Capturing Attention with Bumper Ads

How much is six seconds worth of your time? Many would say not much, but in the eyes of a marketer, six seconds is all you need to make an impact. Need proof? Microsoft found that the average human attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds. That means humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish at an average of 9 seconds. Instead of trying to force longer attention spans, marketers have learned to instead adapt and create messages that can capture attention within just six seconds.

Bumper Ads Go Fast

youtube-logo-movingAn example of an advertising unit that capitalizes on shorter attention spans is the YouTube bumper ad. These bite-sized ads must be shorter than six seconds long and are designed to deliver a quick, non-skippable message using a cost-per-impression (CPM) pricing model. This CPM pricing means that advertisers can deliver more impressions at a lower cost.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply deliver impressions. Each impression should pack a punch that makes the viewer want to seek out more info. Effective bumper ads should include features and benefits of products and services in rich, visually stimulating video. Bright colors, off-the-wall actors, and fast motion are some of the tactics used in bumper ads that can leave users wanting more.

Bumper ads don’t have to answer a question or completely sell a product or service in six seconds – they can also be left open-ended. The curiosity from a cliffhanger ad ending alone can lead viewers back to a brand’s website or social media page to learn more. No matter the marketing strategy used to create bumper ads, once a viewer sees an ad, he or she is now aware of your brand and its that awareness that can lead to conversions.

Advantages of CPM for Bumper Ads

The CPM model for bumper ads is a great option for low budget advertisers. It ensures that your brand will reach a wide audience with a memorable message. Since advertisers pay based on cost-per-thousand-impressions, it’s easier for your brand to reach more potential customers and increase awareness about your brand.

Bumper ads can act as a wide net and reach many audiences, or it can have more specific targeting which can narrowly (but more effectively) reach the right audience. Some great options for bumper ads include the ability to serve ads on specific channels as well as videos about certain topics.

bumper ads for tablets with skip ad optionImagine you’re a marketer for a travel agency. You might choose to place your bumper ads on specific channels that are related to travel vloggers with large followings, which would ensure relativity. With the ability to include specific channels and topics, AdWords also allows you to exclude content such as sexually suggestive content, sensitive social issues, profanity, and rough language. This can ensure that your ads are not associated with content that your brand does not identify with.

YouTube bumper ads offer a cost-effective option for advertisers who want the biggest bang for their buck. With an effective six-second video ad, your brand can see remarkable results at a fraction of traditional marketing cost.

Learn from Google how to set up your own bumper ad campaigns, or just relax and let our paid search team take care of everything!

The Rise of Bot Marketing

Chatbots are taking over marketing. You may have not even noticed that you’re talking with a bot as they’re so seamless. These messenger bots have invaded Facebook messenger, platforms like Kik and WhatsApp, and are present on ecommerce websites across the Internet. Bot marketing saves companies and advertising agencies time and costs on their marketing efforts as they propagate across different marketing segments.

Despite the rapid growth of chatbots, there’s still some concern over their ubiquity. Bot messengers can certainly take over many tasks from humans, but for the moment, they only enhance and supplement traditional digital advertising. Ultimately, human interactions are a necessity for many online sales to occur and chatbots can only take you so far.

However, the future is coming fast, and chatbot marketing technology is constantly evolving. Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo ecosystem, Apple’s Siri, and Google Voice are all informational chatbots that employ some marketing techniques, including allowing you to order food, call an Uber, and perform other functions. With some key tips, you can utilize existing chatbot technology to improve your marketing strategy and reduce stress on your team.

Customer Service

This is probably where you’ve most frequently seen chatbots. Even today, most businesses force you to wait on the phone and wait for a customer service representative while listening to incessant muzak. Many people are getting more impatient and want to be able to everything online. Whether it’s ordering food, banking, or online shopping, we want to do these tasks with speed.

Messenger bots make these chores easier—a chatbot can often answer your question in a short period, and a customer service agent doesn’t need to get involved. 24/7 customer service is now possible without paying someone to be there all hours of the day. If your customers do need additional help, chatbots can transfer them to a human.

chatbot image

Personalized Ad Creation

Ad agencies are always looking for ways to create more personalized creatives. Facebook and other messenger bots can greet customers, collect preliminary information, and then use that to generate customized ads. These personalizations can increase conversions and lead to future and repeat sales. It’s important that the bots appear to be as human as possible, or this technique won’t work. A quality chatbot will at least initially appear to be an actual customer service representative, while a bad one can damage your brand image and lower conversion rates.

Analyze Your Customers

Chatbots can do a whole lot more than talk to people. They can analyze consumer data and optimize your sales and marketing strategies with those conclusions. If you’re using chatbot marketing to sell a product, it can track purchasing patterns and monitor your clients’ data, giving you key insights to redevelop strategy.

By utilizing the processing powers of messenger bots, you can save on the costs of hiring an analyst and avoid the possibility of human error.

Customer Feedback and Surveys

If you want to grow your company and evolve your brand, you need genuine feedback from your customers. You can use survey responses to help design future business strategies and improve your customer relations. Bot marketing makes this process much easier than it has been in the past. Forget tired and expensive phone surveys that never get completed.

AI-powered chatbots can adapt conversations based on customer responses and get useful data. Wizu is a chatbot specifically for conversational surveys, helping you improve your customers’ experience and giving you valuable insights. Polly uses Slack for surveys, leveraging the power of the chat app itself to create perceptive questions.

The Future of Chatbots

male cyborg representing bot marketingAs chatbot technology grows, their versatility only increases. They are already an asset to marketing firms and businesses as they’re deployed for a myriad of uses. Bots will continue to be a marketing asset in the future, especially when used in voice assistants. You can use chatbots to handle many of your marketing needs to increase productivity, efficiency, and lower costs.

Used in the right fashion, chatbot marketing can revolutionize your business. You can learn more about your customers and increase your conversion rates with minimal cost and effort.

For the latest in chatbot technology, consult the experts at Leverage Marketing. We utilize the latest technology and can help your business grow to its fullest potential.

Europe’s GDPR Changes Internet Privacy in the U.S.

Toward the end of 2017 and the outset of 2018, lots of major digital U.S. companies updated their privacy policies and sent out notifications to their millions of customers. What did all those companies have in common? They were all doing business in the European Union (EU).

Businesses in the EU had to adopt new privacy policies to comply with April 2016’s update to consumer-protection regulations, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Policies regarding internet user privacy hadn’t been updated since 1995, and privacy concerns and practices have changed profoundly since then.

GDPR brings privacy practices into the 21st century with a surprisingly high standard that will require major investments for large, multinational companies. Those businesses that do business in both the EU and the U.S. are changing standards company-wide to comply, which means users in the U.S. will also likely benefit from those changes.

But exactly how will privacy change, and are all those changes positive? We’ll explore deeper what GDPR means for U.S. citizens.

GDPR’s Most Significant Regulations

A large-scale view of the most pertinent regulations will help internet users in the U.S. discover how the changes will affect them.

european union flag waving

Information Protection

Companies are now responsible for carrying out steps that keep consumers well-informed of information-use when attempting to take action with a user’s personal information, including:

  • Consent – Requests for consent must be written in an easily accessible form that eliminates legal jargon, and they are now required to make consent withdrawal as easy as accepting terms for consent.
  • Breach Notification – Consumers must be notified of data breaches within 72 hours when such a breach risks rights and freedoms of users.
  • Right to be Forgotten – Users will have the right to Data Erasure, which allows them to have data controllers erase personal data and cease dissemination of that data.
  • Right to Access – Internet users will also have access to whether their information is under process, where it is being process, and for what purpose.


Businesses under GDPR will also have to remain accountable for their actions regarding user information, including:

  • Penalties – Fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or 20 million euro may be imposed if flagrant violations of GDPR policy are made.
  • Privacy by Design – Privacy protection for users’ personal information must now be built into the design of internal systems.
  • Territorial Scope – Any company that does business and collects personal information in the European Union must comply with GDPR regulations.

Rules apply to business that perform transactions with users as well that those that simply collect personal data, also called personally identifiable information (PII) in the U.S.

How U.S. Internet Users Will Be Affected

There is no shortage of internationally-operating companies that are based in the U.S., and some of America’s favorite social media and shopping sites meet the criteria for switching to GDPR. However, even multinational companies aren’t required by U.S. law to comply with European regulations in the U.S. Luckily, it’s in the best interest of those companies to make universal changes to policy that fit into both GDPR and domestic standards, especially since it could cost anywhere from $1 million to $10 million depending on the size of the company.

That’s why so many companies preemptively updated their privacy policies and notified U.S. users at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. With a firm due date of May 25, 2018 for implementing changes according to GDPR, most data subjects in the U.S. should know (in easy-to-read terms) how the new privacy policies will change their rights and access to their personal information as well as how those businesses will be handling it.

Keep a look out in your email, and if you’re reading this well ahead of implementation, know that you have a right to review your privacy policy at any time and that most of them are easy to access. Take the time post-GDPR to find out how your information is being used, and stay up-to-date on changes made by companies with whom you do business.

Leverage Marketing respects and protects private information, and we also help companies reach the next level in their business. Ask us how.

Do Google Reviews Help Rankings & SEO?

The short answer is yes, Google Reviews do help improve search rankings and overall SEO efforts. While there are a lot of factors involved in search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority. In an era in which competition has gotten tougher for small businesses on the web, managing online reviews is a way to differentiate your business and raise your visibility in the search results.

How Do We Know Reviews Matter?

When you think about SEO, reviews from customers aren’t often the first thing that comes to mind. With all the other major SEO focus areas to sort through, such as content creation and link building, reviews just don’t get much attention. But they should – especially if your business is a local one.

According to the 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study performed by Local SEO Guide, Google My Business reviews that included the searched-for keyword were the second-most influential factor when examining a local business’ performance in the “Local Pack”, the box of local search and map results that appears at the top of relevant searches in Google.

google serp for cat shelter query with local reviews

You can see this in action for the query in the screenshot above. When I searched for “cat shelter”, one of the factors Google used to determine which businesses to display in the Local Pack was reviews. Specifically, notice the snippets of reviews at the bottom of each business’ space – my search terms (and sometimes similar or semantically-related ones, such as “adoption”) are bolded, indicating Google’s determination of relevance.

In fact, the only search ranking factor that was found to be more important than reviews is the total amount of additional organic rankings – in other words, if the site is SEO-friendly and already has great organic rankings for lots of terms, the site is more likely to show up in the Local Pack.

What if you aren’t a local business? Do reviews still matter? If your business operates in a strictly ecommerce realm or has no true physical location, there’s still research that backs up the importance of reviews for SEO. Review management platform Yotpo studied the impact of adding customer reviews onto a sample of online businesses’ websites. Over the 9 month study, Google organic pageviews increased from somewhere around 5.5k a month to a staggering 8k a month. Not bad!

Why Do Reviews Matter for SEO?

Research is cool and everyone likes to see charts of businesses getting more traffic, but you’re probably still unsure how online reviews affect businesses’ rankings in this way. There are actually a few relatively straightforward explanations for why Google reviews do help rankings.

  1. Google trusts your customers more than it trusts you.

Okay, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but the fact is that Google depends on signals to determine whether a site is worth good rankings or not. We’ve seen this since the very first days of Google with the importance of links. When your site receives a link from another relevant site, Google sees that as a kind of endorsement of trust, and rewards you with better visibility. Similarly, when a customer reviews your business (good or bad), it tells Google that not only is your business a real, legit operation, but that other people have interacted with it and can help future potential customers make decisions. In short, Google loves this kind of stuff.

  1. Google likes to read.

Like the bookworm in your life, Google “reads” your site to understand the world (or in this case, the Internet). The more content that it has available to read, the more it will know about your business. When you leverage customer reviews on your site for SEO, or generate them on Google My Business, Google has lots of fresh content to read and lots of keywords to add to its understanding of your business.

Remember how I searched “cat shelter” and Google pulled my query out as a keyword from the businesses’ reviews? Customers will unintentionally describe your products and services to Google, and those reviews add SEO value to your business without the customers even knowing that they’re helping you. Reviews can even help fill in the content gaps that may exist on your website, and increase your rankings and overall visibility that way.

  1. Great reviews = More stars = More clicks.

Like it or not, people trust reviews. Think about it this way – if you’re faced with a Local Pack and two of the businesses have 2-star ratings while the third has 5-star ones, which one are you more likely to click on?

SEO rankings have long been known to be influenced by click through rates. If a high percentage of searches choose your site from the search results, Google assumes you’re doing something right and will reward your site with better rankings. Reviews can play a big part with click through rates, especially if you’re generating glowing reviews regularly. By enticing clicks with high ratings, you’ll likely see a boost in rankings, too.

How Can Businesses Manage Online Reviews for Higher Rankings?

shiny orange google review starLuckily, if your business is doing good work, online review management shouldn’t be TOO taxing on your resources. There are lots of ways to get the most out of your reviews, but one of the most important ones is to incorporate reviews across your website. Depending on your type of website and your business, there are lots of tools for doing this, and implementation can vary, but take a look at tools like Yotpo or Kudobuzz, which can be used to tie your site in to existing reviews, generate new ones, and drive trust among potential customers.

In the end, though, you should include reviews in your SEO strategy. Hiring an SEO agency is a great choice for small to medium businesses looking to build but not looking to pay for an internal team.

At Leverage Marketing, review management is just one tactic we use when crafting the holistic SEO strategies we tailor to our clients. If you’re ready to see what reviews can do for your SEO and your business, get in touch with us today.

Why Do Some PPC Campaigns Fail?

In today’s digital marketing world, pay per click (PPC) advertising can be one of the most effective techniques to grow your business and increase sales. However, for every PPC marketing success story, there’s a company that’s wasted tens of thousands of dollars on paid media companies without significant results. So, what separates the winners from the losers? Why do some PPC campaigns fail?

Many ad managers and companies experience difficulty with PPC campaign management. They’re either mismanaging their AdWords and social media ad accounts or have they’ve started on the wrong foot entirely. Most businesses are making a few of the same common mistakes, which are preventable and easy to fix.

Every PPC professional has made mistakes in at least one of his or her campaigns and failed to meet the client’s or boss’s expectations. Learn about poor management techniques that result in failed campaigns and what you can to avoid it in the future. Stop spending money on ads that don’t give a solid return on investment (ROI)—get out of harmful cycles and use your dollars usefully.

A New Brand or Product

new product ppc marketing

If you’re introducing a new product or brand, you may be advertising to an audience wholly unfamiliar with your company. Expensive PPC campaigns don’t necessarily make sense for a product and business that still needs to build brand awareness. If you start off right away with pay per click advertising, you’ll run into a few issues:

  • Initial expenditures will be high for Facebook Ads, AdWords, and other platforms because you don’t have a high quality score from Google and other advertisers.
  • Your new campaign will start with off with high cost-per-click (CPC) and subsequently receive low engagement, low click-through rate (CTR), and low conversion rates.
  • Your engagement and other metrics don’t get any better, so you end up with higher costs and a failed campaign. This PPC campaign is spending too much money on too few conversions.

What’s the fix here?

You have two options. Either build your brand awareness before running pay per click advertising or advertise to a group of people who are already familiar with your product. If you have an already interested group, your ads are more likely to be successful.

Target people who already follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see better engagement, click-through rate, and conversion for your PPC marketing. If you don’t already have a community of users who love your product, invest in a branded campaign before spending money on paid advertising.

An Existing Brand or Product

declining PPC profits

PPC marketing can be one the best ways to grow your business, but when done ineffectively, you’ll end up wasting your money. There are mistakes that many PPC managers make that are avoidable. Advertisers with an existing brand or product who don’t understand proper PPC campaign management make errors which can sink a campaign and waste money. Here are a few common blunders:

  • Obsessing over Cost Per Lead (CPL)
    • Cost Per Lead is an indicator rather than a measure of success.
    • Even if you have great CPL, it doesn’t guarantee profitability.
    • You should instead focus on profitability.
    • Learn which keywords drive the lowest cost-per-sale, what search terms produce the most revenue, and which of your ads are giving you good ROI.
    • It’s about concentrating on the right metrics.
  • Utilizing Too Many Keywords
    • Don’t overload your account with too many keywords.
    • Most conversions come from 12% keywords in a campaign.
    • You can waste ad spend on keywords that aren’t performing.
    • Find the search terms your customers are using and modify your keywords to match those.
    • Use the correct match type for you (broach match, exact match, etc.)
    • Consider using more long-tail keywords.
  • Bidding Too Low
    • It might seem like the wrong move to start bidding high, but CTR and ad rank are linked. Early in your campaign, raw clicks matter.
    • Try to figure out what combo of keywords, ad copy, and landing pages work best for the campaign, and then lower your bids later.
  • Not Implementing Tracking
    • Call tracking and local tracking are necessary to make sure you don’t miss any conversions.
    • Use call forwarding numbers and other platforms to integrate into your CRM.
  • Not Writing Quality Ads or Landing Pages
    • Spend time writing good ads. A/B test ads that have a different intent while focusing on your customers’ issues and how to solve them with your product or service.
    • Your landing pages also need to be well-written and organized. Don’t spend money on PPC campaigns only to have your customers land on crappy landing pages.
  • Not Devoting Enough Time to Management
    • Many business owners are only managing their campaigns once per quarter, according to Larry Kim. You need to spend at least 20-30 minutes a week managing your AdWords campaign.
  • No Specific Goals
    • What is your target CPC? Do you have a marketing strategy? You need specifics before spending money on an AdWords campaign.

Make Sure Your Campaign Doesn’t Fail

These mistakes can cost a company thousands of dollars and tank a PPC campaign. With the fixes to these simple errors, you can turn a poorly performing AdWords campaign and transform it into a moneymaker. Get the return on investment your business is looking for by running your pay per click advertising the right way. Whether you’re launching a new product or need to revitalize an existing PPC campaign, the right tactics will lead to your success.

For the tips you need to drive your pay per click advertising to success, consult the experts at Leverage Marketing. You’ll get the strategies you need to take your campaign from disappointing to successful and meet your internal goals. Contact us today and bring your business to the next level.