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Diversifying Beyond Google, Yahoo!/Bing, and Facebook

Posted December 9, 2013 by fran @ 12:04 pm

Today’s post is a guest entry from Ian Lopuch, a top online marketing executive, educator, and blogger at PPC Ian.

 

In the world of digital marketing and customer acquisition, it’s all about leverage. As marketers, we tend to focus on the big three: Google, Yahoo!/Bing, and Facebook. It makes perfect sense: Marketers are held to strict goals, hours are limited, and we must focus where the rewards are large.

That being said, I’d like to challenge the status quo today. Let’s switch gears for a minute and look at the world from an investment professional’s viewpoint… The smart money manager would never buy just three stocks. It’s all about diversification. With a well-diversified portfolio, one mitigates risk and minimizes market fluctuations (also known as “volatility”). A great portfolio includes assets across types (stocks, bonds, real estate, cash, etc.), industries (basic materials, industrials, utilities, technology, consumer non-cyclical, etc.), and sizes (small cap, mid cap, and large cap).  All components of a great portfolio work in synergy as a well-oiled machine. The great portfolio allows one to sleep at night, regardless of market conditions.

So, you may be wondering, how do we create a well-diversified digital marketing portfolio/machine, one that allows us to sleep well at night with minimal day-to-day volatility? Even with the big three engines, you can diversify across keywords, match types, geos, networks (main vs. syndication), media types (search vs. display), device, and more. However, what if you want to take it further? My suggestion: Incorporate second tier search engines and top-rated ad networks (such as AdMedia) in your digital marketing strategy. Some benefits of this approach:

  1. Diversification: A poor day on one engine can be counteracted by a great day on another. The more traffic sources, the better the diversification.
  2. Leverage: Get great support from Google, Yahoo!/Bing, and Facebook? You may be surprised that high quality ad networks and second tier engines can offer comparable support and sometimes even better than tier one. Why? They know they have to work hard for your business.
  3. Low CPA: Tier one can be competitive. Spend a little extra time finding the niche opportunities within your vertical, and you can find ways to “average down” your overall CPA.

Convinced? I thought you’d be by now! I wanted to close out today’s post with a few tips for getting the most out of your quest for diversification via additional search engines and ad networks.

  1. References Matter: Some second tier engines and ad networks work, others may not. It’s important to leverage industry reputation and references.
  2. Mitigate Risk and Qualify Opportunities With Free Credits: Oftentimes, great engines and ad networks are willing to offer free credits. Those that are confident in their quality and effectiveness will oftentimes match your investment (up to a certain amount) or provide a free test altogether. Make sure to take advantage of these deals, they can greatly mitigate risk in your testing.
  3. Take Advantage of Leverage and Resources: As mentioned above, most second tier search engines and ad networks are prepared for the digital marketer with little free time. See what type of support is available, and take advantage of it. Remember, however, business is always a two-way street. If someone is going above-and-beyond on your behalf, make sure to find a way to return the favor! Some suggestions: Write a review, participate in a case study, increase your budget, share the opportunity with others.
  4. Polish Your Business Development Skills: The best-performing second tiers and ad networks are not always highly publicized within the digital marketing industry. Why? Finding one that works incredibly well can be like striking gold. Nobody wants to share their “secret sauce!” As such, sourcing new opportunities is oftentimes a fun business development exercise of hunting and testing. Attend conferences, network, read blogs, search around, get creative. You could strike gold!
  5. Invest In Smart IOs and Budgets: Don’t get locked into a huge budget, especially when you’re testing. It’s all about casting a wide net and testing many different opportunities, before you find the best ones. Start out small and scale over time. Invest carefully in structuring mutually-beneficial agreements that allow both parties maximum flexibility and protection.
  6. APIs Are a Plus: Those ad networks with APIs are easy to integrate into your existing platforms. Automation is key in the long-term health and scalability of any large digital marketing operation.

Thanks, AdMedia, for the great opportunity to guest post. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, and had a blast with this post. Thanks everyone for reading!

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