Seach, Social & Content Marketing Blog

Google Display Network Upgrade

March 27th, 2012 • By:  • PPC Advertising
Display campaigns and the banner ads themselves have changed drastically over the last several years. With web and mobile advertising continually evolving and becoming more complex, we have been compelled to adapt our display ads to appeal to an ever-changing audience. As Internet users have become savvier, the typical banner ad has shifted from a simple gif format to animated images in a flash (yes, pun intended). Today, it’s no secret that banner ads are created to be more interactive than ever, and it’s all to boost click-through rates. It might seem strange to you, that even though these ads have evolved over the years, their launch platform on AdWords has not – or at least it hadn’t changed until recently.
Sing your praises to Google! Now you will be able to purchase and run your display ad campaigns from the new “Display Network” tab in AdWords. Previously, these customizable options were scattered across several tabs, making campaign management possible but pretty inconvenient. Over the next few weeks, AdWords users will have the ability to use this new interface to build their campaigns. Now you can place bids, organize targeting settings, launch remarketing campaigns, and work on optimization, just to name a few features, all from within one tab.
You already know that certain display ads are triggered by the context of a web page in Google’s Display Network. This contextual engine has always worked hard to ensure that your ads are presented to your most relevant potential customers. In addition to the development of the new “Display Network” tab, this engine is also getting a revamp so that your ads are appearing at the most opportune times.
AdWords is rolling out “Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting”, which will give you the ability to increase the efficiency of your contextual campaigns. This feature gives you the chance to work with your campaigns’ most basic units – your keywords. It’s now easier for you to run your search and contextual campaigns simultaneously. Previously, you had to create exclusive ad groups to run campaigns with varying themes. Now you only have to access one page to see which of your keywords are working most efficiently. Envision that you own a company that specializes in selling athletic-wear. You will be able to measure the effectiveness of the keyword “athletic shoe sale” vs. “Reebok shoes”. If you see that “Reebok shoes” is attracting more clicks, you can use this information to thoughtfully optimize your campaigns, and ultimately maximize your profits.
Visual learners should be thrilled to hear that Google has plans to introduce model images to the “Display Network” tab. Their goal is to give you more resources to reference while targeting campaigns. You will be offered a targeting diagram, which will show you how your keywords, placements and more are working together to attract clicks and potential conversions. This should prove to be a great asset for you, especially if you find comfort in visual aids.
All of these changes are meant to make optimization easier for you. As the PPC advertising climate continues to morph, Google has kept their promise of creating versatile tools to help you succeed. The new tab and contextual targeting approach are such to give you a leg up when organizing your campaigns, and visual aids will prove helpful to many. You should feel good knowing that Google is willing to adapt AdWords to the times in order to offer a more fluid approach to search-based advertising.

Inside the Infographic Studio: Part 1: Research and Design

March 27th, 2012 • By:  • Content Development

Inside the Infographic Studio: Part I: Research and Design
I think we can all agree that infographics are the trend for content development. But before you decide to jump on the infographic bandwagon, you may want to answer the following two questions prior to commitment

  1. Does the content have a need to be visually represented or interpreted?
  2. Can the data and/or content be more easily understood by my audience by visually interpreting it, or will it just confuse my audience?

The point of this post is not to deter anyone from proceeding down the path of an infographic, but instead to show that through proper preparation, good content can sprout promising traffic. In a two-part blog post, we are first going to address research and design through the role of a client reviewing an infographic and/or someone looking to design one.

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The Best Content Creation Tools

March 22nd, 2012 • By:  • Content Development

The Best Content Creation Tools

When most people think of creating content they default to a written blog post. But, more and more that should not be the case with infographics, images and video now playing a more important role in the kind of content that users expect.

So, with the different content formats, what content creation tools are out there to help you create link worthy content?

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Best Way to Accelerate Your Business Online? [VIDEO]

March 21st, 2012 • By:  • Content Strategy

Q & A Video

Arnie Kuenn answers: “What is the best way to accelerate your business online if you are one person and have to wear many hats?”

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Optimizing and Testing PPC Ad Copy

March 20th, 2012 • By:  • PPC Advertising
If you ask the average AdWords user how often they are testing their campaigns, “not enough” is likely the answer that you’ll receive. Running frequent performance tests is necessary in order to build successful campaigns, however it can be difficult to find the time and focus needed to administer them correctly. By following some simple rules, you can save yourself time and money in the optimization process, and also set yourself up to obtain valuable feedback for future campaigns.
First of all, even though it may seem daunting, you should be running tests often. The number will vary depending on the amount of campaigns that you’re running simultaneously, but some successful companies boast that they administer tests around 30 times per month. Although this may not be the ideal target number for you, it should be comforting to know that there happen to be other business owners who manage to prepare and run a new test for every day of the month.
Chances are, you have several other responsibilities to your business in addition to working on ad optimization, but this should never fall to the wayside. Develop a plan to test ads regularly and effectively in order to achieve the ad optimization that you deserve. For starters, make sure that you are testing ads that will provide enough feedback to draw valid conclusions. It may seem silly to point this out, but testing on high traffic ads will save you time and effort. You’ll be able to obtain a large and varied test sample much more quickly than if you are working from an ad group that has a lower traffic volume. From here, you can decipher the things about these ads that are and are not working, and you can make changes accordingly across this and other similar campaigns.
Once you have determined your test sample there are several key factors to examine. For one, make sure that you are presenting an enticing headline. The message should be eye-catching and relevant. This is your first opportunity to grab the audience’s attention, so make it snappy. If you feel that your headlines are not working at the highest level possible try simply rearranging the order or words to increase clickthrough rates. An ad for a site that offers special offers on restaurants in your area may benefit more from a headline like “Free Restaurant Deals” rather than “50% Off Restaurants”. Test different headlines to see which message snags the most new customers.
Try highlighting different offers. “Free Shipping” may be more interesting than “Buy One Get One Shoes” during certain sales cycles. By switching it up you are giving yourself the opportunity to present to different customers, as well as see which offers are most effective overall.
In most industries it is more exciting for customers to see the effects of a product in the ad rather than a description of the actual product. For example “Lose Weight Now” is probably more effective than “Weight Loss Shake” because the headline is outlining the benefits of the product for the customer rather than just physically describing it. They immediately know what your product can provide, which then increases its appeal. Try using a variety of these kinds of headlines to attract people who already have a strong desire for your product or service. They have a need and you present your position to fulfill that need. It’s the foundation of sales, and it’s how you will acquire new business.
Including a powerful call to action naturally goes hand in hand with the aforementioned rule. You should always find opportunities to create a sense of urgency so people feel compelled to visit your site immediately upon reading your ad. Phrases like “limited time” or “today only” can definitely assist in gaining new conversions.
You can test keywords during your quest for optimization as well, but you’ll need to be cautious. In order to secure the validity of your test results make sure that the keywords in your ad text match the keywords on the actual landing pages to which the customer is redirected. If you are running tests using any of the other facts that we have touched on above, than you will also need to be aware of how these could potentially conflict with the keyword portion of your results. The last thing you want to do is run an in-depth series of tests only to realize that the keyword is no longer relevant, and your information is therefore inconclusive.
Getting started is always the hardest part of starting a new testing phase. Once you get the ball rolling, the rest can be a breeze. You’ll quickly get an idea of what works without having to spend too much time and money completely revising your campaign down the road. Just remember to be aware of any changes you make along the way and be sure to revise your process accordingly.