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yweekly news July 21

Posted by YM Social on July 21, 2015


Digital Intelligence:

Tableau Now Offers Deeper Integration with:

  • Spark on Azure HDInsight, a cloud-hosted Apache Spark service
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse, a fully-managed elastic data warehouse as a service
  • Azure SQL Database, a relational database as a service

For those into geek speak, the integration supports both live connectivity and in-memory extracts. Now, what does that mean? This means that you can take full advantage of the power of Azure which provides you with real-time access to your data directly in the cloud, no extracts or snapshots required.  This continues to push more and more industries into the world of cloud computing and storage.

Read more about it: www.tableau.com/about/blog/2015/7/visualizing-data-cloud-microsoft-azure-tableau-online-40832  


Performance Media:

Google is enhancing shopping ads for Mobile which will include expandable and swipeable Product Listing Ads. They’ve begun testing the  “Buy with Google” button with a few retailers. There’s also a priority for Local Inventory Ads, as they will now be shown first, when available, for local intent shopping queries, making the purchase process easier, and increase the inventory of mobile product listing ads.



Google is continuing its efforts to stress the uselessness of certain XML sitemap elements. In May, Google’s John Mueller pointed out that priority and change frequency don’t have any value anymore and this week Google’s Gary Illyes noted that the lastmod tag is ignored by search engines.  While Google supports these additional tags in an XML sitemap, this suggests SEO’s should not be wasting their time making sure these tags are in place and updated as they are basically being ignored by the engines.  As it stands, it looks like this may not just apply to Google, but become a search engine industry standard.

Read more about it: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-lastmod-xml-sitemap-20579.html


Social Media:

In another power play towards other video competitors, Facebook will allow brands to embed Facebook videos on 3rd party sites. This portability allows brands to continue connecting their content outside of Facebook alone. While viewing the video on a 3rd party site, many Facebook video activities are still accessible to the user, such as liking, sharing, and even an icon on the video that leads directly to the Facebook post. Facebook is also trying to avoid annoying viewers by muting auto play videos, unless you click on the video to hear the audio.

Read more about it: http://marketingland.com/now-you-can-embed-auto-play-facebook-video-on-your-site-134624


Display Media:

If your display media is still served in Flash, you may have an issue. FireFox and Chrome users will not be able to turn on the plug-in to access Flash content.  This could be on a site, system such as OAS, Operatives etc.  The good news for Firefox users is that most won’t notice a change. Just under 11% of websites use Flash, according to W3Techs, a technology survey company. However, if you’re one of the 11%, you may want to start migrating to HTML5.

Read more about it: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/07/14/google-mozilla-disable-flash-over-security-concerns


Take a look at the archives of all our digital news here


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yWeekly News: May 11

Posted by YM Social on May 11, 2015


Digital Intelligence:

The Upshot (NY Times division that focuses on data visualization regarding politics, policy and everyday life) has done an analysis on the gender gap between black male and female populations in the United States. In the wake of incidents involving Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, et. al, there has been a revived mainstream discussion about systemic inequalities throughout the country

The data visualizations in the article have been circulated around in the online space quite frequently. The visualizations are essentially non-interactive: a reminder that static images can deliver a tremendous amount of weight and meaning given appropriate context.


Performance Media:

Google had a Livestream Event on May 5th and the biggest topic they discussed was mobile. Google has rolled out a new format for mobile dedicated ads mainly focused on comparison/shopping for cars, hotels, and mortgages. The new ads are more interactive and will focus more on swiping than clicking.



It’s Official: Google says more searches now on mobile than on desktop. Several Google employees remarked last year that we may see mobile search queries overtaking desktop queries this year. Google has just confirmed that this has happened. The company said that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”

Google has recently unveiled their latest mobile-friendly algorithm update on April 21st.

This update targets mobile searchers by – supposedly – making sure that sites that meet Google’s guidelines for being mobile sites (a.k.a. ‘mobile-friendly’) are featured prominently in search results on mobile devices.

This gives us more color and a much clearer picture surrounding the context of Google’s actions behind releasing their mobile-friendly algorithm


Social Media:

Facebook made it easier for marketers to create native ads in their audience network, aiming to improve the relevance of mobile ads within 3rd-party apps. By creating ad templates based on common format sizes and best practices, publishers can define a variety of properties to make ad formats more in line with the app’s natural user experience.

Marketers can now manage multiple native ad requests to ensure the highest performing ad is delivered at the right time to the right person, which automatically optimizes for highest performing ads.

The new upgrade also allows users to display multiple ads in “h-scroll”


Display Media:

Both Google and Yahoo are pushing ahead of the “HTTPS Everywhere” movement to create secure online ads. The focus for both Google and Yahoo is headed towards ad. Over upcoming months, Google Ad products will be encrypted

AdWords and DoubleClick will have the ability to serve HTTPS-encrypted display ads to any inventory that is also HTTPS-enabled.


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yWeekly News: April 9

Posted by YM Social on April 9, 2015


Digital Intelligence:

Google Analytics Query Explorer receives a fancy update.

Query Explorer is a tool used to pull custom datasets from GA, and it has been updated to be much more user-friendly. Drop down menus have been updated throughout the tool with plain-language metric/dimension names (instead of just their API values). Sampling settings are now editable, allowing us to pull larger datasets before sampling kicks in. Date fields now support plain-language date ranges (e.g. “60 days ago”). Segments are viewable by segment definition instead of API ID


Performance Media:

Google introduced Google Compare for car insurance in California with more states to follow. This gives users an easier way to understand and compare products online to make informed decisions.

Users can buy policies online or call a local agent from their phone. It’s CPA model, but according to Google the payment is not a factor in ranking or eligibility.




Google has added subdomain support to their change of address feature in Google Webmaster Tools.

This new feature will allow us to easily tell Google when a site moves from a subdomain.  With this feature, we can give Google a more definitive signal saying the site moved.



More details have been released on the upcoming mobile friendly update from Google.  We now know that this algorithm update will only impact mobile phones and not tablets. This suggests that tablet search results are more than likely desktop drive as opposed to mobile driven.


Social Media:

As part of their new test, Twitter is placing promoted tweets in people’s profile pages. Currently, the test ads are served on non-verified profiles and only seen when a user signs into the platform.

With Twitter’s new partnership with Google, be prepared to see ads served to logged out audiences because fly-by users may become more common since the partnership means that tweets will appear in search results.


Display Media:

Adroll has plans to integrate retargeting and mobile by trying to acquire new users via app installs and maximize the lifetime value of their users ie: engagement, in-app conversions and sales.

Their product collects anonymous data on website visitors and audience segments to retarget high-intent web users in-app and on the mobile web

We’re seeing next steps in mobile targeting capabilities and strategy. It’s exciting to see mobile targeting capabilities becoming more advanced, and people setting benchmarks/KPIs to gauge mobile campaign success.


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Top 3 PPC Marketing Objectives & Challenges for 2012

Posted by admin on November 15, 2011

The goal for any paid search campaign should be to support your overall business objectives. How each Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign accomplishes this depends on the nature of your business.

Our friends at MarketingSherpa have just come out with their latest benchmark report on PPC – MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition. As usual, it’s a wealth of information for digital marketing agencies like ours since it helps us see what the latest trends are in paid search, as well as what’s working and what’s not.

According to Marketing Sherpa, the top three objectives for PPC campaigns are:

  • Increasing web traffic
  • Increasing lead generation (especially if you are a B2B company)
  • Increasing only sales revenuemarketingSherpa ranking PPC challenges and objective for 2012

While these objectives are to be expected, what’s interesting about the chart are the challenges.  Increasing traffic is not that hard to accomplish. What they discovered is that it’s difficult to increase your number of leads and it’s equally hard to achieve or increase measurable ROI. Since traffic is not that hard to accomplish, the trick is to make sure more of your traffic converts to leads and that those leads are good enough to eventually translate into sales.

We come up against these challenges all of the time, and as much as we’d like to offer an easy fix, there really isn’t one. But here are three ways we’ve found to get the most out of the traffic we generate from our PPC campaigns.

1. Create highly targeted ad groups.  Achieving high conversion rates often comes down to segmentation and creating small, highly relevant ad groups. For example, if you are selling auto insurance, how you appeal to a new driver is different than how you attract a senior. The copy you create for the one is going to be different than the copy you write for the other. What this often means to a robust PPC program is that there are many different ad groups that you have to monitor and measure. And within each ad group, you have to determine which keywords are performing best and giving you the best ROI.

2. It’s the landing page, stupid.  All the good PPC ads in the world can’t help a terrible landing page. Send your PPC ads to either a home page or a generic landing page that works for thousands of keywords and you’re throwing money away.  When creating a landing page you need to make sure there is:

  • A logical path from the ad to the landing page
  • A clear value proposition on the landing page that relates directly to the PPC ad itself
  • An offer and call to action that is crystal clear and prominent
  • A lack of unnecessary distractions on the landing page, like navigation bars or information that does not relate to the offer

3. Test. Yes, A/B testing is hard and takes a concerted effort. And most people don’t do it. In fact, MarketingSherpa found that only 33% of organizations split test landing pages. But here’s why it’s worth it. More than 50% of these same marketers found split testing landing pages to be very effective in achieving marketing objectives. So why don’t more do it? Like we said, it’s difficult. When it came to degree of difficulty in PPC tactics, split testing landing pages and creating relevant ad copy for each ad group were ranked the most difficult.

A Final Note

We found it interesting that the fourth biggest challenge was developing an effective and methodical strategy.  We buy that. However, only 23% of marketers surveyed thought having a strategy worthy of being an objective. In our experience, not having a strategy where you can set your goals and determine your approach is really the best way to point your ROI downwards.

The Bing Factor

Having a strategy allows you to take full advantage of the opportunities. For example, your strategy might lead you directly to using Bing for paid search, whereas without a strategy you may not have even considered it. In one of our recent blog posts we reported that you may find PPC cost savings of 50-70% on Bing due to the lower competition.

Find out more how Bing can help your PPC. Get our free “Simple Guide to Importing Google AdWords into Bing.”

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How To Whip Your PPC Marketing Soundly into Shape

Posted by admin on January 17, 2011

Whipping Your PPC Soundly Into ShapeThere was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth without any bread;

And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

This is the nursery rhyme for PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing.

The old woman is you, the marketer, who works for a company (the shoe).

You’ve made the decision to build your business using PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing. You’ve chosen your keywords (your children), made your bids, created your text ads and assigned landing pages to them (broth and bread). Now it’s time to see how it works, which ads get the best click through rates, which keyword phrases and landing pages result in the highest conversion rates.

So what do you do? Probably spend an awful lot of time staring at your screen and looking over spreadsheet after spreadsheet. You test a little here and a little there to see if you get better results, go back to your spreadsheets, add more keywords, test some more and so on. Pretty soon it becomes a little overwhelming especially when you go over the 1,000 keyword mark (those pesky children). Your budgets are fast approaching their limits and figuring out the ROI is getting harder and harder. You are at the ‘don’t know what to do’ part of the nursery rhyme.

It’s time to whip them all soundly and put them to bed.

And the only way to do that is through a PPC audit or assessment.

Here’s how:

1. Step back, review your program objectives and determine how you want PPC to support your business objectives. Why did you want to do PPC in the first place, and what do you want it to do for your business now? What was and is your hoped for ROI?

2. Conduct a quantitative measurement. This includes determining the number of campaigns, ad groups, keywords, text ads, and landing pages that you have set-up. You also need to measure your PPC campaign settings: the number of active campaigns, ad groups, keywords, text ads and landing pages.

All of this has to be measured in relation to when and how often you make them active. That means further segmenting them into days of the week, times of day and alternate bid settings.

Are you having fun yet?

3. Conduct a qualitative measurement. This is the part of the assessment where you dig deeper. It’s here where you look into the architecture of your campaigns.

For example, with your keywords you evaluate the diversity of categories, use of match types, use of negatives, and duplication. You analyze your keyword density, your dynamic keyword insertions, your use of geo targeting and search partners, your tracking, and your ad scheduling. That’s just for your keywords. You also need to do similar detailed analysis of your text ads and landing pages.

4. Plug in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). PPC costs you money, so looking at how that money works for you is critical. You need to look at averages of your programs and then how each keyword rates against those averages.

The key KPIs for PPC to evaluate are monthly budgets, impressions, clicks per month, cost per click, CTR, position, quality score, cost per conversion, conversion rate, cost per acquisition.

But that’s not all. Now you need to do the same for your competitors, because it’s important for you too understand whether your PPC is performing better or worse than your competition.

Next Step for Your Shoe

Once you have conducted this assessment, you need to revisit your program objectives and see how well your PPC is actually performing in relation to your business objectives. Your children are now all in bed, but they will wake up the next morning. Before they do you need to come up with a plan of action that will keep them under control and make sure they behave exactly the way you want them to. With the results from your assessment, you now have the tools to do so.

How are your PPC campaigns working out so far? Have you had any success? If you would like a complimentary assesment of your  paid search campaigns, contact us today.

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Paid Search (PPC) Highway Robbery – 5 Steps to Avoid It.

Posted by admin on December 13, 2010

Recently we read MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition to get a sense of how companies view PPC these days. Based on their findings, the verdict is clear – 77% of organizations indicated that PPC marketing is either producing measurable ROI or that PPC is a promising tactic that will eventually produce ROI.

PPC Budget and Perceptions

So where do you stand in this pie chart? Are you getting good ROI now or are you hoping to get it eventually? Or are you experiencing PPC highway robbery?

Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns can get out of hand very quickly. Here are five ways that digital marketers can manage their paid search marketing to maximize their ROI.

1. Start with An End Goal. An end goal requires that you understand what you want out of your PPC campaign. An end goal could be increasing sales or lead generation. Here are the top PPC objectives according to MarketingSherpa.

PPC Effectiveness Goals

2. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  There are many metrics that you can apply to PPC campaigns. What you need to do is identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and prioritize them. For example, your KPIs could be sales, cost per sale, cost per conversion, click through rate etc. You need to determine which are of greatest value to you. That will be critical as you test and manage your keywords.

3. Measure and Monitor. You can’t measure PPC generally. Sure, you can present the top line results to management by showing how much your overall PPC is performing. But in the end, every keyword and keyword phrase should be judged individually. For example, if you’ve decreased your cost per sale by 25% overall, which are the keywords that are above that number and which are below? Are the underperformers worth keeping, and is there more you can get out of your top performers? Each keyword deserves its own ROI.

4. PPC does NOT end with Google Ads. You get found with your PPC ads. You also spend money for your Google ads. The real work, and the payoff, begins with the click-through to the landing page. We can’t tell you how many companies send their PPC ads to either a home page or a generic landing page that works for thousands of keywords. When you do that, you’re throwing money away and reducing your ROI.  Think in terms of the conversion path.

  • Is there a logical path from the ad to the landing page?
  • Is there a clear value proposition on the landing page that  relates directly to the PPC ad itself?
  • Is your offer and call to action crystal clear and prominent?
  • Have you rid your landing page of any unnecessary distractions like navigation bars or information that does not relate to the offer?

5. Test, then test some more. If you don’t test you won’t know how to improve your PPC results. There are many ways to test PPC and landing pages. There is multivariate and A/B testing. The key is determining and prioritizing your KPIs so you know what you’re testing for. For example a landing page could perform really well for email captures but not as well as another landing page for sales. There is a wonderful site called whichtestwon.com that can give great information about testing. As a starting primer for landing pages, you should test:

  • Buttons and response links (size, placement, wording, and
  • whether color stands out)
  • Headline wording
  • Overall page layout (especially cluttered vs cleaner)
  • Forms (number of fields, position on page, form headline)
  • Large images

That’s five ways to help you manage and improve your PPC ROI. Have any of you found these to be helpful? Are there other best practices that you find critical for your PPC?

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The 5 Pillars of Online Marketing Optimization

Posted by admin on October 28, 2010

With so many online marketing tools and tactics at your disposal these days–and so many resources telling you what you should and should not do to improve your website’s online presence–it’s difficult to know where to start. Which areas of Online Marketing Optimization (OMO) should you focus on to achieve online marketing success?

The answer is no single area of online marketing will produce the desired result: A website that is a legitimate marketing machine. This is a digest of the common marketing threads that yield successful websites via a mix of paid and non-paid methods. The overarching idea is to engage in inbound marketing – Creating ways for your customers to find you instead of bombarding them with marketing messages in the hopes that some will respond.

We call the items below the 5 pillars of Online Marketing Optimization because, used together, they will bring your website optimum results.

online marketing optimization

1)     Blogs

We say Blogs but really this is an argument for content in ALL forms, with your blog as the foundation or hub of the content. One of the best ways to generate traffic to your website is through content marketing. Write blogs that are specific to your industry, product or service with the intention to provide valuable information to your customers. And be sure to transform those blogs into various pieces of content: images, PDF e-books, podcasts, webinars, videos, micro blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and more.

If you are stuck with what to write, a good way to start is by creating customer personas and by answering every single question your customer has ever asked you about your product or service as per Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion. This way, you would have an idea on WHO you are writing for and WHAT to write about.

Be sure to submit those blogs to bookmarking sites. Providing sharing buttons makes it easier for your readers to help disseminate your content across the internet for you. Also, by getting your blogs within the blogging community and other sites it creates inbound links which will fuel your organic SEO efforts.

2)    Natural Search / Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A key factor in successful SEO and online marketing optimization is the targeted keyword list. Research the kind of keywords your customers are using to look for you online. Some freely available tools include the Google keyword tool and the SEOBook keyword suggestion tool.

There are two primary aspects to SEO: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page refers to elements you control within your website and off-page represent links from other websites linking to your content.

Ensure that your keywords are within the content of your blogs, the meta content and H1 Heading tag of your website, the URL, the internal link text within your site and where you can affect it, all external inbound link text. Here is a comprehensive list of how on-page keywords are ranked by Google from SEOmoz.

As for off-page SEO of inbound links, be sure to create relevant, interesting or funny content with unique headlines. Give your readers a reason to want to link to your site. Most of all, request feedback and interaction.

3)    Paid search / PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

The ability to reach your primary customers through paid search advertising is an effective way to deliver relevant offering of your products and services to a targeted base of customers.

Even though you may have high organic rankings, it’s important to implement paid search to extend your reach. Go beyond customers you get from the hundreds of keywords driving your organic search results and instead target thousands of keywords with PPC. But don’t take just our word for it, see HubSpot’s strategy on how to run an effective AdWords campaign.

Advertising avenues such as Facebook, LinkedIn and AdWords give marketers the ability to get granular in the audience target profiles, including targeting by geographical location, age, designation, company names, industry and more.

4)    Social Media

This doesn’t just mean all you need to do is have a Facebook page or Twitter account. The essence of social media is much more, but also exactly that – being social. Having a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account without any updates or conversations is similar to inviting guests to your house and then ignoring them the whole time.

The idea is not only to engage with your audience but also enable conversations between your fans and potential customers. This area of extremely valuable earned media showing you the monetary value of a fan which you have direct contact with is a perfect example of optimizing your online marketing efforts.

There is a reason we listed blogs and content as the first pillar to Online Marketing Optimization, because without that content you can’t win with Social Media on a consistent basis.

Here is a great video featuring Chris Brogan on the best practices and insights into social media marketing.

 5)   ROI – Measure & Optimize your Return On Investment

  • Blogs – Check!
  • SEO – Check!
  • Paid Search – Check!
  • Social Media – Check!
  • Return On Investment – ?

Measurement of your marketing mix is the key to providing you with a focused roadmap on what to optimize within the other four pillars of online marketing optimization. Before embarking on your marketing campaign, be sure to have clear objectives, define the audience of the reports, the format and the frequency. This would make measuring the results more effective.

Here is a list of tools that will provide you with the information and analytics to guide you through measuring the work you are doing in order to reach your business objectives.

We hope this was a good list to help you with your online marketing optimization efforts. Does this help clarify some issues for you? What’d we miss? Let us know what you think, we’d love to read your comments.

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