Digital Marketing

Concrete Proof that SEM Increases Actual Sales

If you’re list most small to medium businesses in the country, you probably wake up every morning with that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you need to participate in some level of paid search (SEM) on Google.

The problem with most small businesses is e-commerce, or should I say; a lack of e-commerce. You see, for businesses that sell products online, it’s quite easy to track every dollar that is spent in online marketing. But, for the rest of us that don’t sell our products or services online it can get tricky.

If my website simply promotes my company, products and services, how well does it do when it comes to actually affecting my sales in the store? This is the question that frustrates most SMB owners the most.

Well, fear not! Google has just released (Nov 2013) a new study that tracked the success of paid search of busineses for 3 years. The study found irevocable proof that paid search (SEM) positively affects offline sales, meaning sales in the actual physical store.

The average increase in sales was was slightly over 1.4%.

To read the article from Google visit this site.


Audience, Digital Marketing, Website

Two Reasons that Yahoo! Beats Google, And Everyone Else

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

By Benjamin Blackwell

It’s no surprise that when the average internet user compares Yahoo! to Google, they don’t believe there’s much of a contest. After all, we’ve been conditioned to compare competing companies and products for years. iPhone versus Android, iPad vs. Windows 8, Coke vs. Pepsi and so on, and so forth.

We’re all subjected to endless positioning by companies and products competing for our attention and dollars. But, what most people don’t realize is that there is very little in common between Yahoo! and Google. In fact, the only similarity between the two is the fact they both have a search engine designed to bring back relevant results when a consumer queries their engine.

But, that’s where the similarities end and the differences between Yahoo! and Google couldn’t be more obvious.

1. Consumers go the Google to leave Google

Think about it, why do most consumers visit To locate a website or information, much like you would consult a map to get directions to where you’re going.

Now, Yahoo! is completely different in the fact that it’s not the map, it’s the destination. People don’t use search engines because they’re fun, people use search because they want to find content. Yahoo! cultivates, produces and delivers millions of pieces of content a day. Content that consumers want to read, content that that consumers want to share, water-cooler type moments and interesting things to talk about.

In fact, Yahoo!’s C.O.R.E. engine creates 13 million story combinations a day on the Yahoo!’s home page.

2. Critical Mass, Millions of Users, One Network

I think we’d all like to believe that the internet makes sense. That there is a logical connection from website to website. That if search engines were to dissappear, somehow we’d still find the relevant content we need.

The truth is, the web doesn’t make sense naturally. In fact, outside of search engines, there is no real connective tissue between the silos of data we call websites. So how do we find the information we want? We rely on search engines to point us in the right direction, and hope that the websites delivered to us are actually relevant and helpful.

Often, we revert to using that back button way too often after the first few organic results didn’t prove helpful.

But, what if there was a network that could deliver relevant and interesting content to us all at once? What if it could deliver it in one place, so we don’t have to hunt for a particular website, but simply find the content we desire? What is this network could bring us content specifically designed for us? What if we didn’t have to visit 15 websites to find the information we need. What if we just needed to visit one?

This network already exists. It’s named Yahoo!.

Yahoo! has achieved something that Google, Bing and even Facebook can’t live up to. A critical mass of consumers, millions of articles of relevant content and one single platform to deliver it on.

Some would argue that Facebook offers the same, but I beg to differ, pictures of my friend’s dog wearing sunglasses is not exactly content. Sure, it’s nice, but we’ve all learned a good lesson. Just because you give the power of publishing to the entire world, doesn’t mean that instantly everyone becomes a journalist, or even develops spelling skills. Frankly, as a whole population, people just aren’t that interesting.

So next time you compare Yahoo! to Google, Facebook or anybody else. Ask yourself this question, what other platform produces and delivers the content that consumers want, on a single network and does it 13,000,000 times a day?

Digital Marketing

The history of the Web teaches us how rapidly the web have changed in the past 15 years.

Digital Advertising and User Experience

The Web became an advertising medium in the early 1990’s. According to Hairong Li (2011) the Web started as a single page and transformed into something richly sophisticated, with new features, functions and advanced applications. With the proliferation of e-commerce the Web has been used as platform to launch new forms of interactive advertising, like display ads, sponsorship, search ads, blogs, social ads, user generated content, and applications. 

The history of the Web teaches us how rapidly the platforms have changed in the past 15 years. According to Hairong Li (2011) in the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) 1998 revenue report there were only four types of interactive advertising. This number grew to 22% in 2010. Search advertising, instead first appeared in the IAB 2000 revenue report and passed from 1% on the first year to 47% in 2009  (p. 17).

With the growth of advertising utilizing digital media,

negative consumer reactions toward digital…

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Audience, Digital Marketing, Outdoor (Billboard), Print, Tracking, Traditional Media, TV, Website

Measuring the Impact of Digital vs. Traditional Advertising on Website Traffic

tradvsdig_mediabudgetsThere’s an old adage that says “Half of my marketing dollars are working, I just don’t know what half.”  How true is that in this digital age for most businesses that have a mix of digital and traditional advertising?

One of the million dollar questions that every business owner or marketer wants to answer is just how effective is my traditional advertising versus my digital advertising for my business?

Well, there is no silver bullet in the industry right now that answers this question with 100% percent certainty, but there are some tricks that you can use that help shed some light on how effective (or in-effective) your traditional advertising is at bringing consumers to your brand and engaging with your website.

The Concept

In order to do this experiment you’ll need to have installed Google Analytics on your website and have at least 30 days of traffic data.

Let me explain the concept, then we’ll get into the details.

ga_sourcesWhat we’re going to do is look at one month of traffic data and dive into the source information for our website visitors. Typically, you’ll have multiple sources to study but the most important ones are direct traffic and organic (search) traffic.

Direct traffic comes from users who are directly pointed to the website, meaning not through a search engine. These consumers may have bookmarked the website, typed the site address into the browser bar or visited via link from another source such as an online display ad or sponsored link.

Organic traffic is from consumers who visit your website from a search engine. This data is the real kicker, most consumer behavior data suggests that people will search for your company name even if they know your .com address.

In fact, they may even search your .com address name in Google itself. For example: searching for “” on Google and clicking the top organic link.

The Execution

This is where it get’s fun, we are able to track the types of organic keywords that consumers came in from.

We then can judge how many visits came from consumers who typed the name of your website or company, versus those that simply found your website based on a product of service keyword.

If a consumer visits your website from an organic search where they have found you using your company name, they obviously have been exposed to your brand by some other means. We’ll give credit to traditional advertising for these visits.

Organically, the visits that came from search engine where the consumer did not search for your company name we’ll attribute that to your organic optimization. We’ll  rule those numbers out of our equation.

Now, we’ll tally up the visits coming in from direct traffic and refferals.  We’ll give credit to digital advertising for these visits.

Measuring Traditional Media Impact

You can now measure the impact our traditional media has had over the past 30 days on our website traffic.

For example: if your website has 1,500 organic visits per month from search engines, and 45% of those visits came from consumers searching your company name, that equals 675 website visits. What percentage of your overall website traffic comes from consumers who already know your brand?

Now, calculate the amount of budget you spent over the past 30 days on traditional advertising. What is your cost-per-visitor?

Do the dollars you spend on traditional media justify the amount of traffic it directs to your website?
What percentage of your customers visit your website before shopping with you?

Measuring Digital Advertising Impact

You can now measure and compare your digital advertising spend vs. your traditional advertising spend on driving consumers to your website.

You’ll want to track how many website visits came from direct or referral sources. For example, any Google AdWords or targeted display campaigns, etc.

The first thing you need to do is gauge how much you, or your staff visit your own website per month and deduct that from the overall number of direct traffic visits. This will give you the most accurate number of true, digital advertising visits per month.

Now, calculate the amount of budget you spent over the past 30 days on digital advertising. What is your cost-per-visitor?

Do the dollars you spend on digital media justify the amount of traffic it directs to your website?

The Results


After your tally is complete, how do your ad dollars stack up? Would you change anything about your current media mix?

Digital Display

Show Me Something I Don’t Expect

What if I told you I had an all new targeting technology that is one hundred times more powerful than anything on the market?

What if I told you I could target an audience so narrow, I could be in front of women who are 25-35, who are at home, who just finished sending an email and want a pair of pink fuzzy slippers?

I bet you think it’s expensive! The truth is, this level of targeting already exists. In fact, it has existed since the dawn of advertising.

The beauty of the concept is simplicity. When you advertise pink fuzzy slippers to the world, the only consumers that will react and engage your advertisements are the ones that actually want pink fuzzy slippers. Or, at least those slightly interested.

What this means to you is that your “targeting” of the consumer had nothing to do with some technological wizardry or advanced behavior algorithm. It had everything to do with your message, your value proposition to the consumer.

In fact, one of the factors that has made traditional media so effective is that often we’re exposed to a product or service we didn’t even know we wanted until we saw it.

How do you think companies like Walmart increased their average ticket order? By bringing consumers something surprising, something they didn’t expect. How many times have you left with something extra in your shopping cart that wasn’t on your list?

To make my final point, often, it’s not the consumers that predictably fit the bill of our target customer, but those we never expect, that create significant growth in our business.

So, the next time you need to run a digital campaign targeting women who are 25-35, are at home, just finished sending an email and want a pair of pink fuzzy slippers, consider running non-targeted display and let the consumers choose you, not the other way around.

Digital Display, Mobile Display

With Mobile, Bigger is Better

The IAB is giving the green light for the so called ‘Mobile Rising Stars’ format mobile ads. And, according to the MobileEntertainment website, those larger ad sizes deliver higher brand interaction and recall.

In the article it states “98.1 per cent of users who engaged with a Mobile Rising Stars ad remembered the brand, and 18 per cent were more likely to recall the company name advertised than those viewing banners.”

But, how soon will the industry adopt these new large format ad sizes? That remains to be seen. No doubt this will be a format to be watched closely over the course of this year.

Digital Display

The Amazing, Invisible Display Ad Impression

Generally speaking, digital display ads have had typically lower response rates than most display advertising. The big question in the industry was why.

Now, comScore has completed a study and found some eye-opening data that may shed light on our mystery. According to their study released recently, 54% of online display ad impressions served were never seen at all!

Not simply ignored, but never seen by the eyes of consumers. How could this be? The answer lies in the fact that a substantial amount of display ad placements are below-the-fold. Just how far do must consumers scroll on a web page before engaging other content. Personally, I’ve noticed most consumers don’t scroll past 2 pages in length before losing interest.

This begs the question, how important are above-the-fold placements when buying digital display? Very important.