What is a Good Click-Through Rate (CTR) for Google AdWords
    What is a Good Click-Through Rate for Google AdWords?

    It’s not a stretch to say that Google has revolutionized online advertising and pay-per-click advertising through their AdWords platform. In 2016, AdWords was responsible for a significant portion of Google’s $89.5 billion revenue. By providing a multitude of advertising options, the service allows businesses to target web users that would most likely be interested in their product, and advertisers pay when the ad is clicked on. Whether it’s product-driving advertising through Shopping campaigns, image-based advertising through Google’s Display Network, or the traditional search ads, Google has developed the Swiss Army knife of media buying platforms. Of course, if you’re new to the advertising realm, you may have some questions regarding the efficacy of your marketing efforts and whether or not your Google AdWords campaigns are truly optimized.

    How Effective is my Ad?

    Like any other advertising tool, your campaign needs to be targeted to a specific audience and efficient to be successful. One way to ensure that your Google AdWords campaign is up to snuff is by monitoring click-through rates (CTR), which measures the number of times your ad is clicked versus the amount of time it’s served. You can measure the CTR of your campaigns on the whole, or dig deep into the data to measure the CTR by ad or keyword to evaluate which campaign components are not yielding the best results.

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    18 Effective Ways to Market Your Business Online
    18 Effective Ways to Market Your Business Online

    Navigating the digital environment can be an arduous task for small businesses, especially for companies that have been reliant on traditional marketing tactics. While business classes teach us that there are five main promotional activities in the communications mix – advertising, direct response marketing, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations – online marketing has quickly evolved into a digital promotional mix on its own.

    While traditional marketing practices have certain nuances and skill requirements, online marketing has become a massive endeavor for businesses, where an increasing amount of skill sets are needed to manage campaigns on a large scale successfully. Technical and coding prowess, creative design, astute analytics skills, and copywriting are only a few of the main factors to be considered when deploying promotional activities on the internet. The evolution of social media platforms, periodic algorithm adjustments from search engines, and conception of online advertising exchanges have given digital marketers an arsenal unlike anything that has been seen before in advertising.

    However, despite all of the tools readily available at everyone’s disposal, many businesses have been slow in adopting digital marketing practices to capture traffic online. Contrary to popular belief, just creating a website will not lead to hundreds of users hitting your site every day. Whether it’s through social media marketing, search engine optimization, or media buying, you need to develop trust with users and search engines alike to even get the tiniest slice of traffic available on the web.

    Before venturing into digital marketing, there are some things a small business must consider before launching any campaigns, which may include:

    • What is my budget for online marketing? –> Depending on how much you’re willing to invest into digital marketing, the outcomes can either be substantial or minuscule. While we don’t want to hang onto the old saying “to make money, you have to spend money,” you will need to invest a good amount of resources, labor or otherwise, into propelling your brand into the spotlight.
    • What are my objectives? –> While establishing your goals may seem elementary, this is where a lot of small businesses make mistakes with digital marketing. Although fancy metrics such as likes, shares, and views illustrate one’s popularity, they do not always translate into leads and sales.
    • Who is my niche audience? –> Better understanding who you want to reach with online marketing will make it easier to develop a strategic plan of action. Media buying platforms, in particular, offer a wide array of targeting options that can help you pinpoint the people most likely to become a customer.
    • What is my competitive advantage? –> Once again, this may seem like a fundamental element in the planning process, but it can be quite easy to forget if you’re building a new business from scratch. It’s important to define the reason why people should consider your company over a myriad of competitors, especially if what you’re selling isn’t revolutionary or truly distinct from others. Make light of the benefits you provide over competitors and highlight it within your marketing initiatives.

    Now that we’ve gone through the preamble, it’s important to know the different tactics and channels that can be employed to promote your brand in a positive light and capture relevant traffic. Here is a list of all the ways you can market your business online: (more…)

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    Google Rolling out Similar Audiences for AdWords Search & Shopping Campaigns
    Google Rolling out Similar Audiences for AdWords Search & Shopping Campaigns

    Always looking to give advertisers extra capabilities to spend more money, Google has announced the rollout of similar audiences for search and shopping advertising campaigns. While the similar audiences feature has already been available within display campaigns for a while, Google has finally extended the targeting option to search and shopping campaigns, allowing advertisers flexible targeting options. Of course, targeting users based on keyword searches seems pretty direct, but it’s pretty difficult to weed out users that may not fit your ideal target audience. For example, one user searching for “buy health insurance” may be looking to signup for a plan on the spot, whereas another user searching for “buy health insurance” may be looking to get more information. With the ability to strengthen targeting capabilities by seeking out users similar to those who have previously converted via your website, search advertising campaigns will become far more effective. 

    Similar audiences for search advertising will allow businesses to create highly efficient audiences, as based on users who have previously visited their websites. RLSA, also known as remarketing lists for search advertising, gives you the flexibility to implement bid adjustment and/or solely target past site visitors. Unfortunately, it does have certain limitations if you don’t generate a lot of traffic and/or want to broaden your audience without spending too much on unqualified impressions. Similar audiences for search advertising adds another layer to your targeting, creating an ideal pool of potential leads and prospects to which you can market your products & services. Google did tease the feature in May of last year, but the company never divulged details as to when it would be rolled out for the masses and enabled within AdWords accounts. (more…)

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    LinkedIn Introduces Lead Gen Forms A New Ad Format to Collect Leads
    LinkedIn Introduces Lead Gen Forms: A New Ad Format to Collect Leads

    Capturing form submissions can be quite a hassle for any type of business within the digital environment. Every time a step is added to the conversion funnel, there’s an inherent risk in having a number of users drop out and abandoning the entire process. Conversion rates are likely to suffer even more on mobile devices, especially if your website is not up to snuff or you require users to fill out more than a couple of fields. Luckily, it seems like the people behind major media buying platforms are quickly becoming cognizant of this issues and providing businesses with solutions to combat potential issues. Following in Facebook’s footsteps, LinkedIn has launched Lead Gen Forms, which will help advertisers collect user information directly within site via Sponsored Content campaigns.

     

    LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
    Capturing leads on LinkedIn is easy peasy.

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    Breaking down the New Google Adwords Update for Exact Match Targeting
    Breaking down the New Google AdWords Update for Exact Match Targeting

    There has been no shortage of updates when it comes to the Google AdWords platform recently. Over the past year, the following has been updated within the Google AdWords platform:

    • Regular text ads have gone the way of the Dodo bird, being replaced with Expanded Text Ads, which contain two headlines and one lengthy description.
    • Price extensions were rolled out, giving media buyers an opportunity to beef up ad copy with an additional ad extension.
    • Device-level bidding received an overhaul, giving advertisers more control and flexibility with regards to targeting by device category.
    • Responsive ads were brought to the display network, allowing advertisers to have their ad formatted for any type of website within Google’s network.
    • Account-level call extensions were launched, making it easier for AdWords managers to enable call extensions on a broader level.

    For the most part, these updates were welcomed by those of us within the Google Adwords community. In fact, some of these updates were also adopted within the Bing Ads platform (how can you not love expanded test ads?). However, Google’s recent announcement, in which search the engine giant stated that they were changing the way exact match targeting triggers ads, has received a bit of a mixed reaction. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it relinquishes some control over how ads associated to exact match keywords are triggered. At the moment, exact match targeting isn’t really exact match anyways, as close variants (plurals, typos, abbreviations, and adverbs) are already included within the match type targeting. Now, it seems like the goal posts are being widened even further, with Google broadening exact match targeting to include addition, rewording, and reordering of text.

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    Google's Share of the Search Advertising Market Increased in 2016
    Google’s Share of the Search Advertising Market Increased in 2016

    When it comes to search engine advertising, there is no doubt that Google AdWords remains the preferred choice among media buyers and small businesses alike. The wide reach available within the Google environment provides a rich amount of targeting for any type of business. A recent report by eMarketer corroborates the notion of Google AdWords being popular among media buyers, as the search engine giant generated $24.60 billion in revenue from search advertising in 2016, dominating the United States market.

    $24.60 billion.

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    Google Testing a New Format for Ad Labels Within Search Results
    Google Is Testing a New Format for Ad Labels Within Search Results

    Another day, another user experience test launched by Google.

    Shortly after shocking the world (well, maybe not the whole world, but rather the search community) by changing the traditional yellow ad label to green, it seems like Google is experimenting with a new design according to screenshots from Twitter user @matibarnes. As exhibited by the screenshot below, the new green ad label has been inverted, with the colour green being used as the outline on top of a white background:

    AdWords Label Test

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    Apple's Bringing Search Ads to the App Store
    Apple’s Bringing Search Ads to the App Store

    Anxious to get your new mobile app downloaded by users across the world? Need to add fuel to your current mobile marketing campaigns? Well, if you’re targeting iOS devices, you’re in luck: Apple has announced that it will be bringing search ads to the App Store this fall.

    Brace Yourself: Search Ads Are Coming to the App Store
    Don’t let the meme fool you: I’m sure Sean Bean is as excited about this update as I am.

    This update was a long time coming. With the evolution of the digital landscape in recent years, the advertising space for mobile applications has increased at a rapid rate. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have opened up their advertising platforms to give mobile developers the opportunity to market their apps to specific target audiences. Of course, it’s not surprising it took this long for Apple to enter the game: the company would rather be an innovator than a follower within any field, but it was time for them to bring marketing capabilities beyond simple app store optimization (ASO) for developers and agencies alike.

    That said, let’s take a quick look at some of the preliminary features that will be available for advertisers. (more…)

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    Four Major Updates Coming to Google AdWords
    Four Major Updates Coming to Google AdWords

    It looks like Google AdWords is about to become an even better platform for experienced media buyers and novice digital marketers alike. Awww yeah.

    Google’s recent Performance Summit gave us a glimpse into the future as the search engine giant unveiled upcoming updates that will refine Google AdWords and make it an even more potent tool for media buyers. While the upcoming updates to the platform’s interface has been necessary for years, yours truly is more excited about the features that will make an otherwise fun activity even more entertaining. Yes, I don’t consider optimizing campaigns on AdWords and other platforms work, but rather a fun hobby that gets even more exciting when my team delivers wins for clients. Now, what about these upcoming updates? Here’s the breakdown:

    1. More Text in Ad Headlines & Descriptions

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    Inbound Marketing Post
    100% Awesome Inbound Marketing Cocktails Crafted To Convert

    s”Let’s put all our marketing dollars into direct mailing and outbound dialing – we’re sure to convert big time!”

    20 years ago…that might have been effective. In fact, it worked well for various businesses with regards to generating leads. However, a lot has changed over the past 20 years. With the advancements in technology, people have migrated online and are likely to engage in the following activities on a daily basis:

    • Check their inbox only to delete a bunch of spam / notification emails.
    • Login to Facebook on a mobile device to check out the latest memes and/or watch a Tasty video.
    • Inevitably make a purchase on Amazon after browsing for hours (yours truly is guilty of this).
    • Search for random stuff on Google, such as “Who is Stronger: Superman or Hulk?”
    Go Superman Go!
    Our money is on Hulk, especially after Batman vs. Superman

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