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SearchCap: Google lite app, Bing dynamic search ads & Pinterest zoom

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By Barry Schwartz

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Local & Maps

Link Building

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

The post SearchCap: Google lite app, Bing dynamic search ads & Pinterest zoom appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Nailing down ads for the holiday season

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By Thomas Stern

Believe it or not, it’s that time again for us to start gearing up for the holidays. Not every brand sufficiently prepares their paid media campaigns for this fast-paced season — and for e-commerce brands, this is especially crucial.

Getting ahead of the competitive holiday season is a recurring obstacle. To start off on the right foot, you need to centralize your merchant feed, plan on making foundational optimizations, analyze your historical and competitor promotions, but most importantly, diversify your paid media shopping mix.

By creating diversification within your paid media shopping campaigns, you will positively impact your holiday ROI and set up a framework for future e-commerce growth.

Consider the following paid media tactics to be more effective and successful as an online retailer.

Capturing demand through PLAs and Google Shopping

Google Shopping or product listing ads (PLAs) are sizzling hot, especially while we prepare for the holiday season. Ever since PLAs gained popularity in 2011, they’ve evolved to be prominent within search results and have taken a larger chunk of traffic away from the traditional text search ads.

For our e-commerce clients, we adjust their budget and focus at the product level. Focus at the product level typically means aligning to long-tail queries, making inclusion and optimization of all product attributes important for visibility. This allows us to display the most relevant product to the searcher across an array of search modifiers. For instance, we can reach users searching for a kitchen knife set, a paring knife or a black Wusthof 7-inch Santoku Hollow-Edge.

As discussed in my most recent Search Engine Land post, PLAs put product imagery, titles, pricing and other in-depth details directly in front of eager shoppers. Looking for a black leather jacket? With just a couple of keystrokes, Google will present a full range of product listing ads to aid your decision-making.

Rather than just bidding at the keyword level, Google Shopping enables marketers to focus on the products instead. They can rely on Google’s algorithm to display their products to the correct users. It’s up to you to ensure your merchant feed is up to date with product descriptions and pricing to ensure your PLA campaign has an increased ROAS (return on ad spend).

Whether an ad is in the overarching “All” search tab or Google’s specific “Shopping” tab, PLAs are effective because they connect buyers to sellers directly. We recently implemented a quick-paced shopping campaign for just under two months and saw a direct impact on online conversions and revenue. The campaign resulted in over 535 online transactions with over $11K shopping revenue — increasing the year-over-year direct revenue by 89 percent.

Google Shopping is one of the best ways to reach new buyers. In 2015, Think With Google released a report that stated 50 percent of shoppers are interested in buying from new retailers. Now is the time to start pulling together your merchant feed, develop your PLA strategy and see an increase in your conversions.

Testing Amazon search and sponsored product capabilities

With over 50 percent of product searches beginning on Amazon, they’ve recently pursued other revenue streams with impressive growth. However, many brands have yet to take full advantage of Amazon’s core strength: their product listings and online conversions.

Since launching in 1994, Amazon improved its e-commerce platform and ad programs with reporting and sponsored products. This allows brands to access relevant data and optimize ROAS for ad campaigns.

Online shoppers try to get the most information in the shortest amount of time. That’s why Amazon built its system with reviews, search results pages and paid media capabilities for brands. At ZOG Digital, we took to Amazon and executed many sponsored product campaigns that saw a direct influence on return on Amazon PPC budget and total conversions. The various sponsored product campaigns resulted in a ROAS of nearly 800 percent.

The latter capability is the most important — Amazon has become a very competitive atmosphere for online retailers, and as marketers optimize their product listings, Amazon PPC can surely help to increase brand’s visibility and sales online.

Incrementality with dynamic display

Google, Amazon and social media steal the e-commerce spotlight. With such a large percentage of product-related searches happening on specific retailers sites, it’s imperative to use third parties to get more specific.

[Read the full article on Marketing Land.]

The post Nailing down ads for the holiday season appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Pinterest now lets people zoom in on pins, has redesigned visual search icon

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By Tim Peterson

Pinterest continues to try to make it easier for people to use its visual search engine.

Now Pinterest users can zoom in on pins when using its mobile app. Pinterest has also made the option to search individual objects within a pin more obvious and opened up its Chrome browser extension to people who don’t have a Pinterest account, the company announced on Wednesday.

[Read the full article on Marketing Land.]

The post Pinterest now lets people zoom in on pins, has redesigned visual search icon appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Site optimization or traffic optimization: Which delivers better results?

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By Jacob Baadsgaard

You hear a lot about user experience (UX) testing these days. As an online marketer, you’re supposed to test your site, test your landing pages, test your app… basically, the mantra is, if you’re not testing, you’re wasting money on bad design!

No argument here.

But, while I’ve been a big fan of testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) for almost a decade, I’m also a very practical sort of guy. CRO is a great idea, but sometimes you have to pick your priorities as an online marketer — especially if you’re in charge of marketing a smaller business with limited resources.

For marketers in this sort of situation, choosing where to spend your time is just as important as choosing where to spend your marketing budget, which begs the question:

Should you focus on improving your traffic quality, or on improving your site experience?

Now, don’t get me wrong — in a perfect world, you’d optimize your site and your traffic quality simultaneously. But most of us have to operate under less-than-perfect circumstances, and we need to spend our time where it counts.

A quick thought experiment

Of course, every campaign and business is different, so there is no “one size fits all” answer to the traffic vs. testing debate. But, to get a little perspective on how traffic optimization and site optimization can affect your marketing campaigns, let’s take a page out of Einstein’s book and run a little thought experiment.

Since this is Search Engine Land, let’s imagine that you’ve set up a paid search campaign for your company. On average, your cost per click is $4, but you’d like to change that.

Over the past few months, you’ve spent $20,000 on this campaign, and your ads were clicked on about 5,000 times.

Check out all that traffic! With that many visitors, you should be rolling in conversions, right?

At first glance, it certainly seems that way, but if we assume that your account is about as effective as the average AdWords account, you spent three-quarters of that $20,000 marketing budget on traffic that has no interest in converting.

In other words, you wasted $15,000 on the wrong clicks.

The simple fact of the matter is, most AdWords accounts spend 76 percent or more of their budget on search terms that have never and will never convert. (To learn more about this problem, check out this article and this article.)

As a result, you thought that $20,000 was paying for 5,000 potential customers when in reality, it was paying for 1,250 potential customers:

So, while it only costs $4 to get a visitor to your website, you’re spending $16 to get a potential customer to your site. No wonder you’re not rolling in conversions!

Optimizing your site

At $16 a pop, it’s clear that you need to give every potential customer who reaches your site the best possible experience. After all, you need to squeeze every last conversion out of those 1,250 prime visitors.

So, you decide to run an A/B test.

Unfortunately, while it looks like you’re testing an audience of 5,000 visitors, in reality, you’re really only testing a subset of those visitors — the 1,250 visitors who actually might convert.

As a result, while on paper your test looks like this:

You’re really only testing this:

Sad as that is, it still gives you enough traffic for your A/B test. So you set things up, spend another $20,000 on the campaign, and review your results.

To your credit, your new design performs 20 percent better than your original design. That’s a major win!

No wonder people love conversion rate optimization. You spent the same amount of money, but by optimizing your site, you got 20 percent more conversions out of your traffic.

In fact, at a $4 cost per click, your cost per conversion just dropped from $25 a pop to about $21.

Taking the blinders off

But wait, we’re missing something. Remember, while your cost per click for the whole campaign was only $4, it actually costs you $16 to get a potential customer to your site. These test results are only showing how your potential customers responded to your new site design.

If we take the full 5,000 clicks you were really testing into account, your test looks more like this:

And your results look like this:

Now, while going from a 4 percent conversion rate to a 4.8 percent conversion rate is a lot less exciting than going from a 16 percent conversion rate to a 19 percent conversion rate, your conversion rate still increased by 20 percent. Your test was still successful.

But, when we take all of that irrelevant, expensive traffic into account, you’re not paying $21 per conversion. You’re paying around $83 per conversion. All of sudden, your awesome test results aren’t looking quite so awesome.

Optimizing your traffic

Remember, when we were only talking about your potential customers, a $4 cost per click meant a $25 cost per conversion in your control group.

In other words, if you were only paying for relevant, interested traffic to your site, you’d be paying less than one-third of what you are paying for a conversion on your optimized site.

By comparison, if you could improve the quality of your traffic by eliminating 20 percent of your worthless clicks (often a much easier task than improving the performance of your site), you would drop your cost per conversion to $80. Take that $4,000 you were wasting on the wrong traffic and invest it in driving more of the right traffic, and you could be looking at a $55 cost per conversion (and a lot more conversions, too!).

This isn’t just theory, either. We’ve seen firsthand at Disruptive how eliminating wasted ad spend from an account can dramatically reduce a client’s cost per conversion.

For example, here’s what happened when we cut one client’s wasted ad spend by about 20 percent:

In a matter of weeks, their cost per conversion dropped by almost 80 percent.

When you get right down to it, you can’t test your way out of low-quality traffic. In the thought experiment above, you’d need to nearly double your conversion rate to get a $55 cost per conversion. More often than not, that will take a lot more time and effort than a little campaign optimization.

Picking your priorities

Okay, now that we’ve run our thought experiment, what’s the answer? Should you be tweaking your site or tweaking your campaigns?

The honest answer is, it really depends.

If your paid search campaigns are already highly optimized, and you’re confident that your ad spend is driving high-quality traffic to your site, then conversion rate optimization is the way to go. After all, if you’ve got the right people on your site, you need to do everything you can to make their experience compelling.

For most business, however, the quickest route to success is improving traffic quality. As exciting as traffic is, if you’re paying to put the wrong people on your site, it’s going to be hard to make decent money at online advertising.

Conclusion

As marketers, it can be hard to decide where to spend our valuable time and resources. This is particularly important when it comes to optimizing your site and your traffic, which both have a huge influence on the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

If you have to pick one, though, it’s usually best to start by refining your traffic quality before you put a ton of time and effort into refining your site. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule, but in my experience, traffic optimization will deliver quicker and more meaningful results than site optimization for most businesses.

The post Site optimization or traffic optimization: Which delivers better results? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Dynamic Search Ads pilot in Bing Ads now open to all US advertisers

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By Ginny Marvin

Bing Ads’ testing of Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) is expanding to and now available to US advertisers.

From Thursday’s announcement:

DSA is designed to help advertisers increase their impression volume, increase search term coverage and drive incremental clicks and conversions, while reducing the burdens of campaign set up and day-to-day management.

Advertisers using DSA in Google AdWords will find the DSA structure in Bing Ads familiar. Ads are served by landing page content rather than keywords the advertiser enters. Bing Ads crawls the advertiser’s website to identify a landing page that’s related to the search query and dynamically generates ad titles that fit the query. The ads are then served with the generic ad copy the advertiser has entered.

To get started, select “Dynamic Search Ads” when setting up a new campaign in Bing Ads. Advertisers can target all pages on their site or limit the crawl to specific pages.

DSA can be set up in the Bing Ads UI, the API and through the Google Import tool. Kenshoo also supports Bing Ads DSA setup and management.

To sign up for the pilot, fill out the online form.

The post Dynamic Search Ads pilot in Bing Ads now open to all US advertisers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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