Measuring Effectiveness of Impressions Through AdWords Metrics

March 21st, 2014

In my last post, we talked about how the new Flexible Conversion Counting does not solve the age old problem of trusting View Through conversions and how can we account value those View Through conversions basis our user understanding. Now, these View Through Conversions also help us in understanding how our impressions have been delivered and how we are effectively advertising.

Consider a campaign for selling shoes online where we are advertising for www.xyzshoesale.com (name representative). Based on the intent of the campaign which can be lead generation or brand building we decide on the metrics for us to judge the performance of the campaign. However, if it is a brand building campaign, the only way advertisers show the performance is through Share of Voice metrics which is calculated by dividing the Total Number of Impressions delivered by the campaign against some assumed number of impressions which are arbitrarily decided taking in consideration the impressions of the most broadly matched keyword of the category. This process is very random and again throws a number which is hard to believe. Because, the number of broad impressions for a category keyword does not necessarily always cover the amount of potential impressions for a product.

To overcome the same and to have a more logical way of counting the impressions, we at Puretech decide on the branding campaign with a different metrics apart from the SOV. No doubt, advertisers dig for SOV and SOV only as that metrics is what they can showcase to their bosses but along with the Share of Voice metrics, we also use the following calculation to identify how effective are our impressions.

1. Download a keyword report with the following details – Impressions, Clicks, Cost, Converted Clicks, CTR, Search Impression Share, Assisted Impressions & Assisted Clicks.

2. Please take a look at the below formula carefully:

  • Total Impressions / Search Impression Share = Actual Potential Impressions for the Keywords
  • Total Impressions – Clicks – Assisted Clicks – Assisted Impressions = Actual Missed Impressions
  • Actual Missed Impressions / Total Impressions = % of Impressions used for Branding
  • Total Potential Impressions = ∑ ( Missed Impressions )Keywords
  • (100 – (Actual Missed Impressions / Total Potential Impressions)) = % Share of Voice
  • Total View Through Conversions / Actual Missed Impressions = View Through Conversion Rate
  • Cost Per Impression = Cost / Total Number of Impressions
  • So, Cost Per View Through Conversion = (Actual Missed Impressions * Cost Per Impression) / Total View Through Conversions

Thus, we can calculate the cost and other associated metrics for a branding campaign with the help of View Through Conversions.

If the goal is pure branding and there is no Action required from the user, we can perform the 1st 4 steps and calculate the Share of Voice. Please note that this method gives us the Share of Voice only for the Search Network and not Display Network. This method can be modified a lot to suit the needs of the advertiser to calculate the important metrics accurately based on the campaign. Please get in touch with Puretech’s Paid Search Marketing Experts to know what metrics would suit your paid search campaign.

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Contributed by: K. Kulkarni, Digital Strategist, Puretech Internet

New Conversion Metrics

March 7th, 2014

Flexible Conversion Counting – Has anything really changed? How can you associate a value to view-through conversions?

AdWords has been re-inventing itself year after year with some great features. Re-marketing, Click to Call, Product Listing Ads, etc. were some of the path breaking ones which to my mind ensure that advertisers look forward to spending more money with Google and in turn take the best out of these features. But, for long, the metrics on which performance of campaign was measured were same. So, for agencies like ours as well as for Google, showing value in advertising other than just old school conversions was getting increasingly difficult.

One Per Click & Many Per Click conversions were themselves contested with different clients asking for different measuring metrics. Targets set during the quarterly projections were based on both metrics although the latter is not at all in control of the advertiser. On the other hand, true as it may be, for any advertiser who has a conversion focus, accepting the numbers of View – Through conversions as conversions is very difficult. Even if it has been authenticated by Google itself, believing that somebody actually bought or completed the required action because of an impression of the AdWords ad and accrediting that sale to the money spent without even a click was not something that advertisers liked. As an agency representative, I have encountered numerous occasions when we found it really difficult and ultimately had to give up on our course of convincing the client to include View – Through Conversions as a part of our performance.

In the new changes introduced by Google in February, the following has changed.

Converted Clicks – It basically replaces the ‘Conversions – One Per Click’ column & counts the number of clicks that have resulted in a conversion. Please note that in a scenario where the customer decides to complete the required action multiple times, using a single click, only 1 conversion will be counted. This metric is generally looked at by advertisers who have a lead based goals for single products or services.

Conversions – The new name of the ‘Conversions – Many Per Click’ column with an option to track Unique as well as All conversions. This essentially means, when you have selected ‘Unique Conversions’ in your conversion settings, it will count only 1 conversion regardless of the number of completed actions on a particular click. For e.g. A user clicks on an ad of www.buygamesonlinenow.com and buys 1 game today. Then he visits the site again tomorrow through a bookmark and buys 4 more games tomorrow, the number of conversions attributed to the click will be just one. Essentially, the ‘Converted Clicks’ & ‘Conversion’ columns will show the same numbers.

So has anything changed due to this?

Quite a few things have changed although not path breaking but they can’t be ignored as trivial.

Automatic Bidding Strategies:If you use a bid strategy focused on conversions, such as Enhanced CPC or Target CPA, your conversion counting settings will only be used for bidding if your conversion bid metric is set to “Conversions.” If you set your conversion bid metric to “Converted clicks,” your counting setting won’t affect automated bidding because it doesn’t change the counting of converted clicks.

If you use a bid strategy focused on conversion value, such as Target ROAS, your conversion counting settings will always be used, regardless of your conversion bid metric. Target ROAS optimizes for conversion value, which always uses your conversion counting settings.

Total & Cross Device Conversions: While tracking single conversion and counting unique conversions, keep an eye on the “Conversions” column in your reports for any comparisons to estimated conversion data (rather than simply relying on “Converted clicks”). If you have chosen to track only the unique conversions the estimated cross-device conversions will also be based on unique conversions instead of all conversions.

What happens if you do nothing:If you leave your conversion actions set to count all conversions, your reports will simply have different column names: “Conversions (many-per-click)” will be renamed “Conversions,” “Conversions (1-per-click)” will be renamed “Converted clicks,” and the numbers will look the same as before until you change your settings.

Automated bidding solutions like Conversion Optimizer and eCPC will continue to function as they did previously for both the “Converted clicks” column and the “Conversions” column.

What happened to the View – Through conversions?

View Through conversions still exists and there is no hard evidence to track these conversions and attribute any value to them as they do not come from a click. So, you will still need to believe Google’s word of they being influenced due to the online advertising through AdWords. The thing is that advertisers do not question what Google says but they do not seem to be able to calculate any value for these conversions. So, here is a quick peek in my way of associating value to View Through conversions.

(This will work only for e-commerce or sale based campaigns.)

Step 1 – Check the Total Number of Conversions in your campaign.

Step 2 – Check the Total Conversion Value of these Conversions.

Step 3 – Divide the Total Conversion Value by the Number of Conversions. This gives you the average conversion value.

Step 4 – Check the View Through Conversion column.

Step 5 – Visit analytics & check the average order value of the site for the period in consideration.

Step 6 – Compare the Avg. Order Value from analytics to the Avg. Conversion Value metric you have got and select the one with least value. (this will ensure that you are not over estimating or reporting the value of the conversions)

Step 7 – Multiply the value selected in the above steps with the View Through Conversion metric. This is the monetary value associated with the View Through Conversions

Please note that this value will most likely not be the actual value to calculate how much view through conversion add to your kitty but this will be the closest way in which you can measure the same. Alternatively, you can also measure the effectiveness of your impressions. That I will explain in the following post. J

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Contributed by: K. Kulkarni, Digital Strategist, Puretech Internet

Top 5 SEO Trends of 2014

January 30th, 2014

There are plenty of opinions about SEO and increasing a website’s visibility online because these trends are always evolving. As we know, the majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo!. If your site cannot be found by these search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, then you lose out on incredible opportunities. Targeted visitors to a website provide publicity, revenue, and exposure, so investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return like no other channel of marketing.

The Dynamic Google Search

To give search engine users great results, Google does approximately two tweaks to their algorithm every day. It has released 25 updates since February 2011 that affect its website content quality algorithm known as Panda. Others include website layout and the devaluation of generic product or service keywords in the domain name known as the “EMD” (Exact Match Domain) update. In 2013, the Panda algorithm logic was merged with the main Google algorithm, so updates for the Panda algorithm have ceased. Penguin is applied about once a quarter to squash link building in cases where the intent of the link builder is to manipulate Google’s algorithm rather than add genuine value to users.

Content Marketing Strategy

It is believed that the latest Google algorithm update, Hummingbird, will drive SEO this year. It focuses on the necessity for web pages to be optimized so as to be read and understood by people, instead of search engines. In addition to the importance of keywords, your site should answer a need instead of directly pitching a product or service. Valuable and relevant content will keep the audience engaged.

Optimization for Mobile Friendly Websites

“Responsive web design” adjusts the layout or size of the website according to the screen or window size of the device or web browser being used to view it. So whether your website users are using an iPhone, Android, tablet or desktop PC, the HTML code used to render the page is the same for every URL, so that the main website is the mobile website as well. This draws all search engine ranking value to one URL, making it stronger.

HTML 5 Compatibility

HTML 5 is compatible across multiple devices, browsers and screens. Soon, the need to have multiple technologies such as FLASH for your company’s ads and creative on content will all merge into HTML 5, saving development cost and time to execution. If the trend is positive for HTML 5 on your website, it is well worth investing in workshops and training your in-house teams accordingly.

Authority, Authorship and Social Media

Earlier, inbound links were one of the most important factors behind a website’s visibility. While still important today, they are beginning to be replaced by social signals. Social media channels lead to better online exposure and encourage content sharing. The more people share your content, the more authoritative you become in the eyes of search engines, thus amplifying your reach to the masses. Social media sites like Facebook have added Graph Search, targeted ads, marketing segmentation, contextual suggestions and improved analytics functionalities for businesses using the platform. Google is already testing +Post ads and with the recent Facebook Feed Algorithm Changes, more and more businesses will be using paid ads on social network.

Individuals have been able to directly link the content that they create (or that is created for them) to their Google+ profile with the advent of Google Authorship. It defines which authors hold the most authority and promote those authority figures to the top of search results. Your Author Rank is also influenced by the number of people in your circles and your engagements.

Over the next year, the social media profiles taken into consideration by Google’s algorithms will more than likely become more intelligent and “socially sensitive.” Everything your audiences does to engage with you and your brand through the number of posts, likes, followers, comments and shares, will play a role in your business’s search engine ranking.

Hence, for this year and beyond, the steps that should be taken to expand your website’s horizon include linking your website to your updated Google+ profile, increasing your social media presence, and becoming more active on Google+ in particular.

Social Media Optimization

December 4th, 2012

During the past few years, we can particularly see (with the emergence of Google as the major player of search engines) Social Media Optimization (SMO) has become the byword of internet savvy marketers. Social media is basically used to create viral publicity and increase awareness of a product or brand for any organization or event. The ultimate goal of SMO is to generate traffic and awareness for a brand or website.

Google crawls social content which is shared by the users on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., to rank pages in search results. This, in turn, supports Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It has, hence, become very important to integrate Social Media with SEO.

On updating posts, tweets or any other information on social networking sites, it is very important to optimize the content with a relevant keyword for better performance of the content. More specifically, the practice has to be of continuously optimizing social posts to extend their reach, making them visible and engaging to more people; prompting viewers to interact with the post in some way.

Also, when it comes to the most active social networks for most brands, Facebook and Twitter there are strategies for optimizing posts and tweets that can improve engagement organically. Social Media Optimization is very important and an indispensible part of a brand/website success, irrespective of whether it is owned by a company or an individual.

Online Reputation Management

There is an immense need for Online Reputation Management (ORM) as the online medium has undoubtedly, become an indispensable part of our modern lives. ORM is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of emphasising positive coverage rather than negative reviews or feedback.

Everyday several companies experience severe challenges and lose large amounts of money because of false news posted on message board, blogs, social media platforms, forums and the major search engines from many of their hostile customers, dissatisfied employees and villainous competitors. Their main aim is to harm the online business and create a bad image among the masses and damage the company’s reputation.

Monitoring Your Brand & Cleaning Up Online Negativity

How do you know your customers are talking negative online? Have you ever done an online search for your company or personal name and come across negative reviews? You have to stop these opinions from destroying your brand. There are tools which helps us keep a track about what people are talking about your brand every day, online. By first listening and then taking necessary steps to avoid negative comments, you have to keep replying instantly, creating positive blogs, posting articles, sharing new content about your brand and swiftly handling negative comments. The strongest impacts are created when we create posts backed by solid proof!

Benefit of Analytic for Adwords Advertisers

November 19th, 2012

In the past, all of us (advertisers) have been using Google Analytics to track AdWords data. However, recently Google has come up with an option through which we can import analytics data in the AdWords account.

WHY is it Important?

This software will help you understand the success of your online advertising campaign. This way, you can gain better understanding into the campaigns and take required action on those insights all in the same place.

Some of the Benefits:

  • Identifying opportunities for improvement – Like a campaign and AdGroup with low ‘Average Visit Duration’ or ‘High Bounce Rate’ and ‘Low Conversion Rate’ would need to be re-evaluated to check relevance of the landing page to the AdCopies and keywords.
  • Targeting Engaged Users: Check your ad groups and find the ones that has visitors who stay on the website the longest (“Avg. Visit Duration” or “Pages Per Visit”), and increase the bids for them.

WHAT data can you import from Google Analytics?

The data is available in AdWords account at the Campaign & AdGroup levels.

  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Visit Duration
  • Pages/Visits

HOW this Works?

Before you start to import data you will need to check the following Account Settings.

  • In Google Analytics, your Data Sharing Setting should be – “Share my Google Analytics data with other Google products only.”
  • You AdWords login should have administrative access to all the Analytics accounts that may be related to the websites for which you are running the PPC Campaign.
  • Your Adwords account should be should have auto tagging enabled.
  • The concerned analytics accounts must be already importing cost data from your AdWords account.

Connecting the Adwords Account to Analytics profiles:

1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
2. From the “My account” drop down menu select “Linked Accounts”.
3. Select the Google Analytics profiles you want to import data from.
4. You can select up to ten profiles to link to your AdWords account.

This will greatly help in improving campaign performance. Though, previously, some of the features were available directly in the Analytics interface (was limited to one profile). Now you can have multiple profile data for an AdWords campaign which might have landing pages on multiple websites.

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Contributed by: Saurabh Shanker, Sr. Lead :: Search Marketing & Web Analytics, Puretech Internet

Web Development Services India

November 6th, 2012

With about 52 million active users of the Internet in India (almost 10 million of which use a broadband connection), delivering quality web content with rich visuals and engaging substance has become a key task for the web development domain in India. More and more companies across the country are beginning to feel the need for web presence as they believe the web is one of the most promising and cost saving mediums of marketing. Companies no longer just want to float websites, which are their corporate information ‘brochure-ware’ online, but are also feeling the need to:

  • have presence in the social media domain,
  • want their sales team connected across geographies through online applications and
  • want aggressive recruitment done through their web presence.

A huge chunk of sales has moved to websites from the brick-mortar store. Organizations are increasingly communicating with their investors and customers though online media publications, as well.

Over the years web development has evolved and advanced to higher levels, moving away from just designing and developing corporate websites, to creating interactive web properties like blogs, discussion forums, social interactions and online shopping. This is also the reason a lot of user generated content has started demanding online reputation monitoring. With the kind of internet usage and accessibility to the internet, web development in India is not far behind. With creative designers and innovative web developers, India has always been in the forefront of the worldwide web development space.

The dominance of handheld devices with mobile internet connectivity has brought about a huge change in the web development industry. The challenge to deliver interesting and informative content across platforms, devices and screen sizes is ever increasing. Newer technologies are helping breakaway from the traditional desktop limitations, increasing the canvas of imagination for the web developers. The key, now, is no longer just the visual but also the kind of content that is being delivered, the medium in which it is being delivered and the speed at which it is being presented. The availability of the content across the devices is also playing an important part in people’s everyday life. Searching and browsing on the phone or the handheld device is becoming a common practice, just as online shopping and banking transactions are being made increasingly through mobile devices than compared to desktops. This has demanded a need for more intuitive and user friendly interface designing and cross devise friendly web development and application design.

The web development has moved away from pure HTML and is progressing towards HTML5 and CSS3. An ever increasing need for standardized web development has become the need of the hour. With more and more hardware devices with varying operating systems, browsers and screen sizes cropping up everyday it is becoming a tough task designing good interfaces which are compatible across everything. These developments have made the need for responsive designs of top importance. Good creative designs which adapt themselves to various devices and screen sizes seamlessly is what the web designer of today needs to strive for. A successful web development project will have to be creative, trendy, contextual and more importantly – developed in such a way that it is accessible from anywhere, on any kind of internet connections and across all the media devices available.

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Contributed by: Swapnil Agaskar, Head::Web Solutions, Puretech Internet

Multi-Channel Funnels

October 31st, 2012

Have you ever wanted to find out which online medium has outperformed others? Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels lets you do just that – and a lot more.

Recently, Google Analytics released for everyone a metric called Multi-Channel Funnel (MCF) that was till then in beta. For a digital marketer, this is one of the most important enhancements.

What are Multi-Channel Funnels?

Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics help explore the actual path that visitors/ prospective buyers take before they eventually become your customers. This option allows you to explore metrics like first interactions, last interaction, and assisted conversion.

Multi-Channel Funnels allow marketers to look beyond the ‘last click attribution’ model of Google Analytics and find out visitors’ interaction points leading up to final conversions within a 30-day period.

You can get answers to these questions:

  • What role did prior referral medium play in that conversion?
  • How much time passed between the visitor’s initial interest and associated final conversion/ goal?

How do Multi-Channel Funnels work?

  • Multi-Channel Funnels track a user’s movement, referred to as ‘conversion path’, across multiple online referring sources over a 30-day period.
  • Using Multi-Channel Funnels, we can see what additional channels have contributed in the final conversion/ goal.
  • According to the Google Analytics Blog, conversion path data includes interactions with virtually all digital channels. These channels include, but are not limited to:
    • Paid and organic search
    • Referral sites
    • Affiliates
    • Social networks
    • Email newsletters
    • Custom campaigns that you’ve created, including offline campaigns that send traffic to vanity URLs

      Multi channel funnels - Basic Channel Grouping Path

  • Get to know time to conversion through time lag.
  • Know more about a user’s interaction with your website before a desired action is performed.

    Anatomy of a Conversion Path

Why use Multi-Channel Funnels?

  • Find all your digital marketing channels in one place.
  • Understand the worth of all your marketing efforts provided all are integrated within Analytics.
  • Get a snapshot of steps your customers take before purchasing or converting.
  • Tailor your marketing efforts based on specific channel performance.
  • Allocate the right budget to the performing channel.

What you need to ensure that it works properly:

  • You have set up goals or ecommerce tracking is enabled.
  • All campaigns are tracked in GA with proper tracking codes.

It is imperative for digital marketers and analysts to know about cross-channel optimization to allocate budgets across their respective marketing channels. Multi-Channel Funnels will help them track user interactions across various online marketing channels.

In part 2, I will focus on MCF Reporting, so watch this space.

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Contributed by: Kamaljit Saini, Practice Lead::Search Marketing, Puretech Internet

Social Media and Knowledge Management

November 21st, 2011

The similarities between knowledge management (KM) and Social Media are hard to refute. The chief uniting factor is the use of technology by people in order to access information. Both owe their existence to individuals that undertake knowledge creation intended for sharing. Both are profoundly supportive of collaborative economics.

But here is where the similarities end. The big difference between them can be summed up as follows:

Social media is the exhibit of experience shared by peers in ways that each one can judge it for themselves.
Knowledge management is the prerogative of the management based on pre-set protocols to control and distribute information.

These definitions may sound a bit unkind to most of us, and moreover it is evidently biased in favour of social media. Knowledge should be like a free flowing stream that does not come under any jurisdiction. It should be universal and highly accessible; it is only then that the permeability of it, within and across the organisation, can reach its zenith.

But, conjoining contradictory terms such as knowledge with high accessibility have very few takers.

Knowledge as a commodity has the propensity to originate in any corner of the organisation, knowledge management endeavours to channel and gather it into a cohesive knowledge base which is subsequently re-distributed with preconceived sets of protocols, processes and channels.

On the other hand social media exudes downright chaos. The sequencing, the ordering, the indexing are things that are not remotely associated with it. In a more literal sense, a modern day organisation has got a structure whereas a social media organization is a one without. It allows uninterrupted flow of information and knowledge without minding its bend. It is no surprise that such an organisation would be distinctly messy, an antonym for the term ‘organisation’.

Hence, when the whole idea of social media has its foundation firmly installed on un-orderliness and chaos, it must not come as a surprise to many that knowledge manager and software companies are constantly on the prowl to defang the intensity of social media by way of novel tools, approaches and processes. Not everyone is capable of dealing with the information floating on the public domain; many are of the view that it must be highly managed so that they will be able to project their organisation the way they feel suits their interest.

The general consensus will find faults with this attitude for one simple reason- even if the debate is shut down forcefully, people will continue to have conversations and sharing of experiences at venue they are comfortable at. Debate and experience sharing have been around long before World Wide Web became a sensation. Even a cynic will agree that peddling of thoughts would not stop even if knowledge managers try to censor it at the workplace.

Communication pundits rightly assert that the days of seeking control have become passé and it’s time to engage people.
Business leaders affirm to the fact that engagement is the finest way to skim value from the knowledge that is floating on the social media — and not by seeking to impede social media with hitherto KM techniques.

So the question arises, how to gain value from social media, especially in light of a tradition where knowledge management has failed to yield any tangible results.

The solution lies in a novel view of collaboration: Mass Collaboration

Mass collaboration comprises of three components: social media technology, a duly persuasive purpose and a focus on constituting communities.

• Social media technology provides the channel and acts as an agency through which ordinary people share their experience, knowledge and insights in ways they are comfortable with. Social media is highly informal therefore everyone finds ways to communicate in a manner they feel will have greater resonance. Apart from this, it also enables individuals to see and evaluate knowledge on the basis of the judgment of others i.e. making judgments based on conversation of others.

• A persuasive purpose is the raison detre for people to participate in exchange of their unique ideas, knowledge and experience. People participate in social media due to the fact that they not only value the channel but somewhere along the line identify with the purpose. They initiate participation on their own free will, rather than being coerced in to doing it as part of their job.

Communities to social media are like gorges to a mountain, completely natural and self-forming. Knowledge management connotes a view of knowledge that is strictly hierarchical and therefore is often found associated with job classification or pushed down the throat based on work duties. Participation is therefore by diktat, making it obligatory or some type of ‘mandatory fun’. On the other hand, social media not only allows communities to emerge but treat them as a property of the purpose. This structure devoid of any rigid architecture creates space for innovative and active communities.

To achieve the daunting task of mass collaboration, it’s not enough to build technology and coerce people into participating. It requires a vision, concerted management action and strategy, moreover, a strong Purpose!

The take away point here is, on the outside they may appear to be interchangeable but, Knowledge management (KM) and social media are not the same. Being cognizant of this fact is a stepping stone towards getting value from both these avenues and ultimately towards becoming a social and knowledge driven organization.

Twist in the Tail

November 16th, 2011



Search engine marketing is getting pretty competitive, and the bestselling keywords are becoming expensive. Take a long-tail approach!

Pay-per-click marketing on search engines through programs such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing is becoming increasingly popular among marketers worldwide. These programs work on an auction model: Marketers bid for keywords, which when used by Internet users on search engines, will trigger their ads. The ads of the highest bidders, usually, get top billing on search engine result pages for the keywords they have bid on. Marketers then pay the bid amount for every click that a user makes on their ads.

As these programs become more popular with marketers, the competition for keywords and the cost-per-click for popular keywords are constantly rising. So, how can marketers lower their costs and yet get the clicks they desire? Is bidding for the most popular keywords the only way to get traffic and increase ROI?

It certainly is not. More and more people are buying into the long tail concept. So what exactly is the long tail of search engine marketing? Let’s illustrate with an example.

Let’s say you sell digital cameras and accessories online. You want to run a search engine marketing campaign. To begin with, let’s consider the keyword ‘camera’. Let us assume that it’s a very popular keyword and costs Rs. 50 per click and you get 100 clicks per day. Your cost works out to Rs. 5000 per day. Now what if you have a budget of only Rs. 2500 per day? Check out the tail. Buy lower-priced keywords such as ‘3 mega-pixel digital camera’, ‘5 mega-pixel canon digital camera’, ‘nikon digital slr camera’ etc. These keywords will typically be priced much lower than ‘camera’. Though each one of them may deliver lower clicks, a collection of long tail keywords will give you 100 clicks for Rs. 2500 (assuming an average price of Rs. 25) instead of the Rs. 5000 you would have paid for ‘camera’.

Of course, this is a simplistic example, but it brings out the power of the long tail. The term long tail was coined by Chris Anderson in a Wired Magazine article to describe the success of online retailers such as Amazon.com and Netflix.com. Anderson contended that in the physical world, retailers stocked only the bestsellers since shelf space was limited. Online retailers have no such constraints on the inventory that they can stock. As a result, they were able to cater to the narrowest of niches. In the aggregate, these niche markets often proved to be larger than the bestseller or ‘hit’ market.

In search engine marketing, as the cost of popular keywords keeps rising, long tail keywords can be a powerful force

While, the cost per click of long tail keywords will obviously be lower, there are other compelling advantages as well. Broad-based words such as ‘camera’ may indeed attract a large number of searches, but the conversion rates could be much higher at the narrow end of the spectrum. When someone is searching for the keyword ‘camera’, that person may be searching for anything from camera maintenance tips to camera servicing centers. But when someone searches for ‘5 mega-pixel digital camera’ or ‘nikon digital slr camera’, they are looking for a specific product. Clearly, the narrower the search, the more likely they are to convert.

In fact, many experts believe that people who enter long tail keywords are those who are far ahead in the buying cycle. When people begin researching a product they tend to be more broad-based in their queries. But the queries become more and more focused and refined as they approach the end of the buying cycle.

So, it’s not just a question of lowering your costs, but it is also about increasing effectiveness and ROI.
Here’s another reason why the long tail is important. According to Joe Kraus, a co-founder of search engine Excite, while the top 10 searches were thousands of times more popular than the average search, these represented only 3% of the total volume on Excite. A vast majority – 97% – of its searches came from the `long tail’, that is, queries asked a little over once a day. According to him, Excite went out of business because it couldn’t figure out a way to make money from that long tail.

Search engine marketing has become an extremely important tool for any online marketer. That’s because it’s relatively inexpensive, can be targeted with a fair degree of accuracy to the right audience, and offers the best return on investment. It’s also becoming big business. According to a study by IBIS World, SEMPO, search engine marketing is expected to become a $19.3 billion industry in the year 2011 in North America alone.

So you can imagine the competition that’s going to be out there. To win, just grab the tail!

Emerging Trends in the Digital Space

October 4th, 2009

The Internet has brought about a sea change in the way forward-thinking companies do business today. The trends clearly point to digital marketing occupying prime slot among all forms of advertising; it is expected to leapfrog from the present Rs 840 crore to Rs 2,140 crore by 2013 (source: KMPG). Digital marketing includes user-generated content in blogs, videos and social networking sites, and lead to better brand perception, brand conversation and brand engagement.

Here are some of the leading emerging trends in the digital space:

1. Corporate social media presence: Zappos, the online clothes and shoes store, is miles ahead of the competition not only because of its excellent customer service, but also due to its effective use of social media. It has made the best use of Web 2.0 applications like Twitter to reach out to consumers and resolve their queries. As many as 435 Zappos employees have Twitter accounts so that they can contribute to building the company’s online reputation. In India, Kingfisher was the first airline in India to build a full-fledged formal presence on Twitter and embrace social media. This initiative has added to Kingfisher Airlines’ convenience factor because it allows the airline to send instant updates to its customers. Kingfisher Airlines is also putting the Twitter platform to good use to enhance its service, get feedback and interact with its customers directly without the use of intermediaries.

2. Cost control in advertising: Reaching out to consumers the traditional way through television or print is a costly proposition because a company has to pay a bomb to ad agencies for research, production and creative contributions. Social media is much cheaper and reaches the right target audience by leveraging ‘crowdsourcing’ to gauge market concepts quickly and effectively. It’s no surprise that Coca-Cola India launched its latest Sprite campaign online, giving TV a miss. Online reviews and referrals from social media and review sites are more effective and cheaper than ad campaigns.

3. Emphasis on real-time data: Sites that provide transactional data and news in real time will always be in demand. These include news sites, Google Blog Search for updated blog commentary, Marketwatch.com for US stocks and Moneycontrol.com (Indian stocks), Twitter.com for the latest news, and Twitter commentary. Given the unpredictable nature of markets, where even the biggest climbers can plummet to the depths the next day, no one can risk buying a share or a home without checking on its status in real time!

4. Distribution over creation: Before social media came on to the scene, mainstream media owned the content that it created (news, movies and music) and charged a high price for it. However, social media has brought about a transformation by producing content online and has brought its price down to zero. Content creators now look for bloggers — not necessarily their own journalists — who are the movers and shakers and thought leaders in the social media scene.

5. Aggregation of social media: The shift is now towards an online social media distribution system that aggregates social media to advertise requirements and wants. For instance, if I want to sell my bike, I will convey this fact once, say though Facebook, and have it distributed through numerous social networks with ‘want to buy a bike’ queries, particularly within a 40-mile radius. The match would connect two unrelated people with similar interests (the bike in this case) and establish viable and relevant social contacts between the two parties.

6. Emphasis on distributing content rather than on creating it: It’s the reach of content that matters more than ever now. The more the entities re-tweeting and re-blogging your content , the involvement of blog syndication services like Blogburst and more services like Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed in sharing your content, the more powerful will be your brand presence in the digital space.