Making the Leap to Enhanced Online Campaigns – What it Means, and How to Adapt

Image credit: google

Image credit: google

Without a doubt, one of the most-talked about subjects in the SEM sector these days is Google’s launch of Enhanced Campaigns. This launch represents a fundamental shift in the structure of PPC campaigns, and as marketers and agencies, we owe it to ourselves and our clients to be ahead of the curve in adapting to the changes coming to AdWords. In this post, I’ll break down some of the major changes between so-called “legacy campaigns” and new Enhanced campaigns….

Are You Ready for Conversational Search?

Search-Changes

It used to be the only time I talked to my computer was to scream expletives about how long it was taking to calculate a pivot table. That’s all about to change.

It’s time to tackle the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of search marketing….

To Bid or Not to Bid: Working with Trademark Keywords

With Google’s recent announcement of updates to the international trademark policy, it’s always a good time to revisit trademark keywords and what to do about them. First off let’s review the policy updates and then go through some tips on how to handle trademark infringements as a brand and, most importantly, offer some things to consider before letting loose on a campaign of conquest.

1.) Google Updates & Streamlines their Trademark Policy

To bid or not to bid. These are the answers.

To bid or not to bid. These are the answers.

Google has recently announced a slight adjustment to their trademark policy. Officially not a whole lot is changing, according to Google’s announcement “we will not prevent the use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions [but] trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.” Although it’s nothing drastically different, some changes are worth noting and always worthy of a reminder.

Here’s what’s new

1.      Google finally has a uniform global policy that should help international search marketers scale and enforce brand protection.

2.     The update affects advertisers in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Brazil which now have policies in line with other international markets.

3.      The change will go into place on April 23rd, 2013 and trademarked terms in international campaigns previously disapproved will be pushed live.

The most “Important” distinction: Bidding on Trademarked keywords is not the same as using trademark in ad copy….

+1 – Why Google’s Social Efforts Matter to Paid Search Marketers

Happy Friday! I’m thrilled to be contributing to the Acquisio blog. Every other week, I’ll be talking about a variety of digital marketing topics, ranging from SEO, SEM, analytics, and importantly, how to tie them all together.

Digital Immigrants Helping to Build a Digital Nation

A rather silly obsession has developed in our “digital” world today: that there is some kind of divide between those who are “digital natives,” and those who are not.

Worse, some feel that there is no greater compliment to pay someone than to refer to them as a digital native… and that it’s perfectly acceptable to dismiss “non-natives” as somehow outré.

With the possible exception of Nicolas Sarkozy, that language is no longer acceptable in the real world of building real nations. And a good thing, too….

Targeting Options Across Different Online Channels

So maybe you have an online budget and it’s time to build a strategy. Or maybe you have to build a strategy so that you can lobby the purse-holder for a budget to work with. How do you determine what channels are best suited for your goals?

Well, each online channel offers a distinct form of user targeting, and how you target someone is going to affect how they react, respond, and/or convert. So it’s helpful to first understand each of these major targeting methods, and from there decide which online marketing channels are most compatible with your goals….

Google Will Search Plus Your World

Search Plus Your World

With search and social seemingly getting more and more tangled up in Google and Bing’s algorithms, search engine optimisers cannot ignore social media. You have to accept if you want to keep up.

For instance, Bing incorporates Facebook data into its search results. And now Google has taken a giant (and some might say taken a risky) step with the introduction of Search Plus Your World (SPYW).

What is SPYW? In a nutshell, if you are signed into your Google account, your search results will be stirred up to include content such as links, images and videos that have been shared by friends in your Google + social network. If this is new to you, you can read more on the official Google blog.

In this post, I want to talk about how this new feature will affect your search engine results……

Mobile Ad Opportunities in 2012

So every year since 1990-something, people have been predicting that the following year was going to be the year of mobile. Whether 2012 will turn out to be the year of mobile or not is anyone’s guess, but two things that are certain are (1) mobile has definitely gone mainstream and, as a result, (2) it’s therefore an ad medium that any serious marketer has to take, well, seriously.

This couldn’t be more truer than in the US. Indeed, if you consider some of the numbers release by Nielsen in their State of the Media: Mobile Media Report Q3 2011, there is a clear and present opportunity for advertisers to target mobile user through both mobile search and mobile app ad networks.

So it’s not a question of whether you should be investing in mobiles advertising. It’s a question of how much you should be investing in mobile (and maybe even whether you should be diverting budgets from other channels)….

MicroHoo a Win-Lose-Win Deal

The deal between Microsoft and Yahoo is very good for the paid search community. It creates a viable #2 competitor with enough market share to matter and a single API for developers to exploit. And Yahoo gets a few dollars for their retirement fund.

Some quick initial thoughts on the impact to each player in the game:

Search Advertisers

Advertisers get a single channel with 20-35% of the search traffic (depending on what and how you measure, and who you believe) which is *nearly* enough critical mass to actually spend time on. The core economic problem that Microsoft, and to a lessor degree Yahoo had before was that they didn’t offer enough inventory to justify the effort of managing let alone aggresively managing large keyword accounts on their platforms. Many advertisers have 20% of their keywords or less running on these engines, and spend 10% or less of their management time on them. Bing and Yahoo still need to attract users or advertisers won’t care. But at their current market share, or better yet if they can pickup 5 or 10%, there’s enough there to be worth the effort to equalize campaign sizes and spend perhaps 30% of campaign management time on them.

Microsoft
Proof that being dumb and rich is a far better strategy than just being dumb. Nothing except their money has justified Microsoft’s existence in this market until recently. Bing seems a reasonable search engine, but the AdCenter platform is pure Microsoft, meaning anything-but-cutting-edge and won’t really offer even the baseline of what the market really needs until version 3.0. They seem to be trying, but in management tools, software and API features, and overall ‘state of the art-ness’ the teams over there need to re-triple efforts to deliver a platform and API set as rich as Google’s. If they don’t, users and developers who now have a large enough market share to bother, won’t have enough patience to work around the limitations it takes to do so.

Yahoo
Yahoo can now spend their time and energy on being second or fourth best at a wide variety of internet content and web-app plays, perhaps to eventually sell each of those to richer and dumber rivals. Or maybe the idea was to get out of search so Google would want to buy all their other assets. This is the Sarah Palin move of search – quit and declare victory.

Paid Search Platforms and Tools
For purely selfish reasons, we’re glad to see the Yahoo and Microsoft platforms consolidate. Every feature we add to ClickEquations that had to touch 3 different APIs took two or three times more time (at least) than if it only had to touch one. We can build more cool features to help advertisers faster now. As mentioned above, the AdCenter platform has plenty of Microsoft quirkiness to it, but we’ll hope and assume they listen to the market and evolve. But in the case of API vendors we can do more with less.

Searchers
I believe that search result quality has a long way to go, that the loyalty Google has is to the brand and therefore ultimately could erode quickly. The Bing/Yahoo platform will likely very slowly pick up steam, but MS has to go do some HUGE bus dev deals to buy more distribution (AOL?) and continue to innovate on the results. Over time, they could substantially erode Google share, but the road will be hard and long. In this case, a perfect fit for Microsoft BUT they need to earn it they’re not just going to be able to out-last the competition or wait for them to commit suicide this time.

Google
Enabling very weak competition to become marginally viable doesn’t hurt Google in the short run. The fear of actual competition and even market share loss could very well spur the very smart folks at Google on to deliver even better stuff faster, as competition always does. So in the short and medium terms I’d say this is good for Google (and helps get the Gov’t monkey off their back for a while). In the long run, I’d still bet on Google but Microsoft does have a lot of money and know how to compete.

But mostly, I’m just really happy we have one less API to support.

Google Dance Management

There are many amazing things about Google. The one I’ve always been the most intrigued by is their ability to manage so many projects so well at such a large scale.

We can hardly imagine the number of things going on there – big diverse programs, developments, acquisitions, global scaling issues, etc. Yet relatively speaking things seem to get done and run amazingly smoothly.

This extends to their ability to throw a party.

I spent last evening walking the famous “Google Dance” event with friend and advisor Avinash Kaushik.

If Martha Stewart threw a tech party, this would be it. There was no detail, no extravagance, no space or idea left incomplete. There were gifts, and caricature artists, and music, and food (of all kinds & everywhere) and light shows, and photo-booths, and volleyball, and on and on. With an industry full of people streaming in by the bus load.

And yet like the Google homepage it was simple, friendly, and casual.

I can’t imagine the effort that went into making this event so complex and so seemingly effortless.

It was a great event, but it inspired even more awe about what these guys are doing and will continue to do during work hours.