Category Archives: Advertising

GOOGLE RESTRICTS PAYDAY LOAN ADVERTISERS FROM USING ITS ADVERTISING PLATFORM

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Google recently updated its personal loan advertising guidelines that will have an impact on a lot of financial players in the market. According to its new advertising guidelines, Google’s not going to let misleading ads and sites that openly promote dangerous payday loan offers to use its AdWords advertising space.

…we’re banning ads for payday loans and some related products from our ads systems. We will no longer allow ads for loans where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue. In the U.S., we are also banning ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher.

Because of the Short Payback Periods

As per new AdWords guidelines, Google will no longer accept and show ads promoting payday loans requiring repayment within a couple of months. The reason being, Google doesn’t intend to host brands that run ads promoting higher interest rates and short repayment cycles as they may lead a lot of borrowers to sink into unmanageable debts. By banning offers from websites that can possibly harm the end user, Google’s latest policy update will help businesses that offer better repayment options to the consumer.

This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products and will not affect companies offering loans such as Mortgages, Car Loans, Student Loans, Commercial loans, Revolving Lines of Credit (e.g. Credit Cards).

Taking a cue from Facebook and other online advertising platforms, Google’s banning ads from websites that mislead users into buying short repayment cycle bound personal loans. As per its existing Ad policies, Facebook bans any form of paid advertising on its platform that promotes payday lending, irrespective of their repayment terms.

Because of the High APRs

Also, Google intends to restrict advertisers that promote personal loans having more than 36% of APRs. This, in turn can impact several online businesses which offer personal loan schemes, with over 36% cap through their site content or via SEM ads.

Short Repayment Loans and Payday Loans are particularly infamous for offering loans at higher Annual Percentage Rates (APR). However, escalation in the rate of interest can reach over 400% mark, which totally depends on the borrowed sum. Leveraging these kinds of loans puts greater financial burden on the consumer, who finds himself unable to clear the debts owing to the saddling of high-interest rates.

When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that.

Google’s latest endeavor is so designed to protect consumers from getting involved in deals that could harm them financially. In order to protect borrowers, Google’s pushing for small loans at 36% APR cap on both federal and state legislationlevels, which will help counter the devastating impact that 300% loans have had on struggling families.

By restricting sites offering personal loans with high APR and short payback time, Google’s trying to protect the consumer from getting involved in deals that are difficult to pay off. However, this may take time, as the 36% Rate Cap is Gaining Renewed Acceptance and notices are being sent across to personal loan issuers to make their site content and offers compliant with the new personal loan based guidelines in the next couple of months.

BING LURES ADVERTISERS BY ROLLING OUT NEW CALLOUT AND REVIEW AD EXTENSIONS

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Improving the quality of your displays ads with extensions is one of the best ways to make your website stand out in front of your target audiences. To help advertisers achieve that, Microsoft-powered Bing network recently rolled out not one, but two ad extensions. According to reports, Bing rolled out two ad extensions last week, viz Review and Callout extensions, in all Bing ad markets; except in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong. Hence, advertisers can make use of both these extensions to not only build trust but also increase their click through rate. Let’s see how advertisers can make use of both these extensions that will now be a part of Bing’s ad network.

Callout extensions

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As an advertiser, you can add up to 20 Callout extensions in your ad campaign and display as low as two Callout extensions in your ad group.

But, as to how these callouts show-up on the ad network may vary in terms of the ad format. The ad shown above displays two lines of callout ad extensions, wherein one features dot separators (“Free Cancellation”) and the other shows up with dash separators (“The 20 best hotels in Chicago, IL”).

Review extensions

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Review extension is quite useful as it helps to extend the authority of the site. To do that effectively, you need to get reviews from your industry specific, credible sources. Besides that, these reviews must show up on the landing pages that are specifically designed for this purpose. To have a positive impact on your site, reviews need to be worked out accurately along the lines of the original review idea.

The ad display shown above has two lines of callouts and extended site links which come along with review extensions, displaying a review from the World Travel Awards.

Advertisers can add both these new features from the Ad Extension tab on their Bing Ads dashboard.

GOOGLE ADDS TO LOCAL SEARCH MARKETERS’ WOES BY BRINGING TWO AD CHANGES

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Google likes to be in control and that’s why it keeps making changes in its search algorithm, to keep businesses guessing and the search industry on its toes. This time again Google made some changes to the local SERPs. These changes will have an impact on searches pertaining to the physical location of businesses, especially retailers and service providers.

Ads to Now Appear in Local Finder Results

Business ads find themselves in a new space, in the Local Finder results as big brands are being forced out of the local SERPs. Locating these branded ads now becomes a task as the user has to click on the “More Places” option that is being served in Google’s three pack search results. Brian Barwig, the local SEO specialist spotted these ads first in the Local Finder results.

Panic will set in amongst businesses with ads being moved to a new place. But this also serves an opportunity for businesses, especially the lowly ranked service providers and retailers who will now have to figure out a new way to find a place in Google’s top three search rankings. They will have to do so quickly as the new functionality now requires a user to click on the “more listing” option in Google’s SERPs to search for information about the bottom listed businesses. Besides that, SEOs will have a hard time figuring out how to move their clients’ organic search ranking to the top of the SERPs.

The ads that now show up in the Local Finder results will make use of AdWords extensions to get a physical location for listed businesses. The process is similar to the updated Google Map feature that uses AdWords location extensions when searching for a business location. But unlike results in Maps, Business Ads listed in the Local Finder results are not pinned on the Map results.

Let’s see what a Google spokesperson has to say about this new experimental test. “We’re always testing out new formats for local businesses, but don’t have any additional details to share for now.”

Google Maps No longer a Search Partner

Besides announcing a few changes in how ads will show up in Google Maps, Google has now officially removed Google Maps as a Search Partner. On one hand, Google is doing away with the regular text ads and on the other it may soon display ads along with location extensions in Google Maps. Moreover, Google has also made it known to businesses about its decision to remove Google Maps services as a Search Partner.

Here’s what the changes in the Maps’ status may mean to the users

  1. Businesses using location extensions will now be able to run ads in Google Maps to see a surge in their click through impressions when their ads are displayed in the Maps.
  2. Businesses that are search partners but opted out of the location extensions could witness a drop in their click through impressions since their ads are no longer being displayed in the Maps.

Google plans to include more businesses in Maps Ad auctions, which is why it’s been included as a part of Google’s search inventory. Google’s emphasis on location extensions is purely on the basis of it’s over dependence on structured data and feeds, which online retailers will vouch for.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE NOW INVITES ELECTRICIANS AND HVAC SERVICE PROVIDERS TO JOIN ITS HOME SERVICE ADS NETWORK

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As a part of its latest endeavor, Google’s inviting small business owners like plumbers, locksmiths, home cleaners and other home service providers to better advertise their services on its home service platform. This initiative by Google is directed towards revamping its home service ad platform, which fell short of the company’s expectations last summer after receiving a lukewarm response from customers.

To expand the home services ads platform, Google recently carried out an experiment that enabled users to call or text Google to find a local plumbing service provider. After plumbers, Google’s now inviting HVAC service providers and electricians to advertise their services on Google’s home service ads platform.

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After testing beta testing, Google rolled out home service based ads to the San Francisco Bay users in July, 2015. Generally, these home service ads contain listings of three service providers along with their ratings, contact numbers and a call to action button that sends a request to them.

This service enables users to send contact request to up to three local service providers, which now includes plumbers, locksmiths and electricians or HVAC service providers.

After taking care of the formalities, home service business owners can set up their account in Google AdWords to increase their search visibility.

Besides San Francisco Bay, Google’s home service ads are also available to Sacramento advertisers.

The move further indicates that Google has lost confidence in its algorithmic search capabilities to return reliable and trustworthy information or that it’s just trying to move in a new direction, away from the automated algorithmic searches.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE FUN AND INTERACTIVE IN-APP MOBILE ADS

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There’s no denying the fact that we all love to hate those annoying ads that pop up suddenly. The reason being, we don’t often find these time-consuming ads to be interesting and that’s why we tend to block them when they show up. But making these ads a bit more interactive could possibly make them more acceptable to the users.

In order to make them user-friendly, CrossInstall, a mobile programmatic platform recently announced the launch of interactive PrePlay ads. These ads allow users to try out the demo version of a game, before being directed to the App Store or Play Store to install it on their devices. According to Newzoo’s 2015 Mobile Marketing Report, the net worth of the gaming industry comes to round about $35 billion. This means that acquiring new customers to play games could prove to be a bit more challenging due to the rise in user acquisition costs. Ads may be annoying but they are a necessary part of the marketing campaign and often end up providing great marketing solutions. Hence, serving playable ads to users could help achieve more compelling views from potential customers.

Here’s what Jeff Marshall, CEO and Co-founder of CrossInstall was quoted as saying through a press release:

“CrossInstall’s PrePlay ads are designed to be interactive, playable ads that are tailored to the individual user, from casual to hardcore gamer, creating a fun and dynamic engagement. For users to return to a game, they have to experience and enjoy the first session. Playable ads remove this first step so the first point of contact happens before the download.”

Noticeably,  CrossInstall conducted an experiment and found that 30% of users went on to install an advertised app after a trial run.

GOOGLE TARGETS US AUTOMOTIVE ADVERTISERS THROUGH AUTOMOTIVE MOBILE SEARCH ADS

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This time Google’s doing its bit to help the cause of US automakers by launching specialized mobile search ads for US auto manufacturers and dealers. Google had initially announced this in May last year, but it is only now being made available to Google AdWords subscribed US advertisers.

The US automotive advertisers, especially the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) can now run Model Automotive ads via Google’s mobile search ads for automakers and models. Google’s mobile search ads include large resolution automotive model images, performance details along with the manufacturers’ website links, nearby available dealers and other information.

At present, US auto manufacturing giants such as Ford and Toyota are relaying their ads on Google’s model automotive ads platform for some of their models. About the customer engagement rates, Google says that on an average it’s 30% on the higher side as compared to standard text ads.

Dionne Colvin-Lovely, Director of Traditional and New Media for Toyota Motor Sales, USA says, “Across our core line of car models, we’ve seen a 45-percent increase in conversion events and a 30-percent decrease in CPA compared to standard text ads.”

The US automotive franchise and authorized dealers can also make use of the new format for mobile ads on Google. The new format for automotive ads includes location and directions with the click-to-call functionality for local dealers, which is currently being displayed at the top of mobile SERPs. The dealer ads combine well with the Model Automotive Ad version, which is easily accessible from the “Dealers” tab.

The fact that more than half of Google powered automotive searches now happen on mobile is what Google took into consideration while coming out with automotive search ads for US auto dealers and manufacturers. Besides that, Google image searches of car and truck brands increase by 37% year over year and the mobile platform contributes to 80% of these searches. Also, Google searches for nearby car dealerships is now twice more than in the previous year, with the mobile platform again contributing to almost 80% of these searches.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com. You can also check out our Pay Per Click packages if you’re looking out for professional help.

MOBILE AD BUDGET UP BY 150% WITH PUSH-ENABLED USERS BEING MORE ENGAGED

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Recently, similar mobile app reports were released from Kenshoo and Localytics. The former one talked about the key trends noticed in app acquisition data of 2015, while the latter one talked about the engagement and customer retention benchmarks set in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Of the two, the Localytics report took into consideration global data, whereas the Kenshoo report selected 100 countries across the globe for data on the advertising spend and the number of app installs.

percentage-change-yoy

According to the two reports, the ad spend to attract app installs in the fourth quarter of 2015 had increased by over 150%, as compared that in the fourth quarter of 2014. This data includes the click through rates, the number of app installs and the user based impressions, which also grew significantly during the same time period.

According to Kenshoo report, the seasonal price fluctuation had minimum or no impact as compared to the other digital metrics. The cost stability was at its normal best, conceding a meaningful price cut in the cost-per-install ratio. As per Kenshoo report, the ever so pricey iOS platform delivered low performance metrics in comparison to the Android platform.

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The most noticeable feature of the report was the rise of Instagram as an app marketing platform. According to the Kenshoo report, the low priced Instagram ads were also found to be less productive as compared to Facebook when it comes to attracting app installs. The company, however, didn’t share a similar viewpoint and stressed that its platform is indeed an effective medium for driving app installs.

According to the app install report, a maximum number of users (67%) removed apps from their devices in the second month itself, after using it for first 30 days. After the initial period of first three months of an app install, the retention rate of the customers dropped to 25%.

3-month-user-retention-churn

Let’s see what the Localytics report suggests regarding the general app engagement

  • The average number of App Launches  — 11.48 average app launches on a monthly basis.
  • The average period of Session Length — 5.17 minutes on an average spent in any individual app on a monthly basis.
  • The average time spent in an app — 59.35 total minutes spent in apps on a monthly basis.

According to Localytics report, app engagement of the users who enable push notifications is likely to differ from those who don’t. Additionally, it’s likely that more than half of the users, who don’t have push notifications enabled on their devices may visit the app only once. The push notifications enabled users have a healthy average of 15.5 app launches on a monthly basis, as compared to the average 6.2 app launches by users who disabled push notifications on their devices.

Here are the top five channels listed by Localytics through which US app users acquire their apps

  1. Organic Channels
  2. Facebook
  3. Opera Mediaworks
  4. Tapjoy
  5. Instagram

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

US SMARTPHONE OWNERS WILL OUTGROW ITS DESKTOP INTERNET USERS BY MID-2017

mobile-friendly

If comScore’s recent Mobile and App report is anything to go by, then mobile users may soon overtake desktop internet users in the US market by 2017. According to comScore’s theory, the overall tally of smartphone owners in the US market has grown to be around 79.1% of total mobile users, which is marginally below the 79.3% growth reported in December last year.

comScore’s recent stats show no significant movement in the mobile market share value on a monthly basis. The slow growth is giving rise to a search market scenario where over a period of time the figures remain largely stagnant.

Talking about mobile OS market share value, on one hand, the Android and iOS users are separated by a nine-point gap; while on the other hand, Microsoft’s Windows OS platform has reached its saturation level. The declining number of BlackBerry users isn’t helping Blackberry’s cause either. This is making the mobile OS race a two-sided affair, where Microsoft and Blackberry OS are on the decline and Android and iOS are calling the shots.

As far as the mobile app market share value is concerned, the two major players i.e. Facebook and Google Apps continue to dominate the top App rankings, solely on the basis of their reach and not as per the engagement levels or the duration of time spent. Surprisingly, the popularity of YouTube and the use of Google Play Store to install apps have managed to overwhelm the Google Search App, both in term of ranking and use. This is owing to the inherent differences in desktop and mobile user behaviour.

Coming back to the smartphone penetration levels, the estimated figure largely depends upon the number of mobile users. While there have been many media estimates about the exact number of mobile users, a recent CTIA report states that the US mobile phone penetration is close to 104%. This brings us to a conclusion that the number of mobile phones in the US (which is over 300 million handsets) would possibly outnumber the total US population.

According to comScore’s recent findings, as of March 2016 the tally of smartphone owners in US is around 198.5 million. If we divide this number by the 300 million users then the we get 66% smartphone penetration in the US. The number is a bit low if we happen to divide the smartphone owners figure by 250 million users. That brings the smartphone penetration level tally to 76%. Going by comScore’s previous calculation, if we include American users from age 13 years and above then we get a figure of 234 million, which when divided gives us a healthy 84% tally.

According to CIRP’s (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) mid-February data, the total number of iPhones in the US mobile market is around 110 million handsets. If the total iPhone handsets share in the US market actually comes to 44% markup, then going by the CIRP data we get a rough estimate of 250 million US mobile users.

Irrespective of the correctness of the figures, the overall tally of US mobile users was expected to cross the 80% threshold by February end this year. And by March end, the percentage is predicted to escalate to about 85%. For a population of under 40, the penetration rates even improved to about 90%.

Talking about the number of US desktop and mobile users, comScore report states that there are 234 million sedentary internet users as compared to the ever increasing base of smartphone owners, which is likely to overtake the number of internet users by mid-2017.

If you still haven’t converted your website to adapt well on small screens and to the growing userbase, it’s time to act soon. Check out our mobile website design services to get started. Or email us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch within 24 business hours.

HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN PLAN THEIR MOBILE APP LAUNCH

app-indexing

Due to their limited presence and resources, SMEs find it difficult to reach out to their intended target audiences. That’s where mobile apps come in handy as they are not only budget-friendly, but also effective in terms of their reach. But your task doesn’t get over after developing a mobile app for your business. To ensure that the mobile app makes a positive impact on the bottom line of your business, you need to have a clear-cut marketing strategy in place that leads to numerous downloads.

Here’s a complete guide to help you chalk out your future mobile marketing strategy.

1. Determine your target audience

First you need to identify the target audience that you want to cater to before devising your mobile marketing plan. Then start designing the Mobile App, while keeping the target audience in mind.

Consider the factors that are listed below while designing your mobile app

  • Age group
  • Interests
  • Tech-friendliness
  • Industry

2. Don’t ignore the keywords

The discoverability of your app in the App Store (for iOS users) or Google Play Store (for Android users) is one of the factors you need to consider while launching your business mobile app.

Over 60% of iOS users organically search for apps, when more than 80% of iOS apps are “Zombie Apps” that are hardly discoverable in organic searches. This is the sole reason why you need to focus on researching for right keywords and app optimization factors that play an important role in the overall visibility of the app. As a part of your mobile marketing campaign, you’ll have to analyze the existing marketing trends by keeping abreast with the latest App Optimization strategies.

3. Leverage your online resources

After designing your business’s mobile app, you need to make sure that you’re enhancing the overall visibility of your app. You can do so by showcasing it not only on your web presence, but also on your existing social media profiles and other possible marketing channels that you can think of. And if you want to reach out to more people then design a dedicated website to promote your mobile app in a better way.

Listed below are some factors that you need to consider, while designing a comprehensive website for your mobile app

  • Landing Page :- Leverage your website’s home page to promote your mobile app. Also, you can include the Download Now links or use QR codes on your dedicated mobile pages to take interested online visitors to your listed mobile app. Share downloading benefits of your mobile app with online visitors by giving ample product description. Include salient features, screen shots and promotional videos describing the USP of your mobile app.
  • Blog Articles :- Build a great launching pad for your mobile app by sharing frequent updates and relevant information about it on your official blog post. Increase the curiosity level of your target audience by regularly sharing latest mobile features and a sneak-peek of your mobile app. This will not only increase the overall visibility of your mobile app, but also the curiosity levels of your target audience, who would be eager to download your app once it’s launched.
  • Banners :- Entice your click through audience by creating website banners that include important app info and download links that command action from the online visitors.
  • Emailers :- Short and crisp Emailers are a great way to communicate if leveraged properly. You can communicate with your target audience by sending them app update emailers on a regular basis.

4. Plan your launch

It’s not what you do, but how you do that matters the most. The same applies to your mobile app marketing strategies as well. To bring about a perfect storm to increase your app downloads, mark your app’s official launch day and advertise it to your intended customers through different modes of communication. Leverage your official social media handles to create a buzz; that includes exclusive offers to the downloading users. On the launch day, you can offer special discounts to the early birds. This will give them an added incentive to download your mobile app.

5. Listen to your customers

During the initial phase of your app launch, take the feedback of your customers and include the positive response in your app. Go through your in-app reviews on a regular basis and if required, request your regular users for positive ratings on your app while sorting out their complaints. Keep up this two-way communication flow with your customers while you keep an eye on your app rating. This way, you will ensure that you are adding value to your customers’ app experience.

6. Don’t ignore Videos

What words can’t achieve, images and videos can. In fact, images and videos can help in creating that indelible first impression on your target audience. Make a short and crisp promotional video that serves as a tutorial on your mobile app and share it across your official social media profiles. Remember, a shoddy video clip is akin to having no video at all. In case you feel short on required resources, it’s better you stick to a print format only.

For more info, you can write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

IT’S TIME TO STOP PLAYING THE GUESSING GAME IN APP MARKETING

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Gone are the days when the number of downloads portrayed actual success of an app. A few years back, seeing a thousand downloads of your app may have been an exhilarating experience, but today it’s not. The number of apps has escalated insanely, but then so has the number of users. So if you have witnessed a thousand downloads of your app and are jumping around in joy, then you need to calm down and get a reality check.

Sorry to break your confidence, but this is actually the case. Downloaded apps don’t guarantee user engagement. In fact, a survey revealed that due to mammoth availability of apps, most of the new apps never get used after being installed. People install the apps, engage with it a few times and then forget about it.

This makes the job of a marketer tough. Because currently the only measuring system is driven by the number of downloads. Hence, it is very difficult to find out which app is actually performing well and if it can provide with the data, a marketer is looking for.

Earlier, the success was measured by the number of clicks on the banners. But that was an old way of measuring. As technology has advanced, it has become possible to accurately analyze & measure the sales path. This is also the case with app marketing.

The best possible way to analyze the success of an app is to include a registration form which has to be filled by a user on downloading it. You can also evaluate the time spent, pages viewed, content views, levels or achievements unlocked, number of in-app purchases and more. But of course, these metrics are not “One size fits all” and can be implemented as per the niche & the type of the app.

These metrics can be a game changer because as I have already mentioned, app marketing still runs on the “Guessing Game”. So if we get accurate data from apps, it will help us (marketers) design close-to-perfect campaigns and get maximum return on investment. It will also help in understanding users’ behavior and thus it will be beneficial for app developers as well.

But in this highly competitive app world, it can be dangerous for app developers to force users to fill the form. Users are usually running out of time and have many options in hand. If a registration form turns out to be longer and detailed than usual, it can adversely affect app downloads. Also, any metric that involves users’ involvement can be risky considering the short attention span of the users.

However, Google is taking long strides towards scanning the data of the apps and analyzing user behavior. But this can be a success only when most developers will allow Google to do so. If a majority of the developers provide access to Google then a new door will get unlocked for everyone. After all, an app contains so much data that it can be used for creating pitch-perfect marketing campaigns by understanding the users’ needs. It will be a win-win situation for everyone, since Google will get the data and so will the marketers. People will get to enjoy free trial in exchange for viewing ads. And these ads will prove to be highly relevant as they will be targeted after analyzing an individual’s buying and usage pattern.

We can definitely expect huge advancement in the field of app marketing in the near future.

For more info on this topic, you can write to sales@ebrandz.com.