Marketing Ease; Web Marketing Blog

Google Phone to Change PPC Landscape?

Written by Tim Harris -- October 6th, 2007 in Marketing, SEM

Google PhoneIt has been long rumored that Google is in development of their own “iPhone Killer.” Being an iPhone owner myself, I have doubts about the possibility of any company, even Google, being able to develop a phone cool enough to have even a chance of getting me to switch away from my beloved phone. However, word on the street is Google plans to sell their phone dirt cheap, and then provide “free” monthly service. Sound too good to be true? Guess again…

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, announced in July that the company will participate in the Federal Communications Commission auction for the old 700MHz wireless spectrum. Google is certainly in a strong enough financial position to win the auction, and if that happens, look out! It would enable Google to create a nationwide, ultra high speed network that it would likely offer to consumers for free. Why would they do that? Because by controlling the network millions of people are connecting to, they are assured the default search engine (along with all other default media) used will be their own, and their sponsored advertising revenue would go up exponentially.

This is where the Google Phone (gPhone) comes into play. Computers, even low end computers, are relatively expensive. Cell phones, on the other hand, can be manufactured and sold for less than $100. The Google Phone will be similar to the Apple iPhone by actually being much more than just a phone. They will be miniature, inexpensive “internet devices”, that happen to also be a phone.

The new Google network would not only allow for computers to connect to the internet from anywhere, but it would also double as a free phone network- working exclusively with the Google Phone. Bingo. Why would anyone spend hundreds of dollars for a non Google phone, that also requires an expensive monthly contract with Sprint, ATT or any other major players?! Some still would, of course, but many (dare I say even most) won’t.

How would this change SEM? Well, Google will certainly include a new search tool, that will work a bit differently than normal web searches. It will basically be a sophisticated yellow page like search, yet in classic Google simplistic fashion and style. Users will be just a few touches away from getting 1) a brief description of the business along with a map and directions if they wish 2) a link to the full web site 3) a phone number that will simply need to be touched in order to dial.

Advertisers will literally be lining up to show up at the top of these phone searches, and Google knows it. It’s these advertisers that will enable the free network, and the (possibly even free) Google Phone. The Google Phone will be everywhere, the major cell phone carriers will go out of business, along with many internet service providers… basically, everything is going to get turned upside down, and the resulting tidal waves of users will also change the current landscape of PPC advertising- forever.

Your opinions and comments are welcome.


7 Google Adwords Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions

Written by Tim Harris -- September 15th, 2007 in SEM

Google AdWordsA couple of years ago, I started managing clients Google Adwords accounts. It started out with just a couple of clients, but has steadily grown and I’m now managing well over a million dollars worth of PPC advertising dollars annually. Many of the clients I now have, had worked with other SEM companies in the past. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that I haven’t had a single one of those clients leave me. Why? Because I was able to use a common sense approach to help these clients greatly improve their ROI. Below are the most common issues I see that cause companies to literally throw away millions in Google Adwords advertising.

1. Not using relevant or compelling landing pages. On average, a prospect is only going to give a landing page 2 to 3 seconds to decide if it’s indeed what they thought it was. Often times, Adwords advertisers focus too much on writing attention getting ads that get good click through rates, with little consideration on the actual landing page. This is a sure fire way to cause a high bounce rate. If your bounce rate is over 40%, that likely means your landing page is not relevant enough to your ad, and definitely means you’re throwing money out the window.

2. Poor web site design. You can hire the best SEM company in the world (call us if you’re looking to), but if you don’t have a well designed web site, you’re wasting money. Period. Now, defining what makes a well designed web site certainly can be tricky, and probably why it’s such a common problem. In my opinion, a well designed web site is one that converts site visitors into clients at a high rate when compared to industry averages.

3. Unorganized campaign management. We have taken over a number of client Adwords accounts, and it’s shocking to see how disorganized they usually are. And not just “in house” accounts either, some of these messy accounts were created by “SEM professionals.” Having well organized campaigns and Ad Groups enables you to 1) more easily associate specific key terms with ads and landing pages, 2) minimize the chance of keyword overlap, and 3) more easily analyze and manage the account - all three of which helps net a better ROI for advertisers.

4. Advertising at the wrong times. Many of our clients have regular business hours, and offer services or products only during those hours. While it can make sense to run advertising outside of those business hours, it usually is not a good idea- even if you are converting prospects into leads. Why? Because you’re likely going to have higher conversion rates during your business hours. For example, lets say Company X has a $30,000 monthly budget. During normal business hours, Company X averages a conversion rate of 15%, and during non business hours a conversion rate of just 5%. Does it make sense in this common scenario to run ads during non business hours? Of course not! Yet companies are doing it, and doing it a lot.

5. Lack of testing. PPC Advertising is not an exact science. What works well for one company may not work well for the next. To take it a step further, what works well one month, may not work well the next. Internet marketing is an ever changing medium, and it requires ongoing trial and error in order to prosper. The mistake many companies make is being satisfied with results. No matter how well your campaign is doing, it can always do better. Always.

6. Poor key word selection. Choosing the right set of key terms to market your company isn’t only important, it’s absolutely critical. Obvious, right? You’d think. However, most companies advertising in Google (and the other search engines) have either a bloated list of key terms, or an anemic set. Neither of which are ideal, and ultimately lowers ROI. There isn’t an exact number of key terms that companies should shoot for, as it varies greatly from industry to industry. Other factors that play a role in the “right” number of key terms include budget, time of year, changes in the economy, etc.

7. Weak Ad Copy. Weak ad copy can hurt you in more ways than simply poor click through rates. It’s true that lower click through rates mean less visitors, which equates into less clients. However, that’s of minor concern compared to the fact it also means Google will lower your quality score. Quality score is a major factor in determining the price you pay per click. In other words, you are penalized for poorly written ads and will have to pay more than your competition for the same spot.