Royal Wedding – Too much hype or missed opportunity?

So if you follow the search marketing world, you’ve likely seen this neat video about a branding technique inspired by a Converse campaign.  The idea is simple, the execution is fairly complex.  Essentially, the campaign targets high volume, low competition searches that fit a specific demographic.  In the case of the Conversion campaign, the target was teenagers.  It’s a really cool idea , but it still hasn’t taken off if you really follow Google Trends.

What’s hot right now that people are missing out on?  Oh just a couple of rich folks over in the UK getting hitched.   Search for things like “Royal Wedding” or “Kate Middleton” and the ads are sparse, or even non-existent.  There’s a handful of people selling memorabilia for the wedding, but they are only advertising on a handful of keywords in the US.

Yet the searches keep on coming.  Thousands of opportunities for a gossip site to get cheap exposure in an insanely crowded space, lost.  Plenty of chances for a clothing boutique or jewelry retailer to drive traffic to a page with styles similar to the royal couple, missed.  Maybe a creative bookstore could be trying to persuade people to stimulate their minds with something more challenging, but they’re not.

The people are out there and they’re eager to click. What’s your excuse for not capitalizing on this traffic?

Help Your Agency Help You

I’ve been in the marketing and advertising business nearly 20 years, and during that time, have been on both sides of the client / agency fence. In my experience, I’ve found that the strongest, most productive relationships result from teamwork in which both parties are pitching in and constructively working together. There are some really good examples out there on why teaming up to produce the highest-quality product is more effective than handing over full control to an agency. Remember Groupon’s Super Bowl ads? The ad agency didn’t necessarily do anything wrong but without any direction from Groupon, TV advertisements were run that weren’t entirely in line with Groupon’s brand and messaging—ads that ultimately caused a social media frenzy and a fallout between client and agency.

While it’s critical to have a trusted relationship established with your agency and to respect them as the industry “experts,” you shouldn’t see them as a vendor carrying out a service on behalf of your business. A client/agency team requires collaboration for any type of marketing campaign to progress and be successful. Agencies can only drive so much of the marketing and advertising efforts on their own without client input and approvals along the way. In order to fully help clients achieve and exceed their marketing goals and objectives, the agency and client must build a trusted relationship and come together as partners working toward a common goal.

As clients, I really encourage you to collaborate to help your agency help you. If you find that you are unhappy with your agency’s work or campaign performance, consider whether you have done your part to fully participate in the process with your agency. For those clients who currently have close working relationships with your agencies, hopefully you’ve seen proof that the most fruitful combination results from teaming up with each other and engaging as needed.

A great example here is when your agency recommends new SEM landing pages. Many clients do not allow their SEM/PPC/SEO agencies to directly implement changes to their webpages. Instead, they typically have an in-house webmaster handle it, so when a PPC or SEO team recommends changes to a webpage in order to improve performance, like conversions and sales, both parties are at the mercy of the webmaster. If it’s not completed or executed correctly based on the agency’s recommendations, then a client won’t get a chance to see any results or even begin to measure performance improvements.

A strong, productive client/agency relationship starts with both parties creating shared goals, taking ownership, accepting responsibility, and being passionate about the work they produce together.

Follow up quickly with your web generated leads!

We have  said it once and today we will say it again (a third time actually)– following up with web generated leads as soon as possible is a good idea.  A  2008 study by MIT and, should help to  increase your businesses sales, if you take this research to heart and create a process that ensures web-generated leads are followed up with quickly!

  • According to the MIT study, “the odds of contacting a lead if called within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 100 times.”  Statistics for qualifying leads are equally as surprising – “the odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 21 times.” Since the qualification stage is where we find out the purchasing potential of the web generated lead we should pay close attention and strive to follow up with all leads within 5 minutes.
  • What’s interesting about this study is that it only takes into account leads that were called upon at least one time.  Many studies exist that show between 30-80% of web generated leads are never followed up on.  If your business has any leads that fit this category, maybe it is time to add additional sales staff or other tools that can help your sales team quickly follow up on web generated leads.
  • The best times of the day to make contact is between 4 to 6 pm. 7-8 AM and 11-12 were some of the worst times to call during the day. The study seems to suggest that calling leads around breakfast and lunch time is not the prime time for contacting or qualifying leads.  The study still leads the reader to believe that regardless of the time called – calling within 5 minutes is the most ideal follow up time.
  • The study also found that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to call in order to contact web-generated leads. Tuesday is the worst day to make contact with a lead, with Thursday being a 49.7% better day to call.  Now, we wouldn’t suggest that everyone takes off Tuesdays for the rest of the year, but maybe Tuesdays should be earmarked for learning sessions and quarterly off site meetings for your sales teams.

If you don’t already have a way of making sure your web generated leads are being followed-up with quickly – you should set a process in place right away.

Google +1 Recommendation Feature: What Effect Will It Have on Advertiser Results?

This week, Google launched the +1 Recommendation feature to its AdWords advertising platform. The feature allows users to “like” ads or products that appear in the search results. Is this the future of online advertising or an attempt to snub competitors? It is possible Google is attempting to create a genuine way to connect advertisers to the consumer in a more personal manner. Customer testimonials in marketing are huge these days, spurred by social media marketing strategies.

Here’s Google’s official statement:

”Now, fans of your business can recommend what you offer, for all their friends and contacts to see. By helping searchers see more personal, relevant ads, We believes you’ll see more qualified traffic.  The +1 button will automatically be added to your ads over the next few weeks for English searches on  Soon you’ll also be able to add +1 buttons to your web pages to make it even easier for customers to +1 your content (making this Google’s answer to the Facebook Like button – author).”

What does this mean for paid search advertisers and the future of AdWords?

Kenneth Hurta,  a member of the Leverage Strategy & Development Team, had this to say: “This is a very interesting new feature, and the first tangible evidence of social relevancy merging into search results. Google says these will not affect how ad relevance and quality scores are determined, but how long until it considers ads with more +1s to be more useful for searchers?”  Whether or not this feature becomes a successful or relevant feature of AdWords remains to be seen. At this time no reporting is available yet, but Google assures us it’s coming soon.

How The Google +1 Button Works

Here are some of the most common questions that advertisers are having, along with the official answers as provided to Google Partner Agencies and some advertisers from Google:

Will the +1 button affect my clickthrough or conversion rates?

Each campaign performs differently, so we can’t predict how your clickthrough rate (CTR) will change for individual campaigns. However, we believe that including the +1 button on ads will increase the overall CTR of campaigns as personalized annotations increase user engagement.

Will the +1 button impact how you determine quality score?

No, this does not change how we determine your ad’s relevance of quality. As always, we look at your ad’s performance relative to that of other ads for the same query, position, and UI treatment.

Should I change my ads or landing pages?

No, there is no need to change the copy or landing pages of your campaigns. We’re adding +1 buttons to ads and search results on in English. Simple, compelling ads directing to a relevant landing page will continue to perform best.

Where can I see how many +1s my ads are receiving?

Currently reporting is not available. However, soon you will be able to see how many +1s your search campaigns are getting on the Dimensions tab in AdWords.

Why can I not see +1 buttons on my ads?

Only signed-in Google users will see +1 buttons on ads and organic search results on in English. Also, +1 buttons are not available on Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

The +1 Recommendation feature may be a play pegged on recent efforts by Bing to integrate social sharing in it search results. You can now roll over Bing search results and share web pages via Facebook, Twitter & Email. Social & Web 2.0 has fragmented the way we reach consumers and with the addition of mobile, this fragmentation will only increase in time.

More than ever the consumer is in control, how long before they will be deciding which Ads they are shown?

Testing Two Targeting Tactics

Facebook and Google are taking targeting to a whole new level with advertising that’s based on real-time and weather forecasting, respectively. With these advancements in conversation and location-based targeting, advertisements are either going to become more like editorial content that’s of interest to consumers or customized ads will just become really creepy, depending on who you ask.

Facebook’s testing a real-time advertising tool that will match highly-targeted ads to users based on up-to-the-minute status updates and wall posts. Were I to post an update saying, “Beautiful weather in Austin today. Wish I was reading a book in the park,” within minutes, I would begin seeing ads from say Barnes & Noble, or a local independent bookstore, like Book People, or maybe even an author, promoting their most recent release. While Facebook’s real-time advertising has the most potential for advertisers in my opinion, I don’t necessarily think it will contribute to Likes on B&N’s Facebook page or to brand engagement. I think this targeting technique is an opportunity for advertising to lead to eventual sales if advertisers can capitalize on this real-time tool by  offering a deal, coupon, or other incentive for me to purchase that book I wanted to read in the park.

Google is developing a weather-forecasting tool that will display ads based on where people are located and what the current weather is like. This will enable advertisers, such as Australian boot maker UGG, to target potential consumers that are in chilly, icy, and snowy climates. This type of advertising will work in much the same way that product placements do in grocery stores–if it’s raining, the store moves the umbrella display up to the front door or near the cash registers. While I do think this weather-based targeting tool has a lot of potential, I don’t know that it has much purpose outside of when a region is experiencing unseasonable weather. There’s enough data available to UGG to know what time of year certain locations are experiencing frigid weather and when and where to target their ads.

It’s almost too bad that Google and Facebook can’t harmoniously, and profitably, merge advertising efforts because the real promise in these targeting advancements would be in Google using Facebook’s status updates to target and display ads to users who can then click, and in one single step, complete a purchase transaction. At some point, probably in the very near future, we’ll see real conversations turn into sales conversions.