as that deal never performed as expected, and Yahoo’s been especially looking over the past two years for ways to generate more revenue from search beyond its deal with Microsoft.

What’s In The New 3-Year Google Deal?

Let’s go to the Form 8-K filing on the deal and look at the officialese, which I’ll break down as best I can into regular speak:

On October 19, 2015, Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Yahoo”), and Google Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Google”), entered into a Google Services Agreement (the “Services Agreement”). The Services Agreement is effective as of October 1, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2018.

Right off, we’re talking just over a three-year term. However, the agreement can end early for various reasons, as explained more below.

Google To Power Both Mobile & Desktop

Next up, this:

Pursuant to the Services Agreement, Google will provide Yahoo with search advertisements through Google’s AdSense for Search service (“AFS”), web algorithmic search services through Google’s Websearch Service, and image search services. The results provided by Google for these services will be available to Yahoo for display on both desktop and mobile platforms.

Basically, this says that Yahoo can show Google’s search results. And by search results, that means both the editorial “free” listings as well as the ads. Yahoo needs to serve both, because it has no editorial listings of its own, no crawler that combs the web for such content. And Yahoo probably can’t — or can’t afford — to show Google ads against editorial listings provided by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Could Yahoo Go Over 51% On Mobile With Google?

Yahoo also can use these results for both mobile and desktop. On desktop, it’s limited to a cap of 49% that potentially could come from Google, as Microsoft is guaranteed the other 51%.

On mobile, Yahoo has no such limit. There, it could choose to fully serve out Google results even at the expense of its own Gemini ads system.

Deal Excludes Europe, Probably For Anti-Trust Reasons

The deal is for these regions:

Yahoo may use Google’s services on Yahoo’s owned and operated properties (“Yahoo Properties”) and on certain syndication partner properties (“Affiliate Sites”) in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Australia and New Zealand.

You can see all of North America is covered. Several Asian countries are included, as are Australia and New Zealand. Parts of South America are also covered. What’s missing? Europe.

Why not Europe? Google already has an anti-trust action happening against it in the European Union. It probably does not want the attention or criticism of doing a deal with Yahoo there, especially with Google already having a 90% or more marketshare in many EU countries.

Yahoo Has Flexibility, Could Skip Google Search Entirely

Next, this:

Under the Services Agreement, Yahoo has discretion to select which search queries to send to Google and is not obligated to send any minimum number of search queries. The Services Agreement is non-exclusive and expressly permits Yahoo to use any other search advertising services, including its own service, the services of Microsoft Corporation or other third parties.

Basically, this says that Yahoo doesn’t have to guarantee anything to Google. It could decide to send no queries to Google, if it wanted to.

Yahoo Gets Cut Of Ads, Amount Not Said; Image Search Named

How about getting paid? Well…

Google will pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues from AFS ads displayed on Yahoo Properties or Affiliate Sites. The percentage will vary depending on whether the ads are displayed on U.S. desktop sites, non-U.S. desktop sites or on the tablet or mobile phone versions of the Yahoo Properties or its Affiliate Sites. Yahoo will pay Google fees for requests for image search results or web algorithmic search results.

This is pretty standard, saying that Yahoo will get a percentage of what Google makes off its ads that are shown on the Yahoo network.

That percentage can — and probably will — vary depending on whether it’s from desktop or mobile.

Interestingly, there’s no minimum guarantee from Google to be paid to Yahoo. That’s sometimes the case in these deals. It was in the original Yahoo-Microsoft deal.

Finally, Yahoo is obligated to pay Google if it uses its editorial (“algorithmic”) search results for web listings or images. This is likely to ensure that Yahoo doesn’t take Google’s listings but shows Yahoo’s own ads against them. In such a case, Google would be earning nothing yet providing a service.

Terminating In Case Of US Opposition

At the end, we get this:

Either party may terminate the Services Agreement

(1) upon a material breach subject to certain limitations;

(2) in the event of a change in control (as defined in the Services Agreement);

(3) after first discussing with the other party in good faith its concerns and potential alternatives to termination

(a) in its entirety or in the U.S. only, if it reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding brought by any U.S. federal or state agency to enjoin the parties from consummating, implementing or otherwise performing the Services Agreement,

(b) in part, in a country other than the U.S., if either party reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding or reasonably anticipates that the continued performance under the Services Agreement in such country would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding in such country,

Some history here. Back in 2008, Yahoo wanted to do a deal with Google. The US Department of Justice decided that would be bad on competitive grounds, so the companies abandoned that.

The DoJ decision left Yahoo with Microsoft as pretty much the only choice for doing a deal. As a result, the deal that Microsoft eventually offered to Yahoo in 2009 was much less lucrative than the one it offered in 2008, when it was competing with Google.

In the years since, the deal arguably has helped Yahoo drop from a second-place search engine in the US with its own search technology to a third-place competitor that’s dependent on others.

Clearly, there’s a fear that the US competition authorities still might not favor a Yahoo-Google tie-up, despite the fact that Yahoo is less dominant than it last was and a potential argument that the previous DoJ objection helped lead to Yahoo’s current decline.

In fact, at the end of the filing, there’s this:

In connection with the Services Agreement, Yahoo and Google have agreed to certain procedures with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) to facilitate review of the Services Agreement by the DOJ, including delaying the implementation of the Services Agreement in the U.S. in order to provide the DOJ with a reasonable period of review.

This is all going to the Department of Justice for review. If approved, the companies will move ahead. Unless….

The EU And India Get Final Word

Even though the deal isn’t involving Europe, the agreement has termination language that involves possible EU objections:

(c) in its entirety if either party reasonably anticipates a filing by the European Commission to enjoin it from performing the Services Agreement or that continued performance of the Services Agreement would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding involving either party in Europe or India, or

The deal does involve India, where Google also faces anti-trust scrutiny, so the language including India makes more sense.

Google is almost certainly so paranoid that the agreement might impact its on-going anti-trust actions in both the EU and India that if gets the idea either political entity will object, the whole deal could be closed.

Other Termination Reasons

There’s a few last boilerplate reason the agreement might be terminated:

(d) in its entirety, on 60 days notice if [sic] the other party’s exercise of these termination rights in this clause

(3) has collectively and materially diminished the economic value of the Services Agreement.

Each party agrees to defend or settle any lawsuits or similar actions related to the Services Agreement unless doing so is not commercially reasonable (taking all factors into account, including without limitation effects on a party’s brand or business outside of the scope of the Services Agreement).

In addition, Google may suspend Yahoo’s use of services upon certain events and may terminate the Services Agreement if such events are not cured. Yahoo may terminate the Services Agreement if Google breaches certain service level and server latency specified in the Services Agreement.

If I read this correctly, either party could end with 60 days notice for any reason. Just because. There’s also a nebulous “certain events” that aren’t itemized, unknown reasons Google could terminate. Yahoo can drop if Google doesn’t serve content up quickly enough.

Stay Tuned For More!

The deal is a big deal, even if Yahoo is no longer the search powerhouse it once was. We’ll have further coverage of reaction and more details, as the emerge, so stay tuned to Search Engine Land.

How Effective Is Your Ecommerce Campaign?

Are you getting the most bang for your buck?

PPC management for ecommerce campaigns tests the skills and bidding strategies of even the most seasoned expert. You may be thinking “my campaign is doing ok right now,” but take a step back – Is it as effective as it can be? Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a chaotic mess? Are you continuously enhancing your ROAS?

At Hanapin, we ask ourselves these questions all the time and with some big brands as clients, we have to be up to snuff with our tactics, strategies, and expansion ideas. We also realize how important conversion rate optimization is when it comes to any PPC campaign and making sure that everything is cohesive (particularly for ecommerce…I mean how mad does it make you when you click an ad for those cute red high heels and end up on a product page with Nike running shoes??). And even more, optimizing your product pages, category pages, and your product feeds.

So we teamed up with experts from Visual Website Optimizer (also known as Wingify) for a new webinar today to lay out some advanced tactics for both PPC and CRO to supercharge the effectiveness of your ecommerce campaigns

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from the webinar:

We’ll be talking about how you can front-load your most valuable terms utilizing SQRs and how to highlight the differentiators.

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We’ll be talking about why looking at just the last click is misleading and could negatively impact your sales if you aren’t careful. We’ll also be going through different attribution models you SHOULD look at and the important info you can glean from it.

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A Visual Website Optimizer expert will be talking about how you can optimize your product pages and your category pages and the specific areas you need to focus on for these pages to improve effectiveness.

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Pros And Cons Of Hiring A PPC Agency Or Traditional Agency To Manage Your PPC

Hanapin is running into more and more sales deals where the prospective client is basing their decision on whether they want to hire a specialist, which is us, or a generalist, which is sometimes their traditional agency of record and sometimes a full-service digital agency. This post will go through the various aspects of that decision-making process.

 

Client Request – “We Want A Single Point of Contact”

 

Pros: Clients are rightfully concerned about their workload. They’re outsourcing the work, which is one of the main reasons why – beyond expertise – they’re hiring an agency in the first place. The thought is that by hiring an agency for all of the various disciplines they need help, there’s a single person they can communicate with, streamlining the communication process and also decreasing the chances of miscommunication. It’s also a single point of contact that, in the case of poor performance, you have one person to “yell” at.

 

Cons: Various digital disciplines are becoming so competitive that, while having a single point of contact is ideal for communication, it’s not practical for performance. The person communicating with you cannot be an expert in every discipline, so they’ll bring in a subject matter expert (SME) to speak with you. In many of those cases, while that single point of contact can coordinate meetings on your behalf, which is one less thing you’ll have to do, you’ll still need to speak with the SME in those meetings and one-on-one in follow-ups to get the type of detail you may need.

 

Client Request – “I Want An Agency Who Knows My Entire Business”

 

Pros: For obvious reasons, you want an agency that knows as much about your business as possible. You want them to understand:

 

  • Your branding
  • How you want to be presented to the world
  • How various parts of the business interact with each other

 

In general, you want a confidant who can help you with big problems or troubled parts of the business because they know as much about your business as you do.

 

Cons: Agencies, by their very nature, will never know as much about your business as you do. Because they’re not working in your business on a day-to-day basis like you are, they will only know what you tell them. Boutique agencies, like Hanapin, will know their discipline extremely well and while they won’t know your business as well as you do, to win your business, they should know it better than other agencies. The confidant that prospects are looking for when they want a generalist is actually a business consultant, someone who is trained in the art of business and management consulting and has a good financial background to help you make and think through those decisions.

 

Client Request – “I Want Somebody Who Can Manage Both My PPC and SEO Because They’re Both Search”

 

Pros: From a macro perspective, PPC and SEO are both information retrieval, aka library science. And while one is advertising and one is public relations, in their most basic forms, they’re both website traffic. And, because the results for both PPC and SEO are intermingled on the page, the client feels they need an agency that can manage and understand both.

 

Cons: Managing PPC and SEO require different skill sets, even though to the client they’re both based on keywords.

 

PPC is analytical and requires a person who can sit in front of a computer in Excel for eight hours a day. There are some creative aspects to it, i.e. ad writing, but it’s less of a marketing / creative activity and more of an analysis activity.

 

SEO, while some aspects are analytical, is much more creative and nonlinear in nature. The goal is to create enough good content that attracts links and visitors to your website, which in turn increases your rankings. There are also many more technical aspects of programming and web technologies that are required in SEO than PPC. So while a PPC agency works with and builds landing pages, there are fewer technical aspects because those pages aren’t required to be crawled by a search engine.

 

My last three points aren’t so much pros and cons about whether to choose a specialist or generalist. They are about how certain characteristics of your account should inform your decision to hire a specialist or a generalist.

 

Small Budgets

 

If you have a relatively small budget, let’s say $15k monthly or less, and you already have a traditional agency of record, I would advise you to hire the traditional agency of record (or full-service digital agency) to manage your PPC. The reason for this is because no matter how good the PPC agency is, if you’ve hired a traditional agency of record, it generally indicates you’re a larger business and a $15k monthly budget would have a very small impact on your business. And regardless of the impact that a PPC agency has on that portion of your budget, it’s not likely to offset the cost in a meaningful way.

 

(If you’re spending $15k monthly or less and don’t already have a traditional agency of record, the advice in the previous paragraph doesn’t apply to you. Consider hiring a specialist or generalist based on the advice I give in the rest of the article.)

 

Large Budgets

 

If you have a relatively large budget, let’s say $500k annually or more, regardless of whether that is a small or large portion of your overall marketing budget, it’s a large enough number in and of itself that you should likely hire a PPC agency. The agency will be able to impact your business enough, spending between $40-$50,000 a month, that they should be able to make up for their fees both in terms of saving wasted spend and increasing account performance overall.

 

Complexity

 

If your account has an array of technical issues (i.e. tagging or tracking), or:

 

  • There are multiple accounts with multiple brand managers
  • There are a million keywords or a million ads
  • You need to track from click to sale for lead generation
  • If there’s any demonstrable amount of complexity

 

I won’t say that you should hire a PPC agency, *but* you should at least speak with them to validate the depth of complexity in your account. Maybe they’re simple problems that, to someone not familiar with search, seem like complex issues and can be fixed easily. Or maybe there are blind spots you’re not aware of that a PPC agency could identify and help you manage.

New Scripts! Enhanced Monthly Budget Projections and Display Audit

Thankfully, AdWords Scripts has made it much easier for account managers to utilize their current data to make smarter choices for their campaigns. There are tons of important areas to focus on, but predicting your budget through the end of the month is paramount in order to have a successful PPC campaign.

 

But, if you’re uncomfortable with writing and employing AdWords Scripts on your own, never fear. We have easy to use scripts just for you complete with tutorials!

 

Monthly Projections

 

  • Quickly calculate how much you need to push/pull your campaign budgets to hit your cap.
  • See projections for Conversions, Cost, Impressions and Clicks at the Campaign Level.
  • Easily calculate your projections through the end of the month.
  • Find projected conversions and CPL for the month.
  • Schedule the script to run and send you and update e-mail with all the information, straight to your inbox.

 

Why We Love It: This will help you monitor your performance and start preparing in advance for any changes, without having to log in and manually pull data.

 

Hero Pro

 

Display Audit

 

  • Auditing placements can help identify which placements to pause.
  • Cut CPA and quickly identify non-converting placements.

 

Why we love it: Set your CPA and quickly check your display placements, and outputs Cost, Conversion, View Through Conversions (or VTC), and places any over CPA limits into a spreadsheet.

 

display audit

 

These scripts are only available with a Hero Pro account, which you can try free for seven days. Hero Pro offers 10 AdWords Tools and a library of 22 AdWords Scripts.

Why We Need Control in PPC

Last week, Google announced that the option to exclude close variant match types was going away in September. The PPC community, predictably, went ballistic. But then some began to question why we are all going so crazy – after all, how many of us actually exclude close variants anyway?

That’s beside the point, though. The point is that we want, and need, the choice.

Google has gradually taken choice away from us: In 2012, we temporarily lost the ability to rotate ads evenly, although that came back after an outcry from the PPC community. In 2013, with enhanced campaigns, we lost the ability to have separate campaigns by device, something that was once considered a best practice.

Now Google is taking away close variant options. And there is good reason to be concerned.

Brad Geddes of Certified Knowledge wrote a good article on why forced close variants is a terrible idea. He shows, with actual data, that close variants do not perform at all the same as traditional matches; in fact, in his examples, close variations have much lower conversion rates and much higher CPAs than their actual match type.

Sam Owen at PPC Hero also showed actual data on close variants, and his data was similar to Geddes’, although the differences varied by account. For some accounts, the difference was minimal, and the residual conversions gained from using close variants were worth the slightly higher CPA.

But for some accounts, especially lead generation accounts, the difference was significant, with close variants resulting in overall CPA increasing from $91.01 to $111.76. As Owen points out, this difference could be enough for a client to get upset and even decide to stop advertising with Google.

Mike Roberts at the SpyFu blog points out another huge concern about losing the ability to exclude close variants: the fact that close variants essentially turn phrase match keywords into broad match keywords.

SpyFu’s data shows that “If you spend $100K per month on AdWords, and all of your keywords are Exact Match, then you can expect to spend about $102,400 after ‘Close Variants’ is switched on at the end of September. If your account is organized by Phrase Match, then expect to be spending $117,200!” Wow.

I didn’t just take these esteemed authors’ word for it – I ran my own analyses on some of our clients. I was able to validate their findings.

The first analysis I ran was for a very large lead generation client. For exact match close variants, we saw an 11 percent higher CPA than on the exact match search queries. For phrase match close variants, we saw a whopping 35 percent higher CPA.

cpa-increase-chart

We also saw a higher CPC for the close variants than for the matched keywords.

All that said, for this client we are getting 20 percent more conversions by using variants, at only a 5 percent increase in CPA. So, on the surface close variants seem worth it.

However, several of this client’s campaigns are budget-limited. It seemed to me that if we excluded close variants, we would get more conversions without sacrificing CPA. So I ran the numbers.

 Scenario Impressions  Clicks  Cost  Conversions CPC  CPA  Conv % 
Without close variants  201,583 11,937 $64,171.41  142 $5.38 $451.91 1.19%
With close variants  290,112 14,630 $80,441.72  170 $5.50 $473.19 1.16%
If close variants excluded  290,112 14,630 $78,648.55  174 $5.38 $451.91 1.19%

If we excluded close variants, we could get more conversions at a lower total cost by putting the entire budget toward traditionally matched terms. For a budget-limited advertiser, this is significant. Who wouldn’t want to get more conversions for the same cost?

The bottom line here is, we need control. As Sam Owen’s data showed, for some advertisers, close variants result in more conversions for little to no additional cost. In e-commerce, for example, casting a wider net is valuable, since it’s nearly impossible to bid on exact matches for every product you sell.

But for other advertisers, close variants are costing them money, especially on phrase match close variants.

Why not give us the control we need?

To further illustrate why we need more, not less, control, let’s take a glance at the impact ofcombining tablets with desktop for the lead generation client I profiled earlier.

Device  Impressions   Clicks Cost  Conversions CPC  CPA  Conv % 
Computers 5,225,330 39,808 $122,578.89 206 $3.08 $595.04 0.52%
Mobile devices with full browsers 213,322 1,255 $7,675.78 97 $6.12 $79.13 7.73%
Tablets with full browsers 1,178,831 11,312 $16,355.79 17 $1.45 $962.11 0.15%

This client is using mobile click to call, and they get a lot of calls. That’s why the mobile conversion rate is so good. But look at tablets. The CPA for tablets is a whopping 62 percent higher than the CPA for computers. Don’t you think I’d rather use that $16,000 to buy more desktop clicks?

An easy solution here would be to add a tablet modifier. We could still bid on tablets, but set a bid that makes sense.

And how about the data for search partners vs. Google.com?

Network  Impressions  Clicks  Cost Conversions  CPC  CPA  Conv% 
Google search 1,064,870 16,231 $97,734.20 211 $6.02 $463.20 1.30%
Search partners 1,045,007 4,015 $21,250.66 43 $5.29 $494.20 1.07%

Well, this isn’t terrible. The CPC for search partners is lower, but so is the conversion rate. CPA is only 7 percent higher for search partners. But the total spend is pretty high.

A bid modifier for search partners would be great here. We could bid just 7 percent less for this traffic and be in good shape.

In fact, there are times I’d be willing to pay more for search partners! Here is data from a different B2B client:

Network Impressions Clicks Cost Conversions CPC CPA Conv%
Google search 32,606 1,057 $2,024.69 132 $1.92 $15.34 12.49%
Search partners 23,458 262 $333.76 44 $1.27 $7.59 16.79%

Search partner conversions at half the cost of Google search? Give me more, please! In this case, I’d be willing to bid 50 percent higher for search partners. Google is leaving money on the table in this instance.

New AdWords Scripts For Your MCC! Powerful Analytics Meets Simplicity

Wish you had an easier way to gather data on all the accounts in your MCC? Getting in the habit of monitoring key metrics before you start your daily routine will help quickly identify problem areas in your accounts and focus your marketing efforts on the right things at the right time. With Hero Pro’s two new MCC scripts you can pinpoint which accounts need attention first.

 

If you aren’t tracking your all your accounts KPI’s daily you are losing money.

 

If you see a sudden spike in impressions you might have an issue with keywords. If your spend spikes you might have inadvertently set the wrong budget. Whatever the reason, you’ll now have the tools in place to keep you informed and up to speed so you can fix a problem before it impacts your bottom line.

 

The Daily MCC Alerts script allows you to…

  • Identify any potential issues
  • Easily spot big swings in performance
  • Notify you of any drastic changes

Our Daily MCC Changes scripts lets you…

  • Monitor day to day performance
  • Quickly compare spend, conversions, and CPA to the previous day
  • Easily spot any abnormalities

 

Pay per click advertising isn’t a passive activity.

Hero Pro offers seven other tools and a library of 18 AdWords Scripts.

 

Protect yourself and your client.

Ad Guardian does the one thing you can’t, but should: It constantly monitors your website, detects when the site goes down, and then pauses your corresponding ad campaigns when the page goes down. When your site goes back up, Ad Guardian reactivates campaigns that were active before the site went down saving you thousands in wasted ad spend.

 

Build New Ads, Launch Multivariate Ad Experiments, Get Results.

As any PPC manager knows, ad copy testing can be a brutal, time-consuming investment, but Ad Automator let’s you Set up, execute and track a 26-round multivariate ad test down to the ad group level in only a few minutes. It then records, tracks and reports each round of ad tests each time one reaches statistical significance.

 

Tap. Swipe. View. It’s that simple.

3phonesWith the new mobile app from Hero Pro, you can keep your stats right in your pocket. PPC Headliner for iPhone and iPad isn’t the AdWords interface on a mobile, but you can use it to gain easy access to your metrics while on-the-go. With just a few clicks, you can see what your accounts are doing down to the campaign level ensuring you’re receiving the intelligence you need at all times.

– See more at: http://www.ppchero.com/new-adwords-mcc-scripts-power-meets-simplicity/#sthash.q63RIAVM.dpuf

5 Ways Social Data Can Enhance Marketing Data

Social Data

The nature of social media – public, real time, immediate – and the abundance of data collected on users, activity and engagement, provide a greenfield of opportunities to use social data to enhance and support marketing data.

Here are five ways social data can be used to enhance marketing data.

1. Use Social Data to Provide Added Value for Ad Selling

Online publishers have been selling ads based on data like visits, pageviews, subscribers, and impressions. But social data can be used to enhance the value of online publishers by proving larger circulation through social profiles, impressions on social networks and increased reach through shares.

Media kits should start to include social data as the added value the publisher provide to advertisers as well as post-advertisement reports that include impressions, reach, and engagement.

Additionally, publishers can add value by providing advertisers with the exact details on engaged-audience including the actual users who engaged with their content.

2. Use Social Data to Enhance TV Ratings Data

Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings

Nielsen recently add Nielsen Social as part of the TV rating offering by looking at people who tweet about TV shows and their audience. But social data can enhance more than just simple ratings and provide insight into the type of audience engaged with TV shows as well as the types of engagement.

Networks and cable TV can start looking at social data to make decision about the life or death of their programming beyond the traditional rating system and can provide the social data as an added value for advertisers.

In today’s DVR-heavy watching habits, ratings for live TV only give the networks partial information on how well their programming is doing with their audience. This data might have been able to save Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

3. Use Engagement Data to Test Messaging

Social media provides marketers with a cheap and quick way to test messaging with a highly targeted audience. By crafting several messages you can post to social media and measure the engagement levels each message generated with your audience.

Running simple A/B tests, poll questions, or even just asking your audience via tweets, LinkedIn messages, or Facebook posts, you can garner insight on the resonance of messages before you invest heavily in one message or another.

Companies that utilize social media as a testing field for messages, new product offerings, and validation of strategic direction can be better informed about their decisions by analyzing the engagement data in cross reference to the audience that engaged as well as to the way they engaged.

4. Use Social Ads Data to Test Creative

The emergence of social ads offers brands access to audience without the efforts of building that audience organically. In addition, most social ad platform include ad optimization as an integral part of the platform.

Marketers can utilize these platforms to test ad creative before they roll out major, expensive ad campaigns. Use engagement data to evaluate how well your ads are doing and what creative works better with your audience.

The hyper targeting the social platforms offer can ensure that your test is being done on a select, targeted audience without “tainting” your entire addressable market with test campaigns.

5. Use Social Trends to Research Keywords

Unlike in search, social media provides immediate feedback on keyword trends. Using data from the social networks you can uncover keywords and phrases that are on the upswing before they become completely apparent on organic search and this way create content that will get a head start on organic search.

Use tools like Twitter Trends, hashtag research tools, or social media measurement solutions to learn what keywords are getting more traction with your audience and what keyword trends are forming.

You can later insert these keywords into your editorial calendar and create content that will be optimized for queries and phrases that are already in use by your audience.

Summary

The integration of social data with traditional marketing data can enhance your understanding of trends and user behavior, and also can be used as an added value for publishers and advertisers.

The trend of incorporating social data into other data sources is only beginning; do you have any other ideas on how to use it?

Google Cracking Down On Bad Advertising Practices, Over 350 Million Ads Removed

Screen Shot 2014 01 17 at 9.55.56 PM Google Cracking Down On Bad Advertising Practices, Over 350 Million Ads Removed

Google released a report on their AdWords blog today detailing just how vehemently they are cracking down on “bad actors” who are abusing the online advertising services.

Mike Hochberg, Director of Ads Engineering at Google, states:

We’ve allocated substantial technical, financial, and human resources to stopping bad advertising practices and protecting users on the web.  Hundreds of our engineers, policy experts and others have dedicated their careers to this work.

Even with a team that large the amount of ads they managed to remove last year is still surprisingly substantial. Over 350 million bad ads were removed from Google’s systems in 2013. To put that in perspective, Hochberg says, if someone looked at each of the bad ads for one second, it would take them more than ten years to see them all. By comparison, 220 million bad ads were removed in 2012.

What’s also notable in this report is that the bad ads are coming from far fewer sources. Just 270,000 advertisers were banned in 2013 compared to 850,000 in 2012. Google attributes this decline to scammers being stopped by safety screens and moving on to less secure targets.

The Worst Advertising Offenders

Just what, exactly, are these advertisers trying to sell? Google lists the worst offenders in their report. They are as follows:

  • Counterfeit goods: 14,000 advertisers banned for trying to sell these.
  • Illegal online pharmacies: 2 million ads removed.
  • Copyright infringement: 5,000 AdSense accounts disabled for violating copyright.
  • Tech support scams: 4,000 AdWords accounts removed.
  • Malware: 400,000 ads disabled from sites hiding malware.
  • Get rich quick schemes: 10,000 ads disabled for sites promoting these.

Advertising offenders are relentless, but Google says they are just as relentless when it comes to stopping the offenders. Rest assured Google will continue working around the clock to maintain a healthy advertising ecosystem and keep users safe.