What Is Ahead For Online Marketers in 2011: Pay-Per-Click Marketing

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The upcoming year is bound to be one that is full of challenges and opportunities for online marketers. To help our readers navigate throughout these treacherous waters, we asked some of our most popular contributors for their thoughts on what will be ahead throughout 2011 in a variety of different arenas — SEO, PPC, Conversion, Local Search, Email Marketing, and Social Media. Each week for the next six weeks, we will present their thoughts on one of each of those fields to help you get off on the right foot in the new year. Last week we read suggestions regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and this week the topic is Pay-Per-Click Marketing.

As we head into 2011, what will be important to learn and do for pay-per-click marketing?

Andrew Bernero of Relevancy Media — “Remarketing through Google Adwords is still a great opportunity to acquire customers giver the slow adaptation in the marketplace.”

Bill Slawski of SEOByTheSea – “Continue to explore exactly what the search engines mean by “quality” in the quality scores they use that can influence both placement of sponsored links and the prices of those links.”

Charles Nicholls of SeeWhy — “Both Google and Bing now include Facebook posts and tweets in their ranking algorithms. Getting messages to spread virally will be ever more important, as well as getting key influencers (socialites with authority) to use your content.”

David Chapman of  Webrageous Studios — “Watch your cost per conversion at the keyword level and campaign level and make changes as necessary. Watch the Google AdWords blog for new products — within the past year Google added two major new products, including its remarketing and sitelinks. If you don’t know what these are, you had better do some quick studying! Undoubtedly Google will add new hot products, and if you can jump on the bandwagon quickly, you will get a head start on your competition.”

David Rodnitzky of PPC Associates — Facebook PPC, mobile PPC, local PPC — one or all of these will impact every PPC advertiser in 2011, so be prepared to navigate these new PPC channels.”

Geno Prussakov of AMNavigator — “In late 2010, Covario conducted a survey, the results of which became the core of their “2011 The Year of Facebook” study. In it the vast majority of paid search marketers (46%) listed “social media advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn” as their top paid search priority for 2011. Local search (18%), “managing impact of Google Instant” (14%), and mobile search advertising (11%) scored significantly lower. I would stand by these priorities — maybe only moving mobile search a bit higher.”

Guy Hill of DroidINDUSTRIES — “I think the biggest challenge in PPC is Google itself. I think the first step is understanding that Google is not a “consultant” to your business, but a revenue-hungry sales team and stock-price-driven public company. Don’t expect Google sales reps to say any of that (or believe it). They have “eyeballs” that we as advertiser need, but those eyeballs are not their product. Their product is this increasingly complex, barely transparent juggernaut of technology, features and tools. Understanding what Google is really selling you, and why, and getting control over that process is an ongoing challenge. Underestimating the complexity is rampant in 2010, and will be a serious challenge in 2011.  For instance, Google releases every feature as a “benefit,” but is each new feature designed for advertiser value, or Google-value to their own bottom line? This week they announced more opportunities to “automate” your bidding, etc. Is that value to you? Really? Could they be encouraging dangerous “set it and forget it” behavior, with ongoing debits from your company credit card while you’re off working on other things? Is this another chance for advertisers to become more distant from the audience, and more caught up in misunderstandings of what Google features do, and how they affect the bottom line?  This is a very big deal. In talking with dozens of companies, it’s clear advertisers don’t really understand many of the fundamentals of the workings of Google. When you fundamentally don’t understand something, controlling ROI is very difficult. Advertisers are the flock, Google is the wolf, and shepherds have a lot of work to do to keep the flock (and those ad budgets) safe in 2011.  Historically, things like “keyword insertion,” match types and “automatic match,” changes to the bidding algorithm, etc., have all been sold to us as “improvements” (they literally use that word each time). Many of those features have quickly taken advertisers toward low or no ROI. The ability to read between the lines, test the value of each new Google-tweak, and keep your ROI intact will remain an ongoing battle in the PPC world.”

Hallie Janssen of Anvil Media, Inc.

  • Learn from your holiday 2010 experiences, understand traffic volume, budgeting and performance and use them to start planning early (think June/July!) in 2011. Plan for inventory demands, media budgets, messaging, promotions and related creative (landing pages, banner ads, etc.).
  • Make it your 2011 resolution to make sure you have a reliable method for tracking performance (revenue, leads, etc.) and that this is integrated into your PPC campaign decisions at the most granular levels possible. If your campaigns are large enough to justify it, consider investing in a robust bid management tool.
  • Take advantage of all of Google’s ad extensions, as they pertain to your business. If you are a retailer, be sure to have at least 30 positive reviews indexed by Google to qualify for Seller Rating Extensions.
  • Start testing display (CPC not CPM); see if it can work for you.

Magnus Nilsson of BraveNewMe — “The search alliance will make Yahoo and Bing interesting for many more advertisers. New innovations from Google such as bidding rules and experiments will create a better platform for testing and possibly increased ability to scale up campaigns without need of additional technology.”

Patrick Hare of Web.com Search Agency — “The proliferation of cheaper smartphones means that a wider audience will be available on hyper-local searches (geared to GPS coordinates) and Augmented Reality apps. Additionally, content match marketing on Facebook can be lucrative when specific niches and demographics are targeted.”

Tim Ash of Sitetuners.com — “Automation will become increasingly important since it will become too cumbersome to manage large keyword portfolios effectively by hand. Also, a lot more attention will be paid to creating an alignment between the PPC ad, and the downstream landing page. If your PPC and conversion improvement activities are separate, you are probably losing a lot of money.”

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Watch for next week’s entry which covers what is ahead for online marketers in 2011 as far as website conversions is concerned.

About the Author

Frances Krug has worked in market research since graduating from UCLA with an MA and CPhil in Latin American history. As an editor and online content provider for the last 7 years, she currently is Associate Editor at iNET Interactive, where she also directs Search Marketing Standard's email marketing program.

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