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Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing

How Pay-Per-Car Marketing May Change the Way You Do Business

Pay-Per-Car Marketing
What if you could offer customers who buy a certain amount of your products and services free transportation to your store or restaurant? Do you think that would give you an edge over your competition? Uber and Lyft are now testing programs like this to find out how they work for both merchants and consumers.

If the strategy does work, it could easily prove transformative in the local retail and restaurant business – and perhaps beyond. Industry experts predict it could even take the place of pay-per-click marketing at a local level, or at least provide an alternative to it for certain types of businesses.  This is because the conversion rates for these types of ads are predicted to be significantly higher than the more traditional pay-per-click approaches for local markets. Here’s why: once a customer selects a business’ ad and orders an Uber, backing out of a purchase will cost the customer money, as the ride is only validated with purchases.

Local businesses that pay for these rides will also be able to close the online-to-offline attribution gap as they will know precisely the source of these sales and when each sale was made.

So far, only a lesser version of pay-per-car rides are available and it is limited to the apps of Uber and Lyft and their partner affiliates. Uber Offers currently only includes the opportunity for customers to get from $5 to $20 off their next ride if they make purchases at partner stores such as Whole Foods or Dunkin Donuts in cities like Boston, New York, Dallas, Miami and San Francisco. Using Visa as the platform, customers select the offer and then use the Visa card associated with their Uber account to make the purchase at the store of their choice within the next few days.

But such programs are really expected to become ubiquitous when companies like Uber and Lyft make self-driving cars the norm. That’s because drivers for these companies currently take home 75% of the fare profit for each ride. Without drivers, ride service providers can significantly cut prices, making it much more affordable for businesses to pay customers’ fares to their locations. Tesla already plans to run such an autonomous ride service through its Tesla Network at some point in the near future.

If and when pay-per-car marketing takes off in self-driving cars, participating businesses will have further opportunities to sell to their passengers who are a captive audience during their journeys. This considered, you can expect to see interactive screens with advertisements in center consoles and on the back of headrests.

Want to be part of the first wave of pay-per-car participants? Here’s how to prepare:

  • Make sure your location data is accurate.
  • Make sure your inventory is ready.
  • Start now on a creative advertising plan that could reach customers in self-driving cars.

As ride services solidify their pay-per-car programs and find ways to occupy passengers’ idle moments – which they are likely to spend on their phone or using some device in the car – opportunities to market creatively and successfully in these venues will abound. There’s little doubt that you and your business will want to be part of those initiatives.

The Evolution of Google’s SERP as a Result of Mobile Devices

The Evolution of Google's SERP

Over the last ten years, the design of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has changed significantly, thanks to the influence of mobile devices. According to a recently released study on Google and mobile-influenced user search behavior, the search giant has adapted its SERP layout to accommodate the new search habits of mobile device users.

Mobile-influenced Search Habits

With the vast proliferation of mobile devices, searchers encounter and digest search results very differently than they did in the days of desktop search’s dominance. Mobile device layout encourages a vertically oriented search style in which users selectively “scan” for relevant information. Essentially, we now consume more content, much faster: while users once took 2.6 seconds to consume a SERP, that time has now been reduced to a mere 1.3 seconds.

Google’s SERP Design Changes

Since most searches are now conducted on mobile devices, Google has accommodated users’ mobile-influenced search habits in its page layout. The company has re-designed their SERP from a more horizontally oriented, triangular pattern appropriate for desktop viewing to a vertical pattern that suits the vertical design of mobile device screens.

This mobile-influenced design also remains consistent in Google’s desktop SERP, which goes to show how much our mobile search habits have changed the way we consume content more generally.

Implications for Your Business’s Search Listings

These new habits, along with the corresponding changes to Google’s SERP, affect the way businesses should approach search engine optimization. Here are a few key takeaways:

Have a Clear and Visible Main Message

Since users spend less time perusing search results, businesses need to capture their attention by articulating their message clearly and up front. Be sure to include an appropriate title that accurately describes your business.

Work to Achieve a Google Knowledge Graph

Google’s knowledge graphs synthesize links and information relevant to certain search terms. These boxes are located on the side of desktop SERPs and at the top of mobile SERPs.

This placement means that mobile searchers see the Knowledge Graph before any organic listings. When a knowledge graph turns up in a Google SERP, the top organic listing receives 22% fewer clicks, while an overwhelming 93% of searchers view the Knowledge Graph and 49% click the graph.

Although you cannot directly create a knowledge graph, there are measures you can take to gain a knowledge graph result for your business. These include typical organic SEO strategies such as adding structured markup to your site. Once your business has a knowledge graph, you or a representative can edit the graph and suggest changes.

Get Local Listings in Order

When a map and local listings appear above the organic listings on a SERP, the map and listings receive more clicks and views. This means it remains important to add or claim your name, address, contact information, and business hours on Google My Business.

Get Ratings

Registering your business will also help you to gain star ratings. Since listings with star ratings capture an average of 24% of page clicks, you should encourage your customers to provide reviews. As always, having more positive reviews will help your business to appear at the top of search listings.

Increase Organic Search Ranking

Some things remain the same: today, the top four organic listings capture the most search activity, regardless of any changes to Google’s page design and added features. Listings below the top four receive only 16% of clicks on desktop searches, and this number drops to 7.4% on mobile searches. This means that it is more important than ever to continue to use organic SEO strategies to get your business’s page in the top spot.

DIY Pay Per Click: Why Trying to Save Money Could be Costing You More

DIY Pay Per Click

Pay-per-click is one component of DAS Group’s holistic approach to search engine marketing. This digital advertising strategy enables a company’s ad to appear in a search results page or on a website. When the ad is clicked, the company is required to pay the host website or service. The nature of Google AdWords and other pay per click services constantly grows and changes, requiring time and expertise from the online marketer. Problems often arise and budgets become compromised when businesses attempt to manage their own pay per click ad campaigns.

Below, we break down five common mistakes we see when we audit clients’ self-managed PPC campaigns.

  1. No use of negative keywords: Essentially, negative keywords are words that you do not want to lead to your ad. If you are using Google AdWords, you can visit the search query report to view all of the words and phrases Google users have entered to “trigger” your ads. You will notice that some will be “accidental” queries that most likely will not result in a conversion, and will instead burden you with an unnecessary cost. You can add these words as “negative keywords” to ensure that your ad budget goes toward driving relevant traffic.
  2. Display network turned on: When you begin using AdWords, your ads will appear in search engine results pages relevant to your key words (referred to as the “search network”) as well as AdSense-equipped webpages relevant to your key words (referred to as the “display network”). Since potential customers using your keywords are more likely to be looking for your product or service in search engine results, a conversion is more likely to happen within the “search network.” Therefore, it is best to disable the display network, at least initially.
  3. No ad testing: Instead of creating only one advertisement for each campaign, create at least three or four. This way, you can test these ads against one another, compare performance and choose the most well-received ads for your campaign.
  4. Not tracking campaigns: It is quite common to see no conversion tracking installed in a client’s AdWords account. Conversion tracking identifies which key words and ads are leading to conversions; with this crucial tracking component missing, money and valuable customer insight are lost in droves. Furthermore, Google Analytics and AdWords should be linked together in order to obtain even more performance information.

    Along with monitoring online conversion rates, businesses should use keyword level call tracking and analyze call outcomes in order to determine which keywords drive the highest quality new business calls that lead to conversions. Pools of unique numbers can be dynamically inserted on pages to provide invaluable insight into the keywords within specific campaigns that are ultimately driving the best results for the business.

  5. Not scheduling ad campaigns properly: Some aspects of ad scheduling are quite simple: if including a phone number, for example, be sure to enable ads only during business hours, so someone can be around to take customer calls.

    Carefully tracking campaigns allows you to optimize your ad campaign scheduling even further. Through tracking, you will gather important information about your target audience, including daily, weekly and seasonal peak shopping times. Proper ad scheduling maximizes the effectiveness of ad campaigns while helping you to avoid needless spending.

If you would like to ensure every one of your ad campaigns is timed, monitored and optimized for successful conversion, contact DAS Group today.

Brand Preference & Search: Creating Brand Preference is Hard Work

Brand Preference & Search

Traditional media and marketing channels have done their fair share of helping to raise consumer awareness, as well as purchase intent. However, after years of using traditional strategies, companies have long since entered the digital marketing landscape, learning to adapt and evolve to maximize their brand’s reach and increase ROI. Whether traditionally or digitally, developing brand preference is still an arduous task for marketers. Creating digital brand preference in a highly competitive environment starts with keeping your brand relevant in the context of consumer search habits. To begin with, is your brand fulfilling the need within the category or subcategory where your customers are looking? If so, you’ve already succeeded in capturing their attention and establishing the credibility and visibility needed to propel your campaign to the next level. From here your brand begins the journey into the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere who, for the most part, are stuck in“brand inertia,” where they are habitually bound to their favorite brands, with little sign of changing. Here, we take a closer look at just what it takes to establish brand awareness through paid search campaigns that result in sales conversions.

What Is Brand Preference?

Brand preference is the metric used to assess brand strength and effectiveness. It refers to which brand consumers prefer over other brands in the same category of pricing and availability.

A brand’s strength can also be measured by whether loyal customers search for a replacement when it is unavailable and thus find another brand. Not every brand can boast this type of brand nirvana, but those who do can take the credit for controlled variables such as innovative marketing strategies and carefully crafted brand loyalty, often years in the making. Though companies and marketers cannot realistically control consumer psyche and disposition, they can use strategies that illicit behavioral response from consumers, whether it is rationally or emotionally based.

What Affects Paid Search?

Though still relevant, traditional forms of marketing (eg: television, print and out-of-home) are sometimes superseded by their newer, non-traditional cousins in the form of social media, mobile and online channels. To survive the competitive sales climate, marketers must decide when to use traditional and non-traditional forms of advertising, as well as how the two influence each other in multi-channel marketing. Whereas traditional advertising methods take a more passive approach to reaching out to consumers, non-traditional means such as paid search work to create specific channels for consumer interaction.

So what exactly is paid search? Paid search encompasses all online methods of advertising that result in marketers having to pay each time a consumer clicks an online ad (pay-per-click or PPC). These include pay for performance strategies now offered by popular search engines (think Google AdWords) that play a significant part in your overall marketing campaign.

Whether you’re a small company with a small SEM budget, or a larger company spending hundreds of thousands for on-going (PPC) services, the effect of search is undeniable. The ultimate goal of any search campaign is to find your way to the top of the marketing food chain—or, in this case, the search engine results (SERP) page—so that potential customers actively seeking your products or services are presented with your brand up-close and personal.

Impact of Search on Brand Awareness

In numerous studies, measurement and assessment of paid search has all led to the same, underlying conclusion: paid search increases brand awareness (top of mind or unaided) and drives conversion. The impetus behind using paid search can be simplified by acknowledging that paid search captures audiences at the time they are most likely to purchase. In a more practical scenario, think about the last time you, as a consumer, saw an advertisement on TV or a print ad for a product or service. Unless you were actively seeking to purchase that product, chances are the message was not as impactful and may have slipped down the rung of priorities in your consciousness. Now think about the last time you were actively researching a product online and were presented with an ad for the item that you were looking for. In this case, the likelihood of you considering that brand and actually clicking through the ad would be significantly higher. Marketers have seized this opportunity to influence consumer brand perception, leading to higher conversion rates due to the relevancy of the message.

Another consideration that impacts brand awareness through paid search is the use of mobile display. Accessibility is a key component when measuring how paid ads, viewed on a phone or tablet, encourage an even stronger call to action as consumers literally have the decision making power at their fingertips. The impact of paid search through mobile display can be effective throughout all stages of the consumer’s path of purchase, from research all the way to a completed sale.

If it’s one thing that all marketers can agree on, it’s that creating brand preference is hard. Aligning all your marketing strategies in the right way at the right time can be quite the challenge, but investing in paid search can help deliver important metrics as to when your customers are interested and what they are interested in. Increasing brand engagement in any way can set your brand on the right path to successful conversion rates , as well as heightening consumer awareness of your brand.

Pay Per Call: Survival Guide

Pay Per Call

So what is Pay Per Call? Pay Per Call refers to a model of advertising whereby the consumer is prompted to make a call based on a number provided in an advertisement. The advertiser does not pay until they receive a call hopefully from a prospect they are able to convert to a customer. Pay Per Call establishes an immediate and direct connection between you and your customer.

For many, even most businesses, the call is the preferred lead form. Beyond just a stagnant ‘contact us’ form on a website, calls usually inspire more interaction from consumers who are looking for an immediate resolution to their problem and are more motivated to purchase. If you happen to be anywhere near a pedestrian-friendly space, you’ll observe (with awe and fascination) that people can pretty much do anything while simultaneously looking at their phones. Not necessarily a healthy habit, but it does emphasize the point that mobile devices have changed the way that businesses can communicate with their customers.

Call GraphMore and more, consumers are spending time on their phones making informed buying decisions. In addition to actively searching on their phones, consumers are also more likely to take the initiative and go one step further by making a call directly to that business to find out more information. According to The Local Search Association, “76% of calls generated from a search on a mobile internet Yellow Pages site resulted in a purchase, or intent to purchase.” Despite the wealth of information online (saturated much?) picking up the phone and speaking with someone has been, and always will be, an essential part of the consumer decision-making process. In fact, over 66% of small business owners still consider phone calls to be a vital part of incoming leads with Pay per Call leading the conversion pack (10-15%) versus web based clicks which typically convert at 2-3%. Here, we take a look at all that goes into pay per call lead generation including: pros and cons of pay per call networks, billable call disputes, managing IVR’s and the percentage of calls that result in spam.

Pros of Pay-Per Call Networks

  • Perhaps the biggest advantage of establishing a Pay Per Call (PPC) marketing campaign is that it gives you a targeted, direct connection with a customer who has already “opted in” to hearing more information.
  • PPC capitalizes on the consumer’s sense of urgency in solving their problem.
  • Conversion rates are higher with leads from inbound calls, versus outbound.
  • Processes are streamlined as businesses can eliminate the traditional task of having to purchase leads for sales people to follow up on as they silently hope that the consumer will be interested.
  • As a form of digital advertising, PPC marketing is very cost effective as advertisers only pay when someone calls in and goes over the minimum call duration.
  • PPC is also measurable as advertising can track metrics and analyze findings to see what worked and what didn’t.

 Cons of Pay- Per Call Networks

  • Without a proper plan, such as limiting the number of inbound calls, call centers can be inundated, which ties up the lines for callers who may not be able to get through right away.
  • Each script that is used by your in-bound call representative should be tailored differently to that of an outbound call.
  • Misuse of time can also be detrimental to the overall bottom line. Irrelevant callers can be tricky to deal with as there is a fine line between alienating them and getting them off the phone quickly so you are only paying for qualified leads.

Managing IVRs

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) refers to an automated system that can gather information and route calls appropriately based on any combination of voice or keypad input from your inbound PPC callers. IVRs can be especially useful for inbound calls from consumers who are looking to verify basic information. Using pre-recorded voice prompts, inbound calls can either be handled via the IVR application, or routed to someone who can assess the data already provided in order to complete the call with the customer.

Billable call Disputes

As with all forms of advertising or marketing, Pay per Call is not without its problems. Without a set criteria to measure exactly what constitutes a billable call or lead, advertisers can get themselves into some hot water if they are not careful. The calls are recorded and caller ID information is collected and tracked with unique trackable phone number. Advertiser should only pay for valid calls that meet certain criteria. There are several different agreements an advertiser can decide upon that would allow for a vendor to charge you for the lead that is generated. New-customer-only calls, rates per call (typically based on minimum call duration like 60 seconds), pre-qualified leads, flat rate, and revshare calls. The most common agreement types are:

Flat Rate

This is a negotiated rate between the vendor and advertiser for each lead acquired. This is usually the cheaper option, but you receive a mix of qualified and unqualified leads. It is advised during the negotiation process to place call filters (i.e. call duration expectations). This would ensure that you only pay for calls that meet your criteria.

Revshare

Revshare is the most beneficial to the advertisers since you only pay when a sale is made. Advertisers can sometime negotiate what percentage of the sale the vendor keeps or a flat rate for each sale or transaction.

In some cases you will be able to encourage a combination of payout types. You could pay a vendor the negotiated flat rate for calls, plus bonus for longer call durations. The decisions advertisers make regarding the Pay per Call negotiation process is crucial to the success of the campaign. Advertisers should do their due diligence to understand the different methods of Pay per Call agreements to find what’s best for their business needs.

Spam

In a world with so much information competing for our attention, is it any wonder that spam has found itself a part of our everyday conversations? Much like that one gray hair that won’t go away, spam seems to always find itself in the thick of things, infiltrating many of the everyday activities that we engage in.

While a Pay per Call campaign can certainly bring around high conversions and high quality leads, as with all marketing campaigns, proper budgeting, planning and execution is always important. PPC campaigns are best used in conjunction with other campaigns making the most of your marketing agenda. Pay per Call is a smart and effective way for advertisers to drive targeted in-bound calls and increase the number of qualified leads coming to your business.

 DAS Group has the technology and relationships to craft the optimal Pay per Call lead generation program for your business.