Have you ever wondered what the “next big thing” in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is going to be?
In our world, the next big thing seems to change every day. The pace of innovation in the PPC world is accelerating. New updates, tools, and targeting methods come online nearly every day.
We feel that it is our responsibility to keep our clients updated on the most important changes, along with what we are doing about them. These may not be the “most recent” changes in our industry, but we feel they are the biggest opportunities to improve overall performance.
1. Mobile / Tablet Campaign Targeting
[pullquote]28% Lower Cost Per Conversion with Mobile Device Targeting[/pullquote]Back on November 15th, 2011 Google launched its Mobilizing Mobile initiative aimed at creating mobile-optimized websites for more than 400 local businesses in Mobile, Alabama. The multi-day event was a test run for Google to promote the benefits of mobile friendly webpages, and to see if they could start rolling out similar programs across the country.
Google’s GoMo Agency Guide (PDF) lays out their arguments for making a website mobile-friendly:
- More than 85% of Americans ages 18 and over have mobile phones.
- 61% of consumers that search the web on their mobile devices call a business. 44% make a purchase.
- Web searches performed on a mobile device have grown 400% in the last year.
Still don’t think mobile targeting is worth it? You can test it like we did for one of our e-commerce clients. We split their branded keywords into a campaign that targeted only mobile devices and tablets vs. a campaign only targeting desktop computers, and repeated the process for their non-branded campaigns.
Here are the results from the last two months:
The mobile/tablet campaigns accounted for 15% of the total traffic and 17% of the total Clicks at a lower Cost Per Click without any drop in conversion rates to the desktop campaigns.
2. Remarketing / Retargeting Your Site’s Visitors
Remarketing is relatively new Google Display Network feature. It is a form of interest-based targeting found in the Audiences tab in AdWords. You can use it to target consumers that have already been to your website.
Here’s how it works:
Not only does Remarketing allow you to get back in front of consumers who have already been exposed to your website, but it also allows you to segment them into groups. For example, Jim visited your e-commerce site to just browse, then left before adding anything to his cart. Haley put an item in her shopping cart then left the site without completing the transaction. You could then separate them into two groups:
Group A: Haley and all other consumers that did not complete their transaction (abandoned carts).
Group B: Jim and all other users who have previously purchased from your site.
If you wanted to offer a time-sensitive, product-specific promotion code for 15% off you could put it in an ad targeted just to Group A to motivate them to complete a transaction, while offering Group B a site-wide promotion to encourage retention.
3. Look Beyond AdWords
[pullquote]25-35% Lower Average Cost Per Click[/pullquote]Google Adwords provides marketers with many inventive ways to get in front of consumers searching the web, but it doesn’t reach all corners of the web. Bing and Yahoo still account for around 30% of the search traffic online. Their audience also has very little overlap with Google’s users.
However, due to the learning curve with Microsoft adCenter and the smaller amount of traffic, Bing and Yahoo sometimes receive less attention from marketers. Less competition results in lower average Costs Per Click (CPC). In most cases, we are seeing CPC’s on Bing/Yahoo that are 25-35% lower than Google AdWords. Conversion rates are usually a little lower than Google’s, but the overall Cost Per Conversion is extremely competitive, if not better.
In 2012 we are going to look to expand more clients onto AdCenter, especially those clients who have reached their saturation point with Google AdWords.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Beyond searching Google, Bing, or Yahoo, Internet users are interacting on the web more than ever. Facebook Ads allow you to get involved with the social trends and narrowly target users based on their interests:
Whether it’s music, sports, movies or any other interest, Facebook shows you if there is a fan base and provides other similar suggestions. This gives marketers the power to define their target demographic with much more precision than possible with Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter.
People are also connecting professionally on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Ads can be targeted by industry, job title, company size, and geographic targeting capabilities to get in front of decision makers and industry experts.
According to The Truth About Profiting from Social Networking:
“LinkedIn allows you to target ads based on profile data. Because of the business orientation of the site, however, LinkedIn states that its profile are ten times more accurate than many other sites’ registration data. In other words, people who create a LinkedIn profile to connect with their work colleagues—or boss—are less likely to be deceptive in their profile data.”
With a more honest, business-oriented audience LinkedIn ads are great for B2B clients or for anyone trying to build their network of like-minded professionals.
Twitter’s long-awaited monetization efforts are finally going to launch in March 2012. Their self-service ad platform will allow smaller advertisers to test whether or not Twitter Ads are an effective and efficient complement to other PPC advertising channels.
Whether it is through LinkedIn Ads, Facebook or Twitter, expanding our clients beyond AdWords is going to be an important part of 2012.
Put It All Together
This is just a small sample of the recent changes in the PPC landscape. The frequent changes require constant testing and refinement to figure out how to properly balance a PPC portfolio.