Monthly Archives: September 2015

Google AdWords: Search vs. Display Networks

A major gripe for me and many other advertisers online is the way Google pushes advertisers to target both their Search results and Display networks whenever they set up their AdWords campaigns. According to Google, when an advertiser first sets up their AdWords campaign, targeting both networks provides an opportunity for them to reach more customers.

While, technically, this is true, it is not a very good idea. In this article, we will examine why targeting both networks in the same way is a bad idea so that you can avoid the trap of targeting these two very different networks with the same AdWords campaign.

Understanding the Search and Display Networks and Their Differences

When most people think of Google AdWords, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the ads that are displayed alongside search results on Google.com. These ads are run on the Search network. The beauty of the Search network is that it offers advertisers the chance to show prospects highly targeted advertising when they are looking for a particular product or service.

The Google Search network is very similar to the old Yellow Pages. This is because prospects would ‘search’ for a particular item in the Yellow Pages when they were ready to buy, which meant that businesses could advertise whatever products or services they were offering alongside the regular listings. Today, most people use Google.com to search for the products or services they need, with the Search network acting as the new Yellow Pages.

On the other hand, Google’s Display network works completely independently of the Google.com search. The Display network is powered by a service known as AdSense, which places ads on a variety of independent websites whose owners are looking to earn money when people view or click on the ads. Any website owner can sign up to AdSense and place the Display network ads on their website. Advertisers can then target these web pages. Google’s statistics indicate that there are more than 2 million websites which use AdSense today, giving you an idea of just how large the network is.

To understand the difference between the two networks, it is essential to understand that when you advertise on the Display network, your campaign is not targeting people who may be looking for your products or services. Instead, you are advertising to the people who are visiting any one of the websites on the Display network. This fact leads us to the first point you need to understand when advertising with Google:

#1. Your Ad Message Should Match the Relevant Network

Whenever someone visits Google.com and searches for a particular product or service, you are almost guaranteed that they have an immediate need. For example, if a prospect searches for a ‘locksmith in Denver,’ it is fairly obvious what the person wants. This person clearly has an immediate need for someone who fixes or repairs locks in Denver, or else they wouldn’t have taken the time to enter that particular search phrase in Google.

With this in mind, you can then tailor your Search network ad copy so that it is a precise match for the keywords the person searched for. This will ensure that you offer them the best option. Because your prospect typed the search phrase ‘locksmith in Denver,’ the ad you place on the Search network should make it clear that you are a locksmith who operates out of Denver and have a call-to-action to encourage the person to get in touch with you.

On the other hand, let us consider a person who is surfing the internet and reading an article that explains how a deadbolt lock is installed. While it is clear that this person would like to know how locks are installed, you cannot be certain that they actually want or need a locksmith. Unlike the prospect who visits Google.com and types in a search phrase, there is no way to know if this individual has an immediate need – therein lies the difference! In this particular case, the ad campaign you place on the display network should be aimed at convincing the person that getting a locksmith is their best option if they would like to install a deadbolt correctly.

It is fairly obvious from the two examples above that the ad copy you choose for the Search network has to be different from that which you use to advertise on the Display network. It would therefore be impossible for you to effectively match your ad message to the network. As a result, it is therefore a bad idea to use a single campaign to target both advertising networks.

After we understand the importance of matching the ad copy to the relevant network, we can then move the concept to the next level:

#2. Ensure That Ads Match Contextually and Behaviorally

When we looked at the example of the Display network ad above, we were working on the assumption that the ad campaign had been targeted at a contextually relevant webpage that talked about how to install a deadbolt lock. This is the simplest form of targeting available when using Google’s Display network to match the keywords within your ad to relevant web pages on the more than 2 million websites that use AdSense.

Another option available to advertisers who use Google ads is behavioral targeting. This works by showing your ads to individuals whose internet browsing history indicates that they may be interested in purchasing your product or service. For example, if I visit many home décor and home improvement websites, with time, the Google search engine figures that I am interested in this particular area and will put me within an audience group that may be called ‘home improvement.’ Behavioral targeting allows advertisers like interior decorators, painters, plumbers or locksmiths to easily select an audience of people that will be more likely to be interested in the products or services they have to offer.

Now that you are suitably armed with knowledge of how contextual and behavioral targeting works, all you need to do to ensure that your campaigns are more effective is to ensure that your ad copy matches your targeting options. The better you get at matching your copy to your targeting options, the higher the number of clicks your ads will generate.

The 4-Step Guide Toward Success in Digital Marketing

When I was a kid, I loved to solve puzzles. In fact, I still keep plenty of puzzles from my days in elementary school all over my apartment. However, it is not just about puzzles; what I love is getting to understand how many different pieces fit together to provide a solution to a problem. This was a major factor in my decision to take up an engineering course in college.

Even as an adult, I still love to solve puzzles, though it has been a while since I solved a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Instead, I now spend a large part of my time and most of my energy solving the different pieces that come together to create successful digital marketing. When you look at the process of creating a digital marketing campaign as a big puzzle that needs to be assembled, it is easier to get your head round the entire process.

However, when compared with a jigsaw puzzle, digital marketing has one big and important difference: You do not have a box with the completed picture to offer a guide on how the pieces fit together. This certainly makes the process of digital marketing significantly more difficult.

The point of this article is to try to give digital marketers a glimpse of the finished picture. It contains a detailed walkthrough of a tried, tested and proven digital marketing framework in four simple steps which are the essential pieces that form a successful digital marketing plan.

The Foundation

Before looking at the components of the marketing framework, it is important to analyze the workings of digital marketing. When broken down into its most basic components, any successful digital marketing strategy follows the same basic formula:

(Marketing Revenue) = (Conversion Rate) x (Traffic) x (Customer Value)

What this formula means is that the revenue you earn from digital marketing is a function of how many visitors you get to your website, how many of these visitors you are able to convert into paying customers and the value that these customers offer to your business.

Another way to look at it is that there are three distinct ways to increase the revenue you earn from digital marketing: Increase the traffic you get to your website, raise the rate at which you convert the traffic and increase the value that you offer to your customers.

A vital point to remember is that the revenue you earn from your website will be nil if any of the three important digital marketing aspects is zero. It is basic math; even if you are able to drive millions of unique visitors to your website but cannot convert them into paying customers, your revenue will still be zero!

Once you have an understanding of this marketing formula, you can now move up to the details of the framework, which we will call ‘The 4-Step Guide toward Digital Marketing Success.’ These 4 important steps are what every business with an online presence must work on continuously to ensure they remain competitive online.

1. Website Traffic

The first of these steps is building up enough website traffic. Clearly, if you are unable to get enough people to visit your website, you are unlikely to find any success with digital marketing. This should be your main area of focus when you get started with digital marketing.

You should think of your website traffic like fuel for your business.  Your business needs a consistent supply of this ‘fuel’ to ensure that your marketing efforts have a base to build upon.

2. Website Conversions

As we mentioned earlier in this article, it does not matter if you are able to get all the traffic in the world coming to your website if you are not capable of converting the traffic into leads and sales. If you already have an established business and your website has a continuous stream of heavy traffic, the conversion of your visitors is likely to be the key to increasing your sales.

Let us examine an example that explains this point. Let us say you are able to get 1,000 people to visit your website every month and are subsequently able to convert 5 of these visitors into sales. Your conversion rate is then 0.5%. What would happen if you find a way to increase the rate of conversions to 1%? You would, in effect, double your sales figures while having the exact number of people visiting your website! This doubling of your sales would happen without necessarily having to increase your investment in traffic building through SEO, social media or advertising.

3. Customer Value

Although there are many businesses that ignore it, customer value is considered the X-factor that can make or break a digital marketing campaign. Once again, I will use an example to show how offering value to your customers could play an essential role in the success of your marketing effort.

Let’s say that you have a conversion rate of 0.5% and the average value per customer is $100. What this means is that, generally speaking, every visitor that views your website is worth $0.50 to you. By this calculation, it makes no sense to spend more than $0.50 to market your website to each visitor, since it would mean that you are losing money.

However, what happens if you have your main competitor with a similar conversion rate, but with a higher value per customer of $150? Your competitor will be able to afford to spend up to $0.75 per visitor, which means they can attract much higher traffic than you do. Even though they may offer the same product or service, have a similar website and convert visitors into customers at the same rate, their higher customer value means that your competition will dominate your market.

4. Tracking

The final thing you need to consider is tracking. If you do not implement a proper tracking system for your website, you will have very little data to refer to when trying to improve on the three other steps.

When carrying out digital marketing, you should think of visitor tracking and statistics as you would the dashboard of your car. Driving would not be the same if you did not have a fuel gauge or speedometer. It would be harrowing to drive without knowing whether you should slow down or accelerate. Also, without the warning signals that your fuel gauge gives you, it is likely that you would suddenly run out of fuel.

Implementing a proper tracking system will help you to make better decisions since you will know where to place your focus.

In the same way that you would need to complete a puzzle in order to see the final picture, following through each of these 4 steps will assist you in creating a complete plan of action in achieving digital marketing success.