Tag Archive | "Paid"

SearchCap: Google shorter snippets, Google review notifications & paid search tips

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SearchCap: Google earnings, fake online reviews & paid search

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The #1 Reason Paid Ads (On Search, Social, and Display) Fail – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Pouring money into a paid ad campaign that’s destined to fail isn’t a sound growth strategy. Time and again, companies breaking into online ads don’t see success due to the same issue: they aren’t known to their audiences. There’s no trust, no recognition, and so the cost per click remains high and rising.

In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand identifies the cycle many brands get trapped in and outlines a solution to make those paid ad campaigns worth the dollars you put behind them.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about the number one reason so many paid ad campaigns, especially from new companies and companies with new products or new ventures that they’re going into, new markets and audiences they’re addressing, fail. They just fall apart. I see this scenario play out so many times, especially in the startup and entrepreneurial world but, to be honest, across the marketing landscape.

Here’s how it usually goes. You’ve got your CEO or your CMO or your business owner and they’re like, “Hey, we have this great new product. Let’s spread the word.” So they talk to a marketer. It could be a contractor. It could be an agency. It could be someone in-house.

The marketer is like, “Okay, yeah, I’ll buy some ads online, help us get the word out there and get us some traffic and conversions.”

Then a few months later, you basically get this. “How’s that paid ad campaign going?” “Well, not so good. I have bad news.”

The cycle

Almost always, this is the result of a cycle that looks like this. You have a new company’s campaign. The campaign is to sell something or get exposure for something, to try and drive visits back to a web page or a website, several pages on the site and then get conversions out of it. So you buy Facebook ads, Instagram ads, maybe LinkedIn and Twitter. You probably use the Google Display Network. You’re probably using AdWords. All of these sources are trying to drive traffic to your web page and then get a conversion that turns into money.

Now, what happens is that these get a high cost per click. They start out with a high cost per click because it’s a new campaign. So none of these platforms have experience with your campaign or your company. So you’re naturally going to get a higher-than-normal cost per click until you prove to them that you get high engagement, at which point they bring the cost per click down. But instead of proving to them you get high engagement, you end up getting low engagement, low click-through rate, low conversion rate. People don’t make it here. They don’t make it there. Why is that?

Why does this happen?

Well, before we address that, let’s talk about what happens here. When these are low, when you have a low engagement rate on the platform itself, when no one engages with your Facebook ads, no one engages with your Instagram ads, when no one clicks on your AdWords ad, when no one clicks on your display ads, the cost to show to more people goes up, and, as a result, these campaigns are much harder to make profitable and they’re shown to far fewer people.

So your exposure to the audience you want to reach is smaller and the cost to reach each next person and to drive each next action goes up. This, fundamentally, is because…

  • The audience that you’re trying to reach hasn’t heard of you before. They don’t know who you are.
  • They don’t know, trust, or like you or your company product, they don’t click. They don’t click. They don’t buy. They don’t share. They don’t like.

They don’t do all the engagement things that would drive this high cost per click down, and, because of that, your campaigns suffer and struggle.

I see so many marketers who think like this, who say yes to new company campaigns that start with an advertising-first approach. I want to be clear, there are some exceptions to the rule. I have seen some brand new companies that fit a certain mold do very well with Instagram advertising for certain types of products that appeal to that audience and don’t need a previously existing brand association. I’ve seen some players in the Google AdWords market do okay with this, some local businesses, some folks in areas where people don’t expect to have knowledge and awareness of a brand already in the space where they’re trying to discover them.

So it’s not the case always that this fails, but very often, often enough that I’m calling this the number one reason I see paid ads fail.

The solution

There’s only one solution and it’s not pretty. The solution is…

You have to get known to your audience before you pour money into advertising.

Meaning you need to invest in organic channels — content or SEO or press and PR or sponsorships or events, what have you, anything that can get your brand name and the names of your product out there.

Brand advertising, in fact, can work for this. So television brand advertising, folks have noticed that TV brand advertising often drives the cost per click down and drives engagement and click-through rates up, because people have heard of you and they know who you are. Magazine and offline advertising works like this. Sometimes even display advertising can work this way.

The second option is to…

Advertise primarily or exclusively to an audience that already has experience with you.

The way you can do this is through systems like Google’s retargeting and remarketing platforms. You can do the same thing with Facebook, through custom audiences of email addresses that you upload, same thing with Instagram, same thing with Twitter. You can target people who specifically only follow the accounts that you already own and control. Through these, you can get better engagement, better click-through rate, better conversion rate and drive down that cost per click and reach a broader audience.

But if you don’t do these things first, a lot of times these types of investments fall flat on their face, and a lot of marketers, to be honest, and agencies and consultants lose their jobs as a result. I don’t want that to happen to you. So invest in these first or find the niches where advertising can work for a first-time product. You’re going to be a lot happier.

All right, everyone. Look forward to your comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Why the Best Writers (Sometimes) Aren’t Paid What They’re Worth

Maybe you don’t say it out loud. It sounds like bragging, and bragging is obnoxious. But you know you’re good. When you see a sentence that isn’t right, you know what needs to change. You twitch a little when you see a clumsy turn of phase, or a sentence that doesn’t mean what the writer
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Four key holiday paid search trends to keep an eye on

Columnist Andy Taylor shares data that can help predict trends in the e-commerce and retail space this holiday season. Advertisers, take note!

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SearchCap: Google booking features, SEO facts & paid search health

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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New Findings Show Google Organic Clicks Shifting to Paid

Posted by Brian_W

On the Wayfair SEO team, we keep track of our non-branded click curves: the average click-through rate (CTR) for each ranking position. This helps us accurately evaluate the potential opportunity of keyword clusters.

Over the last two years, the total share of organic clicks on page one of our e-commerce SERPs has dropped 25% on desktop and 55% on mobile.

For the ad-heavy non-local SERPs that we work in, paid ads are likely now earning nearly the same percentage of clicks as organic results — a staggering change from most of the history of Google.

Organic CTR loses 25% of click share on desktop, 55% on mobile

Looking at 2015 vs 2017 data for all keywords ranking organically on the first page, we’ve seen a dramatic change in CTR. Below we’ve normalized our actual CTR on a 1–10 scale, representing a total drop of 25% of click share on desktop and 55% on mobile.

Organic receives 25% less desktop CTR and 55% less mobile CTR compared to two years ago.

The much larger drop on mobile is particularly relevant because we’ve seen large traffic shifts to mobile over the last two years as well. The overall percentage drop plays out somewhat similarly across the first page of results; however, the top four were most heavily impacted.

The first four organic results were most heavily impacted by the CTR shift from organic to paid.

About the data

It’s important to note that this type of CTR change is not true for every SERP. This data is only applicable to e-commerce intent search queries, where ads and PLAs are on nearly every query.

We gather the impression, click, and rank data from Search Console. While Search Console data isn’t quantitatively correct, it does appear to be directionally correct for us (if we see clicks double in Search Console, we also see organic Google traffic double in our analytics), site improvements that lead to meaningful CTR gains appear to be reflected in Search Console, we can roughly verify impressions via ad data, and we can confirm the accuracy of rank. For purposes of this data pull, we excluded any keywords that Search Console reported as a non-integer rank (such as ranking 1.2). We have thousands of page one keywords, including many large head terms comprising millions of combined clicks, which gives us a lot of data for each ranking position.

We remove all branded queries from the data, which hugely skews click curves.

It’s important to note that paid ads are not getting all the clicks that organic is not. In addition to the small number of people who click beyond the first page, a surprising number do not click at all. Our best guess is that all ads combined now get about the same percentage of clicks (for our results) as all organic results combined.

Why is this happening?

It’s no secret to SEOs who work on transactional keywords why we no longer gain as large a share of clicks for our best rankings. We suspect the primary causes are the following:

  • Ads serving on more queries
  • More ads per query
  • Larger ads, with more space given to each ad
  • Google Shopping (which show up on more queries, list more products per query, and take up more space)
  • Subtler ad labeling, making it less obvious that an ad is an ad

At Wayfair, we’ve seen Google Shopping results appear on more and more search queries over the last year. Using Stat Search Analytics, we can track the growth in queries serving Google Shopping results (modified by search volume to give a qualitative visibility score) across the 25,000 keywords we track daily on mobile and desktop. The overall share of voice of Google Shopping has grown nearly 60% in the last year.

Number of transactional queries serving Google Shopping has grown nearly 60% in the last year.

On top of this, we’re often seeing four PPC ads for a typical non-branded commercial term, in addition to the Google Shopping results.

And with the expanded size of ads on mobile, almost none of our queries show anything other than ads without scrolling:

This great image from Edwords shows the steady growth in percent of the desktop page consumed by ads for a query that has only three ad results. We go from seeing five organic results above the scroll, to just one. In more recent years we’ve seen this size growth explode on mobile as well.

At the same time that ads have grown, the labeling of ads has become increasingly subtle. In a 2015 study, Ofcom found that half of adults don’t recognize ads in Google, and about 70% of teenagers didn’t recognize Google ads — and ad labeling has become substantially less obvious since then. For most of its history, Google ads were labeled by a large colored block that was intuitively separate from the non-ad results, though sometimes not visible on monitors with a higher brightness setting.

2000 – Shaded background around all ads:

2010 – Shaded background still exists around ads:

2014 – No background; yellow box label next to each ad (and ads take up a lot more space):

2017 – Yellow box changed to green, the same color as the URL it’s next to (and ads take up even more space):

2017 – Green box changed to a thin green outline the same color as the URL:

What to do about it

The good news is that this is impacting everyone in e-commerce equally, and all those search clicks are still happening — in other words, those users haven’t gone away. The growth in the number of searches each year means that you probably aren’t seeing huge losses in organic traffic; instead, it will show as small losses or anemic growth. The bad news is that it will cost you — as well as your competitors — more money to capture the same overall share of search traffic.

A strong search marketing strategy has always involved organic, paid search, and PLA combined. Sites optimizing for all search channels are already well-positioned to capture search traffic regardless of ad changes to the SERPs: if SEO growth slows, then PLA and paid search growth speeds up. As real estate for one channel shrinks, real estate for others grows.

If you haven’t been strongly invested in search ads or PLAs, then the Chinese proverb on the best time to plant a tree applies perfectly:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

With a similar percentage of clicks going to paid and organic, your investment in each should be similar (unless, of course, you have some catching up to do with one channel).

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Beat high-cost paid search clicks by sweating the details

Paid search can be difficult in competitive industries where CPCs are higher than average, but columnist Pauline Jakober believes it’s still possible to succeed with the right tactics.

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SearchCap: Google AMP updates, SEO content & paid search clicks

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Paid Social for Content Marketing Launches – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KaneJamison

Stuck in a content marketing rut? Relying on your existing newsletter, social followers, or email outreach won’t do your launches justice. Boosting your signal with paid social both introduces your brand to new audiences and improves your launch’s traffic and results. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, we’re welcoming back our good friend Kane Jamison to highlight four straightforward, actionable tactics you can start using ASAP.

Paid social for content marketing launches

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. My name is Kane. I’m the founder of a content marketing agency here in Seattle called Content Harmony, and we do a lot of content marketing projects where we use paid social to launch them and get better traffic and results.

So I spoke about this, this past year at MozCon, and what I want to do today is share some of those tactics with you and help you get started with launching your content with some paid traction and not just relying on your email outreach or maybe your own existing email newsletter and social followers.

Especially for a lot of companies that are just getting started with content marketing, that audience development component is really important. A lot of people just don’t have a significant market share of their industry subscribed to their newsletter. So it’s great to use paid social in order to reach new people, get them over to your most important content projects, or even just get them over to your week-to-week blog content.

Social teaser content

So the first thing I want to start with is expanding a little bit beyond just your average image ad. A lot of social networks, especially Facebook, are promoting video heavily nowadays. You can use that to get a lot cheaper engagement than you can from a typical image ad. If you’ve logged in to your Facebook feed lately, you’ve probably noticed that aside from birth announcements, there’s a lot of videos filling up the feed. So as an advertiser, if you want to blend in well with that, using video as a teaser or a sampler for the content that you’re producing is a great way to kind of look natural and look like you belong in the user’s feed.

So different things you can do include:

  • Short animated videos explaining what the project is and why you did it.
  • Maybe doing talking head videos with some of your executives or staff or marketing team, just talking on screen with whatever in the background about the project you created and kind of drumming up interest to actually get people over to the site.

So that can be really great for team recognition if you’re trying to build thought leadership in your space. It’s a great way to introduce the face of your team members that might be speaking at industry conferences and events. It’s a great way to just get people recognizing their name or maybe just help them feel closer to your company because they recognize their voice and face.

So everybody’s instant reaction, of course, is, “I don’t have the budget for video.” That’s okay. You don’t need to be a videography expert to create decent social ads. There’s a lot of great tools out there.

  • Soapbox by Wistia is a great one, that’s been released recently, that allows you to do kind of a webcam combined with your browser type of video. There are also tools like…
  • Bigvu.tv
  • Shakr
  • Promo, which is a tool by a company called Slidely, I think.

All of those tools are great ways to create short, 20-second, 60-second types of videos. They let you create captions. So if you’re scrolling through a social feed and you see an autoplay video, there’s a good chance that the audio on that is turned off, so you can create captions to let people know what the video is about if it’s not instantly obvious from the video itself. So that’s a great way to get cheaper distribution than you might get from your typical image ad, and it’s really going to stick out to users because most other companies aren’t spending the time to do that.

Lookalike audiences

Another really valuable tactic is to create lookalike audiences from your best customers. Now, you can track your best customers in a couple of ways:

  • You could have a pixel, a Facebook pixel or another network pixel on your website that just tracks the people that have been to the site a number of times or that have been through the shopping cart at a certain dollar value.
  • We can take our email list and use the emails of customers that have ordered from us or just the emails of customers that are on our newsletter that seem like they open up every newsletter and they really like our content.

We can upload those into a custom audience in the social network of our choice and then create what’s called a lookalike audience. In this case, I’d recommend what’s called a “one percent lookalike audience.” So if you’re targeting people in the US, it means the one percent of people in the US that appear most like your audience. So if your audience is men ages 35 to 45, typically that are interested in a specific topic, the lookalike audience will probably be a lot of other men in a similar age group that like similar topics.

So Facebook is making that choice, which means you may or may not get the perfect audience right from the start. So it’s great to test additional filters on top of the default lookalike audience. So, for example, you could target people by household income. You could target people by additional interests that may or may not be obvious from the custom audience, just to make sure you’re only reaching the users that are interested in your topic. Whatever it might be, if this is going to end up being three or four million people at one percent of the country, it’s probably good to go ahead and filter that down to a smaller audience that’s a little bit closer to your exact target that you want to reach. So excellent way to create brand awareness with that target audience.

Influencers

The next thing I’d like you to test is getting your ads and your content in front of influencers in your space. That could mean…

  • Bloggers
  • Journalists
  • Or it could just mean people like page managers in Facebook, people that have access to a Facebook page that can share updates. Those could be social media managers. That could be bloggers. That could even be somebody running the page for the local church or a PTA group. Regardless, those people are probably going to have a lot of contacts, be likely to share things with friends and family or followers on social media.

Higher cost but embedded value

When you start running ads to this type of group, you’re going to find that it costs a little bit more per click. If you’re used to paying $ 0.50 to $ 1.00 per click, you might end up paying $ 1.00 or $ 2.00 per click to reach this audience. That’s okay. There’s a lot more embedded value with this audience than the typical user, because they’re likely, on average, to have more reach, more followers, more influence.

Test share-focused CTAs

It’s worth testing share focus call to actions. What that means is encouraging people to share this with some people they know that might be interested. Post it to their page even is something worth testing. It may or may not work every time, but certainly valuable to test.

Filters

So the way we recommend reaching most of these users is through something like a job title filter. Somebody says they’re a blogger, says they’re an editor-in-chief, that’s the clearest way to reach them. They may not always have that as their job title, so you could also do employers. That’s another good example.

I recommend combining that with broad interests. So if I am targeting journalists because I have a new research piece out, it’s great for us to attach interests that are relevant to our space. If we’re in health care, we might target people interested in health care and the FDA and other big companies in the space that they’d likely be following for updates. If we’re in fashion, we might just be selecting people that are fans of big brands, Nordstrom and others like that. Whatever it is, you can take this audience of a few hundred thousand or whatever it might be down to just a few thousand and really focus on the people that are most likely to be writing about or influential in your space.

Retarget non-subscribers

The fourth thing you can test is retargeting non-subscribers. So a big goal of content marketing is having those pop-ups or call to actions on the site to get people to download a bigger piece of content, download a checklist, whatever it might be so that we can get them on our email newsletter. There’s a lot of people that are going to click out of that. 90% to 95% of the people that visit your site or more probably aren’t going to take that call to action.

So what we can do is convert this into more of a social ad unit and just show the same messaging to the people that didn’t sign up on the site. Maybe they just hate pop-ups by default. They will never sign up for them. That’s okay. They might be more receptive to a lead ad in Facebook that says “subscribe” or “download” instead of something that pops up on their screen.

Keep testing new messaging

The other thing we can do is start testing new messages and new content. Maybe this offer wasn’t interesting to them because they don’t need that guide, but maybe they need your checklist instead, or maybe they’d just like your email drip series that has an educational component to it. So keep testing different types of messaging. Just because this one wasn’t valuable doesn’t mean your other content isn’t interesting to them, and it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in your email list.

Redo split tests from your site

We can keep testing messaging. So if we are testing messaging on our site, we might take the top two or three and test that messaging on ads. We might find that different messaging works better on social than it does on pop-ups or banners on the site. So it’s worth redoing split tests that seemed conclusive on your site because things might be different on the social media network.


So that’s it for today. What I’d love for you guys to do is if you have some great examples of targeting that’s worked for you, messaging that’s worked for you, or just other paid social tactics that have worked really well for your content marketing campaigns, I’d love to hear examples of that in the comments on the post, and we’d be happy to answer questions you guys have on how to actually get some of this stuff done. Whether it’s targeting questions, how to set up lookalike audiences, anything like that, we’d be happy to answer questions there as well.

So that’s it for me today. Thanks, Moz fans. We’ll see you next time.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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