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Search Advertising is One of the Best Options for Marketers

Posted August 4, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:54 am

In online marketing, search advertising is one of the better options because it is consumer-driven and based on keyword search

search advertising

The process of displaying ads on SERPs (search engine result pages) showing results after a particular keyword has been searched by a user on a search engine, is search advertising. Search engines also display ads on web pages across different websites using similar advertising methods. For advertisers, this kind of targeting that matches the searched keyword is a highly attractive advertising option. Consumers feel encouraged to click on such ads that appear on SERPs as these are directly related to the keywords they search, that again could be directly linked to what they intend to buy, e.g. ‘white formal shirt.’ Customers are inclined to click on such ads on the search engine as it offers them wider purchasing options in addition to the other results on the SERPs.

Better quality

The other advantage with search advertising is that most consumers consider them less intrusive than popup and to some extent banner ads that play havoc with the user’s search for specific information or even his purchase journey. Generally, the ads on the SERPs are in line with what the consumer is looking for and in many cases it could even be way better than many of the results on the first SERP. It’s well-known that in search metrics that the first SERP is what matters as 90% or more of the users don’t go to any other page. These are not free ads made available Google and other search engines; these ads have to be paid for and that makes them qualitatively better and closer to the search term.

Time is of great essence to the online consumer because he needs to look up as many options as he possibly can. If his search is disrupted by unwelcome popup ads that may not be as close to what he is searching for, it will only add to what he considers, wasted time. However, with sponsored or paid ads, that is not the case as they are mostly in line with the searched keywords and they are as good and sometimes, even better than the other results on the first SERP. Over time, search advertising has become another viable option for the online marketer in addition to search engine optimization and social media marketing.

How it works

Search engines sell these ads to advertisers and media buying agencies on the basis of keywords. In many ways, it is based on what is known as organic search wherein the user’s keywords generates the SERP. This SERP determines the cost of the ad as keywords are ranked according to their popularity. Hence, an ad on an SERP for a keyword that is very popular is going to be way more expensive than one on an SERP which is not as popular. The cost is also determined by a few other factors but primarily, it is the popularity of the keyword being searched that determines the cost of the ad.

Advertisers interested in buying search advertising space on SERPs are required to bid for the space on auctions that sell such space based on keywords and their popularity which determines revenue potential of the SERP. We know that search engines have indexes of web pages that list the pages on various attributes complying with the specific updates of the search engine. A particular kind of software robot, known as web crawler is used by the search engines to build the index listing the web pages. They use this indexing technology to determine the value of the ad space on the particular SERP based on the keywords.

Consumer-driven search

When the website owner makes his web page available for displaying ads on a search engine, the embedded indexing determines the cost the buyer of the ad space will have to pay and the ad revenue the web page owner will earn. There are many ways to look at the opportunities that search advertising offer to not just the search engines and the web site owner but also to the advertiser or marketer. For the marketer, it amounts to organic traffic into his site which often ends in sales conversions since the consumer comes with a predetermined aim of making a purchase. After all, he had searched with the specific keyword which is the item he wants to buy.

In any website analysis, organic traffic, which is the traffic that comes to a website from search engines, has a special place. It indicates higher quality of the website getting this traffic because it is most likely that the user would have searched with a particular keyword that is relevant to this website. It therefore means that this website ranks very high on the first SERP, especially on the top five. That’s the space for which the most popular web pages compete and it is sometimes occupied by ads because even search advertising depends on the popularity of the website that is displaying the advertisement.

Filed under: Display

Some Remarkable Stats That Marketers Can’t Afford to Ignore

Posted August 3, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 11:21 am

P&G tones down digital spending; elsewhere, how digital advertisers are doing much better; Google and Facebook keep growing

digital stats

The digital marketing world is currently changing at a very fast pace and it is critical to learn and know about most of the updates. In order to cope with this large and complex market as well as to maintain and expand customer base, you need keep up with the latest trends and beat the competition with them. In the last couple of days, throughout social media marketing and digital advertising, there were thousands of interesting stats that grabbed our attention.

Visual-oriented platform is getting popular

Over the past year, most of the brands have become more visual-oriented. This trend is going to increase in 2017 because when the information is embedded with images, people are more likely to keep that information for a longer period. Studies revealed that 80% of the people are willing or love to read the content with colored visuals and the content with relevant images gets 94% more viewers than the content without images. There are about 65% marketing executives who believe that they can communicate their brand story in a better way using visual assets like images and videos.

After launching, in less than a decade, the more image-driven platforms like Snapchat (launched in 2011), Pinterest (launched in 2010), and Instagram (launched in 2010) gained popularity and growth in 2017.

From May 2015 to May 2016 – daily video views increased from 2 billion to 10 billion and by the end of 2017 on Snapchat. It is predicted that this number will increase to over 217 million. The growth on Pinterest in 2015 was 135%, which is higher than on any other social media platform. About 83% users do their purchasing only after looking at Pinterest. In 2016 Pinterest reached 150 million active monthly users. In 2015 Instagram usage nearly doubled as compared to 2013 and from August 2015 to December 2015, impressions on Instagram rose from 50 million to 670 million. In 2016, for marketing purposes, approximately half of the US brands were using Instagram.

Live-streaming video is getting popular

Already many companies started live- streaming video, for sharing and building their brands. Just few weeks ago, Acura set up a racetrack in EI Toro, California at Marine base and invited four influencers to drive their cars around the course. The company gave the drivers augmented reality-equipped helmets that covers overlaid HD graphics on top of the real world, that look like they are driving through jungle and snowstorm, thereby making them difficult to stay on course. To watch the hour long broadcast, there were more than 500,000 people tuned into Facebook and Twitter. By the end of broadcast the figure reached a total of 3.58 million people.

There are other stats from the online advertising companies such as Factual, a location data company, which orchestrated a deep data dive into how CrossFit trainees—or CrossFitters—behave offline. They found 231 percent CrossFitters are likely to work in online advertising.

Filed under: Digital

Pop Advertising is a Like Double-Edged Sword that Needs to be Used Rightly

Posted by Rashmi D @ 4:14 am

When used optimally and on the basis of well-planned strategies, pop advertising can deliver excellent results

pop advertising

The history of pop advertising began in the 1990s when a young web developer by the name of Ethan Zuckerman came up with a code to develop a window that was needed for a ‘fire-fighting’ operation of an automobile manufacturer whose online ad campaign came under malicious manipulation. The ads of the automobile maker had begun appearing on a porn site, which the advertiser hadn’t planned for or approved, and was anxious to neutralize. Zuckerman, who worked for a web developing company named Tripod, was part of the team that was working on the solution to the problem, and eventually came up with the code that is sometimes compared with discovery of the nuclear bomb with all its nuisance value in addition to its normal uses. It was the first pop up window and it was for a good intent – to cover the ads of the automobile maker every time it appeared on the porn site.

Users’ worry; marketers’ joy

Much like Albert Einstein, who is credited with developing the formula to make the atom bomb, Zuckerman, also realized that he had created a Frankenstein’s monster which has gone out of control. In 2014, he apologized in a post he had written for The Atlantic – “I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good. It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble.” It’s quite another thing that today, if there’s anything a user dreads other than his device malfunctioning, or his internet connection running out, is a pop advertising window ambushing him every now and then.

For the marketers, it has never been better as more and more sophisticated ways of grabbing the attention of consumers are developed by marketing automation companies. For instance, when a consumer goes to a shopping portal to buy a red shirt, she would be bombarded with pop advertising right through her purchase journey, offering her not just shirts of other colors that she prefers, along with trousers or jeans from brands that she likes, or any other thing that she has shown her preference for. Online shoppers have come to accept it as a way of life but it is also true that this has turned the entire online shopping environment into that of a flea market with sellers hollering all over.

Technology comes to the rescue

Internet users have always lived in the most interesting of times, with advancements and innovations in the use of the technology taking place like nowhere else. In fact, every aspect of life is now connected to the internet in some way or the other. If it is not, it’s not what has come to be known as “smart” – smart phone, smart watch, smart TV, smart microwave oven, etc. In other words, if you’re not using devices or appliances that are not connected to the internet in some degree, you’re not smart. Similarly, for the smart internet user, there is now a tool available, called pop up window blocker.

So, it’s not only the marketer who’s having all the fun. The consumer too has been blessed with some of these tools that can help him outsmart the marketer at times. However, it’s not always that pop advertising windows can be blocked by the consumer. For instance, there may be sites that are designed to outsmart the popup window blockers of the user. In fact, these websites invest huge amounts of money on marketing automation technology that can overcome these barriers – yes, for the marketers, these popup window blockers are barriers on their way to getting closer to the consumers.

Marketers would surely like a good return on their investment and their technology providers are only too happy to provide them the ‘solutions’ that help them overcome these barriers. On the other hand, there are another set of technology providers who ‘specialize’ in developing these barriers to pop advertising, like pop up blockers. Of course, like so many other things in the internet, there are also ‘free’ pop up blockers that users can install on their devices, but understandably, they’re not really effective. For the consumer using free services, even 25-40% effectiveness of the popup blockers would be considered quite good.

The way pop advertising windows are used by businesses to upsell their products is not something the online shopper likes because it is nothing less than annoyance for him. But in a fiercely competitive world, privacy comes with a premium price tag attached, which the common consumer can’t afford. In the meantime, marketers bring ever more powerful technology to break through the popup blockers that many smart consumers employ. It’s a tug of war which the consumer is not winning right now but who knows, there could be a time when pop advertising can be regulated better.

Filed under: Display

Native Advertising Offers Many Advantages but Should be Used Properly

Posted August 2, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:05 am

There is a very fine line that differentiates native advertising from sponsored or branded content and it pays to respect that line

native advertising

The whole idea of native advertising is meant to make an ad appear like editorial content. However, it’s not as simple as that because a lot of adjustment is needed to do so and yet include the promotional message of the ad into the editorial in a subtle manner. Today, we have online and offline varieties of such ads and this blog will generally cover the online version with references to the generic aspects of this kind of advertising that are relevant to the offline version as well. Most people think they have found such an ad when they see the phrase ‘Sponsored Content’ right on top of an article. That is partially true because sponsored content or as it is often called, ‘branded content,’ is a category all by itself. It means, sponsored or branded content is written to promote brand awareness but it shouldn’t have any call to action.

Convergence of sponsored content and native ads

We have briefly discussed the main point of difference between sponsored content and advertisements and it is – for content to be considered as ‘sponsored’ or ‘branded’ there should be no call-to-action in it. But, a webpage being what it is today, the reader of such sponsored content could be bombarded with ads of the very brand covered in the sponsored content, popping up every now and then while he is reading the content. Will it still be considered sponsored content or does it become native advertising? After all the ads of the brand popping up relentlessly is as good a call-to-action as outbound links on the content body.

Clearly, technology has breached a barrier and has made it necessary to rewrite the rules of the game to fit into a broader category of sponsored content. The other way to look at it is from the perspective of pure and simple native advertising. Endless amounts of content is published every day with hyperlinks that provide a hook to the reader of the content in a distant website to land up on the site of the publisher of the blog. That has been happening all along and in recent times there has been some efforts by Google and some other search engines to regulate that by banning such back-linking in specific cases.

Optimum ways to create native ads

We need to realize that at the end of the day, a native ad is another form of advertising and it should not be confused with pure informative or educative content that are found on articles, blogposts etc. For those who like to play by the rules as much as possible, there are ways to make the ads better than the misleading headlines that promise the moon and end up in disappointment for the reader. The objective of a native ad is to be more detail-oriented even while overtly promoting the brand. The ad should be designed to educate the reader about a new or unique concept that will have value for him.

We all know about “How to…” content that tell us how to do different things to achieve a particular result. Some of these how to content pieces are advertorials, another variant of native advertising while some are sponsored content where the author may explain how to make solar panels at home and combine the effort with an inducement to buy some or other part that would be needed to make the solar panel. The whole idea is to add value to the communication by providing correct and helpful information on the advertisement and not just get a sale but also win the buyer’s confidence.

Product reviews can also be blended into native advertising but it should be done without resorting to wrongful practices like misleading the reader with spam reviews that are inconsistent with what the brand promises. If a product has proven credentials, and users have found it useful, promote it by all means. Get your users to write testimonials and combine a few such testimonials to put together a well-meaning native ad that presents the true value and worth of your product to the customer. Of course there are reviews that have earned a bad name for their malpractices but overall, people still like to refer them. In fact, many businesses are experiencing higher sales of products with slightly negative reviews apparently because people find them credible and reliable. Praise of a product should not be ‘too good to be true.’

Native advertising can also be in video format and it all depends on the skill of the creative people working on the video to make it credible. Of course, educative and informative content tends to be long and it sometimes becomes difficult to include all that information into a video ad which has obvious time constraints. Yet, there are no better ways to present how to content or product review content than through video where the expert in the how to clip or the user in the review content can be seen heard describing the attributes of the product.

Filed under: Native

What Factors are Driving Online Video Advertising?

Posted August 1, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 8:06 am

While media and entertainment drive sponsored video views on Facebook, it is Influencers who do so, on YouTube

video advertising

There has been a discernable rise in the number of video uploads on social media sites like, Instagram and Twitter as media and entertainment companies are trying to engage their audiences increasingly on social media. This has led to fast growth in online video advertising. Today, content marketing trends indicate that digital first, print, electronic and other genres are alternating between platforms, e.g. if kids’ entertainment helped grow SOV (Share of Voice) on Facebook, it was content covering food that helped grow SOV on YouTube. Before trying to make sense of the increasing numbers of video uploads on social media, it would help to get familiar with some numbers. There are over 35 thousand media and entertainment companies and close to 50 thousand brands that are actively driving video uploads with help from nearly 9 million influencers.

What exactly is online video advertising?

Online display ads that also include videos are essentially considered as video advertising although advertising that is displayed before, during or after a video stream could also be considered as such. These are also known as pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll advertisements that are in a way, tagged with the main video. Such ads are edited or unedited versions of TV commercials of brands from different industries. This kind of advertising is a powerful platform for conversion when optimally used, since it creates a more stimulating environment for consumers than most other formats. It helps brands to create a strong presence across user behavior patterns at a fast pace.

What we discussed so far is the simple straightforward aspect of this form of advertising. Because of the scale at which content is created and consumed online, the focus of marketers naturally moves towards the critical data with regard to the content consumption habits in their target markets. After all, the videos that they are uploading in such large numbers across so many sites are intended to bring in some results. In digital video advertising brands are able to build stronger connections with their audiences along the customer journey with focused content delivered across a variety of digital platforms. Such cross-channel video reach has transformed how brands reach their customers at key points of the path to purchase and trigger conversions with highly engaging video content.

YouTube and Facebook are leading the way

The competition is mainly between Google-owned YouTube and Facebook in the online video domain. These two giants not only have the user base to scale up their operations in a big way but also bring in the critical differentiators – advanced technology and investments to crank up their reach of the market. Naturally, most advertisers would love to be present in either of these platforms. In the second quarter of 2017 the total video views of media and entertainment content on Facebook has been over 274 million but views of influencer uploaded videos during the same period has seen a sharp fall of around 90% from what it was in the first quarter.

On YouTube, it’s a different picture but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. The total number of views of videos created by influencers in the second quarter of 2017 was 256 million which indicated a growth of around 25% from what it was on the first quarter. Clearly, the video uploads from media and entertainment companies have been overwhelmingly on Facebook while the video uploads by influencers is equally high on YouTube. Similarly, brands can deliver highly relevant and engaging videos to users across social, mobile and traditional outlets which help improve brand awareness, conversions and retention with integration throughout the content network.

Today, video advertising helps brands reach target groups across their preferred platforms and bring up very high levels of ROI as they now have more channels for delivering their videos along with improved targeting features. Even as the range of digital content continues to expand the use of video for online marketing is also changing rapidly. This has increased the viewership of online videos with engaging, and meaningful content to help brands communicate better in an increasingly competitive landscape. Cross-channel video marketing campaigns connect with users across mobile devices, social networks and websites, delivering content in a steady stream along various stages of a consumer’s purchase journey.

Whether it is video advertising on trusted websites, in-stream videos on smartphones, sponsored content across social media networks or targeted video content streamed on connected TV devices, the communication needs to actionable in order to aid conversion. Customers encountering targeted content across their entire purchase journey can bring success for cross-channel video marketing campaigns and will help in easier identification of the points of conversion. Marketers need to align their video content with relevant customer interests and channels to increase retention and ROI. They must have a good coordination with their media buyer to understand audience segments to be targeted.

Filed under: Video

How Marketers are Dealing with Challenges in the Present Day Buyers’ Market?

Posted by Rashmi D @ 4:54 am

Leveraging the sheer volume and variety of customer data among others, is the biggest challenge facing marketers today

Challenges in the Present Day Buyers’ Market

The speed of technology and adoption presents unique challenges for businesses. In the online world, generating traffic and leads as well as ROI are the leading challenges marketers face. More and more customers are visiting on one website or another; some are just for the sake of browsing the website for fun while others visit the website because they are looking for shopping opportunities.

For a data-driven agency, one of the biggest challenges is how to track visitors’ experience across multiple devices, such as, a customer using her iPhone. They see your product in Facebook, click through to your site, take a look and then move on. On another day, the same customer using iPad, searches your product, but forgets the brand name; he just looks around, compares the price and features, but still doesn’t purchase. But after 10 to 15 days, the same customer is on his desktop computer with his credit or debit card in hand; this time he remembers the web address and goes directly to the website. He adds the items to their cart and successfully completes the purchase.

The volume of data and irrelevant customer experiences in today’s connected world generates more data than many marketers are able to manage. Marketers need the ability to leverage insights from that data to truly personalize customer experiences at scale. Many organizations that are hoarding up their customer data because of the unavailability or awareness of tools to manage them are facing the biggest challenges.

Manually coordinating content and campaigns across distinct channels is time-consuming and costly because you need a complete picture of customer behavior across every channel. So, the different marketing tools and analytics need a set of integrated tools to manage content and campaigns for faster, more efficient and productive utilization of the data.

Disconnected channels coordinating content and campaigns across disparate channels can be time-consuming and costly. Plus, to deliver personalized engagement, marketers need a complete picture of a customer’s behavior across every channel, not just on one. Marketers need a set of integrated tools to manage all their content and campaigns — and be faster, more efficient, and more productive.

Security is another concern because some marketers are bound by decade-old technology which makes data security difficult; hence, most the customers won’t like to share their personal information unless they believe it is secure. Cloud computing marketers can create and manage campaigns more quickly than ever without dependence on infrastructure, IT, or outdated technologies. Mobile capabilities mobile marketing messages, mobile alerts, and apps help marketers create connected customer experiences, drive personalization, and enhance cross-channel campaigns. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help automate marketing, recommend the next-best product or offer, and collect insights into traffic, sales, service, and marketing metrics along the way.

Filed under: Brand Marketing
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