Importance of Online Ads Placement
Billions of the world’s population are now online. If your company plans to turn to online ads to draw customers, ads placement is an important consideration.
A new report from Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO) and Dow Jones showed that nearly half of consumers stated they would have second thoughts about purchasing from a company or would boycott products and services if they encountered company's ads within or alongside objectionable digital content.
The CMO and Dow Jones report also showed that nearly half of brand advertisers report problems with where and how digital ads are viewed. A quarter of the CMO and Dow Jones survey respondents stated that they’ve specific examples where their digital ads were shown within or alongside offensive or compromising content.
The new CMO and Dow Jones report shows the risks associated with programmatic advertising.
"Our member research shows that clients are going to be putting more pressure on their advertising and media-buying partners to provide greater due diligence, control and monitoring when it comes to ensuring ad placement efficacy through automated platforms," Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, said. "They want to see greater ad spend effectiveness and better attribution from a performance measurement standpoint. They will also likely dictate which channels are pre-approved and shift spend to those that are most trusted and proven."
What is Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is a billion-dollar market. According to Zenith Media, programmatic advertising grew from $5 billion in 2012 to $39 billion in 2016, at an average rate of 71% per year. Zenith projected this market to slow down in the coming years as “it consolidates its dominance of the display market”. The programmatic advertising market is projected by Zenith to grow at an average of 28% a year from 2017 to 2018 – hitting $64 billion by 2018.
This advertising model was first promoted as a means to reach target audiences as cheaply as possible, without taking into consideration the quality of the sites in which the ads appeared.
Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of online advertising, where a software program is responsible for picking where the ads run. Before this automated process, advertisers have to personally negotiate where their ads will run alongside with and manual insertions are done. This automated advertising method speeds up and scales the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
In addition to ads running within or alongside videos, programmatic ads also include Google Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising, which is powered by algorithms, to serve highly targeted ads at audiences.
YouTube Programmatic Advertising Fallout
n February of this year, The Times ran a story that revealed that brands unwittingly fund extremists groups through online ads.
The Times report showed that on YouTube, the online advertisement for the Mercedes E-Class saloon was shown alongside a pro-Isis video that had more than 115,000 views. A video owner earns an average of $7.60 for every 1,000 views and YouTube takes a 45% cut of the earning.
The online ad for Sandals Resorts, the luxury holiday operator, was shown alongside a video promoting al-Shabaab, the East African jihadist group affiliated to al- Qaeda. Ads for Halifax, Churchill Retirement, Honda, Victoria & Albert museum, Thomson Reuters, University of Liverpool and Waitrose also appeared alongside extremist videos posted on YouTube.
As soon as Google, the owner of YouTube, was informed by The Times, the tech giant took down some of the videos. AT&T and Verizon were some the companies that suspended their ads on YouTube over the placement of their ads in extremist videos.
In an interview with Recode, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said that the company’s YouTube ad controversy where brands found that some of their ads have run alongside videos promoting terror was overblown.
“If you look at it from an advertiser perspective, the error rates we’re talking about – I’m careful in saying this, because I don’t want to take away from the importance of the problem and that we need to get it right – but the numbers are tiny, tiny,” Schindler said.
Even as the Google’s chief business officer said that the problem is “tiny”, the company, he said, is heeding the call to remedy the issue.
"We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values,” Schindler wrote in a blog post published on March 21, 2017. “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.”
How to Ensure Your Brand Safety in Programmatic Advertising
We have seen the negative side of automated advertising method as shown in the YouTube fallout. But we can’t deny the fact that programmatic advertising can speed up and scale the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
Advertising channels like Google search, YouTube and Facebook have the responsibility to ensure that ads don’t run within or alongside fake news, offensive, derogatory, hateful, inappropriate and non-contextual media content.
In today’s digital world, there’s no going back to the bygone days of manual advertising. The online world is simply too big to ignore. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology, projected that mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach 4.3 billion globally by the end of 2017.
Drawing customers to your business through programmatic advertising entails added responsibilities on your side. These include choosing the right digital marketing service. The right digital marketing service will ensure that your business ads don’t run within or alongside objectionable digital content. It can better manage and control ad placements, as well as track and monitor digital advertising placements.
Contact us today if you want to ensure the safety of your brand in a programmatic environment.
SEO vs. PPC: Which Digital Marketing Strategy is Right for Your Organization?
SEO or PPC? Many organizations are conflicted which of these two approaches is the best way to stay competitive and relevant in today’s digital world. Let’s take a look at the nature and pros and cons of each approach.
Competitive Digital World
The world economy is becoming ever more digital. Seventy-five percent of businesses in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (PDF) area in 2015, including 35 countries from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific, have an online presence.
With the majority of businesses now having an online presence, what are the chances that your company’s website will rank high in Google’s search engine results?
The Nature of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to the measures undertaken to make your website obtain a high-ranking placement in search results.
Data from Statista showed that bulk of the search engine market share in Canada as of April 2017 went to Google (with 61.59% searches), followed by Bing (21.34%), Ask (12.2%), Yahoo (3.05%) and Other (1.83%).
Every search engine has its own criteria on how to rank billions of websites around the world. The criteria for ranking websites are kept secret by companies such as Google, Microsoft (owner of Bing search engine) and Yahoo to prevent the public from manipulating the search engine results. As of today, Google, for instance, has over 200 criteria to rank a website.
For being the most popular search engine, manipulators descended upon Google to sway the search results. The term “blackhat” SEO was born as a result. Google defines blackhat SEO as “Illicit techniques that manipulate search engines to try to rank a site higher”.
The following techniques are considered as blackhat SEO by Google:
The use of blackhat SEO can ruin your site and your online reputation. Once Google determines that you’re using blackhat techniques, it may remove your site from the Google index or demote your site.
Google, meanwhile, allows website owners to optimize their website to rank high in the search giant’s results by using “whitehat” SEO techniques. The search engine giant defines whitehat SEO as legitimate “techniques aim to improve a site by focusing on the visitors instead of on ranking higher”.
Creating high-quality content on your site is considered by Google as whitehat SEO. The use of keywords in your content is encouraged in order for internet users to find what your organization is offering. What’s prohibited is the use of too many keywords, especially those that are out of context.
The Nature of PPC
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s an internet marketing tool in which an advertiser pays a certain amount of money every time a user clicks on an online ad. The top search engine companies – Google, Microsoft and Yahoo – each have their own PPC program.
Google, being the dominant search engine, is also the dominant PPC program provider. The search giant’s PPC program is called Google AdWords. This PPC program offered by Google lets you show your online ads to the right audience, right location and right time.
The search giant, however, emphasizes that PPC won’t help your SEO ranking. Although PPC in no way affects your site ranking, the tools that come with AdWords will help your organization figure out how to optimize your site organically – without paying for ads.
A case study (PDF) conducted by Google showed that a company that sells a self-help course of a personal nature improved its PPC conversion rate by opting to show its online ad only to customers who might only sign up or purchase when they were in the privacy of their own home – that means outside the regular working hours.
The Google case study showed that while the time change lowered website visits from 9861 to 5652, it increased the client's conversion rate by 3 times, from 1.49% to 4.49%.
Other than ads schedule, other factors that affect PPC conversion rate are improved landing pages, choice of various cities and regions, particular keywords and groups of keywords and device.
SEO and PPC Comparison
Here are 3 key differences between SEO and PPC:
1. Budgetary Requirement
Appearing on top of Google’s search listings as a result of good SEO practices is free. “Search listings are free, and no one can pay for a better ranking,” Google said.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the person you hire to optimize your site is free. And even if you’re doing all the optimizing yourself, there’s still an economic cost to what you’re doing, for instance, creating high-quality content instead of working on other tasks.
PPC, on the other hand, isn’t free. As mentioned, you pay every time a user clicks on your ads. You can control your PPC cost by setting a daily budget – an amount that you're willing to spend each day.
In terms of physical placement in Google’s search results, Google’s PPC ads are placed on top of the organic search results – listings that appear because of their relevance to the search terms and as a result of good SEO work.
So even if you’ve worked hard publishing high-quality content on your site, your competitors’ PPC ads will still appear on top of Google’s search results.
3. Time Element
Good SEO practices can greatly impact the search rankings of your site over time. Many internet users take time to look through the organic listings provided by Google.
The impact of PPC, on the hand, is immediate. This online marketing tool allows you to reach wider audience based on their age, interest, location, language, particular time of the day and device they use. This immediate impact is beneficial to small organizations that can't consistently update their SEO strategies to show latest promotions or seasonal offerings.
Search Engine Statistics Every Business Needs to Know
Through the years, the world wide web has accumulated billions of webpages that compelled search engines, not just to search webpages but to display search results according to importance. There are more than 1 billion websites on the world wide web today.
In 2014, the number of websites worldwide reached the 1 billion mark, with the inventor of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee announcing the big milestone. Afterward, the number went back to below 1 billion as a result of inactive websites. The 1 billion mark was reached again in March of 2016.
In the advent of the internet, anyone can add a document to the world wide web without telling anyone. A world wide web without search engines is similar to a library with billions of documents but without a librarian.
To determine the importance of every webpages, every search engines has its own algorithm which includes a number of criteria. Algorithms’ criteria are safely guarded by companies like Google as they don’t want people to manipulate the search engine results.
What is Search Engine
Search engine is a software program that search documents on the world wide web for specific keywords and returns a list of links or webpages where the keywords can be found. The search engine term is often associated with the top programs such as Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, Ask and AOL.
Here are search engine statistics that every business needs to know:
Search engine is the most trusted source for general news and information.
The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that search engine is the go-to place for people when they search for general news and information. Search engine is the number one most trusted media platform with 64% of the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer survey respondents trusting it.
In the Edelman 2017 trust survey, traditional media is ranked as the second most trusted media platform, with 57% of the respondents trusting it. Online-only media is ranked third (51%); owned media is ranked fourth (41%), and social media is ranked as the fifth trusted form of media platform (41%).
Owned media refers to company-ran media platforms such as the company’s website and blog, while social media refers to social networking websites or mobile applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Google is the undisputed leader of search engines.
Every second, Google processes an average of over 40,000 search queries according to Internet Live Stats. This translates to more than 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches each year worldwide.
Google is a search engine built in 1996 by two Ph.D. students at Stanford University Larry Page and Sergey Brin. When Google was launched in 1998, the search engine was only serving 10,000 search queries per day.
In terms of global desktop search engine market share, Net Market Share reported that for the period of June 2016 to June 2017, Google’s market share was 76.13%, followed by Bing (8.51%), Baidu (7.41%), Yahoo (6.32%), Ask (0.20%), AOL (0.08%) and Excite (0.01%).
In terms of global mobile/tablet search engine market share for the period of June 2016 to June 2017, Net Market Share reported that Google’s market share was 95.17%, followed by Yahoo (2.47%), Bing (1.04%), Baidu (0.46%), Ask (0.04%) and AOL (0.01%)
More Mobile Searches than Desktop Searches
For the period of June 2016 to June 2017, according to StatCounter, 53.18% of searches came from mobile and tablet, while 46.81% searches came from desktops.
Google, for its part, announced in 2015 that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” Part of the reason that Google controls mobile searches is that it’s the default search engine of major phones such as Apple phones.
Consumer Search Behaviors
In 2014, Google commissioned research organizations Ipsos MediaCT and
Purchased® to understand consumers’ local search behavior. The Google-sponsored study found the following interesting insights:
1. When using search engines, people search with their location and proximity in mind.
2. Search engines influence searchers to take action.
In the case of car buyers, they spend up to 15 hours online researching, comparing and studying according to the 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study commissioned by AutoTrader.com. Google’s internal data also showed that when people search online using their desktop for automobiles, they want to see visual presentations – pictures of their dream car. Google said nearly half of Google searches for cars contain images.
SEO can either stand for search engine optimization or search engine optimizer – a person or organization in charge of optimizing a website for search engines. Building a good online reputation requires a good understanding of SEO, especially for Google. While Google doesn’t publicly reveal how it comes up with search results, the search engine giant has provided some guidelines for optimizing a website for search engines.
Google suggests that if you’re looking to hire an SEO to improve your brand reputation, make sure the SEO use “whitehat” techniques, instead of “blackhat” techniques. Google said it’s vital to know the difference between these two techniques as blackhat SEO will essentially ruin your website and reputation.
Blackhat SEO is defined by Google as “Illicit techniques that manipulate search engines to try to rank a site higher are considered blackhat techniques that violate our Webmaster Guidelines.” An example of blackhat approach is buying or selling links. Instead of the blackhat approach, Google recommends for the “whitehat” approach – defined as “techniques aim to improve a site by focusing on the visitors instead of on ranking higher.” Examples of whitehat techniques include creating high-quality content.
When choosing an expert SEO provider, always make sure that they don't employ black hat SEO techniques, and only help you achieve desired results and secure more business through high-quality content.
Looking for an honest digital marketing agency? Connect with us today.
10 Best PPC Strategies
Great infographic by WordStream. Finding your "unicorn" is not an easy job. Find the right digital marketing partner to help you in your quest. There are only two secrets for success; knowledge and hard work.
How come multi-location businesses fail to manage online brand reputation? Here’s the reason why.
Businesses of all sizes, including enterprises and small & medium businesses simply don’t have the right tools. Most of them choose consumer tools or home grown, half-baked solutions and expect to be successful. When a disaster strikes, they won’t know because no one ever looks at data affecting your online brand reputation. It’s solely collected for the purpose of making process improvement and is done so within the traditional means.
What this means is that your world as you know it, is good enough. People don’t like change. Most people are scared of new technologies; it’s true. Businesses are slow to adopt new technologies primarily because the don’t see the value compared to the “traditional means” or in other words, they afraid of change. New technology, no matter how advanced, won’t be introduced at your company because you, the decision maker, are mostly unaware of all the benefits. Moreover, no one around you will tell you to look at it since most of them are very comfortable, so why change?
Using traditional means and not wanting to think ahead is not wrong. It’s awfully wrong. Not having the right tools that give you a bird's-eye view of your online brand reputation presented by hard numbers, is wronger than wrong. When you have multiple business locations, you can’t be in multiple places at the same time. Of course, you trust your managers and you do believe that they can do nothing erroneous, right? Now, back to reality. The reason you worry, don’t sleep at night and don’t take time off is because you don’t trust your managers, and do try to be in multiple places at the same time. Your blood pressure is off and your doctor is strongly suggesting that you take it easy. But can you? Most likely you still have a few mortgage payments, your kids are still in school and you worried about financing their future. All of that can be helped, fast. All you need is the right tools.
Imagine being able to look at your brand and instantly seeing that your locations are listed in the right directories and review sites that are most important in your industry, and see if the listings are accurate. Imagine being able to see average review scores by location and ponder why King St. location, in comparison to your other business locations, is lacking in customer satisfaction, with an under 3.5 star rating. You’ll be able to answer “why”, simply because numbers tell a story, and graphs show you which manager is underperforming. You’ll never have to guess again or make decisions made based merely on word of mouth When customers or clients leave reviews these days, they tend to get personal. Would it not be nice to know that Agnes at your Bond St. location is costing you your reputation and hence is responsible for your declining revenues?
Here is the good news.
Right tools do exist, and what I have described is not science fiction; it’s reality. And yes, it’s affordable and will cost you a lot less in comparison to Agnes’ mistakes. Stop guessing, get the right tools and succeed. Many of these new technologies are already used by your competitors, why not join the race? It’s not a matter of having better tools, it’s a matter of having the right ones. Having the right tools will just mean that your company, will be coming in first place.
In the last 5 years, the number of smartphone apps has grown dramatically to over 2 million available apps in both Apple App Store and Google Play. In September 2016, Apple announced that 140-billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store since its launch in 2008. No wonder every business wants a piece of this pie. We tend to forget and discard, at times, that even if we had 1000 apps on our phones (I’m almost confident such thing exists), we would only be using a small fraction of apps that we consider the most “useful”. Here comes the “app fatigue”. Not surprisingly, big boys like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are maintaining the lead in app usage and the trend will continue as long as they continue to deliver the services everyone needs.
What does that mean to your business? It means that in order to be successful, you need to be found online. Your organization must have an accurate business listing in as many online directories as possible, in order to be found and to be trusted. Inaccurate business listings generally contribute to consumer suspicion and potentially leads consumers to mistrust. In addition, not only does your business need online reviews, you must care enough to respond to those reviews, in order to encourage your other customers to do the same, hence promoting your brand and building trust. Yes, you heard me, you must respond to both negative and positive reviews unless customer engagement is not on your agenda.
Is developing an app or joining an app based community like Home Stars or Houzz, or any other that covers your industry makes sense for your business? Would it be the best investment? Probably not. Why? Because not everyone will download an app, or will use it even when it’s installed. Alternatively, most people, whether loyal customers or future customers, will search for your product or service online, be it on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. If you are not present in Google search results, you do not exist and someone else, who cared enough to make themselves visible online, will be serving your target audience while growing their business. Your competitors will indefinitely steal a good amount of prospects, leaving your business in a ditch.
With the winter holiday season approaching, hopefully you will have some downtime and will spend it with your family and friends. Whenever you have some free time, try to think about some of the ways to improve your online marketing strategy and win over your consumers in 2017. In most cases, beating your competition is affordable when you choose the right digital marketing partner.
Happy Holiday Season from all folks at the Reputation Mart!
Statista.com - Number of apps available in leading app stores as of June 2016
Statista.com - Cumulative number of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store from July 2008 to September 2016 (in billions)
Techcrunch.com - App Fatigue
An Anatomy of One Online Purchase
I will start by stating the obvious. Most of us if not all of us buy goods and services online. How we make buying decisions is not that different from the offline, storefront world, with a few exceptions. For example, if I see a colourful poster in the store window with a James Bond looking guy in a cool leather jacket, I may contemplate buying that jacket right before I actually step in to the store, locate the jacket on the rack, and look at the price tag. Hmm...
Now, online, when you search for something, and see relevant ads, note, "relevant", you may start thinking about a product or service, including it's benefits and price. Oh, wait, you are also capable of getting all the necessary information to support you buying decision, including pricing, specifications, user reviews, etc., at your own pace without being attacked by an army of sales folks (no pun intended, my dear sales folks) at the store. In addition, as you navigate away from the original search results, smart folks at Google and smart advertisers get busy with "remarketing". Basically, the product or service ads follow you from that point forward reminding that you were interested in a product or service, probably liked it, though something may have been missing since you have not yet made a decision to purchase.
Last Sunday, I had a great discussion with a good friend David as he showed me his brand new wallet. The wallet was somewhat unique. It had a very slim profile, however, somehow fit a significant number of cards, bills and also change spotting an invisible change pocket. The leather was also high quality and soft to the touch, and according to David, it come with RFID protection, protecting your cards from being scanned and "copied" by criminals. Cool, right?
David instantly asked me to guess the price, and based on quality and features, I guessed between $250-$300. In reality, he paid slightly over $100 online, and considered it to be a great deal given how functional the wallet was.
Since I knew that he bought it online, my inner marketer asked David to describe the purchase process, and he was more than happy to oblige. Originally, he started looking for a new wallet about 3-4 months ago. Having searched online, he noticed a few ads corresponding to this one particular brand, and, decided to go and check out more options at the store. On top of it, he was getting ready to go on a business trip to Europe, and was convinced that he will find a great wallet along the way. As you've already guessed, he did not find what he was looking for during the trip. In the meantime, he forgot the brand that he noticed and liked online, and searched again using similar, but not the same keywords, and bingo, the ad from the same brand was right in front of him. It only took a few minutes to complete the purchase.
What we learned is that this particular brand was knowledgeable and sharp when it came to online advertising, especially understanding what works and what does not. If you are currently advertising online and don't see the results you've expected, push your folks or the agency harder. Ask the right questions prior to burying the project in disappointment. For example, have they implemented remarketing, if yes, ask for the remarketing performance reports. Ask if they A/B test the landing pages and split test the ads. If the answer is yes, ask for performance reports. This way, you'll understand your online customers much better without any additional investment, and will be able to tailor your products and services in the way that allows you to grow. Analytics is key, and getting your hands on the right data at the right time is truly priceless.
Remember, most online advertising campaigns are either poorly managed, or not managed at all. Make sure that you always select the right staff, agency or partner to support your online success.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.