Yearly Archives: 2007

Google AdWords Launches Placement Targeting

Google just announced that it has launched CPC model for it’s Site targeting campaign. It even renamed their model from “Site Targeting” to “Placement Targeting”. This would be welcomed by many advertisers since most of them felt comfortable with CPC model as compared to CPM model. Advertisers will be given a choice whether to opt for CPC model or CPM model. More information can be found here:

http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/11/two-updates-to-site-targeting.html

First Look at Google TV ads

I just received invitation from Google to try out Google TV ads. Anybody interested in Google TV ads can apply for beta test here. Below are few screen shots on how to setup TV ad campaign. Please click on individual pictures for larger image.

1) In case if you want some professional agency to create video ads for you then you can click on the first option “Go to Ad Creation Market Place”. Those who are already familiar with Audio ads need no explanation regarding this. It is very similar to Audio ad creation marketplace.
2) In audio ad creation marketplace, a button of “TV” alongside “Audio” button can be seen. Click on the “TV” button and you will see the following:
  • Depending on your requirements you can filter out agencies based on the budget, turnaround time and other selections. For example if your budget is in the range of $250 to $500 then you can select second option. Agencies are filtered out based on the typical price they charge for creation of video ads. The actual quotation will be given to you by the agency (after you select few of them for quotation). These rates do not include charges which you will be paying to the channels for broadcasting your ad on their network. Different agencies will have different rates.
  • You can also filter out agencies/TV specialist based on turn around time:
  • It can be one week or 2 day turn around time.
  • You can also select filming based on location:
  • There are other selections like Voiceover, Pre-produced content library, Rights managed content, live actors and other criterias. More details can be found here .
  • You can know whether a given specialist offers Voiceover, Live actors, music by cheking the icons. Please check below picture:
3) After you select few of the specialist, you ask them to bid for your requirements. Each specialist will get back to you with price quotation based on your requirements. Google will recommend you to select at least more than one specialist. Before submitting for bids, you will have to fill out form where you can specify your requirements like goal of the ad, any key messages and other important questions. As said earlier, the process is very similar to Google audio ads.
4) After you get the final creative from Ad Creation Market place, then you will have to upload the video in your AdWords account. The procedure is given here.
5) It’s not necessary that you have to get the creative made by the specialist. If you already have digital video or you can create video on your own/in house staff then you can skip the first part and simply upload final video in your AdWords account. Make sure that final video follows Google Editorial Guidelines for TV ads. You can find the guidelines here.
6) The second option (please refer first picture) is for advertisers who already have video ad on physical tape. Google will get your 30 second ad convert into digital form for you. You just have to post your tape to Google complex in California. Details given here.
7) The last step is to select and submit final video ad to different networks. Click “Create TV Campaign” (refer first picture). After that you will have to select various options like whether to run ads nationally or in Concord and Walnut Creek, CA local market or both.
8 ) You can select the networks, day and time to run the ads or you can ask Google to recommend a schedule.
9) I made selection of Men aged between 25 to 54 which gave me following results. Not all results are displayed in below picture. It typically showed more of news & sports channels.
10) The next step is to select the video Ad from your AdWords account.
I didn’t went through the entire process. The next step was “Set Pricing” and “Review and Save”. It may also be possible that your ad may not be accepted by the channel/network which you selected (just like audio ads).
The rates are bound to be higher than audio ads. Let me know if someone has more information on this.
Useful Links:
FAQs
https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=10644

Informal Press Meet at Search Camp event

As part of the advisory board of Search Camp, I was asked by the organizers to interact with Press. The actual meeting was quite informal and was held in the canteen of Tidel park on 6th October at 11.30 am. Vikram from Efficient Frontier, myself, Mr C R Venkatesh from Dot com Infoway, and a few members of knowledge foundation were to interact with people from Press.

S Shyamala from Financial Express, Judy Franko from exchange 4 Media and Vankatachari Jagannathan from Domain-b were part of the press team. After a brief introduction of other such events organized by Knowledge Foundation the questions from press people (and even from some members from Knowledge foundation) was basically to explain the SEO / SEM and other such jargons. Ezhil Raja started off by explaining why Search Marketing industry is important and hence the importance of conducting such a seminar.

Vikram talked about Pay per click and gave a few estimations of the industry size. The members of Press were pretty interested in knowing our views on the future of advertising. I told that US is basically the benchmark to see global trends in advertising. I gave example of Google offering Print, Television and Radio ads to its clients in US. Online being a ROI driven medium it would offer additional pressure on the offline model to show performance. Since there was no Wifi at the café, we were finding it difficult to explain difference between organic and paid search results in Google. Luckily I had a presentation in my laptop about this and we showed it to the members of press.

In terms of challenges facing the industry, I said that that there is a serious lack of talent in the industry and not many students are aware that Search Marketing is a very bright career option.

S Shyamala was quite interested in knowing why The Hindu shows up for most search results in South India. I told her that it might be because they have invested in SEO. I follow the Indian Express website (I love reading news on this website) and hence told her that the new Content management System which Indian Express has migrated to seems to be more SEO friendly and maybe they will also see some good rankings. She was more interested in knowing about Search Engine Optimization and how it works.

Conversation then shifted to Click Fraud and how it affects our industry. We had few light moments during this discussion as Mr V Jagannathan seemed to be quite interested in how one makes money from Click Fraud. We teased him a bit about this. Its good that the press is aware of Click Fraud because we need their help in fighting this menace.

At this point we concluded our meet and left for the next session at Search Camp.

Review of the first Search Camp event in Chennai, India.

The Knowledge foundation India (a non profit organization) has to be congratulated for organizing a very successful Search Camp event. It’s really great to see Search Marketing events happen in India. Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has conducted some really great Search Marketing events in few major cities of India (in last two to three years). SEMPO also (under Vivek Bhargav and Gulrez of Communicate 2) has started Search Wednesday Mixers. However the SEMPO event happens only in Mumbai (as of now).

Coming back to Search Camp I was asked to be on the advisory board after I got a call from Mr Sukumar. He was an old client who worked with us regarding his project. He is part of the Core team of the Knowledge foundation. After that I interacted with Durga who kept me updated of the schedule and I also got a call from Ezhil Raja two days before the conference.

The first day was ok but majority of discussions were focused on the Paid side (PPC or Search Engine Marketing). Mahesh from Pinstorm gave a good presentation (but to be honest Mahesh is a great speaker – just like Vivek from Communicate 2). You give these guys a microphone in their hand and they can keep speaking – without boring the audience. It’s a natural talent both of these guys have.

I was on a panel that was supposed to discuss “Search Marketing – Inhouse or Outsource”. However most of the panelists were for outsourcing of Search Marketing. Kiruba (he was the host for the event – a very nice person with the right amount of humor) asked me and Vikram (from Efficient Frontier) if either of us would speak for doing Search Marketing in-house. Both of us said that we have to be truthful about our opinions and hence would support outsourcing. Luckily C. R. Venkatesh of Dot com Infoway said he would oppose. Also Kiruba did a great job of turning the audience against the four of us who were supporting Outsourcing.

I had to leave an hour after my session, but others enjoyed networking and had a blast. However, by the end of day 1 and beginning of day 2, the whole event was overshadowed by SEM and there were not enough sessions on SEO. It is at this time that we had an absolutely great (and funny) presentation on Black hat SEO by Ezhil Raja. You had to be there to see the digs he took at all Google, Yahoo and MSN (He called MSN the Spam search engine – it had me in splits).

During lunch at day 2, I was talking to Sukumar and Kiruba when few others joined in and Kiruba started a discussion on entrepreneurs and how they leave their job and start their own companies. I told him that I started my first company when I was in college (about eighteen) and that I was rejected in the first two job interviews of my life!

After Panel discussion on day 2 an impromptu SEO discussion was started (because the organizers were also fed up of SEM sessions). I was not there but Vivek and Gulrez from Communicate 2 said that they loved that session. Also I got a feel that lot of people in the audience themselves knew a lot about SEO.

Among the interesting people I met at this conference were three people from the Search Quality team of Google. I had some good discussions with Vivaik. I have posted it separately over here.

I also had some good discussions with Rajesh Sule from Position 2 (we first met at panel discussion at SEMPO Wednesday mixers on “Creativity in Search” – both of us were on the panel).

I also had sometime to talk with Mahesh Murthy (from Pinstorm) before he left to catch his flight on day 1. On day two I kept bumping into Vivek and Gulrez from Communicate 2 and Vivaik from Google Search Quality team.

I was a bit surprised when I kept bumping into people who knew eBrandz. Rajasekar of Sify told me that he loves our website and follows some of our own rankings. I also met a SEO professional from Hyderabad at Chennai airport who said that he follows our work. He thought that the owner of eBrandz was a 45 year old guy (I am 27 years old).

It was really encouraging to see a good audience at the Tidel Park in Chennai even on Sunday. Even amazing was the fact that 90% of the audience was from outside Chennai. I don’t remember, but this made someone comment to Kiruba that there is life outside of Chennai. The Auditorium at Tidel Park had great Air conditioning (much needed for the guys from Mumbai) and also had Wify connection from Sify. A Lot of people were surfing the internet while listening to speakers and cross checking some of the things they were saying.

A few of us from Mumbai told the knowledge foundation that another such event should definitely be planned (in Mumbai). They were going to discuss this Sunday evening. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

My talk with Google Search Quality engineer

During lunchtime of the Search Camp event in Chennai, I met Alok and Vivaik from Google. Two very unassuming guys who turned out to be Search Quality engineers at Google.

Although it would not be right on my behalf to post our entire discussion, but it was really good to know that these guys came to the Search Camp event just to hear SEOs comment on Google natural search. Although I did not see anyone specifically comment on this, I am sure they met some good people who will give them valuable feedback.

I asked them whether they go to forums to check what SEOs talk about Google and they replied in the affirmative. It seems that they visit webmasterworld, SEOchat and a few other forums. I also asked them if they were looking at only India specific results or global and it seems that they look into all English language results.

When asked if they were not fed up of rants and other biased comments from SEOs they said that it’s their job to see whether there was truth to what the SEOs are saying. I must say I was impressed because its very easy to get put off by excessive Google search sucks rant of SEO (ask any popular forum moderator and they will agree).

eBrandz Annual Function

Yes, it’s that time around a year when we organize our annual function. eBrandz was launched in 2003 and therefore we would be completing our 4 years on 9th September. This time we have organized our workshop at “The Great Escape” water park. The date is set to 8th September i.e. tomorrow. We would have small presentations from management and key team members. After that, whole day would be dedicated in having fun and enjoying the water park rides. The function would be starting at 10 AM and would end at approximately 5:30 PM.

It would be fun and we are very excited for the day!

Venue:

Parol – Bhiwandi Road,
Off Vajreshwari Road,
Bombay Ahmedabad highway,
Virar (East).
Thane, Maharashtra, India.
Time: 10:00 AM
Date: 8th September, 2007

Google AdWords Extends Pay Per Action to More Advertisers

Few days ago Google AdWords, extended their Pay Per Action pricing model to include more advertisers. In March they introduced Pay Per Action model and it was available to select advertisers only. Now they have extended this model to include more advertisers. So exactly which advertisers are getting these invitations and what is the criteria?

It’s available to only those advertisers who are receiving more than 500 leads per month either in their CPC (content network campaign) or CPM (site targeted campaign). And one must already have AdWords conversion tracking code installed on their website.

So if your AdWords account is showing more than 500 leads in last 30 days then you should expect an invitation from AdWords to start Pay Per Action (PPA) campaign.

Why Your Ads are not Displayed on Google

Our Pay Per Click team had a brainstorming session in which we were thinking of reasons why sometimes one cannot see ads on Google.com. We tried to think of every possible reason which we can. There was once a very good link at WebmasterWorld Forums. You can Click Here to visit that link. It was originally posted by eWhisper in Jan 2004 but Google AdWords has come a long way since. There were many updates in AdWords system and I thought why not try to post a new one. We came up with following reasons. Let me know if we have missed anything:

1. Account Inactive: As long as the billing information is not submitted and the account not activated, the delivery of ads will not begin.
 

2. Review Process: Sometimes although the account has been activated but the ads may not be seen in Google as they are in the “Review Process”. So here the ads will be seen only after they are reviewed and approved by the AdWords specialist.

Review Process

3. Not on 1st Page: Some times the ads’ rank may be very low and so it may not appear on the 1st page. But it may appear on next page.

4. Inactive Keyword (Minimum Bid) : If the keyword required minimum bid is higher than the actual bid set, then the keyword will be inactive and not appear in search results.

5. Daily Budget Depleted: If the daily budget is depleted then the ads will not be shown for the rest of the day. Depleted

6. Ad Delivery Method (Recommended Budget More than Set Budget): There are two possibilities here.

  • Ad Delivery – Standard Method: If the recommended budget is higher then the set budget then the ads may not appear all the time throughout the day.
  • Ad Delivery – Accelerated Method: If your daily budget got used up in the morning due to accelerated method and you are searching in afternoon then you may not see your ad.

7. Disapproved Ads: If the Ads are disapproved, let’s say there are 2 ads in an Ad Group and both are disapproved due to some reason not meeting the Editorial guidelines in AdWords. So when the keywords belonging to that Ad Group are searched for, the ads will not be shown.

8. Network Selected: If you have selected only Content network and you are searching in Google.com then you won’t see your ad.

9. Ad Scheduling: If the Ad Scheduling feature is ON, then the ad may not appear at the time when it is searched for as the time may be outside the scheduled time.

10. Position Preference: If the Position Preference is enabled in the Edit Campaign Settings then the ads may not be seen if the bid is not high enough for the ad to be placed in the position that we have selected.

11. Server Delays: When new account is activated, sometimes due to server delays the ad may not appear online instantaneously.

12. Geo Targeting: If you are searching any ad outside the targeted geo graphical settings then the ad will not be seen. As an example if the geo targeted area is only set to USA and if someone is searching in UK then the ads will not be seen online. Geo Targeting

13. Sensitive keywords: There are keywords which can trigger Google’s red flag. Google content policy can give you some idea of keywords which are flagged by Google. However one cannot know exactly which keyword can trigger the red flag.

14. Billing Problem: Because of the Google billing issues or credit card problems ads stops running online.

15. Active Campaigns and Adgroups: Campaign and adgroup must be active for ads to appear online. If by accidentally someone pauses the ads or keywords or campaigns then the ads may not appear online.

16. Campaign Scheduled End Date: As an example if the campaign was scheduled to run only till June 10th and if you are searching for ads on June 11th onwards then you may not see your ads online.

17. Affiliate Policy: Due to new affiliate policy, Google displays only one ad for affiliates and parent companies sharing same display URL. The most performing ad is selected and shown on Google results. If you are an affiliate and share same display URL with the merchant and your ad is not top performing then chances are that your ad will not be seen on Google search results.

18.Negative Keywords: Sometimes when negative keywords overlap with the searched keyword then Google will not show your ad. So check again for all negative keywords inserted at campaign level and at ad group level. Remove any unnecessary keywords which can bring you potential customers.

These are the ones which we can think of. If there are any more then do feel free to inform me. I would add those reasons here.

In more Detail – Quality Score, Quality Index and more Complex Systems

Few years back managing Pay per click engines wasn’t so difficult. There were less players but bidding system wasn’t so complicated. Google AdWords at that time was ranking ads based on a combination formula of Maximum CPC (cost per click i.e. in simple word your bid) and Click Through Rate (CTR). While other players like Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) had a simple system of ranking ads based on purely bids. The highest bidder was given No.#1 position.

Whether few years back or today, Google AdWords was the most complicated system and yet today it has complex rules of ranking ads. But most importantly even Yahoo! and Microsoft adCenter have started giving more relevance on performance and quality based results. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s Live Search are the three major search engines who have started weighing more relevance on landing page, performance and other non CPC factors to rank ads. All this rules and system which are introduced can mean one thing – to improve search results.

This may be bad news for Mr. Money Bags who had to previously only throw money (except in Google) to gain high rankings. But it may also work to your advantage if one can understand the rules & system properly and accordingly design the campaign. Let’s have a brief look at what is being introduced here:

Google AdWords

By far the most complicated and interesting system to be designed. To make it simple the ads are ranked on two factors – Quality score and maximum bid. And on what factors does the Quality score depends on? Most importantly what is Quality score? To keep things simple let’s not divulge in much details. Quality Score is a qualitity which is determined by factors like

1) Keyword click thorugh rate (Keyword CTR)
2) Ad Copy click through rate (Ad Copy CTR)
3) Account history
4) Most Recent history
5) Other Relevancy factors (there can be many other relevancy factors but advertiser can focus on the above mentioned 4 factors)

In essence what Google tells you is that if you excel and perform better in all the above mentioned factors then your overall performance would be considered better and that would work in advantage for you. This could mean that with good performance in Quality score you can gain higher position with less bid with respect to your competitor.

Yahoo! Search Marketing

Google uses the term “Quality score” then Yahoo uses the term “Quality Index”. Yahoo ranks it’s ad based on two factors – Quality Index and Bid. So what is this Quality Index? It sounds similar to what Google AdWords has been using. Is it same and complicated? No! It’s not same, but complicated? – well that depends from person to person

Let’s take a look at Quality Index. Quality index is determined by two factors:

1) Ad’s CTR (click through rate) historical performance relative to it’s competitors.
2) Ad’s expected performance which is determined by Yahoo’s ranking algorithm compared to the existing competitors displayed at same time.

To make it simple, it is the CTR and bid which determines the ad ranking in Yahoo’s Panama system.

Microsft adCenter

Well, Microsfot adCenter hasn’t used any specific terms like Quality score or Quality index but they have specified certain guidelines which affects ad ranking. Apart from bids following factors determine the ad ranking:

1) How close keyword (user search query) is relevant to Ad Copy
2) How close is the user search query relevant to the landing page
3) How close is the query relevant to both ad copy and landing page
4) How unique is ad copy as compared to other ads. In essence adCenter tries to remove duplicate ad copies from it’s search results to improve user search experience.

Overall these systems award high rankings and less cost for advertisers who give hard work. I don’t foresee smaller tier engines introducing such “Quality based” rankings in their sponsored system, but one can never know.

Acquisitions of past two months

Yes, it’s been a very long time since we have posted anything. For the past two months there has been lots of acquisitions especially by Google. Let’s take a brief overview of these acquisitions:

Google:

Double Click: Google acquires Double Click for $3.1 billion dollars. Perhaps the most controversial take over of the year. Federal Trade commission have opened an investigation into this deal. The deal also meant that Google gained Performics – an internet marketing firm. Double Click acquired Performics in 2004.

Marratech: Marractech is a video conferencing software. This software will enable to do video conferencing on internet. Not much information was shared about this deal. The official Google blog had posted about the acquisition here

Feedburner: Google acquired Feedburner for $100 million dollars. Feedburner is a feed management provider helping users to manage their feeds. Their management tools helps to optimize feeds and includes traffic analysis tools.

GreenBorder: GreenBorder is an internet security company helping to fight viruses, trojans and spywares. This acquisition may mean that Google in future warn it’s users about the possible harmful sites in it’s search results. In Google’s words they want to improve their “Overall user experience”.

Panoramio: Panoramio is a photo sharing website. Google acquisition of Panoramio would help them integrate their application in Google Earth.


Microsoft

aQuantive: Microsoft acquired aQuantive for $6 billion dollars. aQuantive is a parent company of Atlas and Avenue A|Razorfish. Microsoft justifies this deal to gain more online advertising revenues.

There was also rumors of Microsft taking over Yahoo! and 24/7. After acquiring aQuantive Microsoft was more than happy with the deal and those rumors was laid to rest. 24/7 was later acquired by WPP.