Posts Tagged ‘Search Advertising’

Ask.com Sponsored Listings Conversion Tracking Now Available

October 20, 2008

Ask.com and their search advertising product – Sponsored Listings – is now offering conversion tracking to their advertisers.

Ask Conversion Tracking

Ask Conversion Tracking

More about Ask.com conversion tracking offer:

“When you activate ASL conversion tracking and track at least one valid conversion by October 31st, you’ll receive a $25 credit! We’ll automatically credit your account after your conversion tracking has been verified.*”

Ask.com’s reasoning for deploying Conversion Tracking within their Sponsored Listings product:

* Increase your ROI: Measure and optimize your cost per acquisition (CPA) and improve your overall Return on Advertising Investment

* Gain deeper insight into your campaigns: Remove under performing traffic sources

* Get comprehensive reporting: View your Ask.com advertising by account, campaign, ad, keyword, conversion type, and date

Ask.com’s conversion tracking offer’s boiler plate:

“*Offer Terms and Conditions: in order to qualify for the $25 account credit, you must place the ASL conversion tracking tag on your web page and record at least 1 conversion by October 31st, 2008. ASL will verify your conversion and credit your account within 15 days of your conversion. Only one credit will be given for each individual account, web domain, and/or company.”

Its been a long time coming but all four major search engine advertising providers – Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com now provide conversion tracking within their search advertising platforms.

If not for all search advertisers now – soon – precise measurement of search advertising return on investment will be the rule not the exception.

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.

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 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.

Web Display and Search Advertising Combined; Their Sum Greater Than Parts

August 22, 2008

Gian Fulgoni chairman of comScore, recently wrote about his firm’s research on the impact online display and search advertising have on in-store retail sales.

How does comScore measure the impact online advertising has on retail offline sales? According to Fulgoni, “using the comScore panel, off line sales impact can be measured by linking panelists’ exposure to online ads with their in-store buying (through the use of retailers’ loyalty card data).’

Fulgoni draws two interesting conclusions from comScore’s
research:

1. “Search advertising provides higher sales lift than display advertising, but when combined, the synergy provides the highest lift…”

comScore Shoplocal.com Lift

comScore Shoplocal.com Lift

Search and Display Ads Lift

2. “While search advertising results in a higher sales lift than display advertising among the people exposed to the ads, the number of people reached by display advertising is typically markedly higher than the number of people reached by search advertising …

comscore shoplocal.com reach

comscore shoplocal.com reach

Online Advertising Reach

For media buyers planning to increase their brand message reach and lift consider the following;

1. An online display advertising campaign often reaches further than a search advertising campaign but online display ads will have less lift than search ads.

2. Search advertising will have more lift than online display ads but search ads may not reach as far as online display advertising.

Brand managers buying either online display advertising or search advertising but not both online display advertising and search advertising are likely diluting their brand’s message power – and along with it the ability to maximize their return on either form of online advertising they may have invested in.