Month: July 2011

How to: Run a Successful Display (Banner) Advertising Campaign

Miami Internet Marketing

Banner Ads… The ugly stepchild of internet marketing.  I can already hear the UGH, they get in the way, they are spammy, flashy, annoying, hated, ignored…. but if used correctly, they can be quite an effective addition to your advertising campaign.  Recently though, I’ve seen a few display campaigns that needed a major overhaul… so I figured it would be a good time to discuss different ways to make your banner advertising campaigns run smoothly and generate the most conversions for your business.

First things first, ask yourself if display is even the right medium for you to be advertising your business.  Unlike search, where someone is actually on the lookout for your product, or an inbound marketing method; display advertising should be thought of as an outbound or branding form of advertising.

Think of banners as an online billboard for your business but with trackable results.  Or a TV or radio commercial.  Unlike most internet marketing methods, with banners, you are pushing out your message to someone who may have no need for or probably doesn’t care about your product or service.

This being said, display advertising can be great for branding your product, getting your brand in front of a LOT of people at a fairly inexpensive rate, creating awareness, promoting a product that is either new, or the general public may not “know that they need” yet.  Or have to get the word out about an upcoming event?  Display is a great form of event advertising!

After deciding that a display advertising campaign is for you, you will want to design your creative message for your campaign.  The creative should have a simple call to action, not be too wordy, and should be easy to understand.  Although some Flash animation on banners can prove to be advantageous, make sure not to do so in an obviously spammy way which may cause people to look down on your product.

Miami Internet Marketing
Notice this successful example from a client “cirque du soliel”.  They used images to catch the eye, and kept words to a minimum, while having a clear call to action for the reader.

After creating an awesome set of ads (728×90, 350×200, and 160×600 are standard sizes), the next mission is to create a page where you want the user to land after they click on your ad.  Figure out your goal:  Usually to collect user data or sell something.  Keep your landing page short and to the point with no question as to what steps to take next.  Use my list “How to: Optimize your landing page in 15 easy steps” as a guide

Ok, so you decide on display, you have some kick ass creative, and you have a landing page ready to bring in all those new leads…. now where do you put your ads????

Historically advertisers would hand pick websites 1-by-1 based on demographic information of the sites visitors… a painstaking and anciently inaccurate way of advertising.  Anymore, inventory on popular websites is a dime a dozen and targeting the right user has gotten wayyyy better in the form of display advertising exchanges

In a nutshell, what advertising exchanges do is buy up display ad inventory from thousands of top websites at a fraction of the normal going rate, and resell it as a package of many websites together, with the capabilities of targeting your advertisement so effectively its kind of creepy.

When shopping for which content network to choose, consider the following available targeting methods for your advertisements and see if your network is using these methods:

Geo-Targeting – Your ads will only be shown in a specific target area, usually a defined metro city area. Remarketing – My personal favorite:  Through cookie technology, you are able to re-advertise to people who have previously been to your website.  Great if your business has a long sales cycle, or something that can weigh on a persons mind.   Contextual Targeting – Targeting consumers that are currently reading content relating to your product or service. Endemic Targeting – Reach people that show patterns of visiting websites in the same category as yours. Behavioral Targeting – Reach consumers who have shown recent online behaviors with a selected group of sites (ex Family, Affluant, Sports etc). Engagement Based Optimization – This may be the most important form of targeting, where your budget is shifted over time to the sites that are performing better for you.

Know your stats, and track them.  You should be tracking the following:

Impressions – How many eyeballs have seen your ad.  This is important to brand awareness, and total ad exposure.

CPM (cost per thousand) – This is how most display advertising is purchased.  Purchasing ad space on a single website is significantly more expensive than utilizing an exchange network… shop around for the best CPMs and best targeting.  (generally, the more targeted you want your ads, the higher your CPM will be)

Visits (or clicks) – How much traffic is being generated to your page through the banners.  Note that the visits are usually ridiculously low compared to impressions… usually around .03-.09%.  If you are used to search engine marketing, this is staggeringly low, but remember:  With search, the person is actively searching out your product where as in display, you are pushing out your message in hopes someone may need what you are offering.  Also, people have been trained to avoid these unwanted advertisements, so the numbers are low.  Keep in mind too that some people will never click on a banner, will see the message, and just go to the website later.

Conversions – Track past the click and visit to your website.  What are people doing after that?  Are they buying from you?  Have they submitted a form for contact?  These should all be part of your display advertising reporting.

 

15 tips to creating a successful pay-per-click campaign

Miami Internet Marketing
A pay-per-click search engine campaign can be one of the best marketing strategies for a business to use, if done effectively. Too many businesses “try” PPC advertising without the proper knowledge or goals, and the campaign ends up in failure. Here I will provide you with 15 basic setup and tracking strategies to employ in order to create the best return on investment.

1 – Create a targeted keyword list – The first step in any successful PPC campaign is to create the proper keyword list.  Start by brainstorming with your company for terms you want to show up for.  Ask friends not associated with your industry as well to avoid industry lingo.

Next consult with some free keyword tools, the most popular being Google’s Keyword Tool. Keep in mind though, that all of your competitors  are probably using this tool as well, which means bid prices for the words are probably higher for some of these words.  After you start making some revenue from your PPC campaign, you probably should invest in a paid keyword tool such as Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery

2 – Find your niche – With internet marketing as with most of life, t’s better to be really really good at one thing than mediocre at a lot of things.  Find your niche for what fits inside your budget and be the best at it.  From there, you can expand to other niches.  Niche keywords also cost way less to buy and convert way higher than general keywords.  Which means more $$ for you!

3 – Create keyword rich text ads – You want your text ad that the consumer sees to be as relevant to their search as possible.  Repeat your keywords in your text ads and you will see a jump in your click-through-rate.

4 – Setup multiple ad groups – Adwords allows advertisers to setup multiple ad groups for different types of products or services.  You will want to have different text ads displayed to the user depending on the keywords that they are searching for.  ex. if you provide limo service, you will want to have different ad groups for Airport shuttle, proms, holidays, business etc and have a different text ad for each.

5 – Create a separate landing page (not homepage) – I’m amazed at how many adwords campaigns I look at that direct a searcher to the businesses homepage.  This practice should be avoided at all costs.  These general overview pages will not convert the clicks into customers as using targeted landing pages.

Instead, create a separate landing page for each ad group that you use in order to bring the person to a page that is highly relevant to what they were searching for.  Once you change this, you will see conversions go through the roof!

6 – Use multiple campaigns – Most businesses provide a variety of different products and services to their potential customers.  Each product or service should be treated as a completely different campaign.  The pricing, click through rates, conversions, and everything about the different products will be unique and separate, and they campaigns will run independently of one another.  ex an air conditioning company that does AC service, duct cleaning, heat pumps, etc should have different campaigns for each service.

7 – Utilize all the different match types – Most campaigns set up by business owners that I’ve seen are Broad Matching all of their keywords.  When your PPC campaign is set up to broad match, your ad will show up even if a variation of your keyword is typed in.  Synonyms, singular/plurals, or variations of your words.

This can be good to generate traffic to your site, but can use up a lot of your budget for terms you didn’t want to be found for.  Use broad match sparingly and in conjunction with phrase and exact match types, which will generate you higher conversion results.

8 – Split test your text ads – PPC campaigns will allow you to test your ads against one another in order to find out which ad performs better.  Test multiple ads and see which generates the highest click-through-rates for you.

9 – Track your online conversions – Without tracking results, you are missing the key factor of what sets search engine marketing apart from other types of advertising.  The campaign can get better as time goes along if you are tracking and testing your results. You can then tweak whatever the problem areas are to increase results.

10 – Setup a tracking phone number – You should be using tracking phone numbers to track phone conversions from your advertising. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to track phone numbers such as ReachLocal’s TotalTrack system. Use a different phone number for each landing page and you can see which pages are performing better than others.

11 – Lower your bids for the display networks – When you start your search campaign, Google will automatically opt-in your campaign to the display network.  This will show your text ads when people are surfing around the internet, not on the actual search engine. You should go into the bids and lower your bids for the display network, or if budget is a major issue, opt-out completely.  The click-through-rates and competition is way lower on the display network, so lower bidding will still deliver results.

12 – Use negative keywords – Every campaign should use negative keywords.  These are words in the search phrase where you don’t want your ad to show up.  I always recommend several negative keywords for every campaign, such as free, classes, jobs etc.  This way you won’t waste clicks on someone looking for information, not paying, or looking for employment in your industry.

13 – Target “buy” words, not “information” words – There are 3 types of searches that people make:  Looking, shopping, buying.  You don’t want to waste your clicks on people who are in the process of finding information, but you want to focus your attention on people who are in the process of shopping and buying.  Use longer tail keywords that will reach out to people who are in buy mode.  Implement this tip and you will see your total clicks decrease while your converted customers will increase… so in essence you are decreasing your expenses while increasing profit.

14 – Work to increase your Quality Score – The major way that Google will rank the ads it displays (aside from bid price) is Quality Score.  You should be consistently checking your quality score for each keyword to help your rankings.  Google calculated this score by looking at your click-through-rates, and relevant content on your landing pages.

A good quality score is a 7/10.  If you are below that level, you should change text ads and text on landing pages until you get there.  Otherwise your competitors will be outranking you with less bid price.

15 – Change your keyword bids relative to results – Put your money where your results are!  Through time you will be able to find out which keywords and ad groups are driving the most conversions, phone calls, forms submitted, and ultimately customers.  Use this data to raise your bid prices on the keywords that are working, and lower bid pricing on words that are generating little results.

Now you should be a pay-per-click expert with these strategies.  Use them wisely and beat your competition!  If you have any questions about the information provided, or would like me to go over an adwords campaign to see what can be improved, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.