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paid advertising

Facebook Changes Advertising Image Size and Text Character Limit

Room 214, April 13, 2012

Many Facebook advertisers were hit this week with some new and largely unannounced changes to the popular ads platform. Moving forward, ad images will be limited to dimensions of 99 x 72 (previously 110 x80), and body copy will be limited to 90 text characters, down from 135.

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Top 5 Pay-Per-Click Mistakes

Ben Castelli, April 8, 2008

I promised Stepan I would actually contribute to the CTC blog when the new design finally went live. Here were are 6 months later, the new design is awesome and its time for me own up. So here it is, the top 5 Pay Per Click mistakes we commonly see in client’s PPC programs. If you are currently running a PPC campaign, I think you will find this list very useful, if not you may want to bookmark, star, tag or stash in a folder somewhere for future reference…

Top 5 Most Common PPC Mistakes (don’t let this be you!)

  1. Abandoning ad copy split testing after initial success
  2. Misunderstanding margin and miscalculating ROI from PPC ad spend
  3. Assuming top ad placement will result in the greatest conversion or ROI.
  4. Not sending traffic to the most relevant pages
  5. Disorganized campaign structure

Ok, I actually have 6 but “Top 5” sounds better so here is a bonus one:
6. Having too narrow or too broad keyword strategy

Got any other common mistakes you think should be on the list? lemme hear about them!

Facebook Marketing Infancy

Jason Cormier, December 3, 2007

Stepan pulled my punk card regarding the last post I did regarding GoDaddy and Google Webmaster Tools. In fact, I was fiercely reprimanded by him since my topic was based on info actually 20 days after the fact. Hmmm… what should the deadline be on info that is too old to blog about (as if it were “new”)?

At the risk of being smacked down again, another topic of interest (soon to be a week old, Stepan), is the Danny Sullivan interview with SEOmoz about Facebook marketing. It even inspired me to setup a facebook business page for Room 214. Say I’m late to the party with this as one who runs a search marketing agency, but hey, until I see the money for our clients – it’s ALL in beta.

How cool it is to go through the process of setting up a pay per click advertising campaign in Facebook. I have 18 million people from which to target! My selections included people who are over 30, have a college degree, are interested in marketing and blogging, and work at Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and a few others. Uh-oh, with these parameters, facebook tells me I’m targeting 20 people.

I think “ouch” – then go to submit my credit card info in the name of bleeding edge marketing. What, you won’t accept my AMEX company card? Bye for now Facebook.

Yahoo PPC Soon to Use Ad Quality Score

Ben Castelli, January 25, 2007

Yahoo Search Marketing recently announced that starting February 5th, an ad quality score will be combined with the bid amount to determine an ads rank in search results. Their current model ranks ads based solely on bid amount. Yahoo states that their reasoning behind the switch is so “advertisers spend less time in bidding wars and more time creating more relevant and effective ads.”

If the idea of a quality score sounds familiar, it is because Google has been using a similar method for quite a while to determine ad rank and minimum bid prices. In fact Yahoo recently updated its entire sponsored search system to be more like Google, so it is not surprising that they are following Google’s suit and incorporating a quality score.

I was curious if Yahoo, like Google would periodically visit landing pages, look for relevant content to you keywords and factor that into the quality score? The answer for now is no. I spoke with a Yahoo rep and they stated that the landing page will only be viewed once during the approval process, and the quality score would be determined by the relevancy of ad text to keywords and click through rates compared to your competition. This means it will be important to have all of your keywords broken out into very specific ad groups.

I expect (and hope) Yahoo will eventually change their methodology to periodically visit the landing pages of ads. This is a great way to ensure relevancy for its users and overall keep pace with Google.

3 Ways to Split Test

Room 214, October 16, 2006

Want to increase conversion rates? Split testing is an essential step in improving the effectiveness of online marketing efforts and converting more visitors into customers. Classic A/B split testing has been a staple for direct marketers, however it is surprising how few online businesses take advantage of this technique, especially since the cost of split testing online is minimal compared to the cost of printing and mailing. The number of things that you can test online are almost limitless; copy, graphics, colors, placement of forms etc…. Below are 3 general ways that you can use split testing to monitor your online marketing efforts and increase conversions.

  • AdWords Ad Text – It is essential to split test your Google AdWords ad text. Just make sure you only have two ads running per ad group, accumulate clicks (over 30 per/ad), determine the winner, delete the loser and create a new ad to try to beat the winner. If you are running Google Analytics the Overall Ad A/B Testing report is a great way to see which ad text is driving visitors to your site. For example, through split testing I was able to determine that adding the word “New” to the title of my AdWords ads resulted in a significant increase in clicks and conversions. Don’t forget that it is very important to look at conversion rates of the ads in addition to CTR. Generally you want to accumulate a good number of clicks before declaring a winner, however if you can’t wait, check out SplitTester to see which of the two ads will really perform better over time.
  • Email Marketing Campaigns – A great way to split test an email marketing campaign is to send out the email in waves. For example, if you are planning on sending out a promotional email to your list of 1,000, but are uncertain about which subject line to use, you can send out 100 emails with subject line A, and 100 emails with subject line B. Then compare the open and click through rates and send the remaining 800 emails the winning subject line.
  • Landing Pages/Opt-in Pages – There are a large number of items you can test on a landing page such as the call to action text, the placement of the sign up form, inclusion of audio, etc… A service like Hypertracker will split your visitors between two pages and help you determine which changes to your landing pages will deliver the greatest increase in conversion rates.

Finally, to avoid skewing your data, it is important to split test at only one point of the sales process, Adwords, landing pages, sales pages, product pages, order pages etc..

Google Audio Ads: Podcaster Opportunity?

Jason Cormier, September 25, 2006

Earlier, Ben Castelli wrote in this blog about Google video ads for Adsense. That reminded me that very soon, Google will be launching an audio ad service, too.

Back on Jan. 17, Google announced that it had acquired dMarc Broadcasting, which offers an automated platform to serve advertising into the broadcast radio market — a very mature ad market, compared to online advertising.

Google said it “plans to integrate dMarc technology into the Google AdWords platform, creating a new radio ad distribution channel for Google advertisers” — which means serving ads to radio. My understanding is that the new service will launch this fall.

Still though, I wonder if that kind of platform might be used to serve ads into podcasts? That could make a huge difference to the economics of podcasting, certainly.

Although I must admit, the podcast ads I find most effective and least offensive are those which involve the host — like the way Andy McCaskey of Slashdot Review(one of my favorite podcasts) reads a variety of ads from his sponsors, and often adds some commentary from personal experience. Most of the time, those ads sound pretty relevant to that show. I doubt such custom ads could be handles completely via automated platform — but my guess is custom audio ads offer higher value to the advertisers, podcasters, and audiences.

Adwords on Your Desktop

Ben Castelli, August 17, 2006

Google has recently released its Adwords Editor application (BETA) to all Adwords users. Initially released to selected advertisers back in January, the Adwords Editor allows you to manage your Adwords account from your desktop, and then upload changes. Some of the benefits and features that Google highlights are:

– Navigate your account quickly and easily
– Make bulk changes to keywords and ad text
– Work offline, then upload your changes
– Copy and paste keywords and ad text
– Circulate proposed changes and get feedback

I am most excited about the increased speed of editing Adwords accounts on a desktop application versus online. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time navigating and editing Adwords campaigns online has felt the frustration of the Adwords website crawling.

The Adwords Desktop editor is easy to navigate and definitely speeds up the campaign editing process. Just make your changes, click “Post Changes” and you are done. This free tool is especially helpful for advertisers with large accounts and multiple campaigns. You will need to be careful not to overwrite updated information if multiple people have access and are updating the same account.