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Superbowl Ads – Do They Score Online? February 7, 2010

Posted by nadzent in Search Engine Marketing, Strategy, Tips.
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If you have ever wondered how those multi-million dollar TV spots resonate online, look no further than Reprise Media’s Superbowl Scorecard. This is an annual study measuring how effectively an advertiser’s marketing program integrates across media channels. Is GoDaddy buying relevant keywords on Google? Are they showing up in the organic search results on Yahoo? Is the competition buying their brand keywords for 24 hours to “piggyback” on the TV ad dollars spent by the competition? It’s always interesting to see who scores a “touchdown” and who is left on the sidelines. 2008 results showed Pepesi as the clear winner. Zantac deffinitely fumbled. Watch for the 2010 results – Search for 2010 Reprise Superbowl Scorecard and see if they score a touchdown this year!

Here is the 2008 Superbowl Scorecard RepriseMedia_SearchMarketingScorecard_08

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SEM 101 – The Very Basics January 25, 2010

Posted by nadzent in Search Engine Marketing, The Basics - SEM 101, Uncategorized.
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If you are interested in trying to manage SEM on your own but don’t know a CPC from a CTR you’re in luck! Take a look at this Power Point and download it to refer to as you get into building and managing your search campaign. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I’ll do all I can to aid you. As a very successful Search entrepreneur once said to me “It’s not curing cancer!”. True enough, but it does take some time and committment. It can be addictive once you get going and see the results, you’ve been warned…

SEM 101 – The Very Basics To Get You Started

Google Launches New Ad Formats for the Holidays November 25, 2009

Posted by nadzent in Intermediate - SEM 201, Search Engine Marketing.
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Today Google launches a few new ad formats. Some are targeted to local advertisers, others to online retailers. It seems their timing is just right to get the kinks out before CyberMonday. This is Google fulfilling their promise to deliver the most relevant results to any search query. It also keeps the searcher on the SERP longer and creeps into non-Google-like territory.

What this means to advertisers is that you have more options than ever to reach Google’s audience through the AdWords platform. Once you grasp the basic auction-based ad model you can explore your creative options and varying strategies around ad targeting and what content is most important to your target customer. You can learn more at the Google Blog. Or please comment below and let’s open a dialogue.

I will watch the Google space over the Holiday weekend and on Monday in particular, and report back with whatever insight I can glean. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

A Simple, Sample SEM Performance Model – How Much To Spend November 12, 2009

Posted by nadzent in Search Engine Marketing, Strategy, The Basics - SEM 101, Tips.
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One question I hear time and again is “How much should I spend on Search Engine Marketing?” Well, to be honest there is no true answer to that question. When considering this for your business please answer the following questions:

  1. What is your business goal or objective (increase leads, sales, downloads, reservations, brand recognition, new product launch, etc.)
  2. What actions are available at your web site (i.e. newsletter sign-up, purchase, information request, etc.)
  3. How much budget do you have available for your total marketing efforts
  4. What other marketing are you doing, online and off
  5. What has been your past experience with SEM or other online advertising
  6. Are you hoping to attract local, national or global searchers to your web site
  7. What is your success metric (ROI, CPA, ROAS, CTR, Clicks, etc.)
  8. Is there a seasonality to your business
  9. What is the conversion rate at your web site today (how many people who visit take an action – actions/clicks)
  10. What is the average value of a conversion (dollars, leads, profit, etc.)

Once you have answered these questions you will be able to design your campaign model. You will need to create a keyword list based on your goals and objectives with the success metric in mind. You can use Google’s keyword tool to assist in this task. Take anything you’ve learned from past search engine marketing, email or online display campaigns and work that into your design. Are you targeting a zip code, the Northeast, Canada or the entire North American footprint? Do you have any promotions, direct mail, TV, radio or email campaigns scheduled for the period you plan to run your SEM campaign? Choose your flight dates based on seasonality trends – high season will see more competition and higher CPCs. Low season will offer less competition and lower CPCs but also less volume of opportunity (fewer people searching).

Take you keyword list to the Google Traffic Estimator tool. Use the settings based on your answers to the above and see what Google spits back to you. Though the tool is never 100% accurate it does give you some idea of what you can expect in terms of cost and scalability. I recommend running the estimate two times, once with no daily budget to see what 100% market share would look like, and one with a realistic daily budget based on your scenario above.

Once you know the estimated daily clicks you can extrapolate that out to impressions and multiply by 30 to get a monthly view using the formulas in the table below. Decide what you want your results to look like by making the Total Cost cell a variable and play around with it. If you are looking for a certain percentage of market share, or Impression Share, then you need to open up your pockets and take everything the search engine can offer.

Though Google is the only search engine with an estimator tool right now, you can figure that if you also include Yahoo! and Bing (Microsoft AdCenter) to your campaign you can increase the total impression number by about 30% and drop the CPC by a few pennies.

Simple, Sample Performance ModelDOWNLOAD Sample SEM Performance Model – pdf

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your SEM Results – Right Now November 11, 2009

Posted by nadzent in Intermediate - SEM 201, Search Engine Marketing, Strategy, Tips.
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OK. So you’ve set up a Google AdWords account. You’ve created a long list of keywords, asked your associates, friends and maybe even relatives, what sort of keywords they might use to find your product or service. You’ve written some witty ad copy and set your bids. You’ve seen some increased traffic to your site but not the high ROI you expected. In fact, the SEM experiment has turned out to be much more costly than you’d anticipated. Now what? How can you make this advertising model work for your business?

Fortunately, search engine marketing is flexible and responsive, and with a few simple tweaks you should see marked improvement in performance. Try the suggestions below and let me know how they worked out for you. If you have any questions please feel free to email me and we’ll see if we can work it out together, because this is what I love to do!

1. Brand and Category Campaigns:

When setting up your campaigns within the AdWords user interface, always begin with two: Brand and Category. Your Brand keywords will always perform differently than your Category keywords, and be priced differently as well. The competition on your Brand (i.e. Nonna’s Restaurant, Mr. Jones’ Video Rental, Mary’s Travel Agency, ABC Realty, etc.) keywords should always be less than on the more general Category type of words (i.s. travel, real estate, auto insurance, movies, restaurants, etc.). This means that your bids and CPCs will be lower and your position on the search engine results page will be higher. Typically, click through rates, conversion rates and ROI will be higher on these Brand keywords.

So what do you need to do? Separate your keywords into ad groups based on whether they are Brand or Category focused and then put those ad groups into Brand or Category campaigns. Allocate your budget between the two campaigns based on the amount of exposure you are willing to risk on each type of keyword, keeping in mind that Category keywords will offer a higher volume of impressions but Brand keywords will offer a higher click through rate (CTR). If your goal is to extend your brand awareness or introduce a new product, allocate more budget to the Category keywords. If you are looking for qualified site traffic and/or conversions, put more on the Brand keywords.

2. Thematic Ad Groups:

Group your keywords into tight thematic groups. The tighter the better. For example, if your business is selling insurance all keywords related to insurance quotes should be grouped together. Then, go one step further and break down the insurance quotes ad group into two ad groups, online insurance quotes and easy insurance quotes (assuming you have keywords that fit those criteria). Add one more layer of specificity – online insurance quote keywords that mention your Brand should be separated into their own group, Branded online insurance quotes. Each ad group will perform differently and the searcher, or consumer, will expect a different user experience based on their search. The search engines will reward you as well (see #3).

3. Ad Group-Specific Ad Copy:

After you have organized your keywords as described in #2, it will be easy to write Ad Group-Specific Ad Copy. By writing specific ad copy based on the search query you provide the user with the most relevant user experience. In addition, you will be rewarded by the search engine’s Quality Score algorithm (the thing that determines how much you actually pay per click and what position you are on the page). The more closely related your ad copy is to your keyword and your landing page (web site) content, the higher the Quality Score and the lower your cost per click (CPC).

Example 1 – Easy Insurance Quotes:

Easy Insurance Quotes
Get a quick, easy insurance quote.
Free quotes from a name you trust.
http://www.ABCInsurance.com

Example 2 – Online Insurance Quotes

Online Insurance Quotes
Get a free insurance quote online.
Free quotes from a name you trust.
http://www.ABCInsurance.com

4. Performance Tracking:

If you don’t track what is working and what isn’t how will you know what to change? You can use free performance tracking tools from Google or Yahoo! All it takes is a little skill at using the copy and paste function. Do this immediately!

5. Yahoo!, Ask, Bing – Go Beyond Google:

When we think of search who do we think of? Google, of course. And when advertisers divvy up their ad budgets, Google always gets a piece of the pie. What would happen if you look beyond Google for your online advertising? Well, you might find less competition, lower cost per clicks and higher conversion rates. Sure, your message won’t have the same massive reach as it might on Google, but your ROI or CPA might be a lot better. And if your budget is not unlimited why not take it where it can have a bigger impact on your bottom line?  If you get a great return on the other engines, great! Take what you learn and all that revenue from your efforts and reinvest it in Google. It’s the big fish in a small pond idea. I suggest trying Yahoo! Search Marketing first, though in some verticals you may find the CPCs are actually higher than on Google. Then branch out to Bing (MSN/Microsoft) and finally Ask.com.