Yahoo! helps pay per click advertisers reach audience

Yahoo! has launched three new targeting products for brand and performance marketers that are created to help in getting to the audiences that matter most when advertising through its pay per click platform.

One of these new products is Search Retargeting, which provides advertisers with the ability to target display advertising based on user search activities.

Enhanced Targeting is designed for search advertising and includes demographic targeting within search and ad scheduling, while Enhanced Retargeting enables advertisers to offer dynamically generated display ads throughout the Yahoo! Network based on user activity on the marketer’s site.

“Yahoo!’s new targeting products significantly improve the ability for search and display advertisers to reach their target audience, providing increased pay per click efficiency and accountability,” commented Michael Walrath, senior vice-president of the Advertising Marketplaces Group at Yahoo!.

Last month, Yahoo! reported $1,806 million (£1.26 billion) revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012, amounting to a one per cent decrease in comparison to the same period in 2011.

PPC adCenter advice given

Even during the current economic downturn pay-per-click advertising is continuing to grow and there are various tips marketers can take advantage of to improve the total return on investment (ROI) on Microsoft adCenter, it is said.

Writing for Microsoft adCenter, Jeremy Lamothe suggests: “Adding or updating negatives helps to eliminate low quality clicks and minimise costs that impact your ROI.”

He also advises bidding on all keyword match types in the same ad group to help increase impressions, clicks, cost per click and click through rate.

Mr Lamothe asserts that if marketers include 20 keywords per ad group or less this enables ad copy to be more relevant to the user based on their search query.

He adds that testing ad copy with adCenter is also advisable “as the demographics are different with Live Search”.

Marketers can pay on a cost-per-click basis and import search campaigns by signing up to Microsoft adCenter.

Yahoo! launches new display ad service

Yahoo! has launched a new display ad service designed to help small and medium-sized businesses reach their target audiences.

The service, known as Yahoo! My Display Ads, claims to offer “powerful geographic, channel and demographic targeting capabilities”.

Advertisers are given a choice of some 800 ad design templates which they can then customise through a self-serve interface.

Joanne Bradford, senior vice-president for North America revenue and market development at Yahoo!, said: “This new solution provides an affordable and accessible option for businesses to run brand and performance campaigns that reach the local audiences that matter to them most.”

Meanwhile, a broadband expert has suggested that the internet has now effectively become the fourth utility after electricity, gas and water.

Edd Dawson, managing director at broadband.co.uk, said the web is already seen as “essential” for many people but is likely to become an even more prominent feature of daily life in the coming years.

Improve Adwords clickthrough rate – CTR

By improving your click-through rate (CTR) you can improve the cost-effectiveness of your Adwords campaign. or the percent of users that have actually clicked your ad with a certain purpose. Higher click-through rate leads to a higher Quality Score – a rank used by Google for grading your AdWords keywords and advertising groups. The higher your Quality Score is, the less you have to pay for better ad positions.

These are some 10 steps which you can use for improving the click-through rate of your online advertising campaign:

Include promotional offers, attractive adjectives and call-to-action to your ads.

People are more likely to click your ad if it mentions a special promotion, such as free shipping for instance. Words such as “save”, “easy”, “new”, and action-urging phrases such as “buy it now”, “book it today”, and “call now” often lead to a higher conversion rate (turning users into direct consumers of a product or service).

Include your keywords in the text and the heading of your AdWords ad.

The keywords that people use when doing a Google search appear in bold when they are found in some of the results, displayed by the search engine. People are more likely to click an advert in the advertising spot if it contains a keyword they have already looked for as part of their query.

Include price into the Pay-per-Click ad if you sell a product or service at a preferential cost.

This could not only inspire people to look for further information on the issue by clicking your ad, but could also result as an aftermath in a better conversion rate of the site.

Choose keywords that are as closely related to your product or service as possible.

If they are not, the chance of people clicking on your ad is smaller. For instance, if you sell vinegar produced of red wine, but your key words are just “buy”, “red” and “wine”, you cannot expect good conversion. People looking for “buy”, “red” and “wine” are more likely looking to buy the perfect bottle of wine than for your vinegar. You should send the right message so that your chance for conversion is bigger!

Use negative keywords to limit your non-targeted visits.

Let’s say that you sell only brand new cell phones. You wouldn’t like your ad to be displayed to people looking for second hand cell phones. In order to avoid this, you should include the phrase “second hand” as a negative keyword.

Simplify your ad.

If there are too many words in your ad, people won’t be able to read it. You should try to reduce the text in a way that won’t harm the integrity of the information and the message you want your product to communicate. You should totally avoid captions such as “click here” or “visit this link”.

Make the words in the displayed URL larger in order to make them legible.

If you are a distributor of Swiss chocolate and your site is wesellswisschocolate.com, you should input the URL in the following manner: WeSellSwissChocolate.com. People are more likely to click on your ad if it clearly indicates what it sells.

Test different types of ads.

Texts, banners, local business, different keywords, different layouts, will help you identify the features of different ads that generate the highest Clickthrough rate. Once you have this information, you will be able to focus on the right use of these features in a complete and integrated AdWords advertisement.

Get rid of abbreviations.

You should use abbreviations only if they are obvious for your target group. Marketing experts could abbreviate words to fit them into a certain ad. But by doing so, they decrease the chances for the mass user to understand what the ad is about, which, in turn, reduces the users’ desire to click on the ad.

Opt for the use of headings, related to the season, even if what you sell is marketable all the year round.

This could increase the feeling of “healthy anxiety”, as I call it, and make the users act now, while they still have the chance. If your company sells smiley-shaped cookies and it is close to St. Valentine’s day, your caption could be “Buy Smileys for St. Valentine”.

These suggestions, far from exhausting all possible ways for improving your WordAd campaign, are some of the best practices that should be considered in creating an online advertising campaign, using Google AdWords in particular.  Feel free to add any information that I may have missed in the comment section below.

Pay per click advertising vs SEO

In spite of spending most of my time doing website search engine optimization (SEO), I do admit that the Pay per click advertising (PPC) service has its place in the online marketing. PPC has certain advantages when used side by side with SEO services, especially in the following cases:

New web sites

I have mentioned this before too – on many occasions you can get faster result from Pay per click ads, and this is the reason why you might want to use it upon launching brand new websites, because the extremely important Link Popularity, a key factor in Search Engine Optimization ,takes much longer to gain momentum.

Seasonal sales or special offers

If you have products that you need to get rid of fast such as last moment reservations for plane tickets or concert tickets, or if your warehouse is full of items, with approaching expiration date, pay per click advertising is a good way for offering a fast online bid instantaneously. And the good part is that you can remove the offering from the online space the moment it gets outdated.

Geographical location or profile targeting

Most online advertising networks are set to target users in special geographical zones. Facebook’s Pay per click network, however, allows you to target users based on certain criteria from their profiles. For instance, if a use’s Relationship status is “Engaged” he or she is an appropriate target for vendors of wedding dresses or accessories.

Testing

PPC advertising is a good way for testing people’s feedback on different page layouts, various selections of texts, pictures, etc.

Highly competitive phrases

As we all know, the number of positions available at the top of the search engine results is limited. And if you are targeting highly competitive key words and phrases, and your competition has optimized their website really good, you might have to use Pay per Click for making your site visible. This is often the case with small local businesses that are trying to compete with bigger-scale national businesses.

Content Management Systems and online stores

Most of the Content Management Systems and online stores produced lately are SEO-friendly enough, still you can bump upon helpless cases. And regardless of what product names you insert, or how you embed them in the pages, they simply won’t be ranked well by search engines. I advise such sites to be made with SEO-friendly software, however, it is quite possible that you lack either the time or the money to do this. In such cases the PPC service comes handy again, at least until you manage to reprogram your site with a suitable software.

Where did the organic results disappeared?

The increasingly blurring boundaries of the “universal search”, which displays results such as Google Places, YouTube videos, Images, etc, pushes organic results to the bottom of the page. Pay per click advertising can display your site upper on the page, where more clicks are generated.

Control-obsessed customers

Sometimes it is hard to convince your clients that they should use certain key words in the texts of their pages because this is required for good Search Engine Optimization. Instead they they might simply want to put a large image on the page without any text whatsoever. In such cases, PPC is the only way you can drive decent traffic to the website.

Bing and other similar platforms

Although you might find it hard to believe, there is life outside Google. And even if you are doing really well in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page – the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query), you might still be lagging behind in Bing. This is why the use of Pay-per-Click advertising through Bing adCenter is a good way to make your website visible in the Microsoft network. Especially given that Microsoft has lately been testing integrating its advertising network into Yahoo!.

All things considered, Pay-per-Click advertising and SEO optimization are not rivals, they are simply two strongly efficient strategies that could be used simultaneously for achieving a really successful and convincing online marketing campaign.

 

Microsoft adCenter advertising network

Formerly known as MSN adCenter, the Microsoft adCenter is an online advertising network that uses Bing and Yahoo Search! to distribute ads . With state of the art tools and customized audience research capabilities, it is a direct competitor to Google AdWords. This is because not only do you have the classic pay per click advertising model made famous by Google, but Microsoft has also developed its own analytical tools that help an advertiser target potential customers, track ad performance, and much more.

So far, according to a study done earlier this year, adCenter ads converts clicks to customers at a rate that is 57% higher than Google and 48% higher than Yahoo! Search Marketing. Further, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, Microsoft supports 94 million visitors a month, which is a highly qualified audience, with 81% making online purchases in the past six months.

One of the major complaints advertisers have with pay-per-click programs is the inability to choose to whom they are advertising, resulting in unqualified traffic. This will make all the difference in being able to make the sale or not. With tools available like demographic predictions, Microsoft hopes to be able to bring more targeted ads overall than either of the other competing engines can. Can they succeed?

Microsoft’s adCenter information page states, “For instance, if you sell running shoes, you want an audience who is interested in running shoes to see your ad and take action, which may result in the audience clicking on your search ad, visiting your web site, and buying a pair of running shoes. Conversely, you would not want someone who is interested in buying horseshoes to see your ad and take a similar course of action because that likely not result in a sale, but the click on your ad by this person would still cost you.”

There have been multiple complaints however; some have said that the Microsoft’s adCenter bids on keywords can reach much higher levels than Google’s, without seeing much improvement upon ranking in the sponsored listings. Further, Microsoft utilizes about 5 results per search engine results page (SERP) on the right hand side, with one or two results at the top, compared to Google’s 8 ads on the side, and up to 3 ads at the top. Customers are complaining that it is too difficult to reach a top position for their ad, which doesn’t do them much good if they cannot save money over Google’s program.

Others have abandoned the program due to lack of relevant contextual advertising that Microsoft’s press releases claimed was far superior to AdWords. There have been many updates and upgrades since the beta program went live after Microsoft’s contractual obligations with Overture/Yahoo! Search Marketing ended in June, and results have improved much more overall. But there may still be many more bugs.

When doing a search in Microsoft for “discount apple desktop pcs” there is an ad for Alienware and one for plasma TVs, which hold little relevance for me in regards to my search. Another search with keywords “natural herbal supplements” show two almost identical ads, one for dealtime.com and one for shopping.com, that are titled “Save Time and Money”. The sad part is that so far, I had only done searches on four keyword phrases, and two out of the four searches provided multiple irrelevant results in advertising. That doesn’t look so great for Microsoft so far.

What about click fraud? According to several reports, click fraud was absolutely no better for adCenter than for Google, even with the rumored addition of DeepMetrix, which is a web analytics firm that competes with WebTrends and other firms.

It only takes five minutes to activate an account, then it is very similar to what Google’s AdWords program has to offer. Fortunately, the analytics part of the Microsoft program is extremely simple to use, and in some people’s opinion, far easier to track with conversion tools than Google’s.