Digipropolis Blog: Marketing Pros & Their Cons

Re-Marketing Strategies for Success

How to Set Up an “Abandoned Shopping Cart” Re-Marketing Program

Shopping CartHere’s a special way to use Google Re-Marketing, and one that I think I’d like to try.  Of course it doesn’t have to apply only to abandoned shopping carts. Any time a visitor comes to your site and leaves without “converting,” you can add them to your Re-Marketing list and engage them again via a tailored ad.

Yankee Candle, an early adopter of Google Re-Marketing, recently saw 10% of its “abandoned cart visitors” return to its site as a result of its Google Re-Marketing campaign. 

Google allows you to create a special ad and URL for each Re-Marketing list you build, whether it is for visitors who put a particular product in their shopping cart and abandoned it (as in the case of Yankee Candle), or simply for visitors who viewed specific product pages but left the site without inquiring.

The Question is: Why Should They Come Back?

One of the most critical questions a marketer must ask themselves is “why did this visitor leave my site?” If the answer might possibly be that the user was confused by your site’s navigation, you should definitely stop, drop and roll before pursuing Re-Marketing. If your site has a poor design, it’s just as unlikely to produce a conversion the second time a visitor interacts with your site as it was during the original visit.

If the other potential answer is “I didn’t have a Compelling Enough Offer” or “I Have a More Compelling Offer Now,” then Re-Marketing could be right up your alley.

Tailored Landing Pages

Great Website Landing PageOne of the beautiful parts of Google Re-Marketing campaigns is that you can create (and test) a text ad or image ad for each campaign. If your audience likes it, they’ll click on it. Ah, success! Right? Half right. You still want those visitors to convert on the website. For this you’ll need a tailored landing page that picks up on the ad message that successfully stimulated a click from your target visitor.

The guidelines for creating a successful landing page are the same for Re-Marketing campaigns as they are for any other campaign, but they bear repeating here: pages must be relevant to your ad, easily navigable, and must have a strong call to action.

As a Google advertiser, there is one more reason to be concerned about having good, relevant web pages with original content: because these factors affect your Google Quality Score. And your Quality Score affects the frequency with which Google shows your ad and how high the ad is placed on the page.

Anyone else have any strategies or tactics for success with Google Re-Marketing? I’d really like to hear about them!

More Resources about Re-Marketing with Google:

Google (2010). Now available: Reach the right audience through remarketing. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/03/now-available-reach-right-audience.html

Google (2011). Yankee Candle used Remarketing on the Google Display Network to re-engage shoppers,

increase conversion rates by 600% and cut cost-per-conversion in half. [Google case study] Retrieved January 30, 2011, from http://tinyurl.com/4kxcun7

 Google. (2011). AdWords >Help articles. [Remarketing FAQs] http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=27766

Google (2011). Quality Score. Retrieved January 31, 2011 from http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=140351


Using the Google Display Network in Another Way: Re-Marketing

Continuing the discussion about Display Advertising from last week

The rich ads that can now be run on Google’s Display Network permit a more targeted form of advertising that does respond to user intent: Re-marketing.

Think_Twice_KeyboardHere’s how Google introduced its new service on March 25, 2010, using the example of a travel company:  “Users may come to your website, browse the offers and think about booking a trip, but decide that the deal is still not cheap enough. Then, they continue to browse the web.”

A few days later, the example goes, those same visitors with see a “tailored” display ad for the same travel company when they are visiting a third-party website that happens to be a part of the Google Display Network.

Pretty cool, huh? Google promises that using a Re-Marketing ad campaign can “drive ROI for all types of advertisers, regardless of the focus of your campaigns (brand-oriented, performance-driven, etc.).”

Here’s How to Start Re-Marketing with Google:

Google’s Re-marketing advertising tool is available within AdWords.

Google AdWords logo1)If you have an existing AdWords campaign, go to Settings and modify the Networks and devices tab to allow advertising on the Display Network. Be sure to select the radio button for“relevant pages only on the placements and audiences I manage.” You will be manage “audiences” for your Re-marketing campaign.

2)Create and name your Re-Marketing “Audiences list.” To do this, click on the Audiences tab in your campaign dashboard. Write a brief description of your list in the box provided. Referring back to the travel company example above, the description might be something like “people browsing for trips.” Determine the length of time, up to 540 days, that you want to continue to show your ad to people who previously visited your site. (Membership duration defaults to 30 days)

3) Google will automatically generate a Javascript tag (code) that must be added to the page on your website where you will gather visitor information and add “members” to your Re-Marketing list. The tag allows your page to deliver an identifying “cookie” to visitors’ computers. The resulting visitors who receive cookies will comprise your “Re-Marketing List.” In order for this to work, you or your website developer will need to add this tag to your page code. After this has been done, your Re-Marketing ad will be shown to people who visit that page – and only to people who visit that page. Note: you will need to generate a separate Javascript tag for each Re-Marketing list (each campaign) that you want to develop.

4) Upload your display ad, or create a text ad or image ad using Google’s Display Ad Builder. If you have your own ad, you’ll want to provide it to Google in all standard IAB ad sizes. This is to permit the independent sites of the Google Display Network to maintain their own site display ad size policies.

5) Monitor your ad performance using the Google AdWords interface. Re-Marketing Lists and campaigns can be modified, paused, and ended just like other AdWords campaigns.

Facebook + Google Display Ads: What’s the Value??

Last time I discussed Google’s re-direction of its efforts toward social media and display advertising. Now I’m going to take a look at Facebook, and its display advertising offerings.

You’ve probably already heard the buzz surrounding Hitwise’s ranking of Facebook.com as the most visited website in the year 2010, knocking Google off of its 2009 pedestal. (note that this pertains to visits to Google.com only, not to other Google owned website properties) Well, Facebook also receives more display  ad spend than Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Fox combined, according to this November 2010 comScore report.

According to eMarketer, American advertisers will spend 55% more on social media advertising in 2011 than they did in 2010 (which was a jaw-dropping $3.08 billion USD). Facebook was the largest recipient of social media ad spending in 2010, and so far it looks as though Facebook will continue to receive the majority of ad spend.

Facebook_AdvertisingFacebook Advertising allows marketers to target display ads to specific audiences, segmenting by age, gender, marital status, location, and specific interest – basically any information available in the user’s profile. That’s some pretty good segmentation data, especially for a B2C marketer who uses these demographics to target messages.

One particular advantage of Facebook display advertising is that it allows a brand to increase brand awareness (and fans) on Facebook itself. The Facebook “Like” button allows audiences to vote for an ad/brand, and of course, Facebook technology broadcasts that action to each individual’s personal network. So in this way, Facebook advertising is also a public relations tool within the Facebook community.

The Value of Display Advertising?

Old-fashioned store window that says "sale"So we see there are at least two major players in the Display Advertising game, both Google and Facebook (the leader). But how about the value of display advertising in general?

The kind of segmentation factors available to target a message on either Facebook or Google’s Display Network appears to be somewhat less valuable to a display advertiser trying to reach a B2B audience, where “interest” is less likely to be mentioned in a user’s profile (despite Facebook’s newly updated profile that allows you to add “more of your favorite activities and interests.”

In my opinion, B2B marketers require the additional “search intent” information that Google’s original Google Search service provides.

eMarketer predicts that, even after the 2011 growth in social ad spending, it will still amount to just 10.8% of all online ad spending. This is a significant percentage, but I’m wondering why social media advertising isn’t being used more. Is this simply because this is still the beginning of a new trend? Or a reaction to the fact that social media advertising still tends to be used as display advertising, or “awareness building” advertising rather than as direct response advertising?

Gentle reader, do you think that small businesses can afford to spend advertising dollars to enhance brand awareness and help its prospects along the purchase funnel?

I’m on the fence about that.

Google_Social_from_Digital_Trends_dot_comHere’s what Google says in its not-unbiased AdWords Help forum: “Display ads are an effective media choice across a large variety of goals from Branding to Direct Response … By not implementing display ads … you can run the risk of losing potentially interested consumers who might need a little more influence to make a purchase decision.”

Hmm. Google makes not advertising on its Display Network sound scary. That’s OK, as marketers we’re familiar with the tactic of using a fear appeal to make a point.

But what about the question of whether or not it’s true?

I’d love to hear from any of you who feel that you’re getting a good value and strong ROI from your Google Display Network ad program, or your Facebook ad program.

Have you done any surveys to measure brand awareness, message recall, and purchase intent after exposure to your ad? Who do you think is a good candidate for display advertising?

I’m Back + Google Facing Off Against Facebook?

I’m back to learning more about digital marketing, and so I’m back to this blog. I’ve missed writing here and knowing that at least one or two of you probably out there reading without commenting.  

I’d like to start the discussion back up around social media advertising, a topic about which I know virtually nothing. Hey, I’m learning as I go, but I want to be honest and up front. That’s how I think marketers should roll.

So first, I’m going to do a little background check on the topic.

Schmidt, Brin, PageDid you hear about Eric Schmidt stepping down from the Google CEO position this week? The news was a bit less earth-shattering since he will continue to function as part of the Larry Page (CEO) – Sergey Brin (Creator)  – and Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman) triumvirate. To marketers like us, this news is a little more interesting, however. It points to the way Google is shifting its resources around to adapt to its current opportunities and challenges (ahem, Facebook and Twitter).

This week I’ve been learning about the Google Display network and how it appears to be aimed at fending off the competition from social media networks for marketers’ ad spend.  My first thought was: ‘Huh? Google is a social network?’ True, it owns Youtube, Blogger, Google Buzz, Google Chat, Google Latitude, Gmail, and let’s not forget Brazil’s favorite social network, Google’s Orkut. But I hadn’t thought of it as a social network.

I still think of Google Search (and Google AdWords) when I think of Google. But Google seems to be thinking differently about itself when it comes to its current and future position as a service.

I’ve just mentioned the corporate leadership re-organization, but there’s more to the story: Google has been busily acquiring some of the smaller companies that create popular social media content, like Zynga, the maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other social games that are so popular among Facebook users. zynga-logo

Yet, rather than attempt to simply purchase successful social products, Google appears interesting in “folding in” social networking tools with its existing products such as its successful Google Maps localization tools.

(Quoted from CNN Money: ) “Rather than bang its head against the wall trying to create a competitor to Facebook, Google appears to have come to the realization that all of its applications and assets have social aspects that can be extruded,” said Al Hilwa of International Data Corporation (IDC).

In addition, Google has re-organized its advertising structure. You will remember the “Google Content Network” which allowed advertisers to publish AdWords text ads on third-party websites included in the Google AdSense network.

In March 2010, Google folded the Content Network into a new structure known as the Display Network, using technologies gained through its acquisition of DoubleClick, and promoted some new advertising offerings there, including image ads and video ads that would run in standard IAB ad sizes in the sidebar areas of web pages.

The new Display Network features include some more controls for advertisers, like frequency capping to control spend, and new “view through” conversions that allow advertisers to track individual conversions that occur up to 30 days after a display ad impression occurred.

So what does Google’s new, Ready-for-Social organizational structure and Display Network mean for advertisers?

Next: Facebook + Google Display Ads  

Blogging is Fun

I’ve been blogging for nine weeks now. Looking back, I can see that despite talking about Google and Apple too much (yes, I know), this blog has covered some of the most critical topics in digital media today: privacy, television, social media, web analytics, user generated content and audience participation, Web 3.0, and the future of marketing itself. I’ve grown accustomed to having this weekly chance to add my comments to the chatter. I’ve started to “mentally blog,” thinking of how I will share my ideas with you, what sort of images I’ll use.

I’ve decided that blogging is fun. Getting comments makes it even more fun. Such a cliché, I know. Participation is what makes the web so involving. But I’ve enjoyed getting some really great comments. Thanks everyone!

When I began it was the late summer. Now, the leaves are turning and the wind is picking up. Another season is here. I’m about to embark on another nine week course, one where we’ll focus our thinking on Social Media Marketing. I’m definitely daunted by the thought of delving into this topic. It changes daily (hourly). I’m thinking I’m going to have to spend a lot of my time reading tweets, making tweets, blogging, joining Facebook groups, and watching YouTube videos for homework. Actually, that sounds like fun too …

Shrugging Our Privacy Away

Facebook’s privacy policy has been in the news several times, most recently earlier this month when it acknowledged a security vulnerability that allowed app developers to scrape personally identifiable account information.

Facebook Privacy editorial cartoon If you’re a Facebook user, I’m sure you’ve become accustomed to this kind of news. You’ve made your decision about whether to make your profile public or private, and you’ve chosen the settings you’re comfortable with.

So you know: various bits of your personal information is most likely in the hands of marketers who will use it to serve you targeted ads based on their behavioral marketing schema.

As the wife of a computer engineer, I’m familiar with the term “security through obscurity” and its derision as a security strategy among hackers. Yet, I believe this strategy is a lot less laughable when it comes to marketing.

While average hacker elites are proud that no system with a backdoor can keep them out when they are determined to get in, average consumers are willing to accept site terms of use without much investigation. Because of this, marketers can openly state their intention to track each visit with HTTP cookies and Flash cookies, and even consumers who might not like this will continue their visit – because they simply don’t know about it.

Earlier this evening, a classmate of mine made the remark that sites “put the onus on visitors to figure out how data companies use the information they collect.” This is certainly true. With very few laws that protect online privacy, users must take the initiative to read (and understand) each site’s privacy policy. When was the last time you did that?

(Bonus question for marketers: when was the last time you updated the privacy policy terms on your own site?)

Site privacy policies are long, text-heavy documents written by lawyers. They aren’t written by copywriters aiming to educate, entertain, and persuade. (Well, except for Facebook’s Privacy Guide, that’s pretty easy to read! It just doesn’t mention its security loopholes) The fact is that, even if you read a site’s privacy policy, you really don’t know what happens to your information after you give permission for it to be “shared with partners,” and you really have no choice about what happens to it going forward into the future.

I’m tempted to say “so read site terms and stop using sites that don’t give you enough control.” But then, how could you take quizzes? Download free software? Buy holiday gifts? One option might be to use a proxy server that makes your IP address anonymous. But again, that would require interest, effort, and determination on the part of the consumer. Hmm … my guess is that we’ll be enjoying more behaviorally-targeted ads!

If you’re interested in online privacy, check out these sources:

Security Through Obscurity and Privacy in Practice –


How to Surf the Web Anonymously –


Facebook’s Privacy Guide –


Standard Marketing is a Gas Guzzler – But New Marketing Will Always Be a Simulacrum

The Standard Marketing Model is a Gas Guzzler In his polemic book, Weblogs & new media: Marketing in crisis, Charles Hugh Smith compares traditional marketing to a “gas guzzler getting $14 miles to the gallon.” Traditional ads may look great, sound great, and be a lot of fun to create, but the reality is that we can’t continue to spend so much on mass-produced, one-size fits all traditional marketing efforts unless we get a better return, because, after all, oil is climbing to “$150 per barrel.” (Smith, 2008)

As an IMC marketer, I couldn’t agree more with Smith’s point about the ineffectiveness and waste of what he calls the “Standard Marketing Model.” The costs of traditional “broadcast” advertising are sky high, they are producing lower and lower leads and sales, and our continuing worldwide recession has made reliance on them an inappropriate choice for most companies. New media tools that permit measurement and can prove their ROI are both more affordable and more effective.

More importantly, in Smith’s view, our business goals must be to adapt our products to sell products to a market faced with credit contraction and resource shortages. From this point, our marketing messages and vehicles must have real value to the smaller universe of potential customers. We are entering an era of global scarcity

While I agree with Smith that mass-produced marketing efforts are no longer as effective, I simply don’t agree that “simulacrums of authenticity and community” (Smith, 2008) are no longer effective, or that they won’t be in the future. This is not just a reality of marketing communications, it’s a core reality of human communications: we put on a smile when we say hello and meet someone for the first time. We are more animated at parties. We clean the house before company comes over. We Photoshop our family portraits.

In The Interpersonal Communication Book, Communications and Linguistics professor Joseph DeVito refers to these human behaviors as “impression management strategies,” and writes that these statements “may be used to simply highlight what is already true about you but that others may not see at first glance.” (DeVito, 2008)

Markters are not lying when they make brand enhancing statementsSmith’s derision of advertising “imagery carefully-crafted to satisfy deep-seated yearnings for self-worth, purpose, novelty, and belonging” mistakes deliberate “impression management” for lies intended to mislead consumers or cover-up the truth. Smith isn’t alone in his concern with “inauthenticity” in marketing messages. The authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto write endlessly about the subject, horrified by the importance of “taglines” and staged PR events.

In contrast, DeVito argues that humans may deliberately enhance their self-presentation in order “to establish your credibility.” As marketers, self-enhancing statements allow us to establish our brand position. After we marketers craft our self-enhancing videos and stories, it’s up to us to prove the truth of these statements.

Significantly, DeVito goes on to note that “if these accomplishments are true, then this impression management effort is not deception.” Instead, they underscore the true value of our brand and help us to accomplish our marketing goal: to elevate our brand to the considered set, and to increase profit by increasing the amount that a prospect is willing to pay to purchase our brand.

By definition, this will continue to be the goal of business as long as there is any competition. I believe that even Smith’s beloved Millenial generation, who have not been tainted by the “easy money” of the past 25 years, will need to rely on self-enhancing, carefully-crafted marketing communications. No, marketing will not continue to be mass-produced. But it is likely to be both on-message and intrusive, even if it is chosen. What do you think?

Feel like a little marketing reading? Take a look at my sources:

DeVito, J. (2008). The Interpersonal Communication Book. Colombus, OH: Allyn & Bacon.

Levine, R., Locke, C., McKee, J., Searls, D., & Weinberger, D. (2009). The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. New York: Basic Books.

Smith, C.H. (2008). Weblogs & new media: Marketing in crisis. Berkeley, CA: Trewe Press.

What’s the Future of Television?

Just relaxing in front of the TVDid anyone notice Apple’s announcement earlier this month that they are re-introducing Apple TV? For just $99! Apple’s product isn’t really “TV” qua “television,” but actually a digital receiver device that allows users to buy and play digital content on-demand from the iTunes Store, Netflix, and other digital video content providers including YouTube. The new Apple TV also allows users to rent TV episodes from ABC, ABC Family, BBC, Disney Channel, and Fox.

So … just wondering: does that appeal to you? To me, it seems like a function that my computer and monitor already provide. But it’s made me think about the future of television.

Futurist George Wilder wrote this about television in 1990:

“The medium will change from a mass-produced and mass-consumed commodity to an endless feast of niches and specialties … A new age of individualism is coming, and it will bring an eruption of culture unprecedented in human history.” (Seabrook, 2002)

So, does this sound like prescience? Or starry-eyed dreaming?

People Make and Share Their Own Video These DaysI think it is a pretty apt description of our web world today, although not of what we still call “television.” YouTube, where you broadcast yourself, and Vimeo, where non-commercial artists and users who love the visual arts tend to broadcast their work, is exactly such an endless feast of individual interests and creation. We’ve utterly taken control of our content, and we now create and consume it whenever and wherever we want to, without intermediation and with far fewer interruptions from advertisers. We’ve been living in the world of user-generated content for quite some time, where, for the price of a computer and Internet access, we’ve become movie makers, musicians, designers, writers, and of course, marketers. We’ve attracted friends and followers, accepted speaking roles, and parlayed our communities into valuable properties for other marketers, via AdSense and blog network ads.

Television, though, remains “mass-produced.” So what makes it different from other video platforms? The fact that it’s a one-way medium. *ooh, I can feel you rolling your eyes* Please bear with me while I explain.

A decade ago there was an opinion among television marketing analysts that television was a “lean-back medium” (Turow, 2009), meaning that consumers literally “leaned back” – as in onto the couch pillows – while they watched. The implication was that viewers wanted to be passively entertained, rather than actively engaged, with their televisions.

Well, I find this to be true today, despite our greater overall engagement and co-creation of our entertainment. I think people turn to TV, rather than to video games, blogs, YouTube, or Facebook, when they feel like relaxing. All that social engagement takes creativity and energy! TV viewing is  pure entertainment. In the future, I don’t think people will want to see their television viewing become like YouTube viewing, full of cell phone videos and spammy commentsWaldorf and Statler from The Muppet Show amongst the watchable series and shows.

Full-disclosure, I like to lean back and watch my television. Granted, I usually have my cell phone with me, and use it to tweet comments about what I’m watching, kind of like Waldorf and Statler did when they snickered to each other while watching The Muppet Show. But tweeting about TV is part of my Twitter habit, not part of my television viewing habit. Isn’t it?

Put down your remote and think about your TV:

Seabrook, J. (2002). The big sellout: Is creative independent a luxury we can no longer afford? In K.K. Massey (Ed.), Mass communication: Media literacy and culture (2nd ed., pp. 42-51). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Turow, J. (2009). Rethinking television in the digital age. In B.E. Duffy & J. Turow (Eds.), Key readings in media today: Mass communication in contexts (pp. 413-425). New York: Routledge.

The Future of Apple TV – Juixe Techknow

Web Analytics YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

Stethoscope evaluates the health of your website marketing effortsGathering web analytics data about your website is kind of like a doctor using a stethoscope, plexor, and blood pressure cuff. Instead of telling us whether the patient is breathing and has normal reflexes, they give us signs of the general health and well-being of our website. Are people finding visiting our site (total site visits)?  Are people exiting our site from “thank you” pages, after registering for our newsletter, or are they leaving from the same page they arrived on (bounce rate)?

Just like physiological averages for blood pressure and respiration rate, basic site metrics have their own healthy averages: a bounce rate greater than 50% is worrisome because it indicates that visitors found something they did not expect or could not find what they were looking for, and spending more than a few minutes on the site and visiting two or more pages is generally good because it indicates the site is interesting.

From here, things get more complicated.

The metrics begin to prompt questions, which are then followed by still more questions:

  • Why do so many people leave the site without visiting a second page? Is it because they were completely satisfied by the single page they viewed and were ready to leave? Because the AdWords contextual ad that the visitor clicked on did not adequately describe the page and site they would arrive at? Maybe the page itself is not available, and a 404 Error shows? Maybe the page design is confusing, or the copy is uninteresting?
  • How much should you care? Is your site producing the number of lead conversions or ecommerce conversions you need?
  • How many page views are a good “target average” to reach on your site? How long should visitors remain on our site?
  • What percentage of visitors should “convert” by filling out your contact form or subscribing to your newsletter? If visitors convert after reaching your site as a result of a paid search ad, what amount of spending can be considered efficient?
  • Which keywords should bring visitors to our site? Which are more important – my brand names, or keyword terms that describe my business?

I could go on to describe the other questions that plague the marketer who views their web site analytics, but instead I’ll quote Web Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik: “The common theme in all these metrics is that they purport to say something, yet they say very little.”

Actually, understanding what website analytics tell you about your website, and then making a decision about which metrics are important to consider, and whether they indicate “good health” or “sickliness” (how much/how many) come from one place: your Marketing Goals and Objectives. You’ll need to search your own heart, mind, and files for that.

But here are some rules of thumb, courtesy of Lunametrics, a great Web Analytics training and consultancy.

Type of Site Goal for Site Key Metric
E-Commerce Site Visitors makes web store purchase Keyword SEO, Referring Sites, Exit Pages, Percentage of purchase goal conversions
Lead Generation Site Visitors inquire and we get their name Keyword SEO, Bounce Rate, Percentage of Contact Us form goal conversions
Content Site Visitor remains on site and views many pages Number of Pages Viewed, Time of Site

Check out my Resources & Get More info about Web Analytics:

So … what about using social media to listen to feedback?

Marketers listen to social media buzzWe’ve already covered the impact of the vocal minority – the Unequal Participants – in social media. The question is: how should marketers view their comments?

Many marketers listen to social media buzz in order to determine how their products and services are being received, and how competitors are doing. This can be risky, Nielsen reminds us, because social participation is skewed to the vocal minority. Active participants are not the average audience member. They may, or may not, represent the opinions of others. How to know for sure?

My belief is that reviews and comments online should generally be considered in the same category as a “convenience sample” in an opinion survey. The sample is not controlled, and the experiences and behavior of these individuals is not known, and may have a great impact on their opinion at the point in time when they made an online comment.

In my opinion, marketers should always listen, and we should really pay particular attention to things that are hard to hear. When we get an idea that needs to be researched, we should actually do marketing research. Just listening to buzz is the lazy way out.