Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Infographic about the Rise of Google PLAs

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I’m excited to be speaking at both PubCon New Orleans and SMX West San Jose this spring about the rise of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and what it means for advertisers. I’ve started to pull together my outline for the presentations and have started to track the more recent activity surrounding the adoption of PLAs and what it means in the digital space.

Marin Software release a press release about what their technology saw in terms of Google PLAs and their impact on the holiday shopping season and a slew of blog posts from reputable media outlets ensued. I found the attached infographic via an article on by Marcus Wohlsen. It’s a great infographic that show the rise of PLAs since the transition earlier this year.
I know that as a Paid Search Marketing Manager I saw that we increased our spend with Google to play in the PLA space this holiday season and we saw great results and return on our investment. I’m excited to bring together these insights over the next few weeks along with providing you with some of the articles I’m using to pull together my SMX West and PubCon Nola materials!

Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Digital ad management provider Marin Software found that advertisers managing $4 billion annually in online ad campaigns through its platform spent 600 percent more on Google product listing ads after the change in October than before. That result alone doesn’t necessarily surprise: If Google says pay to play, advertisers have little choice.

Infographic from Marin Software about Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) showing the rise of PLAs in prominence on Google.

Other articles you can read about the PLAs and their impact on the paid search space:

Marin Software Analysis: Advertisers Increase PLA budgets by 600+%
Adobe Q4 Report: Tablet targeting and product listing ads represent great opportunities for marketers
RKG Study PLAs drove 28% of Google Non-Brand Ad Clicks in Q4
Once Controversial Now PLAs Are a Big Hit


Search Engine Marketing Acronyms

There are more than enough acronyms in SEM to make a person’s head spin. The combination of working at Microsoft, which I swear has a language all of it’s own that is solely based on acronyms, plus working in search engine marketing has me living in acronyms day in and day out. Whenever I have a new individual reporting into me I have to tell them to stop me and ask for clarification when I start using acronyms that they don’t understand because they’ve become so much a part of my everyday vocabulary that I forget everyone else doesn’t speak acronym as well.  This article is devoted to my love of SEM acronyms!

  • API= Application Programming Interface; A program that advertiser create to interface with the various search engine marketing platforms, such as Google’s Adwords or Live Search’s adCenter, bypassing the user interface.
  • B2B= Business to Business; A business that markets its business to another business
  • B2C= Business to Consumer; A business that markets its business to a consumer
  • SEM= Search engine marketing; also refered to as Paid Search
  • SEA= Search engine acquisition; Search Engine Advertising
    • Search Engine Advertising= The act of advertising on a search engine
    • Search Engine Acquisition= Similar to CPA/CPL
  • SEO= Search engine optimization, also refered to as Organic Search
  • SERP=Search engine results page
  • SRP= Search results page
  • SSP= Yahoos! Search Submit Pro; Yahoo’s paid inclusion product that uses a data feed. Yahoo charges a CPC, which is based on category, each time an ad is clicked.
  • PPC= Pay per click; An online advertising model where users pay per click from an ad to a specified landing page on their website.
  • Mainline= Paid Search Results appearing on the top of the search results page. Depending on the queried term the mainline contains between 1- 3 paid search results.
  • Right Rail= Paid Search Results appearing on the right hand side of the search results page. Typically represents positions 3-10.
  • CTR= Click Through Rate; The fraction of users who click on an ad to those who viewed an ad. Expressed as a percentage.
  • CPC= Cost per click;  Expressed in dollars.
  • CPM= Cost per Thousand; Cost per thousand impressions. CPM is standard monetization model for display ad space and some contextual networks. Expressed in dollars.
  • KPI= Key performance indicator(s); Key performance indicators are metrics linked to the objectives that define and identify success for the business. Paid search engine marketing KPIs are quantitative and should be time sensitive.
    • Examples of KPIs traditionally used in search marketing (based solely on your business goals):
      • Revenue
      • Sales/Transactions
      • Items purchased per Transaction
      • Leads Generated
      • Transfer to Merchant Site (affiliate networking)
      • Page Views
      • Unique Users
  • UU= Unique User; Unique Identifier of computers that hit a website (computers not people.) UUs are usually counted off of either unique IP addresses or cookies that hit a site.
  • PI= Paid Inclusion; Paying a fee to a search engine to be included in the index. Paid Inclusion does not affect the rankings of a web page; it just indicates that a page will be included in the index.
  • Pay per Call; A model similar to PPC, except that user pay per incoming call from a search ad instead of click traffic.
  • CPA= Cost per acquisition/action, also listed as COA=Cost of Acquisition/Action; The total cost of ad spend divided by the total number of conversions. Expressed in dollars.
  • CPL= Cost per lead; The cost associated with leads generated. Expressed in dollars.
  • PVpC=Page Views per Clicks (also represented PV/C); The number of page views generated per click. Expressed in numbers.
  • CpPV= Cost per page view; The cost associated with the number of page views visited either in a session. Traditionally this metric is used for Media based websites like newspapers, search portals
    • Using CpPV to evaluate PPC buys for a media based website:
      • Example: 250,000 PVs generated from 50,000 clicks at the cost of $0.50 per click. You generated $10 CPM. What is would the CpPV need to be to generate positive revenue.PV= Page view; Request to load a page of a web site.
  • Conversion Rate, The fraction of users who convert to those who clicked an ad to get to your site. Expressed as a percentage
  • AOV= Average Order Value; Average value of an order, expressed in dollars.
  • ROR= Rate of Return, also known as return on capital;  Return generated from total investment.
  • ROI= Return on investment; Return generated from total investment. ROI is expressed in percentage and can be any value greater than or equal to -100%. Any positive value represents a yield of positive growth and any negative value represents a yield of loss.
  • ROAS= Return on Ad Spend; Profitably measure for Marketing campaigns measuring the return generated from marketing ad spend. Dollars earned per dollar spent. ROAS is expressed in numbers and can be any value greater than or equal to 0. A value less than 1 represents that less marketing revenue is generated than the cost to advertise.
  • URL= Uniform resource locator; The address that defines the route to a file on an Internet server
  • Long Tail= Low traffic keywords that are often less competitive than higher volume broad terms.
    • Example: 8GB Apple iPod Nano vs. iPod
  • KWD= Keyword(s); a word or phrase that is related to a subject or document.
  • MoM= Month over Month
  • WoW= Week over Week
  • YoY= Year over Year
  • QoQ= Quarter over Quater

10,000ft View of Search Engine Marketing

If you’ve used a search engine then you most likely already know the basics about the search marketing landscape. Most likely you just haven’t linked the various elements of search marketing to what you’ve seen on Google, Yahoo or Live Search. The elements of search marketing include Paid Search Engine Marketing (also known as Pay Per Click), Search Engine Optimization, Paid Inclusion, as well as the loosely related Affiliate Marketing.

               All search engines are an index of a portion of all websites in the world. The size of the index does not necessarily equate to the quality of the index, the index is only as good as the content within it and it’s ability to produce relevant content mapped to a queried term or phrase. Search engines have bits of code known as crawlers, the imagery behind crawling helps explain the basics. Imagine a spider, preferably a Brown Recluse, crawling on the ground trying to get a sense of its terrain and find what it desires the most-food. The spider crawls along the web looking for content- whenever it gets to a previously undiscovered area it lays down webs and gathers as much information about that area as possible. A SE crawler does the same thing. The code goes from one link to another within your website gathering information about the content of your site. A Brown Recluse crawls around looking for something-food, a search engine spider is looking for something: the most relevant answer to your queried term. With Brown Recluses a person can spray a repellent to keep them away from unwanted areas, similarly a webmaster can develop a site to allow SE spiders to crawl all, some or none of the content within the site. If the SE spider cannot get from one section of your site the next then your information will not become part of the index and will not be available when someone searches for similar content. Once a search engine knows that your website exists it has to be able to understand the content of your site and relate it back to the queried terms that are searched on the engine itself. Most search engines allow users to submit site maps which help to increase the size of the search index and help the search engines classify the content of the websites.

Search Engine Optimization should the core foundation of a website, and is an art and science of using HTML elements to help tell the search engine what your website is about and where to find the content. I say “Art and Science” because the bar for each search engine changes on a frequent basis, and it requires constant tweaking, editing and updating the site to meet the new requirements and rules, so SEO is not a set it and forget it form of marketing. If you want to stay in the game to have your site naturally appear in the Search Engine Results Pages then you want to keep a constant eye on your SEO strategy. Personally I’m not an SEO expert and I won’t pretend to be one. I understand the concepts and the basics of SEO but my core competency lies within the paid search basket. I can provide some of the basic foundations for your SEO program, but if you want to know more I can direct you to several SEO guru’s who blog regularly about the latest tips and tricks.

Paid Inclusion (also known as Search Submit Pro (SSP)) is hybrid of paid & organic search that allows users to pay to have their content appear within the natural search listings. A few search engines, such as Yahoo, allow users to submit a feed containing a website Meta Tags data such as keywords, title, and descriptions for each page in the feed and the feed over writes the Meta Tag information stored within the index. Paid Inclusion can be useful if you don’t have the resources to manually edit and change the meta tag data within each page of your website, however there are a few caveats to Paid Inclusion. With Paid Inclusion you can suggest which keywords you want your site to appear for in the Paid Search listings; however it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get rankings for the keywords you are targeting. 

Paid search engine marketing, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC), is an auction that allows users to choose the keywords to which their ads appear. The auction model means that all users are “competing” for a ranking within the sponsored search portion of the search engine results page. Managing a paid search marketing campaign is a combination of technical skills and marketing skills married with attention to detail and a love for data. There are three main PPC platforms that use the top tiered search engines: Google’s Adwords, Yahoo’s Panama, Bing adCenter. On top of the top tier platforms there are several additional second and third tier search engines that run their own programs: Ask,, FindWhat, Miva, Kayak,  Quigo/AdSonar, etc. I would highly recommend testing out your PPC campaigns on Adwords, Panama or adCenter prior to expanding to the second tier platforms because the incremental extra work that will be on your plate to manage the additional search engines might not be worth the return. PPC is not for the marketer or website owner that believes in the philosophy of “set it and forget it.”

 The majority of the content within Search Marketing Corner will explain the nuisances of paid search marketing.