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The Best PPC Platforms For Branding, Content Distribution And Sales

Mike Essex

by Mike Essex on 14th August 2013

Video Transcript

One of the biggest areas of wastage in online marketing is when people use paid search channels for the wrong purpose, and quite often that involves people using the Google AdWords Search Network to do things that it really isn’t designed to do, like build awareness of a brand. So what I’m going to do in this video today is to discuss all the different kinds of online advertising platforms, what they can do and the different ways they can be used to suit specific business needs.

Now hopefully, this will expand your mind a bit further than just using AdWords Search Network. But what I’ll also do as well is explain areas where AdWords is fantastic and how different feature sets within AdWords can generate better results as well.

So the first thing you need to do with any paid advertising project is to determine what the advertising spend is going to be used for. Do you want to build awareness of your brand? Do you want to push that piece of great content you’ve written that nobody’s reading? Do you want to get leads, or do you want to make sales? And yes, we always want to make sales. But sometimes you have to do these other parts of the funnel to get to sales. And quite often, the types of channels you should use for brand awareness should be channels that are cheap, that are made to reach a lot of people without spending one pound per person, like a specifically high amount on each person.

Now if you advertise on the AdWords Search Network for the term “shoes,” you’re going to reach a ton of people, but it’s going to cost a lot of money to do that. You’d be far better off putting an advert on Facebook, targeting people with an interest in shoes and fashion, and creating a branded style advert. The power of this is that people who see the advert get exposed to your brand, and it’s only if they click the advert that you actually have to pay. Better still, if you use that advert to direct people to your Facebook page and they like the page, you can keep exposing them to your brand on a regular basis again and again, and it hasn’t cost you a lot to do it. Whereas with AdWords, if you spend a lot of money on the word “shoes” and you get a click and they don’t convert, that’s it. You lost them. It’s a waste.

Likewise you can do that same thing on Twitter. You can have hashtags, or you can have sponsored content or even just a sponsored account that appears for related people. It’s about putting yourself in people’s minds when they’re searching for relevant things, but it’s about not spending a lot per person. The downside of Twitter advertising is that there is a £5,000 minimum spend. So yes, there is a high cost down on the table that gets spread out across your adverts, but if you are a big brand, then that’s not very much at all. So it all about how it fits in with your campaign. Personally, I would love it if everybody could use Twitter advertising, and it was a £5 minimum spend like AdWords. So hopefully, one day that’s how it will become.

The Display Network. So you can use AdWords to build awareness of a brand. I just wouldn’t recommend the Search Network to do it. The Display Network is when you go to a website and you see adverts on the side. Quite often they’ll be run by Google. I think Google’s got inventory on over 90% of the Web. Sorry, I mean they can reach 92% of the Web through the sites that have got AdSense on them.

Now what’s useful again here is that you can have brand messages that only get paid when people click on them. So people can see your brand all the time on lots of different websites, and you don’t even have to pay unless they click. That’s a lot more powerful.

And we’ve got YouTube. Another good loophole with YouTube is that people who don’t watch your advert for more than five seconds, you don’t have to pay for. So if you can sneak branded messages in really quickly in the first five seconds, again it’s more free exposure for your brand.

Content Marketing. Outbrain, the fantastic thing about this is that when people reads articles on the Guardian, TIME, in fact over 100,000 different news sites, they could be exposed to your piece of content that you’ve written as a “sponsored story” at the bottom or a “related story” (which is actually worded better because there is more chance they might click on it and read it). Because, let’s face it, if you make great content, but you don’t already have a good network of people who like your site or like your brand, then nobody’s going to read it. And sometimes you do have to spend money to inject people into your content initially just to get the word out. But at the same time, that grows your brand. It grows the people who are aware of your content. It means that next time you do something, you won’t have to necessarily spend as much if you’ve built up this audience. So there’s no shame in paying for people to read your content initially.

There’s also no shame in using Zemanta. What this does is when bloggers make blog posts, Zemanta is sitting there on the side, and it recommends related content that they could link to. So this technically means that you’re getting links in a nice ethical way. So it’s good for SEO, and it’s also good from the perspective that if a blogger links to your post within their post, some of their traffic may come and read your content. This is good if there are bloggers who you’ve been trying to get to link to you for ages. A lot of bloggers are refusing guest posts now. So this is another way to get in front of them and get your content seen.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery is the last one for content that I’d recommend. StumbleUpon is a platform where people get recommendations for content to read, which they can either give a thumbs up, which means that it gets recommended to more people, or they can hit Stumble, which means they’ll get more content and the chance of other people seeing it is reduced. With Paid Discovery, you pay for a certain number of people to see the content initially. So you can say “I want 1,000 people to see my content, and I’m going to pay I think it’s about $0.10 for each person who sees it”. The beauty of this is if those people give it a thumbs up, then more people will see it for free. So you can pay for 1,000 people and you could get like 10,000 people actually being exposed to your content if they like it. So if you written something and you know that it’s absolutely amazing and people are going to want to share it, love it, and like it, then use StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. I’m not even considering here that people will also share it on social media if they love it, so there’s that awareness as well which comes out of it. Not bad for $0.10 per person.

Lead Generation – Remarketing. If you’re using the Display Network, then remarketing just kind of unlocks this extra power in it. If someone visits a page on your website and you know for a fact that them viewing that page makes them somebody you want to have come back later, then use remarketing to get them to come back. As an example, if somebody viewed a product on your website and added it to their basket and didn’t buy it, then you can remarket them adverts that remind them that that product is there that they need to come back for it. If you don’t actually sell a product that people can buy there and then; if it’s more of a case that people have to speak to you on the phone or it’s a more expensive product that has a multiple step process before they purchase, then you could use remarketing there. In our case, if somebody viewed our Service page, for example, like our SEO Services page, we can choose to remarket them with banner adverts that offer them an SEO newsletter, and if they download that newsletter, then we would get their contact details. Then we could start the lead gen process with them and start trying to sell to them.

We’ve also got LinkedIn. LinkedIn advertising has a cool feature that lets you actually get people’s contact details when they click on your advert. People can actually opt in to give you details, which means that instead of just getting a nameless, faceless click, you know who did it. You can talk to them and try to sell it to them later.

You can also pay for LinkedIn Mail, which isn’t a pay per click model. It’s a monthly fee, and that lets you send 10 free emails a month to anybody on LinkedIn, even if you are not friends with them directly. If there is somebody you’ve been trying to get in touch with for ages and you can’t get through on the phone, you can’t get through by other means, LinkedIn Mail lets you at least put an email in their inbox, and if they don’t reply to it, you get a credit back that you can contact somebody else with.

SlideShare. The thing I love about SlideShare is you can put on your visual content, your presentations, your PDFs. They also accept infographics now, and you can put a form on there at the end that lets you collect people’s details. You can put it at the start actually or the end, depending on your preference, so you know who has viewed it. It’s purely optional, but the chances are the people who do fill in that information are the people who are interested in what you’ve done, and then you’ve got their contact details for future opportunities.

It’s not just exclusive to SlideShare. There are many other sites where you can host your content and put a form on it if you pay to gather that information. I would always recommend that you pay to gather information from people who are actually looking at your content, because if it’s just nameless, faceless clicks, you can’t sell to it, you can’t build up long-term relationship with these people, and not everybody who shares your content is someone you’re going to sell to, but it might be that you want them to share your content in the future or share your products, or talk about your brand, become a brand advocate. That’s only going to happen if you find out who these people are and then start building up conversations with them.

And last of all Sales. I’m going to talk about Bing advertising before I talk about AdWords. Although most people recommend AdWords over Bing, the advantage that Bing has is that it has significantly lower cost per click in really competitive industries, such as finance, medical, healthcare. These industries can cost a lot of money on AdWords, and they still do cost a lot on Bing, but it’s less, and the traffic that comes from those sources is generally just as high quality as Google AdWords if you are bidding on the exact same keywords and criteria. If you are finding that the niche that you operate in is far too costly on paid search or you just want to experiment with a potentially cheaper option, it’s always worth trying Bing advertising.

If you do want to use Google AdWords and you really want to do something that’s cool and powerful on it, use product listing adverts. Yes, it sucks that they’re not free anymore, but it’s because they convert like crazy that Google want to make you pay for them.
I wouldn’t recommend PLAs if your product is cheap, like £10 or so, because when you factor in your profit margin is going to be less than that and not every click is going to convert, it’s hard to get enough of a profit from that to make it work. However, if your product is like £100 and you can spend like a pound a click, you’ve got a good chance there of making a nice bit of profit off of that every single time.

And last of all, the Search Network. I have to include Google AdWords, and I have to admit it is amazing, but it’s only amazing when you focus on sales. Everything you do on the AdWords Search Network should be designed to get sales and push for lead gen. If you use AdWords for content or brand awareness, especially the Search Network, it just doesn’t work as well. So really if you’re advertising on the Search Network, what you want to do is have specific keywords that target people who are in the buying process. So don’t just put the keyword “shoes” on there on broad match. You want to put people who are searching for “buy shoes” or maybe a specific type of shoe that you stock.

You want to also have negative keywords to get out any of the searches where people are researching. So if someone is searching for ‘shoe reviews’, reviews should be a negative, because you don’t want to show up for that search at all.

We’ve got loads more videos about AdWords if you do want to dig into that a lot more. So if you check out any of the social profiles at the end of this video, you can find out a lot more about that channel.

I hope this has helped unlock a few more opportunities for you in showing that AdWords is not the only platform out there. There are many, many others that can suit all kinds of different needs. If you can think of any other platforms I’ve missed out, please leave them in the comments, or if you’ve got any views on how effective these are, then also please leave a comment.

Thanks for watching, and hopefully we’ll see you on Koozai.com soon.

Mike Essex

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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