If you’re a novice in the online advertising world and ever wondered how that banner ad showed up on the website you are looking at, I have written a new eBook on how online advertising works, how to plan campaigns, how to target and retarget, how to measure and more. (see below)
For this blog, I wanted to explain as best as I can in layman’s terms how the online display landscape is currently structured from a national buy perspective. Feel free to email me if any questions at all; it’s technical.
Programmatic advertising buying is one of the newest buzzwords in the online display space. In its simplest form, it is the concept of using technology to automate online media buying with unprecedented efficiency. Because technology and software manages the campaigns, it eliminates a lot of the guesswork of media buying, such as human negotiation and manual insertion orders. When you use technology, you become more precise in your media placement tactics to drive effectiveness. It’s a better user experience because website visitors will only see relevant ads, and that increases click rate and awareness.
Calling Servers to Find Ads to Deliver to You
Scenario A: Serve an ad sold directly to an advertiser from the publisher
- You open up a website. Your web browser points to a Web publisher and communicates via a publisher Web server. The publisher Web server responds back to the browser with an HTML file.
- In the HTML file is a pointer back to the publisher ad server. The browser calls an ad server looking for an ad. The ad server responds with the ad’s file location. In this case, the file is sitting on a content delivery network (CDN).
- The browser calls out to the CDN requesting the specific file containing the ad’s creative content (JPG, GIF, Flash, etc.). The CDN sends the file back to the browser.
Scenario B: An ad is served not from a publisher but an Ad Network (see below) server
- The browser calls the ad server, which returns the final location of the creative in its own CDN.
- The browser calls to the ad network server CDN requesting the specific file with the ad’s creative content (JPG, GIF, Flash, etc.). The CDN sends the file back to the browser.
Scenario C: Serve an ad that is purchased by DSP and Ad exchanges (definitions below)
Instead of the publisher ad server pointing toward its own CDN, the ad server delivers a secondary ad tag, a simple piece of HTML that points toward an SSP. Now the concept of real time bidding (RTB) begins, featuring DSPs, DMPs, and Ad Exchanges.
DSPs are used by marketers to buy ad impressions from ad exchanges as cheaply and as efficiently as possible, SSPs are designed by publishers to do the opposite: to maximize the prices their impressions sell at. SSPs allow publishers to connect their inventory to multiple ad exchanges, DSPs, and networks at once. This in turn allows a huge range of potential buyers to purchase ad space and for publishers to get the highest possible rates. When an SSP generates impressions into ad exchanges, DSPs analyze and purchase them on behalf of marketers depending on certain attributes such as where they’re served, and which specific users they’re being served to. By opening up impressions to as many potential buyers as possible via real-time auctions, publishers can maximize the revenues they receive for their inventory.
This process takes place in milliseconds as a user’s computer loads a webpage.
Data Segments for Better Targeting
DMPs work with DSPs and exchanges to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads. 3rd party data segments generally cost more as an overlay due to the increased targeting capability.
Real Time Bidding
RTB works on an auction model. Each buying source makes their bid, highest wins, pays $0.01 more than the next highest bidder. Here’s an example which illustrates this:
- Bidder 1 $0.50
- Bidder 2 $0.60
- Bidder 3 (winner) $0.80
Price Paid $0.61
The actual bidding process which takes less than 100 milliseconds looks like this:
1. The Exchange makes a call to the DSP with an available impression.
2. DSP checks to see if they want this impression – it could be someone in their retargeting pool, or in a desired audience segment according to a third party data vendor. If yes …
3. DSP makes a bid for it based on how much they think its worth or can afford to pay
4. Exchange sells the impression to the highest bidder.
5. Ad is delivered by the winning bidder.
Ad Network: Ad networks connect advertisers to publishers. They aggregate ad inventory and offer it to advertisers
Ad Exchange¨ Display space that’s unsold by either sites or networks is usually collected by an ad exchange, where it is auctioned off to the highest bidder among advertisers, networks and agencies. Exchanges let buyers purchase very specific audiences, especially when using real-time bidding technology
DSP: A demand side platform (DSP) is a system that allows digital advertisers to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface. Real time bidding for display online ads takes place within the ad exchanges, and by utilizing a DSP, marketers can manage their bids for the banners and the pricing for the data that they are layering on to target their audiences.
DMP: A data management platform (DMP) is a centralized data management platform that allows advertisers to create target audiences based on a combination of in-depth first-party and third-party audience data. DMPs enable advertisers to consolidate online and offline customer data from various sources into a single location, then use it to create demographic and behavioral segments that can be used to target online advertising.
SSP: Allow publishers to jump into ad exchanges via DSPs to make their inventory available and optimize selling of their online media space. Through SSPs, publishers can gain the highest eCPM for their inventory rather than selling remnant space at lower costs
I know this summary is technical and hard to explain, but as an online marketer it’s interesting to understand “how that ad got there.”
My new ebook explains these concepts further as well as the following:
• Stating the case for display as a relevant advertising strategy
• Campaign planning and KPIs to measure
• Pricing and ad units to consider
• Targeting tactics and retargeting overview
• Mobile web and app campaigns
• Campaign optimization strategies
• A tour of the Google Display Network platform
• B2B topics; lead nurturing, native advertising, LinkedIn advertising
• Display measurement; View-throughs, attribution modeling
Feel free to download a copy of the Great Online Display Advertising Guide here:
A Demand gen or Demand Generation program is composed of all activities and tasks that help to create, from regular leads, an awareness, acceptance and desire for your product or services. Standard lead generation is only the beginning in this process and everything that is done from this point on will work to inform, interest, qualify and cement the relationship with a potential buyer.
By creating the demand that will pull the potential client or customer into a decision that is favorable to your company, you are accelerating and therefore shortening the marketing / sales cycle. All of the many tools at your disposal should be brought to bear on this activity as marketing has changed within the last several decades. This means up to date information, processes and outsourcing a few activities that your firm should rethink doing themselves.
All of these will impact the relationships you are forming and should not be undertaken as an afterthought.
Take Telemarketing As An Example Of Relationship Building And What Outsourcing Will Do For You.
In lead generation terms, telemarketing is the reaching out, on a personal level, with a real live operator. This person can, through the scripts designed for this task:
- Inform the potential client about features of the product or service that may not have been as clear on first inspection.
- Apply that particular feature to a problem they are having.
- Answer questions that arise which leads the caller into a fuller, self directed, knowledge of your firm.
One of the many benefits of having a room full of telemarketers is the ability to have many conversations going on all at once and massive relationship building which keeps you busy.
One of the major drawbacks of having a crew of telemarketers in a room is paying for a room full of telemarketers. Lead generation does not have to happen at this high cost. As a businessman or woman, you are looking at your ROI and, without a proper understanding or up to date information about techniques, equipment and processes in modern telemarketing technologies, this capital expenditure may not be in your best interest.
Outsourcing your telemarketing needs may be the best decision as you can work on building the business, developing other products and providing the best brand you can make so all lead generation can and will grow in size and quality. A few of the benefits you can realize from outsourcing this important part of your Demand Gen Program are:
- Trained professionals, already in place with the latest in technologies.
This eliminates the need for any in-house training and bringing all personnel up to speed on unfamiliar equipment.
- They will impart the information supplied with the techniques to locate additional data through the knowledge base they have access to in their own network.
- These personnel will be able to generate emails and other follow up materials based on their knowledge of the signals used by the potential customers. This is one of the most important elements of lead generation and they have been trained to pick up on this.
- Professional telemarketers know how to get through all of the gatekeepers standing between them and the decision maker. If that does not happen the first time, it will the next, or the next.
- Personnel who have done this for quite a while will be knowledgeable in many areas. They can use this, in addition to the scripted material, to make informed decisions about where that potential client is on the scale from uninterested to demanding the brand that you have created.
- You are not paying for a room of telemarketers; you are paying for results.
In B2B commerce, all tools and experience must be bought into the equation. The creation of a demand gen program takes all of the many elements of your company into account and forms it into a focused, balanced approach for success.
You do not want to repair your own roof. You do not want to fix that impromptu swimming pool forming in your basement. For that you would outsource this work to a roofer or plumber. The reason you do that is because that is what they do.
The role, within lead generation, of the telemarketer has become more important as the economy has forced everyone to focus on who does what the best.
If you’re working to increase your brand exposure, build your credibility as an industry expert, or improve your back links and SEO ranking, consider writing guest blog entries on other sites. Guest blogging is a great way to make a major impact on your content marketing and SEO strategy by driving qualified traffic to your own blog and website. Many social media experts say guest blogging is one of the most important ways to build authority for your own brand online.
So how do you find opportunities to guest blog? Let’s look at some ways you can uncover guest blogging opportunities and a few online outreach tools to help focus your search.
Before you begin your search, take a few minutes to determine your goals. By understanding the “why, “ you can more effectively target the “where.”
• Are you looking to position yourself as an expert in your industry?
• Is your goal to drive traffic to your blog or website, or increase your SEO ranking?
• Are you working to build backlinks to your website?
Answering these questions clearly, can help you to target your search for appropriate guest blogging opportunities.
The next step is one you’ve probably already done when defining your own content strategy, developing personas. By defining your audience, you can better target your opportunities. Be as specific as possible when building your personas. Having a well-defined target audience will not only help you to determine which opportunities to pursue, it can also help you to define your message.
You’ve defined your goals, and your target market. Now it’s time to begin to search for opportunities to reach them. Begin by looking for sites that are relevant to your industry that your target audience might frequent. As you search for, find and visit sites, check for a socially engaged readership. Have the posts been shared socially? Have they been commented on? Make sure the blog owner is active on social media sites. This makes it more likely they will share your guest posts with their community.
Another avenue to target when searching for guest blogging opportunities are the influential people in your particular industry. Using Google, search for them by name and determine if they have a blog that might be a good fit.
While these are great ways to begin your search, you can expand your efforts by using many of the free sites and tools available online.
Expanding Your Search: Using Outreach Tools
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Google is a great place to begin your search. Try using some key word searches to find blogs that may accept guest writers. First, type in your industry, for example, “social media marketing.” Then follow this:
• submit a guest post
• guest post by
• accepts guest posts
• guest post guidelines, etc.
These queries will lead you to a blog’s guest post guidelines, submission pages, and guest posts by numerous other writers.
Using the same criteria, try searching Twitter. Often writers will tweet about guest posts that they have submitted to other blogs and you can then follow the chain to the host blog and inquire,
Here are some other online sites and tools you can use to uncover guest blogging opportunities:
• Buzzstream - www.buzzstream.com - Buzzstream is a web-based software solution to organize your blogging and create an online buzz, all while building links and improving SEO to help get you found. It also helps you to build relationships with the influencers in your industry.
• BlogDash – http://www.blogdash.com - Blogdash helps you to organize and publish content then search and find specific bloggers using keyword search. You can then engage with these influencers and build beneficial relationships.
• Technorati - http://technorati.com/ - Technorati is a directory of blogs searchable by writer or keyword. I helps you to identify potential guest blogging opportunities. By becoming a member (it’s free), you can create a profile and interact with influencers from across all industries, building contacts for you to expore.
• Open Site Explorer - http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ - Once you’ve established a potential opportunity, just type the domain name into the box on this site. It will search the web and return information on that site’s domain authority and link profile.
• Buzz Sumo - http://buzzsumo.com - Buzzsumo is a tool that lets you track trending topics across all social platforms, identify the most shared links and the influencers for an topic. Using buzz sumo allows you to tailor your content and SEO outreach towards hi-visibility topics and the influencers who write about them.
Guest blogging is a great way to grow your community, establish authority, generate backlinks and improve your SEO ranking. Try some of the tools and tips above. With a little targeted research, you’ll uncover hundreds of opportunities to spread your me
A brave new world is upon us. The digital frontier is growing in sophistication, and companies worldwide are scrambling to find the silver bullet technology that will help them effectively promote their product, ideally resulting in a healthy and sustainable expansion of their bottom line.
This is where video marketing enters the fray. As download speeds increase, and streaming video becomes the norm, a wall of text with a value proposition hidden in the middle simply will not suffice.
The writing is already on the wall. Video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016, with a full 55% of consumer internet traffic tied to the burgeoning format by the same year. Further, 92% of video viewers share these clips with others, providing a viral smoking gun that can exponentially increase a brand’s online presence.
Get on Board!
The funny (and vexing) thing is that many businesses are blind to this revolution. In fact, only about 24% of national brand are currently taking advantage of videos. This makes the internet marketing environment ripe for conquest, with small to mid-size firms having a major advantage due to their ability to operate with agility, pivoting much quicker than their larger counterparts.
This does not come without concerns though. the prime worry for most decision makers is cost. How can an emerging internet marketing technology possibly reach a price point that is realistic?
Fortunately, the internet marketing industry focused on video production has exploded recently. There are numerous cost-effective platforms with which to market your product online that will allow your company to reach new audiences, engage historically fickle demographics, and expand your presence to new markets.
In addition to the sprinkling of sage advice and vital statistics throughout, this article’s primary function is to highlight the notable examples of platforms and placements currently leading the way in making video marketing the dominant form of new media:
Videos can easily be used to explain your products or services to potential customers. Even with the obvious benefits, these video need to be of quality that meets the polish of your own product. This requires professionals who know what they are doing. The team at Brightroll, the largest independent video ad platform, understand this well, and focus on providing impact, intelligence, and scale to digital video campaigns. They believe that these factors are vital in building strong brands while connecting audiences anytime, anywhere…and they are not wrong. Tubemogul is another all-encompassing video advertising platform. TubeMogul is the leading enterprise software company for digital branding. The world’s largest brands and agencies unify their video advertising on TubeMogul’s programmatic platform
Another full-service video firm is Wistia. They provide value by taking control of every aspect of the video production process, from the storyboards to the online promotion. Wistia is particularly concerned with delivery on ANY device. This factor cannot be advocated enough. As users move from their PC to mobile phones, tablets, and other devices, the compatibility and ease of access is paramount. The inability to encode in HTML5 or Flash, for example, will limit videos to specific devices, blocking out entire groups of people, while annoying the ones who attempt to watch your content without success.
For those looking to stand on the cutting-edge of online video, places like Innovid may be your most attractive option. Intent on pushing the limits of video innovation, Innovid goes a step further than just providing high-quality video, they add interactive elements to the videos themselves, immersing the audience even further into the brand, and allowing them to experience the product as opposed to simply looking at it. Engagement is a primary staple in defining marketing success, and the ability for a potential customer to interact with your product on a deeper level (i.e. kicking the tires), will greatly increase your chances for lead generation and sales conversions.
Lastly, the proliferation of video technology has also helped organically develop a market for companies to offer full multimedia services to clients and brands. one such companies is my own video alliance at RedCMedia. Multimedia packages are an all-in-one marketing solution that centers heavily around video. In essence, these are multimedia ecosystems that guide potential customers through the entire value proposition of a brand by creating high-quality videos, including both live-action and whiteboard, along with several other areas of marketing to create an immersive and hugely informative experience that forgoes the status quo of written paragraph blocks and boring blogs.
The Time is Ripe for Video Marketing
These chosen few are just the tip of the iceberg in video marketing. A quick online search will unearth a battalion of potential options. But even so, brands must be highly discerning during this process. A quality video can make all the difference in your internet marketing strategy, so make certain to engage in due diligence and find the video platform that will properly promote your product. If you are able to do so, the sky’s the limit.
Your goal is to sell to businesses. For that, you need qualified business leads that come from a robust lead generation program. There are many elements to creating a program that produces a high quantity of high quality leads: SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Social Media, and more. But among these channels, an important strategy is public relations.
Lead generation and PR: Why it matters.
There are two factors contributing to the importance of PR in B2B marketing strategies:
- B2B companies need more leads of higher quality
- Third-party sources create the highest quality of leads
Let’s take a look at some recent research: Lattice Engines and CSO Insights report that sixty-eight percent of business are not getting enough quality leads through their lead generation efforts and blame their marketing people for it.
Another study conducted by marketing powerhouses Eloqua and CMO.com, “third-party lead originators and publishers get the most favorable ratings, with 34% saying they deliver a high quantity of leads.”
The experts have reached their conclusion, the reports have been published, and the facts speak for themselves: PR can have tremendous impact on B2B lead generation.
Public Relations: How to do it right.
There are many ways B2B companies harness public relations for the lead generation strategies. While it is true that PR plays an essential role in lead generation, not all strategies are created equal. If you have decided to allocate resources to (at least . . . test) public relations, don’t do it randomly. Think about your strategy, create a plan, set goals and KPIs, and track your progress.
On a strategic level, here are the top elements of PR for lead generation:
1. Synergize between lead generation channels
Your public relations strategy is not a stand-alone enterprise. It must work in synergy with your other efforts. For example, your PR efforts should always be optimized for search engines, in line with your SEO strategy. Furthermore, your social media strategy must work hand in hand with your PR to get the most out of the press coverage.
2. Thought leaders get more press
Besides the teamwork among all of your marketing efforts, remember also that public relations is not a short, “quick pay-off” kind of endeavor. You must establish yourself as a thought leader in your vertical. Use your blog or guest blogging opportunities to discuss issues and news that are relevant to your industry (not necessarily to your product). You live and breathe your sector – make your opinions known. Blog about interesting topics, comment on relevant social conversations, participate at virtual and live events. Thought leadership is hard to measure, but its effects are not. Take the time to build your reputation: not only as a seller or your product, but as a commentator about your space.
3. Recruit evangelists
Think of yourself as a buyer for a moment. What do you trust more: the seller of a product telling you how great the product is, or an actual user of the product telling you how it helped their business? Your satisfied customers can be leveraged to get public relations coverage for your business without even (or, in addition to) quoting you. Contact some of your early adopters to create case studies. Identify influencers in your space and give them an extended trial to test your product and tell others about it.
4. Track competitors
Do you have direct competitors? Tracking their PR activities can provide valuable insights. You can find new publishers to approach, you can dissect their messaging, and you can understand their offers (and offer something better). But strategic PR efforts take this competitive research a step further. Do not track only your direct competitors: track other companies in your space who are targeting the same buyers. Understand their strategies, reverse-engineer their PR plans, and use the insights you learn to develop your own.
B2B Lead Generation with Public Relations
You can have a B2B marketing program without PR. You will get qualified leads this way (and you probably already have). When your needs to get to the next level: when your sales team demands more/better/quicker, when you are ready to lead the industry, you must include PR in your efforts.
Adding public relations to your marketing efforts will help:
- Position you as an industry expert
- Get third party coverage that generates more leads or higher quality
- Generate buzz about your company
- Increase traffic to your site
To do public relations right, SMEs may not need a full-time employee on staff to orchestrate the effort. But, the effort does need orchestration, nonetheless. This is where a marketing firm has immense value: make sure you select a partner that in knowledgeable and experienced in increasing your reach and influence through public relations for lead generation
You might think this article is about how to write in an engaging, persuasive way that brings prospects flocking to your website, downloading e-books, white papers and case studies, and picking up the phone to place their orders.
That’s because good content doesn’t start with pecking out words on your keyboard. Compelling content begins with gaining a deep understanding of your prospective customers and creating buyer personas. Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute says feedback she hears about buyer personas often sounds like this:
“It’s almost like cheating, like getting the exam paper weeks before the final. Instead of guessing what matters, I now know … not only what she wants; I know how she goes about (buying).”
Buyer personas answer the following questions, enabling you to create content marketing plans tailored to your prospects’ and clients’ information needs. Producing content that answers buyers’ questions in the formats they prefer helps to shorten your sales cycle and bring more buyers in the door.
- What makes solving this problem or exploiting this opportunity a priority?
Because business people lack the resources to deal with all their problems, you want to understand what motivates them to make it a priority to address the problem your product or service solves. For example, in a recent persona project I explored with a business owner why he had put a priority on addressing fraud. He told me that his company had been hemorrhaging money, and if he hadn’t found a solution to address fraud, he would be out of business. The businessman’s answer clearly revealed why finding a solution to fraud was on the top of his “to-do” list and the emotions or pain we could tap into with our marketing content.
- How do prospects envision the results of a successful purchase?
You want to discover how the prospect views the benefits of buying the product. Do they hope to save money? Increase safety? Stay ahead of the competition? Whatever it is, you’ll want to address these benefits in your content.
- What prevents a buyer from investigating a solution to their problem or buying it from you?
There are many issues that prevent prospects from charging forward to address a problem. Of course, you probably encounter price resistance all the time. But there are more subtle barriers that impede action. For example, prospects may be waylaid by internal politics or past bad experiences; fear that the learning curve is too steep; or lack the bandwidth to deal with the problem.
- How do they decide which product, service or solution to buy?
This question goes beyond the benefits, explored in question #2, that a buyer expects. Now we’re looking at which features and attributes pushed a product over the last hurdle to become the finalist.
- What are the steps through the buying process?
You want to understand how the buyer moves through the buying process. How do they initially become aware of products on the market? Are they researching on the Internet or do they gain a lot of information by word-of-mouth. Once buyers know what’s available, they consider different options. In this phase of the cycle are they looking at case studies, articles, white papers, or something else? And what do they look for to make the final decision? Perhaps they’re looking at price and data sheets, and need information to put together a business case. Once you know the questions buyers are asking as they move through the buying process and the content they like to consume, you’ll be able to map out the marketing content you need to produce.
To create a buyer persona, you’ll need to interview several buyers. If possible, it’s also helpful to talk with prospects who decided not to buy from you, either because they opted for a competitor’s product or decided not to take action. Your interviews should be unstructured conversations that enable you to dig deeply into buyer motivations and needs. By doing so, you’ll gain the insights that can only be found below the surface — those that give you the edge over your competition.
If you have not implemented an A/B Testing program for your landing pages you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to for conversion rate optimization. Although the name implies there are only two versions, A/B Testing compares the success rate for multiple variations of a single landing page. A/B Testing has recently gained in popularity simply due to the fact that it works.
A/B Testing Basics
To conduct an A/B Test, a business must first develop alternative versions of a landing page, which feature differing copy, images and design on key components of the page. After the pages have been developed, the A/B Test is run by equally splitting randomly assigned website traffic between the different versions of the web page. The performance of each page is measured according to the pages’ overall usability, including bounce rates, conversion rates, sales, time on page, etc.
By taking the best performing elements and combining them together, A/B Testing can help facilitate conversion rate optimization. Here are some of the landing page components, and how they can be adjusted to facilitate the best results in A/B Testing.
Landing Page Components
The first step in A/B Testing is to identify the landing page elements that will have the biggest impact on overall conversion rates and contribute the most towards increasing profits. The best practices in landing page design have identified the Headline, Subtitle, Image and Call-to-Action as the “must have” components for landing page success. This is a good place to begin, however after testing these initial elements your can continue to increase your conversion rate optimization by testing additional elements of your landing page as well.
Headline and Subtitle
Best practices in landing page design and layout deem that businesses include a highly visible Headline and supporting Subtitle at the top of the page. Your copy for these elements should clearly define your Unique Selling Proposition, in wording that is clear, concise and scan-able. Focus on testing out a few versions of your Headline and Subtitle that help your prospects understand why the products or services you provide are better than your competition and what benefit this brings to your customers.
Your landing page should include a key image or photo that shows your product or service being used in context or an image that engages with your customers. In many instances, an image of an attractive smiling woman has been proven to deliver the best conversion rates. However, you should test various images and placements to ensure you obtain the highest conversion rate optimization.
Your Call-to-Action (CTA) should appeal to your prospects by telling them what they have to gain. Avoid terminology that is demanding and use “you” or “my” to connect with your audience. Test page using words like “do” and “get” to determine which has the best impact on reinforcing these concepts and motivating your prospects.
Other CTA examples include:
- Try it for free
- Start my/your free trial
- Get my/your free E-book
- Schedule my/your demo/consultation
- Increase my/your ROI today
A short bulleted list of the benefits your prospects will receive from your products or services can be like “icing on the cake”. Depending on the products or services offered, listing 3 to 5 brief benefits may help your conversion rate optimization. In most instances, it may not have a measurable positive impact but it will not have a negative impact either.
Colors and Graphics
A/B Testing is a great way to test the color theory that works best with your target audience. Colors have been proven to successfully convey and impact buyer emotions. Subtle variations on a single color or combination of colors can have a substantial effect on landing page conversion rate optimization. A/B Testing is a cost-effective way to determine which design works best for your products or services, and the results are often surprising.
Additional Page Components
Although they may seem insignificant there are numerous additional page components that can be tested to assist with conversion rate optimization. Many businesses have found that listing the logos of business partners or other validations like the Verisign® trust symbol can have a small but meaningful impact on the tested page’s conversion rates.
A/B Testing should become a standard and ongoing practice to assist with landing page conversion rate optimization. Optimization should be a continual practice of testing and fine tuning your messaging to achieve the optimal results in sales and conversions.
In recent years Google has worked to add fresh new tools for tracking conversion metrics into Adwords. Whether you’re tracking conversions on a standard website, within mobile apps, via phone call, or across multiple devices, Adwords has much more to offer today than it did even one year ago. In this article, we’ll discuss the various metrics offered by Adwords today, and discuss how you can use them to better craft your marketing strategies and tactics.
These are the concrete numbers Google has always offered–people who definitely clicked an add and ended up converting in a directly trackable manner. If you only like planning based on the surest of data, this is where you want to focus most of your attention.
- Converted Clicks. Exactly what it appears to be, this is the number of clicks that resulted in any number of conversions. One conversion and two hundred conversions from a single click both show up as a ‘+1′ here, so if you’re aiming for repeat customers this might be a less useful metric.
- Total Conversions. The counterpart to converted clicks, this is the total number of conversions. You can choose to view unique conversions (all conversions by a single person count as 1) or all (every conversion counts), depending on which is the more useful metric for your business.
- Call Conversions. A newer feature, once set up this will show you how many people used the advertised number for longer than whatever duration you consider appropriate. All calls that meet a duration threshold you set will count as ‘conversions’ for this metric, as Google has no way of knowing whether an actual conversion occurred. Still, it’s better than no metric at all.
These are numbers Google has calculated based on the wealth of data available to the company–you don’t need to set up anything special, this is all on Google’s end. You can probably trust them to be accurate, but don’t turn off your common sense. If something seems inaccurate, maybe it is.
- Cross-Device Conversions. This will help you get a grasp of those customers who click your ad, then make their conversion later on a different device. This is a very valuable metric, increasingly so if you’re dealing with a younger and/or tech-savvier audience. Note that you don’t have to advertise on multiple devices; Google figures this out on its own.
- Total Conversions. A combined total conversion number, with your normal total conversions, call conversions, and estimated cross-device conversions combined into a single figure. Probably the most useful figure when considering your Adwords ROI.
-Other Metrics to Consider-
There are a few other metrics you can wring from Adwords. Though they’re not quite as reliable or widely applicable as the other numbers, they can play a big role in perfecting your tactics and strategies. Just don’t overvalue any of these; any conversion counted here could be unrelated and only counted by coincidence.
- Impression-Assisted Conversions. Basically, conversions that occurred after a particular keyword triggered an impression, but was not directly the cause of the conversion. This data is only available for search campaigns.
- Click-Assisted Conversions. Like impression-assisted conversions, but with assist clicks instead of impressions. This gives you insight into keywords that help funnel a visitor towards eventual conversion, but don’t necessarily close the deal alone.
- View-Through Conversions. If someone views an ad on the Display Network, never clicks on it, and eventually converts some other way, that is counted here. If your purpose for an ad is raising brand awareness rather than making immediate conversions, this is a good metric to focus your attention on.
Content marketing is in essence, the creation of content to promote your brand. Content marketing can come in many forms including video, social media, written page copy, infographics, and blog content.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Content marketing works differently than traditional link building methods because you are trading on value, not simply looking for a link exchange. With new Google updates such as Panda and Penguin, the linkbuilding process has had to evolve to avoid penalties. Creating links in content marketing is driven by creating content that is timely and useful. Links, simply put, equal lead generation by bringing more visitors to your site. Some specific examples of these items might include:
- Rate Calculators
- Product Comparisons
- Both high and low level FAQ’s
- Product reviews
- Data summaries, including infographics or executive recaps
By creating content like these items, you are basically offering a service to others, and a reason to visit your site. Content marketing is at the forefront of SEO, because it using value links like these, not simply links in a popularity contest style aggregation. Consumers are also more likely to click through on links if given a reason like “find out how much a roof replacement will cost” or “learn five simple ways to self tune-up your car”.
Internal Use Marketing
By internal content, think of content that is created for on-website promotion, not as internal company memos and policies. Content created for in house placement can include any of the above examples. Additional ideas could be blog content or white papers. Make sure to include onsite SEO work like web pages, page titles, and meta descriptions as part of your overall marketing and SEO plan, and integrate this material with your page copy. Native content is a concept that describes content so well integrated into a page, that is doesn’t stand out as specific sales copy and fits into the entire scheme.
To gain leads from your external content, you will need to create natural seeming content that is creative, humorous, or informative to give outside groups a reason to link to you. An example would be the difference between posting a “FAQ on the most common construction slab concerns” as opposed to “Why slabmasters offers the cheapest prices on construction”. While both pieces of content have value, only the first one is likely to be appealing for an outside source to link to – the explanation on prices is too much of an advertisement to appeal to outside sources, yet it still has it’s value in the overall funnel.
Guest Posting and External Placement
Any content you create can be placed externally with the right outreach. Externally placement generates leads by putting your brand into another sphere of consumers. Some of the placement will require payment while others are based on building relationships and offering value. The most common form of off site placement is the guest post or guest blog. Guest posting on other sites is a great way to get search engine recognition. An extra bonus occurs if you can have these posts liked to your Google authorship, allowing for a profile boost and brand recognition in your field. Unfortunately, guest posting often gets a bad name due to poor and spammy content. Make sure the content you prepare for offsite placement is topical, quality writing. Don’t fall victim to the automation process that is common when creating large amounts of content.
Social media is a great way to reach external channels, and can also boost your internally marketed content. While each different social media channel requires a slightly different format, you can easily automate your posting process with programs such as Hootsuite to streamline the content process. Getting “Likes” and “Retweets” is a great way to get recognition. By teasing larger content items on these channels you can help generate leads that will follow the link back to your website. In addition to custom content and teasers naturally placed on these channels, you can also capitalize on paid advertisements and boosted posts, like these examples on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Whether your content placement is intended for internal or external placement, content marketing is a great way to generate leads by creating interest based and useful backlinks to your website. Creative content will increase your brand awareness beyond old fashioned SEO, providing subtle answers to consumer questions about your B2B opportunities.