Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Geotargeting Search Advertising in Microsoft adCenter

October 12, 2008

In a previous post I wrote about the differences I found between the four major search engines Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask and their search advertising geo-targeting options.

I stated Microsoft didn’t offer geotargeted search advertising options to its advertisers.

However, Dave Naffziger pointed out Microsoft AdCenter’s geotargeting features can be found under the “edit ad group settings” instead of the “edit campaigns settings” like in Google, Yahoo and Ask.

The following are screen shots of Microsoft adCenter’s geotargeting capabilities:

Like with other search advertising platforms, Microsoft ads can be targeted by country or region and then targeted specifically to cities within a region.

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting

Although Microsoft lists all countries worldwide available for targeting, only five countries can be selected for geo-targeting search advertising through Microsoft’s adCenter at this time.

The five countries are:

The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Singapore.

Microsoft Adcenter Country Targeting

Microsoft Adcenter Country Targeting

Once a country or region has been selected, advertisers can select a limited number of cities within each state to distribute their ads to.

Microsoft Adcenter Ad Group Geotargeting

Microsoft Adcenter Ad Group Geotargeting

Advertisers can’t target their ads specifically for distribution at the state level like they can in Google, Yahoo and Ask.

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting States or Cities

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting States or Cities

Once a city or cities have been selected for geotargeted search advertising, adCenter then provides a map of the targeted area.

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting Bellevue WA

Microsoft Adcenter Geotargeting Bellevue WA

I haven’t yet been able to get the adCenter map to display any of the locations of my geotargeted ads.

adCenter search advertising features still require further development before they will match the features and functionality already available from the other three major search advertising providers.

Customized Search Results

October 10, 2008

Google has started delivering customized search results for local searches.

Customized Search Results

Customized Search Results

How does Google decide which queries are getting which area’s results?

If I were to venture a guess, I would say they will begin distributing search results within a scheme similar to Nielsen’s Designated Market Areas (DMA).

The timing for this new type of search result appears to coincide with the present United States economic cycle.

More about Google’s new customized search results:

Search Customization Details

Search Customization Details

Search Customization Details

Targeting iPhone Users with Google Adwords

October 9, 2008

Adweek reports Google has had discussions with ad agencies regarding advertisers targeting their ads to iPhone users specifically via Google Adwords.

While in Utah yesterday, my fly fishing guide Justin Harding and I noticed when using Google search from his iPhone Google Adwords advertising was sparse.

Initially, I thought it was because of the type of search we had ran.

However, after further investigative searches under highly competitive and advertised keywords, we weren’t ever able to see Adwords sponsored links on the right rail – only above the first search result.

Can a iPhone Google search display more than two Adwords advertisers ads as is now?

We weren’t able to generate any.

How is Google parsing iPhone search ads results for display? If they are, is Google distributing advertising to the iPhone with the same formula they use for displaying search results elsewhere?

Are iPhone screen real estate limitations the reason why we could only get two ads?

Even when we rotated the search results screen for horizontal viewing – under a Google search term that would typically have had up to ten sponsored links ( both above the search results and running down the right rail ) we were only able to generate two Adwords advertisers ads.

Will Google Adwords advertisers soon be able to select “iPhone” as a search distribution option along with “Google Search” and “Search Partners” within their campaigns Networks and bidding settings?

With 10 million iPhones in use and Apple’s iPhone supplying Google with its largest source of mobile search traffic, adding iPhone distribution to Google advertising campaigns will give Google Adwords advertisers another way to target and reach an increasingly mobile search audience.

Google Network Options

Google Network Options

Pay Per Click Friction

October 4, 2008

There are many tactics search engine advertisers can use by design to either induce searchers to click or not click on their ads until after the ad viewer has self qualified their interest in the advertisers’ message.

Placing an offer’s price in the ad is one tactic often discussed.

Placing a lower price than other visible or known offers can reduce pay per click ad friction with its audience and tends to increase an ads click through rate. However, placing low prices in a pay per click ad doesn’t necessarily translate into more qualified searchers or buyers nor will it translate into high transaction volume.

Another tactic not mentioned as often is placing high price points in the pay per click ad which increases click friction. High price points within pay per click ads purportedly dissuades dis-interested and the budget conscious from clicking through to view the advertiser’s offer.

Today, I came across the most extraordinary example of an advertiser’s use of premium pricing to qualify search traffic I ever recall ever seeing.

Pay Per Click Friction

Pay Per Click Friction

Theoretically, in this example placing their minimum annual fee requirements of $150,000 in the ad would create click friction and cause searchers unwilling to spend $150,000 a year to pass the ad over – thus sparing the advertiser unwanted clicks and costs from disinterested searchers.

However, by placing such a high barrier into their ad this particular advertiser will more than likely experience extremely low click through rates which in turn will create the ultimate form of pay per click advertising friction for instead – the advertiser… lower click through rates, lower ad quality score and ultimately an ad that requires higher bids just to be shown at all.

Will the above example prove to be a successful marketing strategy for the advertiser or will their ad’s premium pricing cause fewer clicks and lower click through rates – ultimately bringing their pay per click advertising campaign to a screeching halt?

Search Advertising Geo Targeting Options

October 3, 2008

If targeting local and mobile search advertising is the future growth drivers for search advertising providers, then Google and its Adwords geo-targeting features are in the driver’s seat when compared to its three closest search advertising rivals Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com.

Below I outline each providers’ offerings not according to their search advertising market share but instead according to their level of geotargeted advertising product development.

Google’s advertising product and its geo-targeting capabilities have one distinct yet obvious feature the other’s lack:

An actual map for geo-targeting the location of your ads and where they will be shown!

Google Search Advertising Country Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Country Geotargeting

With Google Adwords, advertisers can target their ads one country at a time through Google’s Country Geotargeting tab, or choose to bundle their ads for display in multiple countries at once with Adwords Bundle Geotargeting feature.

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Metro Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Metro Geotargeting

Google Adwords advertisers who advertise in specific markets nationally or regionally can target their ads by metropolitan area or by city.

Although not referenced, Google’s metropolitan area targeting looks slightly similar to the Designated Market Area system developed by Nielsen Media Research which incorporates Nielsen’s broadcast media markets and distribution scheme.

For its City geotargeting option, Google surrounds the target city with a square.

Google Search Advertising Custom Geotargeting

Google Search Advertising Custom Geotargeting

Google custom geotargeting by far provides the highest level of geotargeting available from any search advertising provider.

Custom geotargeting lets advertisers create their own custom advertising distribution area within any market.

Google search advertisers can simply point and click three or more points on their advertising map and Google does the rest for them – creating a custom advertising distribution area through latitude and longitude coordinates.

How do the other search advertising providers’ geo-targeting features stack up compared with Google’s?

Yahoo and Ask both offer advertising geo-targeting options but both to a lesser degree.

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting

Yahoo offers geotargeting to it advertisers by account market area and specific regions. Account market area is established by the advertising account holder when the open their account. Both account market area and specific region areas are organized by country, state, province or territory.

The Yahoo specific region feature geotargets its advertising through the Designated Market Areas system licensed from Nielsen Media Research.

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Mapview

Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Mapview

Where is the Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Map?

Yahoo offers a Map View tab of specific regions geotargeted by its advertisers yet I haven’t ever been able to view an actual Yahoo map showing where my advertising has been geo-targeted and placed.

I can’t imagine why Yahoo search marketing would place a “Map View” tab in their Campaign settings geo-targeting page yet not actually provide a map view.

Ask Search Advertising Geotargeting

Ask Search Advertising Geotargeting

Ask provides its advertisers with Location targeting which is also based on Nielsen’s Designated Market Area system.

Ask doesn’t provide a map showing advertisers locations of their geo-targeted advertising.

However, and to its credit – Ask does provide a geotargeting feature direct marketers like myself would like to see from other search advertising providers like Google Adwords – Postal Code targeting.

Postal Code Targeting or Zip Code targeting here in the US would allow direct marketers and brands alike another level of advertising targeting, delivery and thus control.
At this point you may be wondering why I chose to cover Microsoft’s adCenter search advertising geotargeting product last even though it has a larger share of the search market than Ask.

Why have I listed Microsoft’s advertising geotargeting product development last?

Because Microsoft’s search advertising product does not offer its advertisers geotargeting options let alone any other kind of geographic ad targeting.

Microsoft Search Advertising Geotargeting

Microsoft Search Advertising Geotargeting

Will Microsoft ever offer advertising geo-targeting features to its advertisers?

If not, why?

Google Adwords Reports and Quality Score Management

September 25, 2008

With Google having added numeric quality scores ranging from 1 to 10 within all Adwords advertisers accounts, an entirely new level of performance data has become available to paid search managers.

Will Google Adwords Quality Score Management soon follow?

Presently, Adwords provides advertisers with ten different types of account performance reports.

The ten types of Google Adwords reports along with their attributes are:

1. Keyword Performance: Performance data for all keywords or those in selected campaigns.

2. Ad Performance: Performance data for each of your ads

3. URL Performance: Performance data for each of your Destination URLs.

4. Ad Group Performance: Ad group performance data for one or more of your campaigns.

5. Campaign Performance: Performance data for your campaigns.

6. Account Performance: Performance data for your entire account.

7. Demographic Performance: Performance data for sites by demographic.

8. Geographic Performance: Performance data by geographic origin.

9. Search Query Performance: Performance data for search queries which triggered your ad and received clicks.

10. Placement Performance: Performance data for placements where your ad was placed.

Adwords Quality Score Report Type

Adwords Quality Score Report Type

These ten types of Google Adwords reports provide valuable and actionable Adwords account performance data paid search managers require for making informed adverting purchasing decisions.

Reports are available in daily, weekly and monthly intervals.

With the Adwords reports advanced settings option, advertisers can receive an even greater degree of account performance details.

Additional attributes available from the advanced settings reports include performance statistics, conversion types and detailed conversion data.

Adwords Quality Score Advanced Settings

Adwords Quality Score Advanced Settings

With the advent of their Adwords numeric quality score, Google has now denominated the level of advertising performance it requires from advertisers.

Additionally, Google has given their advertisers a new tool for further identifying, managing and improving ad and keyword performance.

In exchange for their new advertising quality measurement tool, Google will ultimately get improved advertising quality.

As far as I know, the numeric quality score is the first metric Google has made public to either its publisher or advertiser community that can be measured against and thus managed to.

The numeric quality score is yet another milestone on Google’s road to further transparency with its advertisers.

At some point, will Google provide Adwords Quality Score reporting options to its advertisers too?

By providing advertisers with Quality Score reporting, advertisers will then have an another set of important data for further managing and improving the performance of their ads and keywords.

By making Quality Scores available in Adwords reports, Google would initialize the Adwords Quality Score Management process.

Ad Scheduling Example

September 23, 2008

Google Adwords lets advertisers adjust their ad display times at the campaign level through its “Edit Campaign Settings” ad scheduling and serving section.

Ad Scheduling Serving

Ad Scheduling Serving

This feature can be beneficial for business-to-business advertisers who primarily generate leads and sales Monday through Friday.

Businesses who have identified unique time periods where search traffic and conversions peak and trough can also benefit.

Most businesses I have been involved with experience search traffic and conversion troughs on weekends.

However, I have some clients who generate more search traffic and book more sales on Saturday and Sunday than they do during any other day of the week.

The first step to determine whether your business can benefit from ad scheduling and the initial savings it can bring is to begin capturing and measuring your online traffic and conversions to identify any traffic and sales patterns.

It’s the odd – albeit – the great business – who produces business every hour of every day.

Does your advertising produce the most results during business hours or after business hours? Or, does your advertising produce leads and sales in some combination thereof?

If any patterns develop within your data, you can use the Google Adwords ad scheduling tool to optimize the performance of your advertising to reach prospects at the times they will most likely be in the market for your products or services.

Ad Scheduling

Ad Scheduling

Ad Scheduling

With Google Adwords, you can edit days and times to see how the schedule updates. When you’re happy with the schedule, click ‘Save Changes’ to activate Ad Scheduling. To adjust your pricing during any time period, use the advanced ad scheduling mode.

The Advanced Ad Scheduling feature can be used to increase bids during times when competition for your product and its demand are the greatest.

Advanced Ad Scheduling

Advanced Ad Scheduling

Click edit to set custom prices for ads on a given day and time. Example: If your default bid is $1.00 CPC, and your custom “% of bid” entry for Tuesdays is 120%, your CPC bid for Tuesdays only would be $1.20.

Both Google Adwords ad scheduling tools give advertisers more control over how advertising dollars are apportioned which is just one requisite for advertisers who want to begin managing their return on advertising investment.

Google Adwords Quality Score Updated

September 21, 2008

As promised on the Inside Adwords blog, Adwords accounts are now showing Quality Score data for each ad and its keyword.

I first noticed the Quality Score data across all of my active accounts yesterday.

Each ad and keyword’s Quality Score shows its status – whether the ads are showing or not as well as its numeric Quality Score.

I have found Adwords Quality scores ranging from 9 down through 2.

I am not sure whether Adwords assigns a Quality Score of 10 to any ads and keywords performance. Nor am I sure whether they score any ad and keyword below 2.

If Adwords does, I haven’t yet found any examples to share.

Within the new Adwords Quality scoring system, ads and keywords which score 9 and 8 are considered “Great”.

Adwords Quality Score 9

Adwords Quality Score 9

Adwords Quality Score 8

Adwords Quality Score 8

Ads and keywords showing 7, 6 and 5 are “OK”.

Quality Score 7

Quality Score 7

Quality Score 6

Quality Score 6

Quality Score 5

Quality Score 5

Ads and their keywords with Quality scores of 4, 3 and 2 are considered “Poor”.

Quality Score 4+No

Quality Score 4+No

Quality Score 3 No+Poor

Quality Score 3 No+Poor

Quality Score 2 No+Poor

Quality Score 2 No+Poor

I have found examples of OK Quality Scores where the ad and its keywords weren’t being shown for numerous reasons.

Additionally, I have found examples of ads and their keywords being shown while still having a Poor Quality Score.

Having numeric Adwords Quality Scores for each ad and keyword will surely help Google Adwords deliver more relevant and targeted advertising while also helping their advertisers score more targeted search traffic.

Newspaper Classified Ads Functionally Obsolete

September 14, 2008

Newspaper classified advertising remains a $14 Billion dollar annual business.

However, in 2007 newspapers saw the single largest percentage drop in year over year classified advertising revenue since the Newspaper Association of America began compiling sales data 57 years ago.

From 2006 to 2007 newspaper classified advertising declined 16.5%.

Trulia CEO and co-Founder Pete Flint has produced graphs from the Newspaper Association of America showing quarterly classified expenditures along with their annual percentage change in revenues over a ten year period for three major newspaper classified advertising categories: real estate, recruitment and automotive.

As their charts illustrate, each newspaper classified advertising category’s expenditures appear to have mirrored US economic cycles yet more importantly, they also appear to reflect general media consumption trends.

Newspaper Real Estate Classified Ads

Newspaper Real Estate Classified Ads

Newspaper real estate classified advertising inflated along with the national housing market seeing its expenditures peaking in 2006.

Recruitment Classified Ads

Recruitment Classified Ads

Newspaper classified advertising for recruitment ie. jobs, saw its annual expenditures peak in 2000.

Automotive Classified Ads

Automotive Classified Ads

Expenditures for automotive classified ads peaked in 2002.

None of newspaper classified advertising categories have reached new levels of expenditures since each reached their respective peak.

Coincidentally, these newspaper classified advertising categories – real estate, recruitment and automotive – now produce a fraction of the revenues they once did for publishers -roughly $600 million per quarter.

It would be easy to attribute expenditures on newspaper classifieds to each respective industry’s sales peaks and troughs along with their accompanying economic cycles, but why are the charts for each category continuing to show double digit annual percentage drops in publisher revenues?

Because the graphs also illustrate changes in media consumption habits and how their adoption within a market disrupts then reduces expenditures on newspaper classified advertising along with publisher ad sales.

When a newspaper classified advertising category’s audience moves online for the new time efficiencies online classified advertising provides – both the newspaper publisher and their advertisers pay the price.

When a publisher’s audience segment disappears, so eventually will its advertisers and their money.

The first newspaper classified advertising category to be eviscerated by the internet was recruitment. Recruitment began moving online in earnest in 2000 and went on to became one of the first models to survive and thrive online – ultimately transforming recruitment in the process.

In 2002, automotive marketing began moving online.

eBay Motors has since become the world’s largest car dealer. When was the last time you heard of an individual placing a classified ad in the local paper to sell their car? When was the last time you placed a classified ad to sell your car in your local paper – and then sold it?

The next newspaper classified ad category to disappear?

Real Estate.

The newspaper industry and its Real Estate classified advertising business are now under assault on two fronts – the decline of the national housing market and the ascent of internet home listing information and marketing services like Pete Flint’s Trulia.com

If the newspaper industry’s loss of the two previous categories to internet publishers is any indication of how they will respond to the internet real estate publisher threat, newspaper real estate classified ads will soon become the next classified ad category to become functionally obsolete.

Google Advertising Outlook

September 7, 2008

Tim Armstrong President, Advertising & Commerce North America for Google recently spoke about Google’s search advertising outlook at the Citi Investment Research Technology Conference in New York.

Highlight via Forbes, PaidContent.org and David Kaplan:

1. The business of search: Over the next three years, will we have continued deceleration?

Definitely not, according to Armstrong. He said there’s still a lot of headroom for search because Google still has a lot of the world to conquer. Plus, the improvements in quality that Google has released over the past few months will also show some lift over the the next three years.

2. An advertising pullback? No, Armstrong doesn’t see any retrenchment from the poor economy affecting advertisers’ spending. However, they might be experiencing “a pause” in general. As for search as a branding tool, it’s too early to tell if marketers are starting to view that format as a vehicle for anything more than direct response.

3. Pain points: The major pain points that need to be addressed: complexity is one. There are a lot of offerings on the web today. A lot of companies spent the last four years getting “digitally certified”. The next is measurement and ROI. The third is education.

4. On mobile advertising revenue potential: Citi analysts don’t think mobile will be a material source of revenue in the U.S. this year, but perhaps in Asia. Armstrong: It all comes down to scalability. Will the iPhone grow more quickly? I think the non-iPhone analog devices will see search grow. Typically, we don’t scale all of our resources until we see movement on the consumer side. We’ve been selling ads on mobile for the last 18 months. You should expect to see more over time. But it took a number of years for search to get going, and it will be the same for mobile to pick up as well, from an ad revenue perspective.

My thoughts on Armstrong’s comments:

1. Indeed Google still has a lot headroom because the vast majority of money spent on advertising can’t be measured like Google’s can and thus it can’t be managed to produce a predictable return on the advertiser’s investment.

2. The only advertising pull back will be from media that aren’t delivering measurable financial results for their customers.

Why would an advertiser who is predictably generating a return on their advertising investment do anything but continue to advertise with the media that is producing it?

3. Complexity is indeed an issue on more than one front. The average small business doesn’t have the time or resources to attack the learning curve that accompanies search engine advertising. Secondly, advertisers who haven’t yet embraced search engine advertising whether they are still in the middle majority or are laggards historically won’t change until they have too. The present economic downturn may actually nudge them to explore their other advertising options. However, they may not have the luxury of time needed to make the necessary changes because they may already be competing with businesses who have already begun measuring their advertising investment and its return on investment. Advertisers who measure their advertising ROI have a non-arguable competitive advantage over those who don’t.

4. Mobile advertising revenue although growing will not reach escape velocity anytime soon because Google’s technology is out ahead of both the consumer demand and the average advertisers ability to implement advertising campaigns to reach a large enough group of consumers with demand which would justify the advertiser’s decision to devote resources for reaching them.