Browsing "internet advertising"
In little more than 10 years, search-engine marketing has grown into a $14.7 billion industry. It’s a big pie, are you getting your slice?
In setting up a new business, you sell the best product, you setup shop with the newest and best furniture and accesories in order to showcase your wares. You hire attractive, intelligent, well trained staff to promote your store and your product, and ensure you have enough cash registers to be able to ring people up and send them through in a quick, friendly, professional manner. It’s at that point, you decide to advertise; newspapers, fliers, billboards, maybe tv and radio ads, but all of these measures are taken only after you’ve setup shop good and proper.
So why would a flippant stance be taken towards your companies website and it’s effectiveness as a selling tool?
Hastily constructed websites, with little to no content, excessive scripting and/or flash based websites; all points which hamper your online presence and placement within Google’s results pages. If your business is in retail, it only helps you to have a shopping cart tied to your website, with a listing of your most popular wares (at the least), and an intuitive way to navigate your website and shopping cart so to assist in sales. An extremely high percentage, think in the 80-90% range, of people research purchases on line prior to actually making that purchase, imagine your income gain with having a proper website constructed with a friendly, and easy to follow website in order to help them make that purchase.
Having your website properly built, tuned, and compliantly stuffed with content, only increases your companies worth, in the long and short term.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most common internet marketing strategies used by website owners to promote their popularity on the Web. Driving traffic to you site is the goal of this strategy — making sure that you appear on the first page, preferably, in the top 5 results.
Marketing itself is pretty much simply an act of finding out what people want and then giving it to them exactly how they want it. It is important you carry this thinking over into your SEO campaign and make sure you give each search engine, Google/Bing/Yahoo, EXACTLY what they want. Good SEO practices will have a positive effect on all engines, but each has their differences.
Ask any online marketer, whether they are affiliate or network marketers, and they can readily explain to you how powerful being #1 in the Google listings can be for their business. Being able to rank #1 on Google, for your chosen keywords (if they are keywords that attract buyers) is like a blank check you get to fill in. The best part is you can rank high with some work, and your cost to receive this advertising is zero dollars. Your ROI is thus very high since you are not paying for traffic. Everything is profit. Since Google is the Big Daddy of the online marketing field, it is also the most difficult search engine to climb, and maintain top ranking position in.
Can you save some money and hope to maximize your return? Of course, but as true as it is in all circumstances, “you get what you pay for” is a very powerful phrase to bear in mind when looking at embarking on your SEO campaign. Google catches 75% +/- of all search traffic, can you afford to miss out or make a wrong step?
Although the advent of real-time search could throw the industry into flux, experts say that search marketing techniques like search engine optimization (SEO) are still the biggest business on the web.
Miguel Helft, writing for the New York Times, says that “search advertising is probably the most effective form of marketing ever invented.” Because users are clearly demonstrating what they’re interested in, content can be scripted to powerfully appeal to those interests. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help guarantee that natural search results – as well as ads – are advantageous to companies.
However, despite the recent mega-deals that microblogging service Twitter has signed with Google and Microsoft, many are still unclear how real-time search will be monetized. Experts say that real-time queries will be less predictable and more highly specialized. Microsoft has downplayed any expectations of stratospheric profitability, telling the Times’ Helft that “[t]he goal is definitely to drive user value.”
A searchable Twitter may also provide search engine optimization (SEO) professionals and other online marketers with valuable trend information, as reported by Brafton last week.
Social media, is it right for your business? Could it be a free substitute for a traditional (read: expensive) advertising plan? How much time should you spend in the care and feeding of all those profiles? The answers may surprise you.
Twitter grew 3,000 percent in April. Facebook hosted 61.2 million visitors in March. LinkedIn counts 20 million users worldwide.
With a potential audience that big, it’s no wonder savvy marketers are looking to unlock the secrets of social media as another way to get the word out about their businesses. Free access to many social media accounts (and potential clients) just adds to the allure.
Though the platforms will differ based on the type of business, with the accessability of the internet, all small organizations should have a solid Web site, e-mail list, and a contact database before venturing into social media.
Blogs: Write Your Way to Success
If you want to build customer loyalty, start blogging now. It takes minutes to setup, and can be the beginning of branding your business. Blogging takes disseminating information about a company a step beyond formal press releases, ads, marketing brochures and Web sites.
That attachment doesn’t have to equal a huge time commitment, but expect to spend an hour or two to knock out a post. The rewards are can be seen immediately: Blogs that are refreshed regularly get a boost in search engine rankings. In addition, it also helps to establish you as an authority in your field.
Twitter: Tweet Tweet
To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question. The answer? Yes, and ideally as soon as possible! Twitter, with it’s constant communication, and somewhat instant answer sessions, provides an immediate interactivity for your company. If a customer has a question about a product or service, they can simply Tweet your page for the answer. It provides the “hands on” feel to the internet, which appeals to consumers.
YouTube: Be a Star
With a little creativity and relatively low overhead (Flip video cameras can be had for as little as $100) uploading a short clip can be a rapid way to test the market, another way to capitalize on the fast pace of social media is by posting videos on YouTube. Attach your blog, twitter, and website address in your channel info, and watch your traffic bloom as you gain subscribers.
To learn how to create good content, just pick out some viral videos and take note of their methods. The payoff? There are more computers in homes in this day and age, that’s a massive potential audience.
LinkedIn: Business Networking Made Easier
Creating a profile allows an entrepreneur to create an online career history, then to connect with others they’ve worked with. Obtaining a recommendation from a former colleague or existing client may help sway a potential investor or customer. A glowing recommendation is a gold star for any type of business, so why not collect and post them for all to see? It’s easily done on LinkedIn.
Time is money, it’s all about how you manage it. “Previously wasted down time like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It’s getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it’s golden.”
No matter what the platform, Blanchard says the true value of social media is found in the conversation. “You are not necessarily going to get 150 comments per day, but you are engaging a potential customer or client in the way you wouldn’t in an ordinary day.”
Online business executive Peter Dubens could be about to snap up Friends Reunited from ITV for just $24.6 million, a massive $263 million less than what ITV paid for the social networking site just four years ago.
In the same vein as MySpace, Friends Reunited finds itself hurtling towards the internet scrapheap of innovations that “used to be awesome” but have failed to move with the times and have thus been usurped. The duo of trend setters “back in the day” are now relegated to the “so 2005” pile of outcasts.
Mr Dubens made his money buying small time internet providers, consolidating them into bigger companies then selling them on to major international providers like Tiscali. The entrepreneur is involved with a digital media fund with fellow internet guru Michael Birch, the man behind Bebo.
Friends Reunited could be one of a number of ventures the new capital fund invests in. In this buyers’ market, and with ITV desperate to rid itself of its social media failure, a cheeky offer might be enough to persuade the television company to part with Friends Reunited.
Quite what Mr Dubens might do with the social network remains to be seen. Online advertising revenues have been sapped by drooping visitor returns. In April 2008, Friends Reunited recorded 19 million users with 70 per cent of those returning to the site once every 18 months.
Compare that to Facebook’s 200 million users, most of whom can’t go 10 minutes without giving someone a poke or scribbling something mundane on their wall and you can see a vast void that needs to be bridged.
A flurry of new information released as part of Forrester research predicts a huge change of emphasis from traditional media to online advertising over the next few years. In particular, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are due to double over the next five years according to the Forrester report.
In the US, digital marketing will become $55 billion industry by 2014, representing 21 per cent of the overall marketing spend. In the UK, online advertising spend already controls over a fifth of the overall advertising market, but the trend predicted by Forrester is that online will continue to flourish while other aspects perish.
The most interesting takeaway from the research is that overall advertising budgets will decline. Yep. With dollars moving out of traditional media toward less expensive and more efficient interactive tools, marketers will actually need less money to accomplish their current advertising goals.”
The message is getting through that online marketing can achieve the same as traditional media for less. A paradigm shift is occurring, with 60 per cent of advertising gurus ploughing money into digital media rather than the normal advertising avenues. Up to 59 per cent of the increase in advertising spend will be allocated to SEO and PPC.
PPC is currently much more prominent than SEO with most companies preferring to invest in paid search. However, as organic search starts gaining more widespread traction, more brands will turn to search engine optimization to drive traffic naturally to their websites. By 2014 the US will spend over $5 billion on SEO according to the Forrester research.
A study by Harris Interactive states that one-third of Americans find TV advertising to be more helpful in making purchase decisions than any other medium. According to the study, 37% favor TV ads, 17% favor newspaper ads, and 14% favor Internet search engine ads, while just 3% favor radio ads in making purchase decisions. Here is where radio gets competitive. In a response to the question, which type of ad do you tend to ignore the most, 46% said Internet banner ads are ignored while just 9% ignore radio ads.
Radio finally beats the Internet at something, even though most of radio’s ad dollars have found their way online and the stock prices of the radio companies have been decimated as a result. Not sure what this means for the radio companies and I doubt that ad dollars will make their way back to radio.
The study also stated that 17% of Americans ignore Internet search ads, which strikes me as odd given that in most instances, with contextual ads being the exception, both paid and non-paid search ads are only displayed as a result of a query by someone. So it puzzles me why someone would intentionally ask for an ad to be displayed then ignore it. They would look at the ad, see whether it is relevant, and if it is they would click on it, and if not, they would ask for another ad to be displayed through a second search. Nowhere in this process is the ad being ignored by the consumer. I doubt the owners of the survey would be savvy enough to differentiate between traditional online search ads and contextual online search ads, hence, their results are somewhat questionable.
Nonetheless, kudos to the declining radio industry for this win. I continue to be a big fan of radio and listen to it in both my car and at home and often find the ads helpful. The industry has staying power and will be with us for decades and probably for the next century. The same can’t be said for the stocks of these companies as most will surely be taken private, voluntarily or involuntarily
Search Engine Marketing (SEM); – SEM, paid search, Pay Per Click (PPC) – why would this particular form of online advertising appear to be just about recession-proof? Google’s continued growth in such a down market is just one example of how SEM continues to grow at a faster pace than nearly any other form of marketing.
It is expected that SEM/PPC will grow at a rate of 13% a year up to 2013, even where print, broadcast and other offline mediums are stagnating or declining.
What is it exactly that seems to make SEM recession-proof? SEM does what marketers need a marketing medium to do in a down economy: it generates better returns on the smaller budgets organisations have to work with.
The true power of Search Engine Marketing lies in the fact that a search user is telling the advertiser exactly what he or she is looking for, and search engines provide the relevant results to the user. Other forms of advertising by contrast push a message to the consumers who may or may not be interested in them.
The fact that advertisers place their messages in an environment that is relevant to the user mean that SEM is a powerful tool for branding as well as achieving customer acquisitions and conversions.
SEM is cost-effective and efficient. Because you are getting the right message to the right people, at the right time, there is far less wastage than there is in most other forms of advertising.
The flexibility which SEM provides is another key strength. One could easily set up a branding campaign that will see a longer tail of keywords and the possible use of the content network. The focus is on achieving critical mass or to reach it in a cost-effective manner. Sales-driven campaigns by contrast, will be more targeted with a strong ROI focus.
Around the world, industry is buying into search. Research conducted by Forrester in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe shows that 85% of marketers are using, piloting or planning to pilot search marketing programmes this year.
Search marketing should be a cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Any company which isn’t visible when users are looking for their services or products online is throwing away opportunities to capture new sales and customers.
As consumers are spending more and more of their online time on social networking pages as opposed to traditional brand websites, many business experts are now recommending that businesses incorporate
Facebook has made a huge impact online: there are now over 100 million monthly visitors to the site, and this figure is on the increase. While some businesses are beginning to use social networking sites in their marketing efforts, most business experts say that few companies are investing enough time and effort to make the most of this opportunity.
The benefit of Facebook, and other social networking sites, is that businesses can communicate directly with their customers. This provides an enormous marketing opportunity for brands, but it is crucial, say the business experts, to ‘get it right’.
There are a few key rules that are critical to making good use of sites like Facebook for marketing. Firstly, according to the business experts, consumers do not want to be advertised at. Instead, consumers want conversation, and they want businesses to add value to that conversation. Once you become known as a ‘good brand’ online, consumers will begin to start spreading the word for you, according to business experts.
Next, business experts caution that it takes more than simply having a high number of contacts online to leverage social networking benefits for your business. You need to ensure that you have a quality connection with each individual friend online otherwise you will risk not appearing genuine.
With the increasing popularity of social networking sites, some business experts are even questioning the need for traditional brand based websites. If you can build your branded social network page, they say, then you may not need the traditional website.
PricewaterhouseCoopers releases a new report suggesting that spending on Internet Advertising will rise by 20 per cent this year, with expenditure on search to soar by 30 per cent.
It cited the attractiveness of the online medium’s return on investment compared with other marketing channels as one of the main reasons for this predicted growth in the face of the slowing economy.
Yahoo!announced the launch of a new ad platform allowing businesses to buy and sell display ads from one web-based service.
The APT platform is currently being used by a small number of local US newspapers and will be rolled out to more customers in 2009.
MySpace finally launched its long-awaited music service, MySpace Music, which offers free streaming and paid-for downloads, as well as a range of tickets and other merchandise.
Users can build their own playlists and the service is primarily ad-supported.
Meanwhile, Hitwise released new figures showing that the credit crunch is prompting large numbers of Britons to look on the internet for money-saving deals and vouchers, as well as online sales.