Responsive web design is extremely critical in today’s world; it is necessary for survival among the fittest. No doubt mobile browsing has blown up and continues to grow exponentially. There are times where no matter how good a company’s web site looks on the monitor, if it is not “mobile friendly” and the user gets a poor experience, well, the site might as well be deemed no good at all. On a personal level, I can relate to the importance of mobile browsing. For example, after giving someone my business card usually one of the first things they do is pull out there iPhone, and look at my portfolio. If my personal site was not built with a responsiveness to adapt to different media devices and viewports such as the iPhone; and the viewer looking at my work does not have a good experience, this could jeopardize the integrity of my work and in turn, possibly be loosing future customers and contacts. I would like to quote Andy Clarke, web designer, author and founder of Stuff and Nonesense. Andy says, “Anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design anymore, it’s something else. if you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you are not a web designer, you’re something else. Web design is responsive design. Responsive Web Design is web design, done right”…
A web sites web banner is by far one of the most important area of a site. It is what people see first, this is where the viewer makes initial visual contact and gets an overall feel and vibe of the site, and ultimately decides if they want to continue on or not. I can not tell you how many web sites I have left due to the fact they had a weak header. Even though it is the content that matters in todays world people judge books by there covers, and the web banner is the cover. I like this piece of information I found online, it is from a graphic designer and multiple business owner named Dawn Papandrea-Khan. She states, “usually when we visit a website or blog, we can get a feel for what the site represents in only a few seconds. This is the reason why it is even more important to focus on making the right first impression through a custom header graphic.”
As a designer, there are a few key aspects and bits of information I think the header should contain. The company, the product etc. Which brings me to my next point I found in an online blog talking about this exact topic. This is from boostability.com the importance of a header.
1. Who are you? (You would be amazed how many websites make their visitors dig around to find out the name of the company!)
2. What do you do? (Again, the number of visitors who are forced to assume your site sells a product rather than just talks about it is ridiculous. Be clear!)
3. Why should I buy from you, not the other guy?
The web is littered with garbage, visual noise and a bunch of sites that house web banners that all look the same. It is up to me as the designer to produce clean, visually interesting web banners that represents the sites overall demeanor and entice people to stay on the site and explore further. It is also up to me to find new and exciting ways to display the content so we can separate ourselves from the crowd. Also, I feel like in design I have to take risks. I have to try new and “edgy” things and think outside the normal design box that I often get tunnel visioned in. I would also like to explore maybe trying a banner with out the traditional rectangle box, maybe another shape or placement? That is something definitely for the sketchbook and some thought.
At the start of President Obama’s second term in early 2013, the White House promoted the use of the hashtag #SOTU to reference and comment on President Obama’s State of the Union address. Twitter’s @Gov account, a page that “provides updates…tracking creative & effective uses of Twitter for civic engagement…” later released the following data: during the president’s address, #SOTU was tweeted 766,681 times.
The frequency of these tweets fluctuated. As expected, the number of tweets spiked when the President touched upon a controversial topic. What is more interesting than the actual number of tweets is the data that provided a breakdown of the most popular hashtags tweeted by region and at what point during the speech the hashtags were used most. For instance, when Obama mentioned America’s graduation rate, the engagement of the #education tag shot up, particularly in the states of Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Many tweets were recorded from #budget, #energy, #jobs, and #healthcare. These results show a definitive relationship between the concerns of people from different states and the political topics addressed by The President.
The Washington Post reported that the US government reviewed #SOTU to study the thoughts of The American People with regards to the proposed extension of payroll tax cuts. Assuming an average annual salary of $50,000 per household, it was estimated that a failure of Congress to extend the cuts in payroll taxes would result in a reduction of $40 for every paycheck. The White House launched #40dollars that asked, “What does $40 per paycheck mean for you and your family”? CNN reported that within 45 minutes of its post, #40dollars was trending worldwide at approximately 6,000 tweets per hour. This huge influx of tweets over the short time period demonstrated how significant this issue was to the American people. This campaign helped secure passage of the payroll tax extension after generating more than 70,000 tweets and in excess of 10,000 Facebook posts.
When a hashtag is “trending” it means that it is, at the moment, one of the most popular hashtags being used. A list of the trending hashtags is visible on the sidebar of the Twitter home page, and is constantly updated to display what is trending at that exact moment. While it is true that the list only monitors hashtags used on Twitter itself, it is fair to speculate that the trending topic on Twitter is also being tossed about on other social media platforms. Some tags trend for less than a minute. A quick response to a trending topic on Twitter can allow a user to reach a massive audience with little effort and no advertising fees.
Support for this idea can be evidenced from a report on wired.com that confirmed that when the lights went out in New Orleans during the third quarter Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo immediately tweeted an ad using #blackout, a hashtag sure to attract the attention of the thousands of other Twitter users using the same tag. In an interview following the successful advertising campaign, the sandwich cookie’s social media team bragged that they had fifteen staffers, (copywriters, strategists, and graphic artists) each with a finger on the send button, waiting to capitalize on anomaly that may occur during the Championship game – a great play, a wardrobe malfunction, or, in this case, a blackout. The cost of such an operation may seem excessive, but it is peanuts compared to what Budweiser or Lays was shelling out to run a short advertisement on Game Day, especially when taking into account what some clever employee of Nabisco found, taking advantage of a pregame survey: approximately 36% of Super Bowl viewers planned to consult a second screen during the game.
In general, statistics have shown that hashtags drive engagement. On average, tweets with hashtags show 12% more engagement through retweets, favorites, and responses than those without. Tweets with both a hashtag and a link have demonstrated to have the highest engagement.
Because a marketer can come up with a particular hashtag as a brand name identifier, it is possible to run cross-platform campaigns by use of hashtags, truly making the hashtag “the global connector of the social web.” If a seller is going to use a particular hashtag for their product, it is essential that the tag be easy to spell, input and remember. In order to promote its further use, the tag must be consistent with its message.
Another marketing strategy that utilizes hashtags would be one that targets a specific audience. “People want to connect with people who have common lifestyles,” suggests the blog titled Wishpond. “To market to your people, think about your demographics’ lifestyle and hobbies. Then seek out well used hashtags to include in a few of your updates. [For example], Discount Tackle Online [a company that sells fishing gear] uses common hashtags like #trout and #flyfishing on Google+. The post shows up in both hashtags streams, which gets their update seen by people who follow the fish related tags, or even search for them on the site.”
Time.com reports that for a 30% discount in an advertising fee, Esurance – a web-based auto insurance company – ran a 30 second ad immediately following Super Bowl XLVIII. When viewers were advised that one lucky person who tweeted the hashtag “#EsuranceSave30” within 36 hours of the Superbowl would receive a $1.5 million prize – the Twitter community exploded. Within seconds, 200,000 tweets came in using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30, and an additional 2.1 million flooded twitter over the following three days. The brilliance of this campaign, in retrospect, is obvious- while companies like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai targeted viewers during the game, Esurance used their dollars not only to generate media attention, but to place the Esurance brand at the fingertips of millions of Americans. While Twitter itself has not been able to successfully drive sales, it provides a slingshot from which an internet marketer can reach millions of users and cast his product across multiple platforms, the real goal of the internet marketer.
When choosing a click-focused bid strategy, is clicking the “Enable Enhanced CPC” button always the right choice? What Enhanced CPC means is exactly how it sounds, it optimizes your cost per click if Adwords presumes it as beneficial, or not beneficial, to your campaign. This feature can increase your bids for clicks by up to 30% if deemed good for the campaign, and lower the bid by any amount if it seems that the campaign will not benefit. Seems awesome right? This may not necessarily be the case.
While Enhanced CPC can be beneficial for a campaign with a good history of conversion data, a new campaign with Enhanced CPC will most likely not perform at its best. It can drive down traffic for a new campaign and make your campaign not work as how you would’ve hoped. It’s not going to do a good job if there is no data to base its bid decisions over. What is our verdict?
Use it for a campaign with good historic conversion data. This is where the Enhanced CPC feature may perform at its best and be the most beneficial to your Adwords campaign, with potential for increased conversion rate, increase ROI, and overall lower costs. However,for a new campaign, we recommend not using it. Be smart with Enhanced CPC, make sure it’s right for you.
When we are called here for PPC consultation or to take over someone’s campaign, we often find that a decent campaign is created, however it is left stagnant and on “autopilot”. The thing with PPC is that is cannot be left to run on its own! Things change in Adwords (Bing too!) in minutes, even seconds at a time, leaving your well performing keyword potentially in the dust in no time. We have developed some “best practices” at Web-Op to optimize our marketing campaigns. These have to monitored daily, and even hourly in some instances. So how should you keep a close eye on your Adwords/Bing campaign? Follow some of these tips from the experts here at Web-Op.
- Identify the poor performers: These are the “low hanging fruit”. Poor performers can include ads/keywords with low CTR, low clicks, or low conversions, depending on the age of the campaign. We also leverage data from Google Analytics which can tell us things like bounce rate and average visit duration. Poor performers are a gigantic waste of money. Without keeping a close eye on these, you are just throwing money away for nothing.
- Negative keywords: Let’s say you are advertising keywords like “computer repair services”. You may not want your ads to come up in search terms like “do it yourself computer repair”. Constant addition of negative keywords to your campaign can be very beneficial, and can keep your overall performance metrics toward the high-side.
- Average position: Keywords are given position, and this is something very important to watch for. Usually the top 3 positions have the best performance. We have found that position 2 (out of the 3) has the worst performance. We like to aim for position 1 to 3. Every keyword bid is different, so getting the optimal position can be quite tricky.
- Fix match types: Depending on the client, campaign, and budget, we will choose to mix keyword match types. With broad match terms, we have found that is it important to scale these back and use these as a good way to find what the best search terms are. Through scaling back broad match and adding search terms as a phrase match, we have seen the following statistics after just a week of managing PPC for a health supplement:
- Spend reduced 11.5%
- Conversions Increased 7%
- Cost Per Conversion Decreased 14.5%
- Conversion Rate increased 19%
- ROI increased 160%
- Budgets: In the end, you are spending the client’s money when managing their PPC campaign. Be wary of their daily budgets and if anything is getting maxed out, you can scale back on the poor performers or lower the position. More clicks for less money? Yup, it’s worth it.
PPC can be quite tricky, and it is for good reason. It takes a well optimized campaign, as well as the proper capital, to really get some good, solid, consistent performance. Don’t turn on autopilot, keep a close eye on your campaigns. You will be happy you did.
If you have a lead gen site you know how difficult it can be to manage a complex advertising campaign on Adwords, Bing, or Yahoo because you can’t really know where phone calls are coming from. There are lot of metrics you should be paying close attention to but bounce rate is usually one of the first I look at with a new campaign.
Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who bounce (leave ) from your site without visiting other pages. If you have certain keywords with high bounce rate you should usually consider one of two things:
- Remove the keyword you are targeting in your adwords campaign
- Change the message on the page you are sending traffic to.
To see bounce rate in your Adwords account it is important to link your Google Analytics account with your Adwords Account. After you do that you will be able to add a couple of columns like bounce rate and time on site.
Focusing on decreasing bounce rate will improve the quality of your advertising campaigns.
Gaming Adwords With Amazon?
So why is this guy advertising to a strange (not the canonical product page in this case) Amazon page? Could he be getting around trademark restrictions by using an Amazon.com domain? When you file a trademark issue with adwords they tie the trademark authorizations back to the client id – so this seems unlikely. They have a recently granted trademark – so maybe Google just hasn’t caught this one yet.
Perhaps he/she’s is gaming the reviews of the Amazon.com domain to appear as for his product? Could be. Either way his url doesn’t seem to have an affiliate ID – so there’s probably not much Amazon is going to do about this – as PPC’ing amazon.com is definitely against the terms of service for amazon affiliates.
Do you have a better idea? Leave it in the comments.
Do you sell direct to consumers online? Product listing ads may boost return on ad spend.
In October of 2012 Google Shopping transitioned from being a free service for online retailers to a paid model incorporated into Adwords. So what does this mean for adwords advertisers? In a nutshell product listing ads allow you to get images of your product directly on Google’s search results pages. Even better, these ads typically don’t cost more than traditional text ads and often cost LESS!
How well do they work?
We currently have three advertisers with us that have lower CPA’s on product listing ads than on their brand search! Every product is different so this may not translate to your site/product but its definitely worth a look.
Example Product Listing Ads
Getting Product Listings Live
First off, getting PLA’s live is NOT easy. Google requires advertisers to jump through hoops to integrate with their system. To get going you will need:
- an Adwords Account in good standing
- a Google Merchant Center account
- a Shopping Cart
- an SSL Certificate
- terms of service
- And the tricky part – An XML, TSV or CSV product datafeed that conforms to Google’s guidelines
One note of caution: If you sell hundreds or thousands of products on your online store – chances are one of these products will be forbidden from advertising on Adwords. Take great care to exclude controversial items for sale from your datafeed or you could see your account banned.
The latest AdWords data from Mountain View seems to point to disturbing fact that Google is fudging cost/conversion stats.
— Ryan Underdown (@Underdown) October 18, 2013
Adwords replied to the apparent distortion by saying that it “actually doesn’t count cost generated by clicks where we can’t track the cookies”.
Still could trusting Google AdWord’s “Cost/Conv” could be costing you…definitely something worth looking into.