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Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’

My Boss Read My Blog Plus 4 Other Reasons to Care About Your Personal Online Reputation

June 6, 2008 7 comments

I just recently found out that my boss isn’t as square as I thought. He’s been using the Internet to find things and research people. Maybe he is reading this right now…

There are a million reasons to care about what you say and what is said about you online. Savvy marketers have known this for a long time and have used online sources to establish credibility and pimp their businesses.

Here are a few other thoughts on managing your personal online reputation:Photo from MySpace

1. Potential employers can search for you online. You don’t want them to read your blog rants or see that awesome photo of you on MySpace with a giant beer while playing drinking Jenga.

2. Competitors. There’s only one first place. Personal business or trade secrets posted online can be easily found, leveraged, used against you. So please don’t brag about your new secret product in your “working on” status on Linkedin. Many people Twitter about who they meet with, what they talk about, and how cool it is. It’s easy to monitor the competition when they hand it over to you in your RSS feed.

3. Distant relatives once found my resume on Google and proceeded to send me “hilarious” email forwards. There was no way out. Since I opted-out of their BBQs, I was eventually phased off the list, but don’t let this happen to you!

4. General embarrassments and wacky misunderstandings often occur when you put it all out there. Remember, I can see what you write, we’re “friends”.

With the amazing impact of social media, it’s more important than ever to consider who can find the personal information and photos you post online.

And remember your boss reads your blog. Don’t call him a square.

Evaluating Success of Online Display and SEM Campaigns

March 22, 2008 7 comments

My blogmate has really learned how to motivate me. After weeks of being absolutely swamped in planning-buying-new business-reporting-competitive-POV-trafficking mode and unable to even think about posting, Lisa has finally found a topic I am jumping to write about in my spare time. One that all the research needed is my 4+ years of media experience with clients. She wants me to write about what success means for an online campaign!

Now success should be evaluated by the goals of the campaign, which it also should have been planned against. While Lisa and I are key educators in online media in general for many of our clients, it’s becoming apparent that many of them are comparing the results of Online Display and Search Engine Marketing against each other. While the strengths of each advertising medium should be compared at a higher level (which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax), here are our thoughts about how the individual components should be evaluated.

Online Display: Sarah
SEM: Lisa

Goal: Branding

Online Display Success: Brand alignment, ad placement (ownership, environment, etc) reach and frequency of target audience. If rich media involved – interaction rate, interaction time, etc.

SEM Success: For branding, the content network is great place to select sites to be served on. I’d select pay-per-click payment options (rather than CPM) and see how it goes. Increased visibility in search results may help to raise awareness and increase searches for your business. Using tools at Compete.com and Google Trends, you can see if keyword searches for your brand increase over time.

Goal: Site Conversions

Online Display Success: High CTR, can be tracked through to conversions by spotlight or floodlight tags.

SEM Success: Conversion tracking can be setup in Google and Yahoo to measure actions taken on the site. I’d also recommend, in addition to basic conversion tracking, use Google Analytics for pageview analysis, advanced goal definition, conversion funnel analysis, and various advanced conversion reports.

Goal: Mass Reach/Awareness

Online Display Success: Reach/Frequency of target audience, made easier by efficiency.

SEM Success: Mass reach can be achieved through search but you’ll want to make sure the traffic is still highly qualified. Widening a geo-target, increasing budget, and/or expanding keywords can increase the frequency the ads are served. Reaching the masses successfully to me would mean getting more conversions at an effective cost while branding through search.

*FAQs we all know and love:*

What is an average CTR?

Online Display: Since we are typically using display for brand purposes and paying for impressions, this is something I try to steer clear against focusing on, especially because even on a really good day 99.6% of online display ads will not get clicked on. Here is a must-have article on what to focus on instead, which cites .3 % as an overall average. Now in my experience with a wide variety of brands, I typically see more in a range of .05-.2%. In my book if it’s within that, no red flags are raised and the campaign could be “successful” based on goals, delivery, etc. And of course CTR all depends on a wide range of factors including creative, call to action, environment, competitive landscape, etc. A very passionate blog was recently posted by Cory Treffiletti about the topic that I couldn’t agree with more – please check it out!

SEM: For PPC search, the CTR can vary wildly depending on the type of business and keywords. For brand terms (you are bidding on your own brand name) I could see 5%-30% CTR. A high CTR is not necessarily a good thing. It could indicate brand confusion or poor natural search rankings. At least you’re getting them now.

For other terms, again, it can vary widely, but 1% and up would be an acceptable range. After all, the ultimate goal is not to get a CTR, but leads or sales.

What is an average interaction rate?

Online Display: Interaction rates can vary just like CTRs. Industry, creative, competitive environment, offer, advertising environment, etc, can obviously cause different outcomes, not to mention type of rich media. Also, unlike the hard data of a click (qualified or unqualified), interaction rates are measured differently. Some rich media vendors don’t account for accidental rollover for expandables. This can drive an interaction rate up but average interaction time down. What I’ve gathered from various rich media vendors are 5-11% interaction rate, 2.4-14 second avg interaction time. As mentioned, metrics vary on this, so know your goals, vendor, and variables!

SEM: Search begins with a user interacting with a search engine to find what they seek. Much can be learned from the keywords searchers use, as well as the action they take once on a site. In analytics, we can see how much time a visitor spent on a website by the keyword that led them there. Understanding how users search then linking that back to how users behave on the site can provide information to help shape search campaigns and other online marketing tactics.

Landing Page Load Time New Issue for Adwords

March 10, 2008 1 comment

I bore the crap out of people when I talk about Google’s technical changes. As Erin says, “deal with it”.

I was getting all these posts in my feeds about Google implementing a new quality score factor to Adwords. Google says “load time” refers to the amount of time it takes for a user to arrive at your functional landing page after clicking your ad. Starting in March, Google will begin to analyze the loading time of your landing pages and connect its quality to the overall quality score.

The official Inside AdWords blog posted an announcement about it March 6th. If you work on creating landing pages, you should be following this closely over the next few weeks.

Once Google adds “load time evaluations” to the account in the keyword analysis page, we’ll then have one month to review the pages and make necessary adjustments.

The purpose of this change is to provide the best possible user experience for those clicking on the ads. As a campaign element we haven’t considered much in the past, it serves as a reminder for advertisers to keep in touch with the user experience. I think we’ll find that that reducing the bells and whistles will lead to more conversions overall.

We still don’t know the parameters of the load time, what is too long? I guess we’ll find out…

deal with it: interactive copywriting is different.

February 27, 2008 8 comments

ematsonWe are thrilled to welcome Erin Matson as a guest blogger for Online Marketing Mavens blog. She is a writer and activist. She is currently a Senior Interactive Copywriter at an advertising agency and on the Board of Directors at National Organization for Women. You may also enjoy her blog, radtothemax.com in which she challenges us to feel things, think about issues, and ideally help her advance women’s rights. We are smarter for knowing her.

My friend thinks my job sucks. I think he sucks and you should, too (at least if you want your business to succeed).

Thing is, my friend and I have the same job – if you ask him. Recently I did over instant messenger. “Erin, I’m not trying to offend you,” he said as we chatted from our respective advertising agencies. Then he told me interactive copywriting is traditional copywriting with lower standards.

I’m not offended. I know most Big Deal Creative Directors of Today, many of them Big Deal Copywriters of Yesterday, reward that attitude. Those guys hire my friend and give him raises when he says that.

Not for long.

If you’re strong enough not to get seduced by the open bar at insider award shows (or are an unusually clairvoyant drunk), you know that the biggest deal in advertising remains what it always has been: the customer. Sadly, that customer rarely gives a millisecond for even the award-winning headlines, TV and radio spots.

Enter neat-o! Customers, prospects and lonely people with insomnia actually pay attention to interactive. That means copywriters, creative teams and businesses contracting advertising agencies can use their work to influence the market side of marketing. Add that up: Interactive is on the cusp of becoming a bigger deal.

I’ll agree with my friend that most interactive copywriting sucks right now, but I think the entire polarized nation could agree that most advertising copywriting sucks harder than an aardvark on top of the ant community’s Kilimanjaro. If we do have the same job it’s to write as hard as we can. People don’t care about any form of writing unless it’s spot-on. That’s hard to do.

So I’m not offended. I know my friend will figure out that he needs to care about interactive copywriting within the next few years, and he’ll give me a call for tips then. There are a few things that are different. I’ll deal with them in a future post here.

Search for Love this Valentine’s Day (Holiday SEM)

February 9, 2008 1 comment

I love love. I’m also rather fond of infatuation and crushes. So it’s no surprise that searchers seek ways to reach out to their beloved as this magical day approaches. According to Yahoo! Buzz, tongue tied Romeo’s have led queries for “love letters,” “romantic notes,” and “romantic love letters” and are posting high gains in Search.

On Google too, Valentine’s Day theme searches pick up around Jan 20th then start to spike around Feb 4th with people thinking ahead on the best ways to score.

  * love letter   * valentine gift   * valentine card

The lure of rising search volume is a tempting treat to online marketers. How to leverage love?

As a search marketer, my advice is to be available in search engines at the exact moment your customer are seeking gifts, cards, candy, jewelry, and etc. Tweak your existing pay-per-click account or get a new one set up in Google or Yahoo.

Set-up a new campaign specifically for the Valentine’s Holiday. It will need to be up and running during the peak search period: around the second or third week of Jan and ending Feb 15th. Considering timing here is key.

If your business offers delivery or shipping to specific areas, you’ll need to geo-target these campaigns as well.

Create new ad text copy to include commonly searched terms with a Valentine theme like “Valentine Gifts for Him”. Because searches are happening very close to the holiday, call out any same day delivery or next day shipping in the ad copy.

Use promotional language. Deals, price points, coupons, gift wrapping, or free shipping are huge selling points and should be included in the ad copy.

Finally, don’t forget to customize the landing page to show your love for your customers. Highlight the V-day theme products on one page and make shipping or delivery information easily accessible.

Tell someone you love them this Valentine’s Day…with search engine marketing!

Optimizing Video for Search Engines: Video SEO Tips

January 21, 2008 5 comments

You’d have to be living under a rock or in a deep woods hide-out to be unaware of the phenomenal growth of online video.

According the Pew Internet Project, 48% of Internet users say they have been to video-sharing sites such as YouTube. In a separate study, nearly 40% of the respondents say they use search engines to find online videos (eMarketer).prodcut video

While videos can increase traffic and engage site visitors, they are not easily indexed by search engines. To be found by your audience, you’ll need to get out a can of SEO tactics to whip that video into shape!

Listen and learn below:

Optimization in the Video File

Video Branding: It may seem basic, but don’t forget to include your logo and any general information in the video so viewers know how to get more information or contact you.

Optimize Filenames:

  1. The name of the video file should be descriptive yet entice visitors to view.
  2. Include keywords closely related to your company, products, or brand.
  3. Include the keyword “video” in the filename.
  4. Example: “how-to-paint-garage-video.mov” instead of “garage01.mov”.

Video File Metadata:

  1. This information can be controlled at the time the video is created, saved, or encoded, and may be found in the”properties” if this feature is available.
  2. Include keyword rich description and comments.

Video Page Optimization

  1. Creating a new web page for each video helps to make your search optimization efforts even more effective.
  2. Use SEO best practices to focus on the web page content that contains your video.
    • Meta Tags: Page URL, title, descriptions, headings, etc.
    • Add text paragraphs with a description, video transcription, or combination to tell both human visitors and search engines more about the video on the page.

Links

  1. Where the content is relevant, link from other pages on the web site to the special video web pages .
  2. Request links from external sites with news, reviews, blogs, etc.

Video sharing websitesyoutube-video

  1. When submitting to video sharing sites, take advantage of all opportunities to provide information about your video and company.
  2. Create a username on the site that is descriptive of your company or brand.
  3. Complete the user “profile” or “channel” page with links back to your company site, blog, or web site you want to spread the word on.
  4. Include the keywords, descriptions, tags, and make sure to make the video viewable to everyone.
  5. Allow users to comment, rate, and embed the video.
  6. Some popular video sharing sites to explore:

Bottom Line

Try to create an experience with video that provides useful content and information and encourages visitors to return for more.

Universal Search: A Challenge in 2008?

January 8, 2008 1 comment

In an interview conducted by BtoB, Jeffrey Pruitt of iCrossing and President of SEMPO discusses future trends and challenges in search marketing. I enjoyed this trend interview and article because I’ve started to see these trends develop in my experiences with search.

I could relate to the near term challenges for search, one being maintaining visibility in universal search. As the search results contain more and more images, video, maps, and even recipes, I wonder if companies are moving more towards understanding this and optimizing for it? Google’s unpredictable results on many searches may lead one to not take it so seriously. However, ask.com is known for leading the way in universal search vs Google results.sushi-like-search

The challenge, noted by Pruitt, is to create content that not only appears in universal search but also forms meaningful connections with them that extends beyond the text-based search. Hmmm. Connect with the searcher? You mean online? Heck yeah!

Read more…

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