Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I found that most people don’t really know how to properly plan their site?????

Your website is usually the first thing people look at. The right approach to planning a great website is to work backwards, by answering the following 5 questions: 

 1. How will you get people to your website? 

More specifically, what marketing techniques will you be using to attract your target audience? Is it search engine optimization? Pay-per-click advertising? Social media? PR? This step is very important, as it often answers many of the questions below. Tip: Calculate which marketing technique works best for your site, by figuring out which has the lowest cost-per-acquisition (how much you spent on getting a customer).

 2. Who will be coming to the site?

 Your website needs to take all kinds of visitors by the hand and help them find what they are looking for. Within a few seconds of getting to your site, a visitor needs to know what to do next. Do they need to sign up? Should they click a link to learn more? Once you determine what visitors are coming, you’ll be able to determine what they need to do once they get there. Tip: Don’t try to please everyone, but have your site clearly laid out to direct visitors wherever they need to go. If you do too much your website will become busy and difficult to navigate. Focus on a few key features that majority of your visitors will benefit from.

 3. What questions will my visitors have?

 Am I at the right place? How long have you been in business? Can I afford you? How do I know your product or service is any good? How can I learn more about your services and company? How do I contact you? Tip: Try to answer the questions before they are asked. For example, if your visitors come to purchase a specific product that you’re well-known for in the industry, have that product easily located so they know they’re in the right place and can access product details right away. Clear, short messages work great.

 4. What do you want your visitors to do?

 Should they pick up the phone and call you? E-mail? Sign up for something? Buy your product online? A great website will guide your traffic where you want them to end up. If you’re selling a product, convince the visitors to buy and make it easy for them to do so. If you offer a service, let them know how and why they can benefit from it. Tip: Be clear and concise. Don’t make visitors think.

 5. How do my visitors like to stay in touch?

 Keep in mind, that most people who come to your website won’t become a customer. In fact, the average conversion rate on the Internet is around one percent, meaning only 1 out of 100 visitors will end up contacting you, signing up, or buying something. Find out what forms of communication your visitors prefer and give them the means to stay connected: e-mail, a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, RSS Feeds, and more.

 Tip: Engaging your customers is important, as most people don’t convert on the first visit. Keep them coming back by identifying your target visitor and catering to the market that best reaches them. If they’re entry-level professionals and they’re constantly engaging in social media, have a social media presence and actively provide them reasons to return to your site. By engaging visitors you’ll give them incentive to return, convert, and hopefully invite their network to do the same. Rishi

Monday, February 27, 2012

Best Way to Focus Your PPC Analysis & Optimization

Here’s a list of metrics that a PPC manager may need to monitor in order to maintain their campaign:
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost-per-click
  • Cost-per-thousand-impressions
  • Average position
  • Conv. (1-per-click)
  • Conv. (Many-per-click)
  • Cost-per-conversion (1-per-click)
  • Cost-per-conversions (Many-per-click)
  • View-through conversions
  • Conversion rate (1-per-click)
  • Conversion rate (Many-per-click)
  • Impression share
  • Exact match impression share
  • Impression share lost (budget)
  • Impression share lost (rankings)
  • Relative click-through rate
  • Phone impressions
  • Phone calls
  • Phone-through rate
  • Phone cost
  • Call duration
  • Call time
  • Average cost-per-call
  • Revenue
  • Return on investment
  • Profit margin
  • Average order value
  • Lifetime value
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages-per-visit
  • Time on site
  • % of new visits
  • % of return visits
  • Revenue per click
  • Revenue per impression
  • Value per visit
  • Quality score
  • Keyword quality score
  • Landing page quality score
  • Landing page user experience
  • Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Watch Out! Ten Interview Questions Designed To Trick You

    1. Why have you been out of work so long, and how many others were laid off?
    It is a matter for your hiring manager to know whether you are fired for the part of budget cuts or for any wrong-doings you committed. Most of the interviewers find this question as more tricky to know facts without putting a direct question. According to Kennedy, it is better not to reveal the reason but also you have to tell them you were working better than their pay package.
    2. If employed, how do you manage time for interviews?
    This is probably to find out how you deal with your current work and of course, your sincerity to the work you do. If you are attending an interview on your working days, they would be thinking it will be happening to their firm, if you are hired. You should avoid telling that you’re taking sick leaves for attending interviews. It is better to tell them that you are making use of your personal time, not working hours. Also tell them clearly, you attend interviews that can match your expectation.
    3. How did you prepare for this interview?
    More than being a tricky question, it will also offer the opportunity for you to say how much you are care about this job. This is the best time to reveal how much research you have done. Here, you can talk about your industry knowledge by raising questions and commenting on the relevant information you have got.
    4. Do you know anyone who works for us?
    In most of the companies, they give more preference to candidates recommended by their employees. So, it is better to have an inside connection with the company. Before, you mention one employee’s name, you make sure that employee has positive reputation in the company. The interviewer correlates your merits with that particular employee’s characteristics in fact, says Kennedy.
    5. Where would you really like to work?
    You should not take this as a simple and silly question. If you really want to get this job, keep your words by not telling any other company name or any other job title, you wish for. Kennedy says that a good respondent will tell, “This is where I want to work, and this job is what I want to do.” It can be an indirect sign of you’re the right candidate and you will do better in your job as it is the job you wish for.
    6. What bugs you about coworkers or bosses?
    This will be a big trap for you, as they want to check whether you have positive attitude and to know how difficult person you are to get along with people. Don’t make any negative comments about your co-workers as it can tell how troubled you are to work with others as most of the work demands a team spirit.
    7. Can you describe how you solved a work or school problem?
    Yeah, you are asked to explain your skills. It is advisable for you not to miss the opportunity to show up your best skills and characteristics. More than talking about your achievements and accomplishments, you should reveal your skills in time management and leadership or whatever related to the field. Perhaps, the interviewer is trying to analyze how your mind works on things.
    8. Can you describe a work or school instance in which you messed up?
    Your answer can be a great source of how you are taking responsibilities and how you deal with failures. Also it can trace your negative characters and major faults, so make sure you are not providing your negative traits. But explains the simple mess-up happened and follows talking about what you have learnt from that.
    9. How does this position compare with others you’re applying for?
    Here, you have to be careful for not revealing how other company conducts interviews. It will show the way you respect the privacy of other companies. Also appear as a valuable interviewee by confirming you have received a competitive offer. And bring back the topic for next interview questions, so that you don’t want to break your head for this. While answering you should be calculated to reveal you have strategy on your job search as you are not looking for each every jobs appear in job market.
    10. If you won the lottery, would you still work?
    The question meant to find out how much you are interested to do this work by highlighting your enthusiasm and work attitude. Kennedy recommends that it is better to make a direct face to face interaction. And you can score the question by answering you are excited to win the lottery but you love to take challenges and making good strategy to win your goals with meaningful work.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Google Shutting Down Hosted AdSense......

    Google is emailing participants in its hosted AdSense for Domains (AFD) today to inform them that the sometimes-controversial program is headed for closure in mid-April. The change will only affect domains that Google hosted. “After evaluating the benefits of our partner network, we’ve decided to retire the Hosted domains product within AdSense,” Google wrote in the email. “Going forward, undeveloped domains will only be served through our existing AdSense for Domains distribution network.” Google linked to a migration guide on its site (some links from which are not currently functioning), which advises that hosted domain AdSense participants move their sites to other third-party domain parking providers, such as DomainSponsor or Sedo, which already have relationships with Google to serve ads. After April 18, Hosted domains will become inactive and owners will no longer be able to earn from them. On July 27, AdSense users will no longer be able to see the Hosted domains in their accounts. Account holders will not be able to create new Hosted after March 21. It’s not clear what is happening, if anything, to AdSense for Domain participants who do not have their domains hosted by Google. We’ve reached out to Google for some clarification and will update when we hear back.

    Google analytics lack to become an enteRprise tool.

    Google Analytics is an especially good tool for measuring acqusition, sine it has a Google Adwords integration.

    I work with global companies daily and these are the main points that GA lack to become an enteRprise tool.

    1. Access customization. Large enterprises does not accept equal access to all their site data.
    2. Downloads and offsite links. Large enterprises have 100s of different files per site which they do not want to tag up manually. Likewise they have many offsite links.
    3. Cross domain tracking. When you have 25 - 75 domains across Europe, you do not want to tag up every link between these to get cross domain traffic and even so not get Real cross domain tracking. Roll up profiles do not work properly with GA.
    4. Visitor segmentation and analytics. Creating groups of visitors based on cookie IDs and behavior is not possible. Large enterprises need to divide their users into groups, in order to identify group behavior. They need to build reports to see how these groups behave across many domains.
    5. Online and offline integration. Large enterprise often have vast amounts of customer information gathered offline about customers that they want to couple up with their customers online behavior.
    6. Behavioral targeting / personalization. Large enterprises often want to serve content depending upon the visitors behavior on site and offline, so that he does not get an offer for the same product he just bought.
    7. Social media. Social media is rapidly becoming one of the most important platforms and thus large enterprises want to get equally detailed information as well as cross social/website analytics about their customers and visitors. GA will never get detailed data from the Facebook or Twitter API because they are in direct competition.
    8. Flexibility. Large enterprises need an analytics tool where they get very deep customization options in terms of system configuration, data re analysis, filters, URL rebuilding, logile access, URL search and replace etc.
    9. Data accuracy. Large enterprise tend to want accurate data all the time and not just be able to order an unsampled report in PDF format.
    10. API. Large enterprises want a completely open ApI with which they can easily export and import data from or to any platform. They also need scheduled reporting and advanced dash boarding capabilities.

    These are just 10 issues that I see large enterprises have with GA. If a large enterprise pick only to have GA around, then they are not sophisticated enough to care about the above issues. Usually that means they do not have a frightfully deep digital optimization programme.


    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Google- Analytics -Cookie -Infographic

    Before I began working in PPC my favorite cookie was chocolate chip. Although I still find them incredibly delicious, these cookies don’t provide the insight of my new favorite type: the Google Analytics cookie. Analytics uses cookies to define user sessions, and provide invaluable information about people who visit your site.

    Attachmedia has created an infographic that describes each of the parameters generated by the Analytics cookies. It’s a useful guide to understanding all the ingredients that go into a GA cookie.

    Our Guide To Google Analytics IQ Testing: C is for Cookie

    Cookie Monster has said on numerous occasions that C is for cookie and that’s good enough for him. But as Internet marketers, we know that cookies are so much more than that! As a matter of fact, they are one of the most important concepts covered in the Google Analytics IQ Test and you have to understand them if you want to pass the test. Fortunately, cookies are also one of the easiest concepts in the test to learn about and understand.

    In order to pass the Google Analytics IQ Test, you need to score at least an 80%. There are a total of 70 questions on the exam, so you need to correctly answer at least 56 questions. Based on what I’ve personally observed, you can expect that about 15% of any given exam will pertain to cookies, so it’s worth spending some extra time studying them. I’ve organized the rest of this post into two sections: what you need to know about cookies and what you can expect on the exam.
    What You Need To Know About Cookies

    Google Analytics generates data about users who visit your site through pieces of text exchanged between browsers and servers called cookies. They are established when someone enters your site and analytics data is generated when they click off of your site. Google Analytics cookies are first-party cookies, which means that they are established by your website. This allows the data generated by cookies to only be viewable by the website owner.

    There are four cookies that Google Analytics establishes, _utma, _utmb, _utmc, and _utmz. (If you establish custom variables to define additional segments of data, you will use the custom variable cookie, _utmv as well) Let’s look at these cookies individually. Keep in mind that the most important things to remember for the test are the names of the cookies, how long they last, and what triggers their expiration.

    _utma: This cookie identifies unique visitors by assigning them a unique ID upon their first visit to your site. It will last 2 years so long as the user does not delete it. At the 2-year mark, it will expire.

    _utmb: This cookie generates data about a visitor’s session. It establishes or updates a session every time a page of a site is visited. If it is not updated, it expires by default after 30 minutes.

    _utmc: This cookie works hand in hand with _utmb. It expires only when a user quits a browser.

    _utmz: This cookie determines what brought a user to your site. This cookie tracks things like PPC ads, organic search, and referring links. It also tracks page navigation so that you can see how visitors move through your site. This cookie expires after 6 months unless it is updated. Updates occur when a page view initiates.

    Each cookie contains unique code. For example, the _utma cookie looks like this:

    _utma= 17334963. 432099211. 1115376676. 1115376676. 1115376676. 1

    The first number set is the domain hash and is followed by the random unique ID, the time of the initial visit, the beginning of the previous session, the beginning of the current session, and the session counter. It’s important to note the time of the initial visit can be the same as the beginning of the previous session and/or the beginning of the current session if the visitor is there for the first time or they deleted the _utma cookie in the past. These times are set in UNIX, which is seconds since January 1, 1970.

    The _utmz cookie is organized slightly differently and allows you to generate a wonderful code to track your PPC activity. It begins with the domain has, but is followed by a timestamp instead of the code contained in the _utma cookie. It also contains a session number, a campaign number, and source values for things like PPC tracking (which you use in a PPC destination URL). It will look something like this:

    _utmz= 17334963. 1115376676. 2. 3.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(campaign)|utmcmd=ppc|utmctr=keyword

    If you have additional questions about cookies, feel free to comment on this post or visit Google’s page on cookies in Analytics.
    What to Expect on the Exam

    Once you understand the ins and outs of cookies, you’re technically ready for questions dealing with them on the IQ test. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand what kinds of questions may be asked about particular topics. Every IQ test question I’ve ever seen about cookies has been a multiple-choice question dealing with one of four things; the names of the cookies, when they expire, what they track, and how they are organized.
    Names of Cookies:

    You can expect a question or two about the names of the cookies. A common one I’ve seen is, “What are the four kinds of cookies used by Google Analytics?” The answers are, of course, _utma, _utmb, _utmc, and _utmz, but occasionally you’ll see answers like _utmd and _utme.

    In my experience, common questions about the expiration of cookies have dealt with multiple cookies at once. For instance, a question you might see asks which will not expire if there is a new page view while they are active? The answer to this is _utmb and _utmz.
    What Cookies Track:

    The most common cookie questions address what each cookie tracks. For example one question might ask “The _utma cookie tracks what aspect of a visitor’s activity?” Answers could include what brings a user to a particular page on your site and when a user quits their browser, but the correct answer is that it assigns visitors a unique ID.
    How Cookies are Organized:

    I’ve only ever seen questions about the different components of the _utma cookie, but I recommend reviewing the slides on the Conversion University site to understand each component of each cookie. I’d also suggest having this page open when you take the exam.

    In the next few days, some of my colleagues will discuss other key aspects of preparing for the Analytics exam. Stay tuned to PPC Hero or SEO Boy for these helpful tips and as with any of the concepts we discuss on our blogs, leave us comments if you have any questions. Good luck!

    Make sure to check out the rest of the series:

    Part 2: E-commerce Tracking

    Part 3: Event Tracking & Virtual Page Views

    Part 4: Regular Expression (Regex) Character Guide

    Steve is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

    Analyst: Facebook Will Make $1.2 Billion Annually From Mobile Ads............

    No, Facebook is not advertising yet on mobile devices. Yes, that hasn’t stopped people from speculating on what it will mean when it does. The latest: an estimate of how much the social network stands to make from mobile advertising: more than $1.2 billion a year in the U.S. and its five biggest markets in Europe — the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

    The numbers come from UK-based analyst firm Mobile Squared, which has worked out that Facebook will be making an average revenue per mobile user of around $6.50 per year — some $2 more than Facebook currently makes per users online, using figures supplied in its S-1 earlier this month. The caveat here is that the modelling appears to be hinged on mobile display-style ads, while in truth it’s not known what Facebook will do when it comes to formats; and several reports have pointed to them first opting for something altogether different — sponsored stories.

    This is how Nick Lane, chief strategy analyst, arrived at these figures:

    He estimates that across these six markets, there are a total of 185.3 million users of Facebook on mobile. (That’s something worth noting in itself: Facebook has something of a long tail when it comes to mobile users it seems, with the top six markets still accounting for less than half its 425 million mobile users.)

    Within this, the average user spends 12 hours per month on the site, he writes. Here, he notes that comScore puts the average monthly usage at 24 hours.

    The average amount of time, he tells me, that a mobile app serves up a new ad is around every 20 seconds, and he puts a CPM on Facebook of $0.25 — calculated, he says, partly based on what other social networking sites are generating on mobile. CPMs, it should be noted, vary wildly — Lane says as low as $0.10 and as high as $50. (Which app brings in that, I wonder?)

    The U.S. will account for roughly half of that revenue, at $653.7 million in 12 months, with the UK bringing in $166.6 million, $100 million in France, Germany and Italy, and $70 million in Spain.

    He tells me other markets — particularly emerging ones like Turkey, Brazil, and Indonesia — will also add more to the pile, but those CPMs are less stable and were therefore not included in these calculations. He estimates that Indonesia currently has 30 million Facebook mobile users, with another 20 million in Turkey, and 26 million in Brazil.

    While it’s worth pondering how much money Facebook could make from mobile ads, there are some big caveats to this kind of number crunching. One thing Lane does not cover are ad formats: the rumors have been that Facebook will first present ads as sponsored stories, rather than traditional display ads, that appear in a user’s timeline. Would these take a different kind of metric other than a traditional CPM and if so, what?

    Lane tells me that separate research his firm did for a mobile marketing company found that only 10 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable with brands reaching out and engaging with them through Facebook. Ninety percent said the opposite. If click-through-rates on mobiles is currently 0.5 percent, “expect that figure to drop significantly on Facebook Mobile,” he writes.

    There are also still some question marks over what, exactly, the value is of “liking” a brand on Facebook. “Thirty-six million follows, but what does that mean in relation to a brand like Coke?” Lane asks.

    Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research

    THE IMPORTANT LESSON: Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase.

    There are a few ways to address this challenge:

    If you have the budget, my top recommendation is to buy a few, very broad keywords in AdWords, send them to a relevant landing page on your site, but realize you probably will lose money on the campaign. The goal isn't conversions, but rather to learn by watching the keyword terms/phrases for which you get impressions. This is also great conversion-testing if you have the budget to invest, but even a week or two of data can be highly valuable for future keyword targeting.
    When searching in AdWords, start broad, and then enter narrower queries and note the new phrases that come up. Make sure to use exact match, and be diligent in testing variations. Google only lies through omission.
    The relative numbers of searches aren't perfect (as you can see above), but they are relatively decent. In fact, I'd say they've improved in what they show vs. the actuals you'll see compared to prior years. However,
    Use your own analytics as a guide to find new terms/phrases you might be imperfectly targeting. And if you see keyword variations that have a unique or different intent, it might even pay to create a more targeted page for that query, and you often need less work to rank, since Google uses the "indented results" system to drop a second URL from the same domain directly underneath the first one on a given page.

    Now I'd love to hear from you - what are your experiences around keyword research in AdWords? Are you seeing the same thing we are? You can share your thoughts in the comments and/or use the poll below (from a new service called Quipol that has some fun twists):

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Interview With MDC Magazine

    Earlier this month I was interviewed by Mike Filsaime of Marketingdotcom.com about social media marketing. Below are my answers to Mike’s questions.

    1) What should an online marketer’s primary goal be when utilizing social media?

    In establishing a primary goal for social media, marketers first need to define what they are trying to accomplish via social media marketing; e.g. increase the number of Twitter followers, increase the number of Facebook fans, or drive traffic to a webpage.

    One of the advantages of using social media as a marketing tool is that it can be used for a variety of marketing initiatives, such as: brand awareness, brand reputation management, new business generation, customer support, specific product/service launch campaigns, and improving SEO.

    2) What, in your opinion, is the most effective way for online marketers to use social media?

    Social media marketing is, at its heart, a way for companies to communicate with their audience, listen to what they are saying, and engage with them based on their comments. It is not simply a one way marketing channel like TV, where you blast your message and don’t engage in a two-way conversation.

    It’s also important to understand that social media marketing is not a stand-alone marketing tactic. It is not something that can happen in a vacuum. For example, a company cannot open a Twitter account and expect people to automatically start following it if they never advertise the fact. Social media needs to be woven into the fabric of everything a company does.

    When you visit a website there should be link to the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Print and display advertising should also include links to the company’s social media pages.

    3) Facebook and Twitter are often cited as the two primary social media sites that online marketers should use. What other social media sites are also worthy of attention?

    The other two big general social media sites are YouTube and LinkedIn. There are also a lot of niche social media sites that marketers are not taking advantage of. For example, ActiveRain bills itself as the world’s largest network for real estate professionals. If your company’s target market is real estate agents, then ActiveRain is the sort of social media site that you should be on. There is a lot less competition (noise) on ActiveRain than there is on Facebook.

    Active Rain is just one example of hundreds of niche social media sites. There are these types of social media sites in every market.

    4) What tools and software would you recommend for assisting with social media management?

    We use Google Alerts to monitor what is being written about our company, brand, industry, and competitors. This is a free service from Google and we get an email every day with any relevant results based on our request. It’s a great way to quickly and easily keep on top of what is being said about you.

    6) What new social media opportunities can we expect to see over the next 12 months?

    As Facebook grows and becomes even more mainstream, I expect to see a substantial increase in the number of people using niche social media sites like ActiveRain.

    I also expect to see more situations like that recently experienced by Cooks Source Magazine. If companies fail to understand the power of two-way communication their reputation can be destroyed very quickly online. I expect to see people offering reputation management services as a result.

    How Carnival Cruise Lines Use Social Media

    Really good interview with Stephanie Leavitt of Carnival Cruise Lines over at eMarketer. In the interview, Stephanie spoke about Carnival’s social media campaign for its newest ship, the Magic, and the kinds of marketing that resonate with Carnival’s Facebook fans. Here are some of the highlights from the interview.

    eMarketer: What is your social media strategy for 2011?

    Stephanie Leavitt: Social media is now a big component of our overall marketing strategy. We try to embed a little bit of social media in pretty much everything that we do. Our goal is to help educate consumers on the value of cruising, and specifically, we’re trying to use social media to better connect with first-time cruisers—people who have never cruised before.

    DW: I harp on this a lot, but social media is not a stand-alone marketing channel. It needs to be incorporated into everything you do.

    eMarketer: What lessons have you learned so far from using Facebook?

    Leavitt: Our biggest lesson learned is that social media changes at a pace that I think marketers are not really used to. It’s incredible. The Facebook platform changes, the policy changes, the way people use it changes all the time. We’re just trying to keep up with that and make sure that whatever we’re developing is easily adaptable. (Carnival’s Facebook fan base grew from 45,000 at the end of 2009 to 510,000 today.)

    DW: That is a very impressive growth in Facebook fans in 12 months.

    eMarketer: What has proven successful to get consumers to interact with your Facebook fan page?

    Leavitt: I’ve found that the key to making a page successful is really good content and providing some sort of utility for Facebook users. While a game can be fun and cool the first few times you use it, if there’s an interesting conversation going on the page, it always brings you back. So we try to focus on user-generated content.

    DW: I think this is an important point. Too often I see marketers overload pages with games to try and keep people coming back to the site, when instead if they focused just on great content, users will return over and over in order to be part of the conversation.

    eMarketer: You introduced a tab of your Facebook page featuring content about the Carnival Magic ship, which debuts in Europe on May 1. What elements are part of this tab?

    Leavitt: We used it to help consumers build part of the Magic. We have an Italian eatery, Cucina Del Capitano, aboard ship and we asked people to go on Facebook and submit names for a pasta dish. We selected a name, and it’s going to be printed on the menu. Right now, we’re running a contest for people to suggest names for a mini golf course. The Facebook tab also has behind-the-scenes videos and a meet-the-crew feature. Every month, we profile a different crew member. We’ve done the cruise director, the captain and some senior staff, so people can learn a little bit more about them.

    eMarketer: What are the challenges with this campaign?

    Leavitt: The biggest challenge, which I guess is a good challenge to have, is that we’ve had so many people participating that it’s hard to keep up—moderating contest entries, interacting with everybody, making sure that we get out there. We thank people for leaving comments, try to get crew members to answer people’s questions and post in a timely manner.

    DW: This is not an uncommon problem for companies. Doing social media well takes resources and the companies that dedicate resources to it are the ones that are successful. If managing your corporate Facebook page is one of 20 responsibilities you have, what are you going to do when you get busy?

    eMarketer: Overall, how has the cruise industry embraced social media, and Facebook in particular?

    Leavitt: Cruising is a social thing. When you go on a cruise, you talk to people—there are people all around you on the ship. So social media just resonates with it.

    But when you’re researching the cruise, your impression is really dependent on peer recommendations. With Facebook, you can go in and see your friends’ recommendations. It makes it that much more enticing and relevant when, instead of reading a regular review, you’re reading a review from one of your closest friends. It’s much more credible.

    eMarketer: Do you use ratings and reviews from customers in your social media outreach?

    Leavitt: Yes. Carnival’s own social network, Carnival Connections, had a review section and we’ve had some form of reviews available since 2006. Now they’re on Carnival.com. We take some of those reviews and we integrate them in some of our email marketing. We feature them on different sections of Carnival.com. And we’ve even tried doing video reviews. When we’re on the ship and we have a video producer there, he’ll interview people, and then we have video interviews on our Facebook page and in Carnival.com’s Funville community.

    eMarketer: Is there anything else you are working on when it comes to social media?

    Leavitt: We just launched our cruise shopper tab, which lets people book cruises directly on Facebook. We had a cruise finder tab up for three months before that, and we saw a lot of people using it to search for cruises and share information with their friends on Facebook, so we took it a step further.

    It’s really just a test for now. We don’t envision this changing the way people book cruises online. It was more, “Let’s test the waters.” The full booking engine has been up for less than a month. No one’s bold enough to come out and say, “We’re going to make a million dollars on this.” But it’s definitely something worth trying.

    How Burt’s Bees Uses Social Media

    Good interview with Melissa Sowry, Content and Social Media Manager for Burt’s Bees recently on eMarketer, in which Melissa spoke about how Burt’s Bees uses social media to create buzz about its products, especially Facebook. Burt’s Bees have been able to grow their Facebook fan base from 98,000 to more than 370,000.

    Here are some excerpts from that interview:

    eMarketer: What drives online word-of-mouth for your brand?

    Sowry: Beauty is a category where people take recommendations from their friends and talk about what’s new. They also look to experts for suggestions. For example, if we get a placement in Marie Claire or Lucky where they’re raving about the new tinted lip balm, we might share the link to the page.

    We also find fans of the brand are recommending products to one another in this space. That’s the normal activity that takes place around beauty products. It’s mostly women talking to other women and finding out what works, but it’s taking place online in social media venues. For example, a mother might ask other moms about products that stop diaper rash: “What works for you?” These are important conversations and I think online social media is a place where people trust one another to get that information.

    eMarketer: What is the brand’s approach to Facebook?

    Sowry: Facebook is a channel for us to provide compelling content. When I came on board, we started doing simple things—posting content and behind-the-scenes images on a daily basis and discussing new products coming to market.

    We use social media and Facebook in particular as relationship-building tools. We also create opportunities for consumer education around skin care, for example, and sampling offers. We ran successful sampling programs on Facebook for our relaunched body lotions and new tinted lip balm.

    We talk about our products on Facebook but we also spend time talking about the culture at Burt’s Bees through our involvement with Habitat for Humanity, sustainability efforts, product ingredients and so forth.

    eMarketer: How do you track the ROI from your social media activity and how do sampling efforts impact sales down the line?

    Sowry: We monitor the traffic we have going from Facebook to Burtsbees.com. We’re constantly looking at ways that we can monitor traffic, fan growth and sentiment about the brand.

    We’d like to be able to say that because we launched a Facebook sampling tab we’ve increased our fan count and increased sales by a certain percentage, but we’re not in that place yet to have those sorts of metrics. But we do know that we’re driving more traffic to our ecommerce site due to the activity on Facebook.

    eMarketer: Burt’s Bees has a “Shop & Share” feature on Facebook where brand fans can ask their friends about a purchase. How successful has it been?

    Sowry: That tab was designed as a first generation of us looking at shopping on Facebook. You can’t complete a transaction with the Shop & Share tab—the technology is not at that stage yet. When you click on a product, we can import a product feed. We could have all of our products up there if we want, but can only display 10 products per page. If you click on the “Shop” button on the tab, you go to Burtsbees.com, our ecommerce site, to complete the transaction and the order.

    Shop & Share was sort of a test to see if it’s something that we should invest in. We’ll be looking at it in the next fiscal year since more brands are starting to offer the ability to complete transactions within Facebook. People want to stay within the Facebook environment.

    eMarketer: What kind of content gets the most traction on your Facebook page?

    Sowry: Everything from video, product recommendations, news about new products, ingredients, guidance in selecting the right products.

    One thing that really engages people are questions. For example, we asked people on a Friday what they’re thankful for. We said we were thankful for honey. We did one around lip care: “What makes your lips like nobody else’s?” We had 106 comments on that post in a day.

    TEN Rules For Social Media Optimization Revisited

    1. Increase Your Linkability-

    This is the first and most important priority for websites. Many sites are “static” – meaning they are rarely updated and used simply for a storefront. To optimize a site for social media, we need to increase the linkability of the content. Adding a blog is a great step, however there are many other ways such as creating white papers and thought pieces, or even simply aggregating content that exists elsewhere into a useful format.

    2.Make Tagging and Bookmarking Easy-

    Adding content features like quick buttons to “add to del.icio.us” are one way to make the process of tagging pages easier, but we go beyond this, making sure pages include a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link (which come up automatically when you go to tag a site), and making sure to tag our pages first on popular social bookmarking sites (including more than just the homepage).

    3. Reward Inbound Links -

    Often used as a barometer for success of a blog (as well as a website), inbound links are paramount to rising in search results and overall rankings. To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. From using Permalinks to recreating Similarly, listing recent linking blogs on your site provides the reward of visibility for those who link to you

    4.Help Your Content Travel-

    Unlike much of SEO, SMO is not just about making changes to a site. When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.

    5.Encourage the Mashup-

    In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content (within reason). YouTube’s idea of providing code to cut and paste so you can embed videos from their site has fueled their growth. Syndicating your content through RSS also makes it easy for others to create mashups that can drive traffic or augment your content.

    6. Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn’t Help You-

    Add value to users, including outbound links to areas that could help them with their goals and purposes. Deployed corrected, even if you link to competitors you stand to gain as the communities first source of information finding. How will this help SMO? Folks will link to your social site and tag is as helpful or the ‘ultimate’ guide in that space. As this adds up, it will become more and more relevant in search engine results.

    7. Reward Helpful and Valuable Users-

    Often helpful or popular users will be influencers and champions within your social site, devise ways to elevate them by promoting their works on the homepage, or develop a rating system. Sometimes a quick email or note in private telling them you appreciate them can go a long way. Some folks have done that to me, and for communities I run, I do that as well. Only do if sincere. Perhaps this is not truly SMO, but it will help to keep the most valuable members of a community closer to your site.

    8. Participate-

    Join the conversation. Social Media is a two way street, lets not forget that. By conversing with the community you are creating awareness and prolonging your buzz. You are keeping it going and this often results in a snowball effect. Participating helps your message spread further and faster.

    9. Know How to Target Your Audience.-

    If you don’t even know your target audience you are in trouble. I would love to have everyone using my product too, but you need to be realistic. There is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can’t. So know your appeal and who it is appealing to.

    10. Develop a SMO Strategy-

    Define your objectives and set goals. Be fully aware of what your desired outcome is as a result of performing these tactics. Reputation, sales, influence, credibility, charity, traffic/page views, etc.

    Interview With Kris Narayanan, VP Digital Marketing At Samsung

    Ready good interview by eMarketer’s Kimberly Maul of Kris Narayanan, vice president of digital marketing at Samsung. Narayanan oversees Samsung’s paid, earned and owned social media programs and had some interesting comments on how the consumer electronics giant uses social media, how social media ads have performed so far and what trends he sees in the marketplace.

    eMarketer: What does Samsung focus on with the paid, owned and earned aspects of its social media program?

    Kris Narayanan: For paid social media, the focus is roughly the same as is in regular media—it’s about driving effectiveness and it’s about enhancing our learning. For owned media, which extends well beyond social networks, it’s about driving the best content and news to our consumers and to our fans on a timely and relevant basis. And for earned media, it’s about conversations and listening.

    eMarketer: When it comes to social media budgets, do you see an increase compared to last year?

    Narayanan: The simple answer is yes. Over the past three years, we’ve seen consistent increases in our ad spend and overall marketing spend with regard to social media. I expect that to continue.

    We have traditionally spent a lot of money on owned media trying to drive conversations and better listening. The paid side commenced this year, but we’ll be more aggressive in growing that next year. We’ve tried to grow our social base quite organically in the past couple of years and we’ll complement that with paid media in the next couple of years.

    eMarketer: How well are the Facebook ads performing?

    Narayanan: They’re performing well, but our ability to track and measure needs to improve. That’s really where the advances are happening, both in the tool sets that Facebook is making available and in the ability of companies like us and third parties that are acting as experts on Facebook advertising. Facebook built basic capabilities that are now getting more and more enhanced to be able to measure and target and segment and so on. That is going to drive ad performance a lot better in the coming months.

    eMarketer: What are some social media best practices for consumer electronics companies?

    Narayanan: One best practice is to leverage social media from a listening standpoint to drive the better products. For example, we learned from our social media that consumers were using our Blu-ray players as the hub for internet connections in their living rooms. That allowed us to amplify the messaging of that attribute of our Blu-ray players as well as enhance the lineup of Blu-ray players that have a connected feature.

    Also, prelaunch marketing and launch time marketing are huge areas. Technology is such a buzzed-about category. Consumers are constantly asking, “What’s the latest? Should I buy this one now or wait for the next product?” Social media can be a huge engagement driver for people who are truly interested in the latest and greatest technologies and brands like Samsung that are constantly pushing the edge of technology.

    eMarketer: Looking ahead to 2012, what trends are you seeing?

    Narayanan: Google+ is truly exciting to me as a consumer. It offers the opportunity for me to manage my circles and my different social connections on a much more segmented basis.

    As a brand, however, it’s not quite clear how Google+ will evolve. But we’re very excited because Google+ offers the possibility of combining the social graph and the interest graph. We can’t wait to get started.

    Google AdWords Display Ad Builder Made Even Easier

    Google’s Display Network can be a great place to generate some additional traffic, leads, and branded exposure. While text ads go a long way in garnering attention, sometimes an image ad can grab searchers’ attention more quickly, especially considering the fact that you can tailor your image ads specifically to match a page’s content. Think about your own experience as a Web surfer. Sure you read text ads, but sometimes an image will catch the corner of your eye much more quickly and effectively.

    Image ads, however, may seem out of your reach if you don’t have a dedicated graphic designer, or the means to contract one, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Google has made it easy for you to build your own image ads very simply in AdWords’ Display Ad builder feature. I wanted to draw your attention to it today because I feel like this tool hasn’t gotten enough attention here on PPC Hero, and it could be a very valuable resource to you in expanding your accounts.

    Last year, Jen wrote a great post on the basics of creating image ads with the Display Ad builder, so if you’ve never used the Display Ad builder be sure to check out her post, complete with detailed instructions. Basically, AdWords provides many customizable templates for you to quickly create image ads. You can add your logo and text, and some of the templates even include preloaded graphical elements. Background and text colors are completely customizable, as it font face and size.

    But, Google has made this process even easier. I’d also like to share a feature I stumbled on recently that makes image ad creation even faster in AdWords. You can create an image ad from any of your existing text ads in AdWords. How? In the Ads tab in the AdWords user interface, click on the ad you want to use to create your image ad and go to “More actions…” then “Generate display ad…” as shown below:

    13 Popular PPC Campaign Tactics That May Ruin You

    PPC Campaign tactics are those things account managers do at the campaign level to increase performance. This list is 13 very common tactics PPC managers use to optimize at the campaign level. Sometimes they work, but sometimes they can tank an account and leave you with some explaining to do.

    1. Rest on the Laurels of Your Top Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns

    It’s easy to always focus on your top performers. Always expanding them, counting on their conversions each month. But what happens when that one trusty campaign starts underperforming, or worse, the client asks you to shut it off because the leads it is generating convert more poorly than other PPC campaigns?

    2. Create Super-Granular PPC Campaigns

    I’m a nerd. I love structure. I love super tightly themed ad groups with 3-6 keywords. And I prefer campaigns to be so granular that I can target each state with specific messaging that will make my ads look like rock stars yelling to the crowd, “we love you Austin!” Only, if you do that you better have lots of money to spend. Getting to this level of granularity means each of your campaigns budgets are going to be small. And that means a few clicks each day can gobble up your budget. Having many campaigns can also prevent any one campaign from generating enough conversions to use helpful tools such as conversion optimizer.

    3. Use Manual CPC Bid Type Until You Can Use Conversion Optimizer

    Conversion optimizer works really well for some campaigns, and very poorly for others. Sometimes enhanced CPC works great, and I’ve even seen auto bidding create the best results. Test. Test. Test. That’s the only way you’ll figure out what works for your PPC campaigns. And remember that each campaign is unique and it shouldn’t be assumed that all the campaigns your run will perform the same with the same bidding type.

    4. Once You Know What You Should Do, Do it Fast!

    Yeah, if you want to take a great performing PPC campaign and send it into a downward spiral faster than you can say, “I feel this is the right thing to do,” then changing everything really fast is a great idea. However, if you have a steady account and you’d like to make some changes that you feel will make things better, maybe doing it more slowly will prevent some late night calls from a head-scratching client/boss.

    5. Day Part Your Campaigns So You Don’t Show During Times You CPL is High

    This can be a great strategy. We’ve all had campaigns that performed really well during business hours but not so good at night. But doing this strategy without sufficient data can land you in the unemployment line. Think about it, if you are going to decide a winner in an ad test you want to see thousands of impressions and/or hundreds of conversions. So when you day part, that means each of your 24 hours should have…thousands of impressions or hundreds of conversions. Okay, maybe you don’t need to wait that long. But pausing your ads over night because you spent $500 last week and didn’t convert isn’t really a fair sampling of what is happening.

    6. Break Good Performing Ad Groups Out into Their Own Campaigns

    An ad group won’t spend more money as a campaign unless the campaign that it is currently in is restricted by budget. All you do by putting it into its own campaign is make your account harder to manage, and possible worsen performance.

    7. Always have a Branded and Non-branded Campaigns

    Usually, this is a great idea. However if you are a small spend account you may be breaking things up too much, and risk reaching too much granularity. If your branded terms can’t really spend in their own campaign, putting them in a campaign with other top performing keywords may be the way to go.

    8. Have Unique Landing Pages for Every Campaign (or Ad Group)

    If you get enough traffic and have enough time to optimize a lot of landing pages, go for it. But having super relevant landing pages only helps if you can continually optimize them. I believe it was Warren Buffet who said, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket closely.”

    9. Create Separate Search and Mobile Campaigns

    First, you should probably do this. Second, if your PPC campaigns are already doing awesome, do it slowly and test it out. Sometimes there is no need for this change (like if you do not have mobile optimized landing pages.) Take a look at your results, and test this slowly.

    10. Best PPC Campaign Practices are… Best

    Best practices in PPC are constantly evolving. If you don something that works, keep doing it. It might not be how the “experts” are telling you to do it, but maybe you’ll create the next best practice along your way to astonishing campaign performance.

    11. Put Ads on “Rotate” Ad Rotation Setting

    If you are proactively doing ad testing you use these feature to make sure every version of your ads gets an even amount of impressions. But if you aren’t actively testing ads (which you should be) you may get more from using the Optimize for Clicks or Optimize for Conversions settings.

    12. Increasing Daily Budget to Increase Spend

    If you are not limited by budget, increasing your daily budget limit will not increase spend. This seems obvious, but I heard of a recent instance of someone simply increasing budget caps in an attempt to increase spend. Check your impression share for lost impressions due to budget. If you aren’t losing any, look elsewhere for expansion/spend opportunities.

    13. After the Initial Setup of a Campaign, Never Edit the Settings Again

    When I review an account, the first tab I go to is the Settings tab. I usually find something there that can help performance, and that stands for when people look at the accounts I manage as well. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. Or Google or Adcenter make changes and we don’t get around to adjusting our settings to account for them.