October 08, 2010

Facebook Ad Tactics for Search Marketers

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East

DSC_8727 The "Facebook At Tactics for Search Marketers" panel at SMX East was a pretty insightful panel, from looking at how to manage your advertising in Facebook more easily to how to use it as a research tool, this panel was also full of great tips fromt he presenters.

First up was Matt Lawson from Marin Software who pointed out that Facebook just has a sheer amount of traffic, it's now crested and eclipsed google in page views.  They pages visisted are also more per session, 12+ in Facebook is an oustanding number to figure into your strategies.

Understanding that people are visiting more pages during their sessions in Facebook, you will naturally get more impressions than you can in paid search in the search engines (Google, Bing).  That only makes sense.  More impressions however, does mean lower click through rates, but this is o.k. when you also factor in you will have lower CPC rates that range anywhere from 12 to 15%.

Conversion rates are really all over the map for Facebook ads.  It really depends on how you are targeting your ads and your creatives.  Images are much more important with Facebook Ads.  Marketers need to be careful of having their ads "blending in" so choose colors that draw out.  If you also tailor your images to your audience it will increase their relevance as well.  You also need to keep the ads fresh because users on Facebook become ad blind

Matt also pointed out that maintaining the Facebook experience is important, especially for conversions.  Most succeful campaigns tend to be those who built their ads and campaigns into the Facebook tabs.

Matt rounded out his presentation by pointing out for marketers to remember that (according to: "The Influecened:  Social media, search and the interplay of consideration and consumption"  by Group M) social influences search.  Consumers who are exposed to a brand's social meda ads are:

  • 2.8 times as likely to search on brand terms
  • 50% more likely to click on paid search ads
  • 1.7 times morelikely to purchase from search

DSC_8723 Kevin Ryan from Motivity Marketing was up next at the podium and started off with pointing out how Facebook ads are really easy to set up, in just 5 minutes you can set them up.  He also pointed out that Facebook can become bigger in 5 yrs than Google is today (he pointed out a good piece on TechCrunch that speaks to this).

When marketers are working with Facebook ads, they need to look beyond just the keywords to things like tidal changes, early stage - creative shelf life, transitions, and just because you can doesn't mean you should (especially when it comes to bidding against your competition).  Marketers need to be more geographically relevant with Facebook and understand the collective interest.

Merry Morud from AimClear was up after Kevin Ryan and focused on how she runs campaigns in Facebook.  When you start a new account either start it from an admin account or create a new destination account on Facebook.  If you start a new account Facebook will at first limit you to $50, put in a request to buy more and they will work to get that removed.

When it comes to Facebook ads they are still a lot like PPC ads in the search engines in that you still need to create Landing Pages, whether they are landing pages that are on your site or a Facebook tab, you should still perform small audits on there.  Marketers should also be testing the verbiage in their copy, but an easy way to start is to grab your Search PPC copy that is working.  Also understanding how much freedom you have is important because in Facebook langauge that appeals to a certain segment (slang) can make your ads more successful.

Merry also pointed out how important images are to Facebook ads.  You need to get pictures - you need them, lots of them -  and you also need to make the images pop.  Merry uses IrfranView and cranks up both the contrast & saturation to make normal images stand out more.

Some best practices to keep in mind for creating your Facebook ads are: no symbols, full healdine, full sentice in body, no excessive punctuation, no eccesive capitlaize, real urls, bid daily budget must start at least $1.  She also suggested using some alternative tools:  Word's Thesaurus, Wikipedia, VisuWords, WordStream, OneLook Reverse Dictionary and your own noggin'.

Merry really had a ton more of great stuff in her presentation so if you were at SMX and didn't get to see this panel, download her presentation when they put them up and you can get the full information.  She really did have a lot of awesome tips and insights.

Finally Tyler Calder from Search Engine People rounded out this panel.  Tyler focuse on how marketers can use Facebook ads for market research.  Facebook is a researchers dream, so much data to get into about your customers can be found on Facebook.  If you want to  know how a certain groups people respond to a message an image or a question - Facebook can help with that.

Marketers can take these findings and apply to other offline and online intiatives such as TV, Radio and Print. If you start to use Facebook Advertising as a starting point for your marketing research, follow the Scientific Method.  Tyler outlined what marketers can test with Facebook ads:

  • Blog Titles
  • Email Subject Lines
  • Existing Message in New Market
  • Value Propositions
  • Proof Points

Benefits of using Facebook as a marketing research tool are huge: cost effective, fast, targeting, data collection, and flexibitilty.

Tyler presented two case studies in how they effectively used Facebook ads to research and test for their clients.  The first involved TV ads for a medical client that specialized in lap band procedures.  The client had a clearly defined geographic area and demographic but has a very high cost per conversion and they needed insights into how to produce a commercial that would be relevant.  They question they needed to answer for the client was what type of TV does their audience watch.  By using Facebook ads they were able to effectively answer that question and help the client with the campaign and making it much more affective and the results were 6% increase in calls, 11% increase in online consultation bookings.

The second case study Tyler highlighted was for a company who had a mobile application.  The app itself had strong reviews and a high retention rate however it could not break into the top 25.  The problem was that their app icon was seriously ugly and sucked.  Tylers team used Facebook ads to test the new icon images, the one that performed the best in the ads was what was chosen for the new application icon. The results - app downloads steady rate/sustained of downloads, with first ugly app icon, it was 69% drop off after the initial release.

Just like the Facebook (SEO) Optimization panel before this one, this session was really full of a lot of great tips, insights and information.  If you attended SMX East and missed this panel make sure to download the presentations.  If you didn't attend SMX East, make sure you put SMX West on your agenda!


October 05, 2010

Retargeting: The New Behavioral Ads

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Behavorial-ad-re-targeting One of the first sessions yesterday at SMX was the Retargeting:  The New Behavioral Ads.  This session focused around understanding how minute in details and data driven serving up display ads across content networks can be.  Chris Sherman was the moderator for this panel and he brought up the fact that the FCC is taking a closer look at the process of using cookies and their data to retarget ads to users and the privacy concerns around this process.  There could be legislation coming in the future that prohibits companies from using data in this way.

First up on this panel to present was Kevin Lee from DidIt.  Kevin's been around this space for quite a while and is one of the people who have a truly deep knowledge of exactly how these networks work with capturing data and then serving up the right ads to the viewer.  Kevin focused on the basics of ad retargeting and told the audience that this form of advertising is much greater than thinking of it as just "display ads".

When it comes down to it, marketers have to think about who's cookie pool do they want to use, if  you want to be successful because all behavioral search is not the same.  Since you want to remarket to your customers and existing site visitors you are going to need a larger cookie pool of visitors to be successful.  So are you going to use organic traffic, paid placement traffic, media traffic, direct navigation, affiliate marketing traffic (this can get tricky because you'll have to pay the affiliate when the remarketing works)?

What is the window of opportunity for the buy funnel? The longer your prospects are in market the more opportunity you have to remarket to them, so you need to plan accordingly with your budgets and strategy.  But keeping that in mind you also have to look at the "creepy factor" of retargeting along with the "spouse factor" meaning that most computers are shared by a family.  Just because we have all this Personally Identifiable Information (PII) does it mean we should use it?

Kevin wrapped up his presentation by pointing out a beginners mistake: be careful with performance deals.  Sometimes you are paying for the same lead/order multiple times and data collection systems can kill your affiliate networks.  Look for performance marketing agencies who have performance marketing deals that work around attribution modeling and even better, media mix modeling that offer marginal elasticity of ever media option.

Joshua Dreller presented next and posed the question to the audience "What is the main reason why search marketing works so well?" his answer was "Intent."  Search marketing is considered by advertisers to be the most effect media channel for reaching consumers who exhibit "intent."

There are challenge though:  high ppc prices, scalability issues, maxed out budgets, only being limited to text ads - nothing beats sound and images. This is where ad retargeting can really shine especially when marketers realize that billions of adspace goes unsold every day, and that "cookies" can help you evaluate the ad bids much more effectively.

Nancy Marzouk from Net Mining rounded out this panel on ad retargeting by pointing out some myths:

1. each potential customer that interacts with your brand should be treated equally

2. because someone has been to your site previously they will automatically convert

Qualifying remarketing impressions starts with your site data & standard marketing (based on page views).  Page visits are equal to possible interest. Smarter marketing by using advanced audience profiles, look at pages visited,  time spent on pages, recency of visits, sequence of products purchased, and search referrals.  All equal true interest, according to Nancy, so marketers need to expand their targeting pool based on site data.

Nancy finished up her presentation by pointing out that marketers can't solely focus on ad retargeting, neglecting the other channels (PPC, SEO, Brand Display, and Social Media for example) can be costly.  Marketers need to stop siloing their efforts and create more "blended" portfolios.

February 24, 2008

SES London 2008: Balancing Organic & Paid Listings

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Kevin Ryan VP Search Engine Watch
Speakers: Dixon Jones, MD Receptional Limited
Jay Bean: Founder CEO, Orange Soda Inc
Nathan Levi: Head of Search Campaign Marketing Avenue A | Razorfish
Richard Clark: Pureplay Marketing Manager, Dixons.co.uk

Paid and organic has been a debate for a long time and the panel discussed the ways to balance the two strategies for the best results.

Dixon Jones
Lots of peoples clients argue that organic is something that should replace the early spend for PPC. Dixon showed an example of someone who contacted him via the form on his site after clicking on Receptionals Adwords ad attempting to sell him SEO!

You should pay for ppc even when you have placement within the organic serps. Dixon showed a good example of how the organic and paid results are blurred now, the example illustrated how a search can return the one box results that gives news and stock info etc.

Many of the sites linked to within the one box carry advertising as a business model. So traditional organic listings do get pushed down the page, thats why you need a dual approach.

We then looked at an example of how changes in screen resolution / size can almost allow one company with indented results in the serps to dominate the above the fold results.

Dominance in any one serp cannot be achieved without a balanced approach to using both methods.

Affiliates can also provide a way of finding your site pushed from the visible to below the fold for a given vertical.

PPC is part of the mix, SEO is the sum of the mix. You need both tools to be able to ensure you have the ability to respond the changes in circumstances that come with any search engine.

Two listings on a page converts better than just one method and more listings help you dominate more of the space on the page from your competition.

Jay Bean
Smaller local advertisers have some real opportunities today as a growing percentage of searches feature a localization element.

Benefits for the balanced approach: -

  • You can turn up and down the ppc spend dependent on business or seasonal factors.
  • You don't have any guarantees that the organic wont change and without the paid listing you can find yourself exposed to changes in search engine preference.
  • You get greater credibility from appearing both in the paid and organic results and this can benefit conversions significantly.

Where to start ?
Check the current ppc spend and analyze your keywords to give you an indication of terms that you might want to optimize for in natural search or by adding a local market segment.
Set a budget to allow you to allocate your spend between the paid and SEO efforts and in the early days whilst waiting for the seo efforts to kick in paid can take more of the resources.

The case study Jay showed highlighted the benefit of targeting specific terms for SEO and a far broader set for paid.

For the smaller or local companies it may be difficult to compete with the large corporations but there remains good opportunities to compete on the local level.

Nathan Levi
Why should I buy my branded keywords when i rank for the terms in the organic listings often at a high cost per click?
Nathan showed us some case studies to illustrate the effect of the dual strategy over the single.
Its important that you try to get the analytics in one place to allow you to make informed decisions.
You need to be able to drive enough traffic to be able to get robust statistics so keyword choice is key.
They did a test to see what effect turning the paid listings off one day and on the next would have.
When the paid listings were on it pulled traffic away from natural but the click through rate was greatly improved and the overall effect was that both listings benefited from each other.
Conversion rates were static across the test, whilst increasing the incremental cost of having paid listings the overall benefit from the increased conversions made it well worth it.

In conclusion there is a multiplier effect of holding both natural and paid.

Richard Clark
60% of searches now have 3 or more words and 90% have 2 or more.
Dixons.co.uk started by spending all their online budgets on paid listings targeting generic terms but have grown to use a more balanced approach.

Dependent on budgets you need to target the stage on the buying process that you can afford and that makes sense for you, for example if Dixon's target the term 'TV' they  are targeting people in the research phase of the buying cycle but you can also target people in the buying phase by targeting much more focused terms like 'Toshiba 32 inch  lcd TV'.

When trademark isn't protected you should always bid on the brand.
Over 20% uplift in revenue when bid on branded terms when you are also top of the organic.

Being top of ppc and organic increases brand awareness and recall.

Q & A Session:
Will buying paid listings affect your organic listings?
Nathan Levi - Throughout there many thousands of listings where they have organic and paid results they don't see any effect that would indicate the engines (MSN specifically in this case) do not alter any organic results based on paid ads for the same.

October 16, 2007

eMetrics - Jim Novo Presents on Actionable Testing Even a Manager Could Love

By Mike Churchill

I spent the afternoon attending the Behavioral Targeting and Testing track, where Jim Novo of Drilling Down delivered an excellent presentation on “Actionable testing and reporting even a manager could love.”  Jim’s proposal is to develop your reporting efforts such that you are reporting on people – not campaigns. Many times, there are multiple factors influencing the customer’s behavior on site, and the only way to properly account for those other factors is through the use of a control group.

For example, suppose you are running an email campaign to your existing customer base, and during the course of the campaign, the company is also running a PPC campaign, a Superbowl ad, and during this same time a major news event related to the company breaks.  When reporting on the effectiveness of the email ads, how would you account for those other (possibly significant) factors?

Continue reading "eMetrics - Jim Novo Presents on Actionable Testing Even a Manager Could Love" »

October 16, 2006

Ford & Home Depot Paid Ad Deal

By Li Evans

Homedepotracing_1 Marketing Vox is reporting that Ford and Home Depot have worked out a deal where Ford is going to be advertising on the HomeDepot.com website.  This may not sound all that interesting, but it is when you look at it from the perspective of NASCAR.  Yes, I said NASCAR.  The Joe Gibbs Racing team features the Home Depot car - #22, driven by former the NASCAR Cup Series winner Tony Stewart.  Tony doesn't drive a Ford, he drives a Chevrolet.

Quite interesting how Ford worked this one out!  Granted, the ads won't be on Home Depot's racing site, but any NASCAR #22 fan (there is quite a legion of them out there, too) will find it a bit odd to see the Ford ads on HomeDepot.com.

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