Category: Search Network
Reap First, Sow Later
Search marketing spending hit almost $9.5 billion last year. Since 86% went to paid search ads, there’s a lot of life in that old horse yet.
That means revisiting some of the basics, such as measuring ROI, tracking conversion and other elementary best practices.
But, it’s time to add to that basic toolkit some of the newer income generating methods. Video is an obvious choice. Google paid $1.65 Billion for YouTube, a company that hadn’t even been in business two years earlier. Maybe they know something about how to make money online.
eMarketer predicts that video ad spending will increase almost 90% in 2007. They also predict that 1 in 10 Internet ad dollars will go for video placements by 2010. Spending doesn’t equal income, but very rarely does anyone gain it without investment. Not spending almost guarantees no return.
You gotta spend money to make money, the old saying goes.
Google Checkout Negatively Impacting Affiliates…
Lately, many affiliates have been in a complete uproar with Google’s aggressive campaign to get merchants to adopt to using Google Checkout. It’s not that affiliates have anything against Google Checkout, but wouldn’t YOU be upset if Google was taking money from you?
Allow me to explain…
What’s happening is that a lot of very large merchants are starting to allow Google Checkout for their customers. Google is also offering $10 to consumers who use their service at participating merchants.
Now the main problem is that all of a sudden it seems that affiliate links are not tracking properly!
I guess the “semi-good” news here is that CJ is working on trying to find a solution to integrate with Google Checkout since many of their merchants are participating – but who knows if that solution will be out soon enough to catch most of the holiday shopping season (a BIG time for retail affiliates).
For a lot more information and more detailed post about this, read Linda Buquet’s post at 5 Star Affiliate Programs Blog…
Research Online, Buy Where?
As an affiliate marketer, I thought it would be interesting to find out where people go when they are ready to buy online. I figured this information would give me a better idea of where to invest my advertising dollars.
Here are a few statistics I ran across:
According to a July 2006 comScore Media Metrix study, people searched (from home, work, and universities) most often using the following search engines:
- Others 3.4%
So, after they get done searching, where do they end up buying? I found last years information, which should still give us a good clue.
Online classified ad sites had more than 26 million visitors in September 2005 – an 80% increase over September 2004 – I’m sure it’s much higher now!
Craigslist.com sites were the most popular, with 9 million unique visitors in the same month in 2005. That’s a 156% increase over the prior September. Now, you know that Craigslist has become even larger.
I’ve tried posting a few ads, the only drawback is that you have to be persistent and post almost daily to keep at the top (and read the rules before you start, you don’t want to get kicked out of this free advertising resource!).
eBay – I always thought most people started at eBay. However, online auctions attract “only” 24% of all Internet users. I guess Craigslist is blowing them away with their free to advertising. eBay’s percentage actually hasn’t increased over the years, but the total number of users has – representing a lot more potential buyers.
If you have been doing most of your advertising using Pay Per Click, it might be time to try out a few other resources. These are all relatively low-cost compared to PPC.
Your mileage may vary.
Google Hits Affiliates Hard
Google has sent Internet marketers – especially affiliates – into a uproar with their latest AdWords �summer cleaning.�
Over the past week, advertisers have literally been getting booted out of Google Adwords. That includes advertisers who spend more than 5 figures a month on AdWords. I’ve spoken with multiple super affiliates, and they are all in an uproar over what appears to be yet another “affiliate-unfriendly” move by Google.
I can�t say Google never warned us. They announced new algorithm changes in December of last year. But when advertisers started getting kicked out starting a week or so ago, it hit hard – like it came out of nowhere
An anonymous Affiliate Classroom contributor and PPC affiliates complains�
�I had an ad doing 6.7% CTR and have spent well over $150,000 on Google Adwords in the last 2 years � now they�re telling me that I need to increase my minimum bid for 300%! No way!�
So what is Google really up to? Have they gone the way of pure evil? Or is is this part of a larger and more complex agenda?
Well, �I� firmly believe that they are up to something. Very recently our own, Eder Callejas posted that Google is testing the CPA revenue model. Given their latest changes and the sites that have been impacted the most, it seems that Google may be getting ready to do more than just �test� a CPA model.
The first of the landing pages that got the boot were lead generation pages � the sites that are just a small box with an opt-in box on them. Interesting�could it be that Google themselves wants to collect those leads and then sell the leads to us rather than let us just pay per click?
So the 4 main kinds of sites that seem impacted the most are:
1) Squeeze pages (landing pages whose sole purpose is to gather an email address in exchange for a free report)
2) One page sales letter websites
3) Adsense sites (particularly Adsense arbitrage sites)
4) Affiliate sites
More information on their landing page guidelines – https://adwords.google.com/select/siteguidelines.html
Bottom line is, since Google constantly says it’s trying to make the search experience better for their users, it must believe that landing pages provide a bad user experience. But is that true?
Maybe, maybe not. I think it all depends on the user’s intention. A shopper has a different search intention than a researcher. It all depends on the intent of the query. Why punish advertisers for not being able to read people’s minds?
Since affiliates bear much of the cost of lead acquisition, Google’s not just punishing affiliates with this latest update – it’s punishing some of the biggest web-driven businesses in the world.
Of course, as marketers, we�ll find how to get around this. And when we do, I�ll be sure to post it!
Search Engines We Like, Sort Of, Some Days
Activity among the major search engine companies is… well, active.
Yahoo! has redesigned the home page and added a nice feature to local search, by including phone numbers in results. Bill Gates is talking about integrating Internet search into the Windows operating system. (Which, given some of the new features in the upcoming Windows Vista release, Microsoft may well do.) And Google is… doing everything under the sun, as usual.
All this, and more, is part of each of The Big 3’s vow to � let’s be nice now � compete strongly.
Normally, I stay away from recommending one over the other. One major reason is that they all do a great job or a hideous job, depending on your goals.
As a user, Google often provides results I find useful in research. As an affiliate marketer they � let’s be nice again � fall a bit short of being ideal. The same could be said of MSN and Yahoo!. Usually. But today is unusual.
Search on “affiliate marketing” and Affiliate Classroom will come up first in the organic results on MSN and second on Yahoo! We like that. On Google, we fall down at the end of the third page. We, er, like that a lot less. (Of course, all those results could change tomorrow or an hour from now.)
Search on “learn affiliate marketing” and we come up #3 on Google and #2 on, drum roll please, Ask.com. We like that a lot. Ask.com’s CEO Jim Lanzone is promising to make Ask.com a lot better. If Affiliate Classroom’s ranking there is any indication, he’s on the right track as far as we’re concerned.
He’s not aiming to knock Google off the top of the hill (for which we salute his realism), but simply to be better for users (for which we applaud his idealism).
In the recent interview, he said:
“We don’t want to climb Everest right now. We’re not planning on knocking out Google. Our goal is to take our 20 million users, who are currently using us twice a month, and bump that up to four times a month. That doubles our market share.”
We could quarrel with his terminology, but the idea is sound. That’s not just idealism or realism, that’s good business strategy, since it involves a reachable goal using current resources.
Like a child’s swing, sometimes a modest push at the input side � applied at the right time, in the right way � leads to a large increase in output. Good luck with that, Mr. Lanzone. Sincerely. We’d definitely like to see search engine marketers have another viable alternative.