Archive for July, 2008

Make Mine a Double: Google Double Serving in Content Network

July 30, 2008 2 comments

I recently wrote a post about the great Google content network and the new super campaigns available for advertisers in Adwords. The new features, flexibility, and transparency are expected to make the content network much more efficient for advertisers.

Unfortunately, today I captured a screen shot of Google double serving image ads on the content network. Double serving is “Displaying more than one ad for the same company or person at a time”. Google has a policy against double serving Adwords ads.

How does this happen? I am told it can occur because of contextual targeting and site-targeting in one account. I’m surprised Google’s technology isn’t smart enough to recognize this and prevent it.

But on the other hand, if you wanted to do this yourself, it would be pretty simple to get double exposure? You would just have to set-up two different campaigns. One that is site-targeted, and one with keywords using the new placement feature to target the same sites. Right?

Well, enjoy the technical error folks.

Double dipping? Google serves 2 ads on one page

Double dipping? Google serves 2 ads on one page


Introduction to SEM and Online Display Advertising (for Mike)

My friend Mike told me, “Lisa the blog is really entertaining, but I don’t really know much about search marketing. I’m just a programmer.” True, Mike. I almost forgot… I was too busy geeking out to ask you what you wanted. The Mavens were spewing CTR and ad networks and we haven’t written a back-to-basics for awhile. This is important since most of the clients we work with are beginners themselves. Much too busy running major brands, they leave it up to the Mavens to handle. And we appreciate that.

So Mike, this one’s for you.



Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of promoting a website through search engines like Google or Yahoo. Since there are millions of searches daily, it’s important that your website shows up in the search results when people are searching for you. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When the search engines produce a results page (a list of web pages related to your search terms), they list the pages in order of relevancy, with the most relevant page appearing first, then the next, and so on. It’s desirable to appear near the top of these results to get the most traffic to your website.

There are paid and non-paid SEM tactics one would use to show up higher in the search engine results. You can see there are a list of web pages on left. These are called “organic results” (non-paid) because Google and Yahoo find these naturally while scanning the Web. On the right-hand side, you will see “sponsored links” (paid): these are ads that match up to your search terms.

Appearing in the search results, higher up on the page, using a combination of organic and sponsored listings is what search marketing is basically all about. See, that was easy. – Lisa


teach me the basics, please

Online Display Advertising

Online display advertising consists of using ad space on websites to reach a desired target audience. Sites may include web portals, blogs, casual gaming sites, social networks, instant message applications, widgets, RSS feeds, and more.

The most common type of display advertising is banner ads. Banner ads typically come in standard sizes such as 728×90, 160×600, and 300×250 which refers to pixel width x height and are most often animated through Flash. For an extra serving fee, banners can also incorporate rich media functionalities which include interactive elements such as banner expansion, data submission, and gaming. Other types of display advertising include things like site skins (wallpapers), fixed sponsorships, and video.

Online display advertising is an important consideration as part of a media mix due to the exciting array of targeting and messaging opportunities and the fact that people are spending more and more time online. -Sarah

We have already outlined success metrics for online display and SEM campaigns, but will be getting back to the basics in future posts, talking about pros, cons, and opportunities within the SEM and online display industries.

Online Marketing Mavens Jump on the Online Video Bandwagon!

July 17, 2008 1 comment

Us Mavens are instrumental in educating various groups on our respective fields. Lisa came up with the stellar idea to video tape some of these sessions to post on our blog. Here is the first of the series. Check back often for more on Search and Interactive Media!

What is rich media?

Rich Media ads have an added functionality such as expansion, floating across the page, games, and in banner data submission. There are limitless things that you can do with rich media. Rich media vendors like to refer to it as “a micro-site within a banner”. Rich Media vendors are third party servers that will actually serve the ad and help us build it. They also help us measure interaction rate, time spent with the video and what people actually did when interacting with the banner ads.

Google Content Network and “Super Campaigns”

July 10, 2008 1 comment

The Online Marketing Mavens love content. There have been a lot of improvements lately on the Google content network. I can tell you from my recent experience, there appears to be some major glitches with Yahoo’s content network (for example, campaigns not even running).

Search engines are different from the content network. In search engines, the keywords we use indicate our intent- what we want to research or buy. In the content network, Google matches ads with the content on web pages. We’re reading the content, not actively searching for anything when we see the ads. This can be accomplished by (1) contextual targeting or (2) placement targeting.

(1) Contextually targeted ads are keyword triggered (it is the default automatic opt-in). Google will show your ads on web pages where the keywords appear on the page. This is not just a straight-up keyword match, but also based on fancy linguistic processing technology. For example, if you sell coffee, Google will match it to websites about drinking coffee and knows not to show it for the Java programming language.

(2) Placement targeting is much easier to grasp because you simply select specific sites you want your ad to run on. I want to run on or something. You can identify placements by domain name, demographics, topics, or categories.

Early in the content network there were several problems. We couldn’t tell what sites we were served on, and had little control. Consider the previous coffee example. Targeting the content network can be a problem if you didn’t want your ad along side an article about getting scalded by coffee. So this can be a problem for the sophisticated marketer.

Recent improvements have made the content network a much more viable option for advertisers. Now, we have more advanced options:

  • placement reports lists the sites where the ads show up
  • pricing options of CPC or CPM
  • controls to exclude sites or categories (ie, exclude user generated content or parked domains).

Just when you thought it was heaven on Google Earth, along comes another new feature currently in testing. My Google rep calls it the “Super Campaign”. Now the worlds of keyword targeting and placement targeting combine. In the Super Campaign, you can target both placements and keywords in the same campaign. In a perfect application, you could target shopping sites and use keywords related to only to coffee. Only showing up for shopping content about coffee.

You can see in the screen shot how this looks within the Adwords interface. Can’t wait for his to be widely available to test on new campaigns!

The Super Campaign could obviously lead to an entirely new approach to content targeting. Think about targeting health sites, but only with keywords for exercise (not healthy foods). Or general news sites and targeting certain type of news with keywords, only content about “gas prices”.

The possibilities are endless…

UPDATE 7-21-08: The new option appears to be available to all advertisers now. It’s accessible by drilling down to the AdGroup level in Google Adwords.

Flash and Search: Best Friends?

July 1, 2008 3 comments

I love algorithms: “Google has been developing a new algorithm for indexing textual content in Flash files of all kinds, from Flash menus, buttons and banners, to self-contained Flash websites. Recently, we’ve improved the performance of this Flash indexing algorithm by integrating Adobe’s Flash Player technology.”

Late yesterday Google and Adobe announced a collaboration to make dynamic web content more searchable. Finally, millions of sites that use Flash technology will be searchable without the need for companies to alter them.

Search engines currently index very limited data about Flash sites which has caused major challenges for designers in marrying creative, dynamic content, and searchability.

What will be indexed by Google? Google says all of the text that users can see in the Flash file will be indexed and can be used to match query terms in Google searches. If the Flash site contains only images, they will not recognize or index any text that may appear in those images. These elements will be invisible to Google. Although they will be able to better crawl links in the site, they won’t be able to read the anchor text for Flash buttons which target some URL, but which have no associated text.

How will this impact PPC paid search? Will Google use this new algorithm for the Google AdsBot? Since the AdsBot collects only landing page information to apply to quality scores, it makes sense this technology would eventually be used to read Flash landing pages. This would allow advertisers to offer a more customized and dynamic user experience and better meet the needs of searchers. Fer sur.

Yahoo also plans to support searchable SWF. Hurry up, Yahoo…