Elisa Gabbert Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
Dalton Caldwell Gives Mark Zuckerberg the BusinessI mentioned the App.net project – Dalton Caldwell’s vision of an ad-free Twitter platform – last week. Now Caldwell is making headlines for an open letter that he posted on his blog, called “Dear Mark Zuckerberg,” in which he recounts a meeting he had earlier this summer with several top Facebook executives.
As Caldwell describes it, he was hoping the outcome of the meeting would be “executive-level support for [his] impending product launch.” Instead, those executives informed him that the product he was developing sounded like a competitor to Facebook App Center. As you can guess, they didn’t like that. Dalton writes:Your executives explained to me that they would hate to have to compete with the “interesting product” I... > Read more
Warning! Don't do something or something might happen, maybe?Google’s Link Warnings Run AmokOn July 19, like many other sites, we received a warning email from Google Webmaster Tools that Google had detected potentially harmful, unnatural links pointing to our site. The sequence of emotions went something like this: panic, fear, confusion, relief, irritation, then back to confusion.
The “relief” phase came when we realized the warnings went out to a huge number of sites – including SEOmoz, which I think of as squeaky-clean and unimpeachable. According to Ruth Barr, SEOmoz does “virtually nothing in the way of active link solicitation.” In other words, they have a huge and active community and they focus on churning out good content daily, so, as Ruth says, the links build ... > Read more
You can gauge the unexpectedness of an event by the number of tweets announcing the news that start with “Wow.” And Monday, my tweetstream was full of wow’s, because the news broke that Marissa Mayer – formerly a VP at Google and one of the company’s most public faces – was leaving to take the helm at Yahoo as CEO.
This is shocking because:1. Who would choose Yahoo over Google?! Yahoo seems to exist solely to serve as the butt of tech jokes.2. OMG, Marissa Mayer is pregnant!!!Let’s take the second shocker first: Does it matter that Mayer is pregnant? Can a pregnant woman run a company? I’ll answer this question with a little analogy. My brother and I went to the same college (Rice University, go Owls!), and we used to play a lot of ping-pong. Now, I’m pretty damn good at ... > Read more
Howdy, sports fans! Thanks to the good people at MarketingProfs, we have a special offer for our readers to save $200 on an upcoming MarketingProfs University (MPU) online training course: Search Marketing School: SEO. This training course features classes on keyword research, content strategy, link building, social media, SEO metrics and more, with expert speakers including Vanessa Fox, Andrew Hanelly, Jill Whalen, Ian Lurie, John Doherty, Ruth Barr, and yours truly.
Read on for more details on this offer.About MarketingProfs UniversityMPU provides affordable, comprehensive online training in the interrelated disciplines that make up your marketing mix.With each course you'll get 10-17 hours of instruction in what you need to plan, build, and measure successful marketing programs. Plus yo... > Read more
Yesterday we published the results of a study showing how sponsored advertisements on Google (PPC ads) are taking over territory previously reserved for organic listings, AKA “free clicks.” This is both good news and bad news for marketers. On the plus side, Google continues to roll out more and better types of search advertising to help marketers target their customers.
On the negative side, you (obviously) have to pay for those clicks.But the fact is, organic clicks aren’t really “free” either – gone are the days when it was relatively easy to rank on the first page in Google for your target keywords. Given the increasing costs and complications involved with SEO, it’s important to diversify your marketing channels. You can’t rely on organic search alone for traffic and l... > Read more
Perry Marshall on the AdWords Stupidity Tax & Why You Should Never Let a Google Rep Near Your Account
Perry Marshall is one of our favorite people in PPC. We’ve partnered with him on a few webinars, and we love that he doesn’t just parrot back conventional wisdom at you. He shares real insight into web marketing strategy and has a knack for analogies that hit home. He recently sent me the new edition of his popular AdWords guide, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, and spoke with me about some of the great advice you can find inside.
About Perry: Entrepreneur Magazine calls him “the #1 author and world’s most-quoted consultant on Google Advertising … He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in AdWords stupidity tax.” His Chicago company, Perry S. Marshall & Associates, consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales ... > Read more
Google recently announced the release of the Knowledge Graph, a new feature designed to “help you discover new information quickly and easily” by providing informative answers to informational queries directly in the SERP. In other words, for search queries that are typically answered by a high-ranking, ever-present Wikipedia page, some of that top-level information can now be found on the results page itself, so you don’t necessarily have to click through to another site.
For example, if you google “Mae West,” you see some basic information (date of birth and death, height, name of spouse, and some of her more well-known movies, as well as related figures) to the right of the organic search results (click to enlarge):Yesterday, I was talking to Larry about different types of sea... > Read more
We've evaluated thousands of PPC accounts with the AdWords Performance Grader, adding up to almost $1 billion in total PPC spend. Looking at this huge amount of data in aggregate, one of the most salient trends has to do with account activity. Namely, we've noticed a strong correlation between regular activity and relative success.
That is to say, the advertisers that get the highest scores (because they're beating everyone else in terms of key metrics like Quality Score, click-through rate, and impression share) usually spend the most time in their accounts.Disturbingly, about 1 in 5 advertisers who used the Grader haven't even logged into their AdWords account in the past 30 days. We get it – we're busy too! – but if you don't actually work on your account on a regular basis, your RO... > Read more
Happy belated Independence Day, WordStream fans! With the 4th falling on a Wednesday, it feels like we had a Saturday right in the middle of the week – but no following Sunday to help us recover. Oof!When I reluctantly dragged myself back to work yesterday, I saw a note from my coworker Adam, who said he was “declaring independence from old emails,” archiving all messages older than two weeks.
That note – and Wednesday’s patriotic festivities – inspired me to think of more ways to assert your independence in the office.1. Declare Email BankruptcyDeclaring “bankruptcy” for your email means admitting that you’re never going to be able to answer all those old messages. Archive them, delete them, unflag, mark all as read – do whatever you have to do, but don’t allow... > Read more
Check out our top 10 greatest hits from June!Everything You Want to Know About Quality Score & Landing Pages – This FAQ, consisting of questions we received during a recent webinar, is packed with info on AdWords Quality Score and how your landing pages affect it.RIP SEO Footer Links – Matt Cutts recently announced that boilerplate, sitewide links don’t count for much if anything.
Has your link strategy changed?AdWords Live Chat Ad Extension Now In Beta – Google appears to be testing a new “Live Chat” extension that allows people to click a button to initiate a live chat directly from a PPC ad.3 Things I’ve Learned from Founding a Software Start-Up – Larry talks about his experience with founding, bootstrapping, and securing funding for a software company that is now al... > Read more
Twitter, God love them, tends to be a little slow on the uptake as far as social networks go. It’s been around for about six years, but Twitter has been notoriously slow about adding new features and improving the functionality of its website. For example, it took years for the company to build in a “retweet” button (and the way they built it initially was not well received); it acquired TweetDeck in May 2011, but has kept TweetDeck as a separate application with its own brand rather than integrating those awesome features into Twitter itself.
About a month ago, Twitter sent out an email to users announcing some updates and policy changes. First among those changes: “A new weekly email that delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people ... > Read more
The New York Times just published an Associated Press snippet under the extremely misleading headline "ComScore Study Says Facebook Ads Effective."Larry passed me the link, and we both wondered briefly if Facebook had commissioned a study to "prove" that their ads are in fact effective (since our recent research suggests that Facebook ads are not effective compared to other online display ad networks).
However, if you read the story, it doesn't even appear to be about ads (emphases mine):The report released Tuesday found that people who were fans of Starbucks and Target, or friends of those fans, were more likely to make a purchase than a control group that were not fans.The comScore study comes a day after the research firm said that the number of unique visitors to Facebook's websit... > Read more
Every year at SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts does a “You & A” question-and-answer session with Danny Sullivan. Matt McGee’s write-up of this year’s interview is full of juicy tidbits and interesting insight into Google’s inner workings – but it’s worth reminding ourselves that part of Cutts’ job is PR.
When a company goes around saying “We value transparency, we value transparency!” all the time, you have to wonder how transparent they’re being – and Google’s algorithms for organic search rankings and Quality Score are still very cryptic.But let’s see what we can take away from his comments anyway, shall we?Links Still Matter – But Not Site-Wide Links, SuckersDanny asked, “Do links still work, or are social signals gonna replace them?” Cutts responded:Dougla... > Read more
This is pretty funny – do a search for “keyword” in Bing and here’s an example of the ads that get served:In other words, a seemingly random assortment of merchants – Bloomingdales, BMW of Sudbury, ankylosing spondylitis treatments, whip cream chargers?? Only one of the sponsored results has anything to do with keywords, the one on the bottom for an “SEO Site Analyzer” (notice, though, that the term “keyword” doesn’t even appear in the ad).
What’s going on here? My coworker Sergey figured it out – marketers or business owners are either uploading a spreadsheet or cutting and pasting from a document that uses “Keyword” as a heading. For example, Bloomingdales might have a keyword list that looks something like this:KeywordKate SpadeDKNYMichael KorsAnd the heading ... > Read more
We recently ran a joint webinar with landing page specialists Unbounce called “How to Use Killer Landing Pages to Get Better PPC Results” (you can view the slides from that webinar here). We didn’t have time to answer all the great follow-up questions from attendees, so we’re answering them here on the blog.
Special thanks to Tom Demers of Measured SEM for his help with answering these questions.What would you consider to be the weighting of Ad CTR vs. Landing Page relevancy as it relates to Quality Score? If you have a KW with low quality score should the first area of focus be Ad Copy testing or landing page development?The relevance of your ad is more important on balance than your landing page. It’s the first thing a Google user sees, assuming your ad qualifies to display in ... > Read more
It’s three weeks or so till the summer solstice, but everyone knows Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer. It’s time to put on your white jeans and accidentally squirt ketchup on them when preparing to eat a hot dog.It’s also time to check out our blog’s greatest hits from May, just in case you missed them the first time.
Your social calendar is filling up with barbecues and outdoor concerts, and it was a big month for social media in the news too. For once, the conversation revolved around Facebook, its IPO and subsequent fluctuating (dropping, mostly) stock price, and to a lesser degree Pinterest, rather than Google’s assorted machinations – not that Google didn’t put up a good fight.Here are the 10 posts that got the most eye-time this month:How Much Is ... > Read more
Last week, when we released data revealing Facebook’s shortcomings as an advertising platform, we didn’t know how timely it would be. Then GM announced it was pulling its $10 million Facebook campaign, claiming the ads weren’t working. Coming right before the IPO, the news was a shock – but we were able to step in with an explanation for GM’s move.
For example, despite its incredible reach, Facebook delivers lackluster results – the average Facebook ad has a click-through rate (CTR) of about 0.05%, which is half the average CTR for banner ads across the Internet, and just 1/10 as high as the average ad on the Google Display Network.Because our research provided some answers, it led to some great opportunities to speak about the findings in the media. In the course of a fe... > Read more
Last week, I shared the story of a guy who convinced the Internet that Abe Lincoln invented Facebook – pretty impressive linkbait, but not exactly heart-warming. But those of you with cold hearts need not fear – I’ve got a doozy for you this week. (As Woody Allen would say, there’s nothing like hot cockles.
)This story starts with poetry. Several years ago I became acquainted with a poet named Patricia Lockwood, affectionately known as Tricia. Tricia had a blog, but she was less likely to post about poetry per se than the strange things her mother says ("There were very bad storms here all week, you know. Later on, maybe tomorrow, I'll take you out and we can go see all the devastation") or the disturbing illustrations on the covers of young adult books (see here and here).What beco... > Read more
Yesterday the news broke that General Motors (GM) is pulling its Facebook campaign, to the tune of $10 million, claiming the ads don't work. As Pamela Parker at Marketing Land said, "It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Facebook, which has its initial public offering of stock later this week.
" According to the Guardian, this move, coming "days before stock market sale" is "seen as an embarrassment by analysts."The infographic we launched yesterday comparing the value of Facebook advertising to the Google Display Network goes some way toward explaining GM's move. We found that average click-through rates on Facebook were just half the industry average for banner ads, at 0.051%. Average CTR on the Google Display Network, on the other hand, is 0.4% (almost 10 times higher!). Accord... > Read more