Adapt or Die: Guilt Is Not a Business Model. Neither Is Whining.

I read a great post this week on Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That!: “It’s not about the competition. It’s about not sucking.” Andy is talking about the perceived threat from competitors – especially new kinds of competitors that emerge as technology and culture changes – and how businesses kick and scream about the new competition rather than making changes to ensure they’ll survive.

Here’s a hefty excerpt: [M]ovie theaters are in a constant panic about competition from DVDs and on-demand options. Which is the wrong thing to be paying attention to. It’s not an either-or choice. If a home movie is pleasant, you’ll do that. If the theater experience is worth 10 bucks, you’ll do that too... > Read more

May 20, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Five Ways to Squeeze More Efficiency Out of Your Best Performing Campaigns

Sometimes as a paid search campaign manager, you get to a point with a campaign where you’ve done a really strong job with all of your standard “blocking and tackling.” You’re managing bids efficiently, your campaign structure is solid, you’ve effectively refined your match type strategy, you’ve done a thorough job of researching keywords, and you’ve put in place processes to consistently mine search queries and optimize ad text and landing pages.

Frequently, a logical next step is to look to drive more leads by expanding to new keywords and new campaigns. But the reality is that in a lot of niches, you’ll wind up driving a lot of your account’s volume (and spending a lot of your cost) on your biggest campaign or couple of campaigns, even after you’ve exhausted several e... > Read more

May 19, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 5: Dynamic Controls

This is the final post in my series on Re-Creating the AdWords Dashboard in Excel. For the rest of the series, see below:Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 1: The DataRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 2: The TransformationRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 3: Making the ScorecardRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 4: Making the ChartsIn part four of this series, you learned how to build the charts for the AdWords dashboard.

In this article, I will show you how to make the dashboard dynamic by teaching you how to:Add a dynamic campaign filter.Add a dynamic date-range picker using a Data Validation list.Building the Campaign FilterAs you may recall we are using the DTP framework as... > Read more

May 19, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

B(r)ing Along Your Friends: Bing 'Friend Effect' Adds Facebook Data to Search

Recently Bing started bringing what they call the “Friend Effect” to search, giving users the option of searching the web with integrated Facebook data. You’ll never be alone again, as your Facebook fellows will be right alongside you recommending pages and pointing out hot deals to you.

This seems somewhat odd considering that only a week ago Facebook was attacking Google guerrilla-warfare style for trying to use Facebook data in their own social search ideas. Facebook is wheeling and dealing like a true mob boss. Despite Facebook’s continuously spinning needle on the moral compass, it’s hard for me to be too critical, because after checking out the new Bing, I really like what I see. Bing is using Facebook data in some really awesome new ways. Let’s ta... > Read more

May 18, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Showing Display URL Domain in Headlines for Select Ads on Google

Google has made a series of changes to the way ad text is served and displayed recently, and it’s important to follow how they’re displaying ad copy and what level of control you have.Towards that end, they recently announced that display URLs domains will be included in headlines, stating that:…starting today, we’ll automatically show your display URL domain in the headline for select top placement ads on Google.

As a result, your brand will be featured more prominently in your ad, and you can use the text in the headline to highlight other information. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be able to more easily identify the site to which they’ll be taken after they click on your ad…When shown in the headline, the display URL will be separated from the rest of the text... > Read more

May 18, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

Content Network Checklist: How to Get More Volume from Your Content Network Campaigns

As a PPC manager, your job is more about achieving objectives than just leveraging features and tactics (features and tactics are a means to an end). Towards this end we put together a three-part series in which we offered specifics tips on how to:Get More Leads from PPCLower Your Cost Per AcquisitionLower Your PPC CostsBut what if you have a more specific objective? One common consideration for account managers is how to get “more leads,” but this is particularly true as it relates to leads from a campaign or channel that is very cost-effective.

Often the content network falls into that category.In this post, we’ll assume your content network campaigns, or a client’s, are launched and off to a great start, and you’re looking to audit a campaign to find opportunities to increase ... > Read more

May 17, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Linkbait Case Study: How We Got on the Front Page of Mashable

Back in December we launched an infographic centered around the Internet and the environment. It didn't do as well as our previous infographics, which didn't particularly surprise us – we weren't completely happy with how it came out, and we didn't put as much effort into promoting it. A couple of weeks ago, we relaunched the infographic (see below; click to enlarge), after giving it a complete overhaul, to coincide with Earth Day.

This time around, it got the traction we had hoped for, attracting over 150 new links, including several high-value links from new domains like the LA Times and the Atlantic, and giving us a big spike in referred traffic. So what did we do differently? Why did the infographic perform so much better the second time around? Here are three reasons why I thin... > Read more

May 16, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Facebook vs. Google: Battle of the Online Giants

Godzilla vs. Mothra, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, and now this summer, coming to a theater near you: Facebook vs. Google.It’s no secret that social is the new currency across the internet, but Facebook’s recent attack on Google shows just how precious and coveted such social data is.Facebook Hires PR Firm to Bad-Mouth GoogleOver the past few days, there has been a lot of speculation concerning what mysterious entity hired the private PR firm Burson-Marsteller to encourage mudslinging against Google by pitching anti-Google stories to newspapers.

 Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast reports that they discovered it was none other than Facebook – and they found out just by asking.A Facebook spokesman admitted that the company hired Burson for two reasons:First, because it believes ... > Read more

May 13, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

SEO Title Tags vs. Witty Headlines: Is There Room for Puns in Online News?

You know I can’t resist commenting when the mainstream media talks about “S.E.O.” (as the New York Times would have it). This week, The Atlantic is throwing its hat in the ring with a piece called "'Google Doesn't Laugh': Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO," and subtitled “If online searches are literal, what happens to headlines that involve word play? Copy editors* fear they're going the way of the classified ad.

”Unsurprisingly – since this is a mainstream magazine we’re talking about – the topic is nothing new. Journalists have been wringing their hands over the supposed loss of the clever headline since SEO first started, well, making headlines (making waves? making hearts go pitty-pat?) five or six years ago.According to David Wheeler at the Atlantic, headline wr... > Read more

May 13, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 6

Marketing Profs Virtual Conference: This Friday (It's Free!)

Got plans for Friday, May 13? Now you do! Join us for Digital Marketing World: Search Marketing, a FREE virtual conference presented by MarketingProfs. Three Info-Packed Sessions Today's Top 5 SEO Essentials Integrated Search and Social The Future of Search: Top Trends to Watch Check out the complete program and session times here.

More Good Stuff Register now and get access to: Live Q&A time with the speakers Search marketing resources Professional networking opportunities On-demand recordings (available for the next three months) You'll also have the opportunity to meet search marketing experts and participate in virtual roundtable discussions with your peers in the Digital Marketing World exhibit hall. As one of this month's sponsors, we'll be there ... > Read more

May 11, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 4: Making the Charts

In part three of this series, you learned how to build our dashboard’s scorecard. In this article, I will show you:How to build the charts.How to copy and reuse your charts to save time when building multiple charts.Building the Charts The AdWords Campaign Performance report only has two charts and they allow you to choose from many different available metrics for comparison.

Our dashboard isn’t really limited by space, so we will be creating a chart for each of our KPI’s.ImpressionsClicksCostConversionsCTRCRCPACPCThe best way to do this is to create and format one chart for one KPI, and then we will copy the chart several times for each of the other KPI’s. This technique will save you lots of time, because you will only have to format your chart once.Follow these steps:1. Ins... > Read more

May 11, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Congrats to Microsoft, Proud New Owner of Skype

Today, Microsoft officially announced its acquisition of Skype, dishing out a hefty $8.5 billion for the popular video conferencing service. The Skype deal will be Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition in its 36-year history. As a company that traditionally avoids pricey purchases, Microsoft must have some big plans for Skype.

A Quick Skype Background CheckSkype was created by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in 2003. Offering free video conferencing and calls between Skype users via computer and certain cell phones, Skype quickly became popular with international callers. Interestingly, Zennstrom and Friis are also the inventors of the infamous Kazaa music sharing program, a big name in the muddied waters of music piracy (Kazaa also became well known for being riddled with viruses).Skyp... > Read more

May 10, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 1

Commonly Used PPC Metrics: What They Will and Won't Tell You

ImpressionsAn impression, in online advertising, is an appearance of an ad on a web page. In search engine marketing, an impression constitutes an appearance of a text ad on a search engine results page. Internet advertising costs are sometimes measured in cost per impression. An impression will tell you how many people have been exposed to your brand or product.

What impressions won’t tell you: If that exposure actually left “an impression.” Search behavior tends to be a fast and reactive experience. Often users only look at one or two results on a page. Even if your ad is at the top of the list, it may be missed.Click-Through Rate (CTR)Your PPC click-through rate is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) that actually go on to click the ad. You can view your cl... > Read more

May 10, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 2

Google's New Toys: Google Releases Site Speed, Business Photos, Search Globe

It seems we’re always talking about Google. Whether we consider it a friend or foe, it’s difficult to deny that much of SEO news revolves around every breath Google takes. And it’s true, you don’t hear folks saying “I don’t know, let's Yahoo it.” In keeping with its nonstop release schedule, Google recently announced several new features.

  Google Analytics Tracks Page Load Times Google is like an inspirational high-school teacher. He sees the potential in you that you have not yet discovered, and he’s always setting the benchmark higher and pushing you further. Google wants you to be the best you can be – for yourself, and for your users. That’s why with Google Analytics you now have the ability to track your page’s loa... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Five Ways to Lower Your AdWords & PPC Costs

This is the last installment in a three-part series on achieving specific goals within your paid search accounts. In the prior installments we’ve covered:Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPCFive Ways to Lower Your Cost Per Action (CPA)And today we’ll cover a third, somewhat less frequent objective: lowering your PPC costs.

It seems like lowering your PPC costs should be a pretty common objective, but in actuality lowering your CPA is usually a much better goal. After all, for most businesses you’ll take as many cost-effective leads and sales as you can get, so the concern is more how much you’re paying for each lead rather than how much you’re paying total. But as most PPC managers know, in the real world there are various factors that sometimes cause businesses to want to quickly... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

What the Heck Is a Sales Letter? Old School Direct Marketing Techniques

I was doing a little research on copywriting blogs recently, and noticed that many of the renowned veteran copywriters who got their start in direct (i.e., offline) marketing would often make reference to “sales letters.” I wasn’t born in the ‘90s or anything (I know who Osama bin Laden is), but my response to this was, What the H is a sales letter?A sales letter, of course, is the “letter” you receive in direct marketing mailings, which begins “Dear ________” and informs you of all the reasons you should give the sender your money.

Believe it or not, young ones, direct marketing still exists – and even works. According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of B2B marketers, 79% of respondents found direct mailing “somewhat” or “very” effective.This is top of m... > Read more

May 06, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Google Tests New SERP Format: Site Links to News Articles Replace Website Description in Branded News Searches

I saw this change in the Google SERP format today on a search for "CNN." Check out how Google has replaced the 2-line website description with up to three sitelinks with full-line descriptions corresponding to the headlines of trending news stories. Take a look here:See how you can click on "Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction" and it will link directly to the article.

 It seems to be working this way on other major national media outlets, for example:USA TodayFox NewsWashington PostCBS NewsI guess on branded searches for media outlets, Google might be thinking something like...The anchor text on site links are too small for news articles (they're typically 1-3 words like "contact us" or whatever)The user probably doesn't care much for the website description (they obviously... > Read more

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Osama Bin Laden's Death as Told by Social Media and Search Engines

While Twitter, Facebook, and media outlets around the world were ablaze with news of Osama Bin Laden’s death on the night of May 1st, I was fast asleep in bed. It seems I’m always sleeping through important events, having snoozed through the Royal Wedding as well. I don’t wake up at 5 am for anything, and while old ladies in fancy hats are always good for a laugh, I’ve gotten more of my share of darling William and Catherine through the continuous stream of replay coverage.

So naturally it wasn’t until I groggily sat down at the computer with my coffee the next morning that I had any idea of the massive NYC partying I had missed out on. And like many others, I got the startling news via Facebook.Twitter Sets Aflame With an Abbotta-BANG!Osama Bin Laden’s death has once again exem... > Read more

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Webinar: Winning the Keyword Research Game

A couple of weeks ago Larry Kim gave a webinar on keyword research, revealing his three-step process for discovering keywords. You can watch a recording of the webinar, as well as view the slides, below. You'll learn:How to dominate a search category for your brandWhy keyword niches are more important than single keywordsHow to apply your keyword research in on-page SEOAnd don't forget to sign up for our next webinar, Improving Quality Scores, on Wednesday, May 18.

Webinar: Winning with Keyword ResearchTo try the keyword tools demonstrated in the presentation, take a test drive today! ... > Read more

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 3: Making the Scorecard

In part two of this series, you learned how to transform the data we will be using to create our dashboard. In this article, I will show you:How to build the scorecard.How to use conditional formatting.How to use the camera tool.Presentation (the “P” in “DTP”)Again, we are using the DTP framework created by the smart folks at Juice Analytics.

The presentation layer for our exercise consists of all the pieces of our dashboard:Dynamic charts and scorecardsDynamic controls for date ranges and campaign filteringBuilding dynamic dashboards in Excel can be a challenge, but if you’ve already completed the steps from the first two posts in this series you’ve done the hard part. Now we are ready for the fun stuff.The Dashboard TabFirst, we need to create a new worksheet and rename it ... > Read more

May 03, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Five Ways to Lower Your PPC Campaign's Cost Per Action (CPA)

Last week we gave you five tips on how to get more leads from PPC. But what if your main problem isn’t leads? Everyone wants more leads, of course, but what if your most immediate problem is that your PPC campaign just isn’t profitable?In this post we’ll walk through five more tips, this time for lowering your CPA.

Cost Per Action Lowering Tip 1: Lower Your BidsIf your cost per conversion is out of whack, this basically means that the following equation isn’t adding up properly for you:Cost / Conversions = CPAWe’re thinking about ways to get conversions for cheaper, so it’s pretty obvious that we might want to do something about the conversion end of this equation, but all too often I see people ignore the cost side to their own peril.Many times, there’s a range of conversion ... > Read more

May 02, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

The Art of the Terrible Analogy: How SEO Is Like Bacon, Sex & World of Warcraft

Sometimes, the best thing I read over the week has nothing to do with Internet marketing. But I really want to share it with you, so by God, I make it have something to do with Internet marketing. This week, that thing was this list of the worst analogies written by high school students, originally published in the Washington Post.

The source above ("The Lost Eyeball") calls them the "worst/best" because many are actually quite brilliant – if I was a high school teacher and one my students wrote these gems, I’d give them a king-size gold star. To further qualify the list, the source says the paper “held a contest in which high school teachers sent in the ‘worst’ analogies they’d encountered in grading their students’ papers over... > Read more

April 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 5

Best of the Month: WordStream's April Highlights

April is over, you've paid your taxes, and now you're waiting for your tax return. Oh, the miserable wait: What to do in the meantime??? How about catching up on our best blog posts from the month? Is the Internet Bad for the Environment?: In honor of Earth Day we published this infographic detailing what kind of damage we're doing with our Internet addictions, as well as how the Internet is good for the planet.

Crayola Colored Bubbles: Reputation Management for a 1-Star Disaster: Worst product ever? Read some of the hilarious reviews for this mess of a product (literally) and learn what to do if this happens to your company. Understanding the Differences Between Google and Bing Match Types: This guest post by Bethany Bey from Hanapin Marketing explains the differences betwee... > Read more

April 28, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPC

Everyone wants more leads, right? This is probably your number 1 request from clients or upper management if you’re running pay-per-click campaigns (followed closely by “without increasing spend”). But the reality is you’re likely managing to a target cost per acquisition, so grabbing more volume isn’t as easy as jacking up bids and lifting your budgets.

The obvious answer to increasing conversions is focusing on conversion rate optimization, but we’ll walk through five slightly less obvious ideas worth testing that can help you grab more volume without ignoring your margins.Idea 1: Keyword ExpansionThe first idea is to try different keyword verticals and expand your keyword list. How do you do that? In all likelihood you’ve already brainstormed your initial list, used some tr... > Read more

April 28, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 5

Facebook Family Additions: The New Send Button & Social Deals

Facebook develops new features and alters its layout and settings (and privacy policies) frequently, and the social giant recently introduced two new additions in its continued mission to take over the word.Facebook’s new Send button allows users to share items with select people rather than everyone in their friend network.

Maybe you found a great bar in which to throw your friend’s surprise party – but you certainly don’t want the birthday girl to find out. With the Send button, you can quickly and easily share and send the URL to specific friends, groups, and email addresses.Cynthia Boris at Marketing Pilgrim has a clever idea about how the Send button could be implemented as a marketing strategy:"As a marketer, I’d take this one step further and use that Send button for some ... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Google's Instant Preview Now Includes Ads!

Yesterday Google announced that their Instant Preview feature will now apply to ads. That means you’ll now be seeing that nifty little magnifying glass appear next to ads as well as organic search results. Clicking the Instant Preview magnifying glass brings up a window that lets users preview the ad landing page.

In the image below, you can see that my Google search for “flowers” brought up a few ads. Clicking the magnifying glass next to my 2nd ad, I got to see a preview page and was able to confirm that the ad would, in fact, lead me to a site with an abundance of beautiful flowers to sell (just seeing them all nearly makes me sneeze). Instant Preview allows users to preview the ads they are about to click on to ensure that the content of the landing page matches what... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Five Reasons Every Startup Needs a Great Writer

When hiring for a tech startup, most companies focus, understandably, on technical talent: developers and engineers. Obviously, you need great engineers if you're going to build software, apps or a website of any kind. But don't underestimate the value that a great writer can bring to your organization.

A lot of startups make any writing tasks that come up the responsibility of whichever staff member is the most competent writer. When you're bootstrapping, multitasking is a necessity. But if you've got some funding, hiring an excellent writer can impact your business in a lot of positive ways. So whether you make a full-time hire or find a reliable contractor, it's worth the investment to seek out a writer who understands your business and industry and cares about the outcomes. Here are fi... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 2: The Transformation

In Part 1 of this series, you learned how to prepare the data we will be using to create our dashboard. In this article, I will show you:How to set up an Excel pivot table.How to use calculated metrics in a pivot table.How to use Named Ranges in Excel.How to use the OFFSET formula in Excel.Transformation (The “T” in “DTP”)We are going to use an Excel pivot table for our "transformation" layer in our DTP framework (worksheet).

You should already have your data prepared in the "current" worksheet, so you will need to:1. If you haven’t already, format your data as a table in Excel by highlighting your entire data set in the "current" worksheet and click on "Format as Table" from the "Home" menu.2. Now select any cell within your table and navigate to the "Insert" menu and insert a "... > Read more

April 26, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Announcing the Keyword Research Kit from WordStream

We recently put together a Keyword Research Kit that includes a lot of great resources for anyone doing keyword research and marketing for either SEO or PPC applications.The Keyword Research Kit is a completely free resource available to download. The kit includes:The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet – This PDF offers a bird's-eye view of what keyword research is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important.

This cheat sheet is helpful for quickly orienting those new to the concept of keyword research, from first-time hires to executives.Keyword Monitoring Worksheet – This tool allows you to plug in your keyword data every month and monitor trends in your rankings, traffic from SEO, and ultimately how your organic search engine marketing efforts are helping to drive your business.The Ultimat... > Read more

April 25, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 2

New and Noticeably Worse! The Downgrade in Upgrade's Clothing

On Wednesday, Google rolled out a new Analytics upgrade. Here’s Mashable’s report on the upgrade: Google rolled out a new and improved version of Google Analytics to all current Analytics users on Wednesday. The upgraded product comes with a bevy of new features. In addition to faster performance and a streamlined UI, the new Analytics also packs quite a lot of improved and entirely new functionality.

Users can create multiple dashboards, up to 20 per user; and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets. Users can also set interaction goals (for example, you might use Google Analytics to track and optimize file downloads or video views), graph and compare certain metrics over time, and toggle between multiple profiles and sites while focusing on one report. Wiep Knol begs to d... > Read more

April 22, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2
 
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