Due to the increase in traffic, we decided to make the infos we share on the Zebra Advertisement blog much easier to sort and read. Therefore, we launched International-PPC.com, an online magazine featuring online marketing guides and best practices. We also opened it up to fellow PPC bloggers who are welcome to join free here.
All 270+ articles we wrote so far will remain on this blog, so feel free to browse the archives if you were looking for something specific we published.
From now on, all of our blog posts will be published on International-PPC.com instead of here, so hop on over to International-PPC.com to check it out!
Cyber Monday Beats Black Friday
According to Google, Cyber Monday was the day with the most transactions in 2013. Even though Black Friday on November 29th recored an transaction increase of 114% above average, it did not even come close to Cyber Monday’s transaction rate lift of 170% over average.
Highest Transaction Rate Doesn’t Equal Highest Traffic
Even though an increase in quality traffic usually means an increase in transactions, it is different from the end of November until the end of December. More traffic does not equal more conversions.
The highest transaction volumes are typically recorded on the following days:
Bid Modifiers Pay Off
Use the transaction rate lift percentages as a bid multiplier for bid adjustments. For Instance, until five weeks before Thanksgiving, transaction rates are below average and start rising up to 70% on Cyber Monday, only to come back to average the week after Christmas.
Start Boosting Campaigns Before Halloween
This year, 26% of shoppers started buying before Halloween making Thanksgiving a month-long shopping marathon. Introduce special offers early and advertise them while your competition is still waiting for Thanksgiving week!
Shoppers Compare More Than Ever
In 2010, shoppers consulted five information sources on average before making a purchase. In 2013, that number more than doubled and increased to 12 sources. So while you are getting that head start before Halloween, make sure your prices are competitive and your products or services are presented effectively.
Online Shopping Behavioral Trends
Before and during the holidays, online shoppers research their favorite retailers online and this trend is growing exponentially. Besides making your website even mobile friendly, hop on the YouTube train before your competitors get wind of it. “Haul Videos” on YouTube, meaning videos with the word haul in it, have been watched well over a billion times and the number of views of such videos increased 1.7 fold compared to 2013 (this adds up to 5.6M+ hours of haul videos watched by the way).
Sources: adwords.blogspot.it, Zebra Advertisement case studies
Analyzing the competition usually pays off big time for small businesses. Surprisingly, only 35-43 percent of small businesses include researching competitors in their social media marketing plans according to RoundPeg. Competitive analysis with online marketing tools can be a daunting task for small businesses but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are three free marketing tools to keep tabs on the competition.
#1 Free Marketing Tool: Google Alert
Set up Google Alerts to keep track of the latest news about your competitors in real time. Whenever content is published by or about your competitor, you will receive a notification and can therefore easily follow your competition’s online branding efforts. You can choose the frequency of alerts and get alerts only on Monday mornings for instance.
#2 Free Marketing Tool: Facebook’s Pages to Watch
Facebook allows you to add so-called “pages to watch” to your Facebook Page Manager. Ever since the feature was first rolled out about a year and a half ago, Facebook launched several improvements including how many posts are published by page admins, how many fans are interacting with the pace and what the best performing posts are across all pages to watch.
#3 Free Marketing Tool: SEO Book Webpage Similarity Comparison Tool
Use SEO Book’s Webpage Similarity Comparison Tool to compare your website to any number of competitors. Insights include page titles, meta description tags, keywords and words or phrases that reoccur on different pages across each website. The results are shown in a table and are sorted by metric allowing for direct comparison of the website URLs you inserted.
Both StumbleUpon users and StumbleUpon Paid Discovery advertisers are in love with the popular social network and web discovery tool. With nearly half a million sites linking to it, StumbleUpon.com has far surpassed fellow publishers such as Reddit, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Mashable and BuzzFeed just to name a few.
The ever so popular platform also offers online advertising for brands and businesses with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. If you are unfamiliar with StumbleUpon and StumbleUpon Paid Discovery or are thinking about whether it's worth it, here are three good reasons to start StumbleUpon Paid Discovery (how it works and how to get started is explained after #3 also).
#1 Reason To Start StumbleUpon Paid Discovery: It's one of the world's most popular websites
#2 Reason to Start StumbleUpon Paid Discovery: More Publishing Traffic Than Google
#3 Reason To Start StumbleUpon Paid Discovery: $0.15 Cost Per Click
HOW STUMBLEUPON PAID DISCOVERY WORKS
StumbleUpon is a social network that allows users to discover websites from across the web that matches predefined interests such as sports, fashion or business. When discovering content, users can rate it (thumbs up or thumbs down). The highest rated websites show up more often in general and low rated websites do not show up for any of the users that gave a thumbs down.
Wondering why your website doesn't automatically show up and gets rated on StumbleUpon? Unless the website URL has been submitted to StumbleUpon.com, the website will not show up. If you haven't yet, you can submit your website here or you can contact Zebra Advertisement and we will submit it for you.
With StumbleUpon Paid Discovery, you pay to have your website suggested to a specific group of StumbleUpon users when they discover websites. The URL that triggers the web page you chose as your ad is entirely up to you. It could be your home page, a landing page a blog or and e-commerce store - the sky is the limit. Viewers will be able to navigate just as they usually would and basically see whatever content you are providing within StumbleUpon.
WHERE TO GET STARTED WITH STUMBLEUPON PAID DISCOVERY
In order to get started, you can contact Zebra Advertisement or sign up for StumbleUpon Paid Discovery here.
About the authors
Brands with a lot of followers on Google+ like Red Bull, Converse and Toyota USA as seen above are eligible to create +post ads, also referred to as Google+ ads.
+Post ads are the equivalent of promoted tweets or boosted Facebook posts if you will. They advertise any content from your Google+ page and help popular brands gain an even larger following, expand their Google+ post reach and of course increase brand awareness.
Instead of being managed within Google+, +post ads are created with the Google Display Network via Google AdWords. This way, content such as Google+ photos, posts, hangouts and videos will be shown on relevant websites across the web that your audience will likely be interested in.
Besides needing a Google+ page, you will need quite a lot of followers to create +post ads. If you are unsure if you have enough followers or want to get started with +post ads right away, contact Zebra Advertisement or get started here.
Here is an example of what your +post ad might look like:
+post ads are Trending
Even though +post ads are currently only available for larger businesses, the search volume for the keyword +post ads has been skyrocketing according to Google Trends. Hopefully, +post ads will be available for everyone in no time but until then, create your +post ads here or contact Zebra Advertisement and we will be happy to assist you.
Google+ is not exactly the main way of attracting customers for the majority of businesses. That doesn't mean that your Google+ business page shouldn't stand out from the crowd and be an extension of your corporate culture.
Here are two Google+ integrations that are a great way to change it up a bit on Google+ without the hassle of creating a lot of original content.
#1 Google+ Integration: SoundCloud
There is nothing better than getting your brand associated with a successful and fun song by a famous artist. The Google+ integration for SoundCloud allows you to easily repost someone else's song on your SoundCloud profile and/or share it via Google+ post (as seen in the embedded post above).
#2 Google+ Integration: YouTube
YouTube's Google+ integration is one of the most useful ones out there. Like the SoundCloud Google+ integration, YouTube is just another great way of allowing your brand to reach potential customers by showing what your corporate culture is all about. The trick here is to share videos that are somewhat related to skills or characteristics that customers would like to see.
Note: One of the reasons why the video shown in the embedded post above was so successful is because of the way it can be found. Not only does it show up when you type in "guilty dog" but it also allows you to find it again after having watched it a while by typing in "did you do that". This is a just another reminder of how important YouTube optimization is!
About the Authors
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Are you planning to boost your Facebook presence? It might sound easy but Facebook actually requires you to apply many best practices to be effective. Here are some points you should focus on to get started on the right foot!
1. Take advantage of on the paid traffic
Many businesses put a lot of focus on Facebook Ads neglecting content management on their Facebook Page. Ads and page management should be taken care of parallely. Ads are going to increase the engagement with your page and you need to interact with potential customers to maximize the return on your budget.
2. Bring into play Creative Rotation
Advanced Facebook marketers make use of creative rotation keep the message fresh and engaging and to uphold steady CTR and engagement rates.
Refreshing the ads is not enough. You also need to promote different offers / content to serve people something new to engage with. People do not like to being exposed to similar posts over and over. Create contests, promote content that is not merely sales oriented, ask users for their opinion and come up with other ways to be creative with yoru audience!
3. Choose the Proper Page Post Format for your goals
If your objective is to compel site conversions or sales, choose a Page post link ad. If your campaign goal is to compel brand awareness, make the most of a Page post photo ad. Page post link ads have higher conversion rate as opposed to Page post photo ads. On the other hand, Page post photo ads have a higher rate of people getting to your Facebook page after seeing an ad!
4. Desktop and Mobile Ads Separation
A best practice for optimizing News Feed ad spend is dividing desktop and mobile traffic. This allows to create custom messages per device and also to easily optimize performance by device without the need to run any report to segment data.
5. Is your audience worldwide?
Could you run profitable ads for your products outside of the United State? The majority of non US traffic is cheaper and therefore it could hide opportunities for your business. Test it out and analyze the results.
Make sure to create separate campaigns for each new country to be able to customize the ads and settings based on the performance of that one country.
6. Set objectives and prepare your line strategy
Facebook provides a lot of different ad opportunities to help you achieve several goals. For instance, If you're trying to create brand awareness and fans engagement, you need to begin with like ads or page posts. They allow Facebook users to like your page directly from the ad unit and to easily get access to your page.
The best practice for your Facebook strategy is to define what you want to achieve first (sales, likes, engagement) and then plan the ads and target audiences accordingly.
7. Focus on newsfeed ad placements
Newsfeed ads are much more effective because they give you more real estate on the facebook page and they look like a post more than a ad. This guarantees higher CTRs to your page and website but also a higher users engagement rate.
8. Select Texts and Photos that catch the attention
While creating your ads, Facebook suggests that you write understandable, targeted ads with short and snappy text stands out to the fans and users you will get to. Make certain to draw attention to any extraordinary offers or exclusive features that differentiate you from the rest of the competition. If your objective is brand and company name awareness, Facebook
Even though your ad can consist of up to a hundred thirty five characters you do not have to feel like you have to block up the whole ad. Short and simple ads can also be a good option. Use strong and clear CTAs (calls to action) to have fans and users click on your ad and make it clear what you expect them to do once landing on your site!
The photos you select for your ad are also extremely significant, in view of the fact that this is what will seize people's attention. Try to make use of more natural images with colors that is distinguishable from the blue color format of Facebook.
9. Produce and experiment with several Ads
Don’t simply run only a single ad within each campaign. You need to find the ads that maximize the CTR and conversion rate of your campaign. It is recommendable to run numerous ad tests to maximize your performance.
Facebook makes it very easy to test new ads. As soon as an ad has been created, you have the opportunity to create a similar Ad and just exchange in a different image or text. Create five different ads for the similar campaign, use them for a day and afterwards look at your ad statistics on Facebook to find out which ad performed the best. You can subsequently a new test based on your top-performing.
10. Test and Experiment with Targeting
The Facebook ad interface makes it extremely simple to choose the demographic profile of a Facebook user you would like to target. You can select many variables such as age, sex, geo-location, education attainment and interests
Test different ad targets and find the ones that perform the best for you! And remember.. It's a lot better to have a few very targeted Facebook users than millions of users who don't care about your offering.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Immediately after Google's attempt to launch their own social network, people started figuring out what Google+ was - a mixture of a micro-blogging platform, somewhat a Skype competitor, an e-commerce sales tool, as well as a social network with communities (circles). It seems like what to use Google+ for entirely depends on the goals of each user but given the vast amount of completely different ways to use Google+, there is more than enough - maybe even too much - to choose from.
If you are among those of us who are still wondering what to use Google+ for, here are five things you can implement in five minutes or less.
#1 What To Use Google+ For: Automatic Photo Backups
#2 What To Use Google+ For: Share Documents from Google Drive
#3 What To Use Google+ For: Use The Auto Awesome Feature
#4 What To Use Google+ For: Embedded Posts
#5 What To Use Google+ For: Live Product/Link Stream During Hangout
When hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air, you can add a live stream of products from your e-commerce website or links to information products or landing pages.
This is probably one of the neatest features of Google+ overall which is why we did a tutorial on how to set it up (no worries, no coding required). Click here now to read the blog post on live streams during hangouts.
About the Authors
Bing Ads has recently launched Bid Landscape, a tool similar to Google AdWords’ bid simulator. Advertisers can now see an estimate of the cost per click with a variety of different bids. The what-if analysis for the bids are available in the online interface at both the adgroup and keyword level.
The launch of Bid Landscape is just another indicator that both Google and Yahoo clearly recognize the importance of choosing the correct optimization strategy when it comes to keyword optimization. Besides the bid simulator and bid landscape tool, here are five ways to optimize keywords in Google AdWords and Bing.
#1 Begin with a Highly Targeted List of Seed Keywords
The keywords any keyword research is based on for a given campaign are so-called seed keywords. They are often too general to advertise with but are the best start to find highly targeted keywords for a profitable campaign setup.
The bigger the amount of potential seed keywords is at the beginning of your keyword research, the more keywords you will be able to retrieve for your campaigns.
#2 Discover Related Keywords
Related keywords are terms that are not exactly your target but that could be an interesting source of additional and relevant traffic.. For instance, related keywords for “watches” would include “timepieces” and ‘used watches’; related keywords for ‘dresses’ would include “evening gowns” or “tea-length gowns”.
This is particularly helpful when you have 100% impression share for current keywords and need new opportunities to test and get extra sales with.
#3 Group Keywords Based on Your Web Content Structure
Create a group of keywords and group them based on pages and sub-pages of your website. This will maximize the relevancy of your ads and benefit the quality score.
For instance, you can group keywords containing the term shoes into sport shoes, evening shoes, boots, or choose even more targeted topics such as white sport shoes, black sport shoes etc., depending on what customers can sort by on your website (e.g. colors or style).
#4 Discover Long Tail Keywords
Chances are you have more keyword match types than just exact match. If that is the case, your keywords trigger ads based on related searches and are an ideal opportunity to retrieve new long tail keywords. Run search term reports as you collect traffic and find new long tail keywords to use.
Not only does this enable you to add new and potentially already converting keywords but they also typically have lower competition and significant potential to generate a good amount of additional sales.
#5 Categorize Keywords With Shopping Funnels
Analyze your website regarding purchase behavior and determine the differens shopping funnels customers go through when buying from you. Then grab a spreadsheet with your downloaded keywords and put assign each keyword a shopping funnel. This way, you will be able to adjust bids based on how close the customer is to taking a purchasing decision.
For instance, you could bid less on keywords that don’t convert right away and bid more on keywords that lead to conversions instantly.