Tag Archive: advertising

  1. How do you tell a customer from a click?

    Microsoft is asking this question in its campaign to win advertising dollars from Google. The campaign is built around a recent study by Web analytics specialist, WebSideStory. The study compares major search engines/portals where pay-per-click advertising is utilized. Surprisingly enough, Google comes in dead last among major search engines in terms of the percentage of conversions derived from its pay-per-click ads.
    The possible explanations are pretty interesting. WebSideStory commentary on the study suggests that portals (where rich content and hand-holding are prevalent) appeal to a more purchase-hungry demographic. Google, on the other hand, is built upon a foundation of simplicity and speed; perhaps this audience is less inclined to buy. More likely, however, is the rising prevalence of click fraud: pay-per-click’s dirty little secret (which isn’t so secret anymore).
    For those who don’t know about click fraud, check out the Wikipedia entry for a quick explanation. Mark Cuban has a pretty good take on how big the problem is becoming. Intuitively, my hunch is that Google takes the biggest hit from click fraud because of its size and reputation…almost the same way that Microsoft is the largest target for viruses/worms from would-be hackers. Apple fans have always bragged that they’re better at virus protection than Microsoft; not much of a claim, though, when the overwhelming majority of viruses are written for Windows–not MacOS.
    What does all of this mean? Things are clearly heading toward the pay-per-acquisition model instead of the pay-per-click model. Google appears to be testing something along these lines that would limit click fraud severely. I have a hundred questions in terms of how this would be implemented, but I love the direction.

  2. Information as an Incentive

    For a customer, information is an incentive. An asset.
    I received an email from Brooks Brothers today inviting me to visit the firm’s Web site to learn how to tie various tie knots. The presentation is well done. It’s built in Flash, is animated, and very user-friendly. It motivated me to go because I have always been curious about various tie knots. There was something in it for me…and the incremental cost to Brooks Brothers was virtually nil. I didn’t buy anything today, but perhaps I will in the future.
    A marketer can use information to get a prospect to do something. I wonder why more marketers don’t use it more often.
    Most ads I see focus on what’s in it for the company, not what’s in it for the customer. Take this week’s (6/26/06) issue of Time Magazine. I had it on my desk and picked it up to do a quick poll. Of the first twelve ads in the magazine (from Apple and Land Rover to Edward Jones and LG), all had Web site addresses. But the calls to action were about them, not me. One told me that the site would help me find their store (so I could give them my money). Another told me that the site would explain to me how well the product performs (so I could be convinced to give them my money). Several offered me the very exciting prospect of ‘learn[ing] more’ or ‘find[ing] out more’ (so I could give them my money, I’m sure).
    LG, maker of HD televisions, would be better off offering me some sort of information. How about this: “Confused about HD? Please visit our Web site to download your free copy of Consumer Reports’ comparison report on different television projection types.”
    Edward Jones, investment agency, would get a lot more mileage out of me with an information incentive. Perhaps something like this: “Curious about saving and investing? Log on to our site today to see the top 10 investing mistakes that baby boomers are making today.”
    Creating and uploading this information costs nothing to these companies. Creating the impression that it’s ‘all about them’ (and not about me) does.

  3. PapaJohns Targets the Tech-Savvy

    I am a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber and enjoy the commercial-free content when I’m on the road. I heard an ad today for PapaJohn’s Pizza and its online ordering system. The commercial makes mention of the fact that satellite radio subscribers are ‘tech savvy’ (I’m paraphrasing here) and directs them to a special URL to try out the online ordering system (which I wrote about some time ago). Seems like a pretty smart media buy to me. Naturally, those who are early/eager adopters of satellite radio technology are more than likely going to be open to ordering pizza online. I think it’s a very sensible business tactic and would imagine that the conversion rate would be better than that of a parallel effort implemented on terrestrial radio or some other traditional medium.

  4. Big/Small Company Blogging

    The St. Pete Times has a pretty interesting (and accurate) article about the different ways that small and large companies are approaching corporate blogging. Small companies seem to be embracing the medium faster than larger companies who seem to be taking more of a wait-and-see approach. It seems natural, though, in that larger companies have Sarbanes-Oxley issues, more bureaucracy to contend with, and–frankly–more to lose. The article describes attitudes in the business community which are consistent with what I see lately within small (more aggressive) and large (more hesitant) companies. Thanks to Josh, who is quoted in the article, for the tip.

  5. Fun with Funnels

    Seth Godin has an interesting post today about the “funnel” that is customer acquisition. Our work and research in the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has left us with many of the same thoughts and questions as the ones Seth seems to be thinking through.
    The notion of pay-per-click advertising is a wonderful one. Why pay for a billboard and hope for the best when I can simply pay only for those who express an interest in my product (by clicking on my Google ad)? As long as I am converting a certain number of those folks, I should be fine, right?
    It’s not that simple. First, let’s remember that those who click today might not be ready to buy until next week. That said, a Web site should not only sell; it should carry the water through the entire sales cycle. Second, PPC ad copy should limit inappropriate prospects. If a user searches for ‘bass,’ our copy should distinguish between bass (the fish) and bass (the drum). Silly example but true. Also, let’s not forget about click fraud and how that should be accounted for. I wrote about this not long ago.
    When it’s all said and done, this entire process should be supported by a glorious spreadsheet. PPC is a science, not an art. Building a good model is our best bet!