Pay Per Call Advertising, Marketing & Affiliate Education.

Author: Leon Pearson (page 1 of 1506)

Interactive ads – handy or creepy for consumers?

Internet advertising is a big deal and getting bigger – generating almost $3 billion in revenue per year here in Canada.

According to the latest available figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, “In 2010, online ad revenues surpassed daily newspaper ad revenues. As a result, the Internet is now second only to Television in terms of share of total Canadian media advertising revenue (15.9 per cent). Online advertising’s 23 per cent increase from 2009 to 2010 also bested other major media, all but one experiencing only single-digit growth rates during this time.”

In past years this advertising spend was dominated by “digital display” ads (i.e. banner or button ads and the like). In spite of years of dire predictions of the demise of banners, total spending on digital display ads in Canada continues to increase, to the tune of $688 million in 2010, a 19 per cent increase year over year according to IAB Canada.

Just because companies keep buying them doesn’t mean they are good. As a marketer I’m not a fan of banner ads. I find them intrusive and their performance is abysmal. They feel like ads from a bygone era shoehorning their way onto the web. As Mike Chapman wrote in AdWeek last May: “Everyone knows that clickthrough rates on banner advertising are appallingly low, measured in tiny fractions of a per cent these days. Dull old email gets click-through on average in the U.S. of five per cent or so, and even direct mail response rates still hover around three per cent, according to the Direct Marketing Association.”

Which probably explains why ad spending is growing faster in search advertising and pay-perclick (PPC) than in digital display. Marketers are looking for accountability in their media spending and performance-based payment systems. In other words, I only pay if the audience does something, like click on my ad.

IAB Canada reports, “Search advertising continues to lead in terms of share of dollars booked by Online Publishers ($907 million/41 per cent),” which was a 22 per cent lift over 2009.

To better understand these alternatives to digital display I turned to Jeff Nelson, president at Anduro Marketing, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in search ads, PPC and social media.

“Let’s look at it from both points of view,” said Nelson, “the consumer and the marketer.

“The consumer has wants and needs, simple as that. Consumers need services and things. They need to buy things in order to satisfy these wants and needs. And they have many choices.”

Somehow the consumer must seek out information to make these choices.

“On the other hand,” said Nelson, “the marketer wants to show ads to specific target groups – market segments – to help them satisfy these wants and needs.

From a segmentation point of view, Google AdWords allows me to target search terms for a geographical area but not any other segment characteristics like age, gender, marital status or interests. Facebook, however, does allow demographic segmentation and targeting.”

Top 10 PPC Campaign Mistakes

Top 10 PPC Mistakes

PPC advertising is a powerful mechanism for creating new customers. It is; however, one that is ripe with trip wires, snares, and third rails. Below lists the top 10 most common PPC campaign mistakes that prevent companies from finding a pot of gold.

10. Not Using Geographical Targeting

Whether you’re an international conglomerate or a localized small business, geographical targeting is tremendously important. Avoid wasted spend by only targeting the areas that offer maximum ROI.

For small businesses, maximum return might only occur within — say — a 20 mile radius. Also, companies selling higher-end services can benefit by targeting higher income regions.

Finally, large companies benefit breaking out campaigns on a geographical basis as country-by-country performance can vary greatly based on a wide range of factors such as disposable income, need, spending habit, currency strength, etc.

9. Not Using Site Exclusion

Site exclusions remove high-click, low yield partner sites from the display network. Avoid thousands of dollars in wasted spend by consistently removing sites/pages that are not a logical fit for your target audience.

To do this, simply select the “Networks” tab, select the “show details” link next to “automatic placements” and check and remove all underperforming/undesirable sites.

8. Failing to Recognize the Existence of Match Types

PPC newbies can often frequently don’t realize the tremendous power of match types. Below lists how each of the four match types handle the keyword “red kite”:

  • Exact Match: Triggers ads only when the exact phrase “red kite” is queried.
  • Phrase Match: Triggers ads that include the exact phrase “red kite” and any words or phrases that surround it such as “red kites” or “red kites miami.”
  • Broad Match: Displays ads for an even wider range of keywords, including variations that only loosely match such as “fly kites” (although more control can be used through broad match modifier

There is significant opportunity within each of these keyword umbrellas. For example, broad match keywords often have a lower bid price than their exact match counterparts, and can be relatively controlled with an abundance of negative keywords. Additionally, you can find opportunity in the long-tail with specific high bids dedicated to longer tail keywords with less search volume.

7. Not Utilizing Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are life preservers for your accounts. Regardless of the match type, negative keywords prevent your ads from being displayed when unattractive modifiers accompany your broad and match phrase terms. For example, the keyword “Chicago legal services” might be a great keyword, but “free Chicago legal services” is a resource draining keyword.

Adding negative keywords are simple, and you can find great negative through google’s keyword tool or by going into the keywords tab and selecting “See search termsall.”

6. Not Separating Search/Display Campaigns

We can’t help but blame Google for this one. Google essentially forces new campaign creators to opt-out of the display network, which is likely to be tremendously confusing for beginners.

It’s incredibly wise for businesses to have campaigns segmented based on Network type. The reason is simple: in all likelihood, performance will be significantly better in the Search Network than the Display Network.

Separating these campaigns offers maximum control over budget allocation, which allows you to reap higher ROI in the early stages of a campaign. After your higher ROI budget is maxed, it then makes sense to begin to dial up the display network.

A quick fix is to copy your campaign in Google Adwords Editor, rename your campaigns based on the network, and adjust the selected networks in the setting tab.

5. Being an Adwords-only Organization

Clearly, Google Adwords has more than a 2:1 advantage in market share, but many companies miss the enormous opportunity that lies in MSN. As I’ve previously written, an MSN campaign can be created in just 15 minutes and often offers cheaper CPC’s and cost per conversions. It’s a great way to give overall performance a 20 percent lift.

4. Selecting keywords that are too broad

Many companies make the painful mistake of targeting keywords that are too broad. Specificity is paramount in pay per click advertising, as broadness directly correlates with saturation, expensive costs, low match, and negative ROI.

A perfect example is when a company selling fine cheeses advertises for the keyword “appetizers.” While a fine cheese makes for a great starter, who’s to say the searcher isn’t a lactose intolerant DIY chef looking to whip a quick appetizer for dinner guests? Look for keywords that communicate not only direct product/service, but also intent (in this case “fine cheeses online” while produce higher returns).

3. No Ad Testing

Ad tests are paramount in determining the words, phrases, and propositions that appeal the most to your target audience. Maybe it’s a tempting offer (free shipping) or a quick testament to your company’s credibility (90 percent success rate). Ad testing is a powerful way to improve campaign performance.

To start, try testing at three different ads per ad group (set ad rotation to even). I first recommend testing three philosophically different ads. Once you have a sample of 300 clicks per ad, you should be able to begin to determine winners and losers by ROI. Be careful not to judge by CTR alone, as high click through rates can actually be detrimental to a campaign if they do not result in conversions.

For phase two of ad testing, experiment with language refinement to further boost returns. You should find that strong adjectives such as “powerful” go along way in further improving your ad. Again, keep your first winning ad as the control.

2. Sending Users to the Homepage

My one rule to PPC: control the user experience as tightly as possible. Use research, testing, and analytics to discover exactly what matters to your users and then deliver a tight, visually engaging experience to fit their needs.

Sending a user to the homepage enables them to, by and large, determine their own experience. Imagine your hard-fought budget disintegrating as users click your “about us”, “mission”, and “sitemap” before bouncing.

Instead, use landing pages that specifically relate to the users search intent. This should include headlines, content, text, images, and call-to-actions. Find a more detailed explanation of conversion rate optimization here.

1. Not Conversion Tracking

This is the Ted Bundy of PPC campaign killers. No conversion data at any level means that a campaign is essentially flying blind (which is scary since the vast majority of campaigns I’ve taken over are fraught with waste even with campaign tracking).

Conversion data allows users to quickly understand the financial returns from a campaign, ad group, and keyword level. This data affects every aspect of campaign optimization from ad testing to landing page performance to bid adjustments.

Here are a few ways to collect meaningful PPC conversion data for any organization.

SES New York 2012 is this week (March 19-23). Register today and join Vivastream – the new SES social platform! Find out “How to Make Friends Influence People at #SESNY.”

Media Alert: AMR International Lead Generation Report Features SalesPortal

SalesPortal pay per call advertising network


SalesPortal is listed as an example of innovative technology in lead generation.

Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) March 20, 2012

SalesPortal, a pay per call advertising network for businesses with contact centers, is included in a new AMR International research paper, entitled “Opportunities in lead generation: what every publisher and investor should know.” The company is listed as an example of innovative technology in lead generation.

AMR states industry growth will be led by a new generation of business models, or pioneers, that will “blend superior execution, content, brand and digital technology to offer attractive returns for media companies and investors alike.”

Highlights of AMR International’s new paper, according to their announcement, include:

  •     defining the lead generation industry
  •     illustrating how lead generators create value
  •     highlighting the risks as well as the growth opportunities
  •     identifying the critical success factors

AMR International is a strategy consulting firm that specializes in media and publishing. View the full lead generation paper.

About SalesPortal

SalesPortal is the first pay per call advertising network that enhances customer engagement, generates new revenue streams for companies with contact centers, and lowers advertisers’ costs of customer acquisition. Its patented technology enables enterprises with contact centers to offer their customers relevant products from top-branded, pre-approved advertisers at the end of sales and service calls. Marketers bid against each other for the opportunity to have their product presented to callers and to receive end-of-call live phone transfers from these contact centers. SalesPortal’s breakthrough technology links contact centers with relevant marketers to enable the delivery of qualified phone transfers on a pay per call basis. Winner of the Direct Marketing Association’s Innovation Award, SalesPortal delivers real-time analytics and metrics to maximize revenues for its clients. For more information, visit


CPX Bundles Together Social Advertising Services

Written on
Mar 21, 2012  Author
Brian LaRue  |

CPX Bundles Together Social Advertising Services

ADOTAS – Digital advertising company CPX Interactive has rolled out a new suite of social media ad strategies, as the company announced late yesterday. It’s not an entirely new set of services, but the difference now is that CPX has bundled those services together in a way that ideally allows advertisers to assess and make sense of the role of social media in their campaigns.

CPX executive vice president of marketing David Shay broke down the bundle into its four component parts during a phone call this afternoon. First, there’s the ability to incorporate social functions into display ads placed anywhere across CPX’s network or marketplace — that’s the call to a business’s social media site, rather than one from within its social media presence. There should be, said Shay, “some social call-out in the ads. You can have, right in your ad, a ‘like’ button or a ‘follow’ button — some kind of social functionality.” By bringing consumers into the conversation happening on social media that way, Shay said there’s a chance to “make real-time comments part of the campaign itself.” Second is a dedicated social media vertical in the CPX network, which presents the opportunity to place display ads specifically across over 200 social media site. “We’ve always had the opportunity to carve out verticals,” he said.

The challenge in placing display ads in social media, though, is that they often don’t perform in the way an advertiser might hope, and they tend to have limitations in design and interactivity. That brings us to the third part: the opportunity to serve adds in apps and games, where there’s greater flexibility than, say, the right-hand column on your Facebook home page. This can work for “any social network that has apps and games,” Shay explained. In an app, he said, “their inventory is just another publisher,” and selling in-app or in-game ads creates the creators of those apps and games to “sell ads within their environment.”

The fourth part is the “cost per fan” metric. “We buy inventory in a highly scalable way,” Shay explained. So, when the company went about deciding how to help advertisers pull in more social media followers and fans, it decided to create a metric analogous to what’s accepted in other places on the web. “We’ll give you a cost-per-something-else model, instead of making you pay for something extra,” Shay said. The advertiser can select keywords to target the right potential customers and, he said, “if you give us flexibility on the copy we can optimize it on the fly” within social networks, “just like display.” A statement from CPX said it was capable of giving a campaign a CPF (cost per fan) of $2, but Shay said, “Truth is, it ends up being lower than that.”

According to Shay and releases from the company, CPX has had success so far in its social advertising efforts. Shay cited a major food brand: “They came to us, and they had a Facebook fan page strategy. They wanted 60,000 fans in two months, and they hit [that number] in two weeks.” The same brand also drove “250,000 fans to a couple of their branded pages,” Shay said.

The aforementioned CPX statement is a more detailed PDF CPX has posted about its social advertising features, as well as some best practices for social marketing and advertising.


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Comcast Ventures leads $11M in ad-platform Integrate

There’s a new advertising solution in town and it’s far more ambitious than the typical point solutions that focus on mobile, or social, or TV, or video. This one is designed to be an entire soup-to-nuts advertising platform.

Co-founded by Jeremy Bloom, a two-time World Champion and Olympic skiier, who also played in the NFL, Integrate likes to go fast and big.

Since starting Integrate in April 2010, Bloom and his team have already raised $15.25 million, with $11 million announced Wednesday. 

The Series B round of funding comes from Comcast Ventures and Liberty Global, with existing investor Foundry Group participating again. This brings the total round of funding to moer than $15 million, which includes a $4.5 million round led by Foundry Group in December 2010.

“We took a top-down approach on the entire advertising marketplace,” said Bloom, in an interview with me. “If you look at what’s important to brands, first, it’s the message and where they want their advertising to run – TV, email, social, mobile. Secondly, it’s performance: How does the advertisement work and what’s the ROI?”

Integrate decided to focus on enabling brands to reach out across multiple mediums and to track the performance. Sounds like a big nut to crack, given that many start-ups and companies in general focus on becoming very good at handling one type of advertising medium.

But therein lies the opportunity, said Bloom. 

“If you look at how crowded ad-tech is, there are thousands of companies building point solutions – single-channel solutions… it’s incredibly fragmented and competitive,” he explained. “We saw an oporutniy to sit on top of it all, and integrate all the methods – all offline methds with online methods and marry them together in a single-tracking platform so that advertisers can integrate and select the method of distribution and not have to build out relationships with publisghers on different methods.”

So far so good, since launching in April 2010, with seed funding from Bloom and co-founder Hart Cunningham, the company has grown from two people to more than 150. And, the client list has grown to 1500, including Microsoft and Yahoo. 

Right now, the average campaign size is around $10,000 a month, said Bloom. Customers typically pay on a performance basis, meaning they typically pay per click, pay per action or pay per phone call. If a client says they’ll pay $1 per click, Integrate will take between 5% and 30% of that fee and give the rest to the publisher. 

But it doesn’t stop there. “Their [a customer] goal is not only create new users, but the real end goal is to create purchases,” said Bloom. “We’ve built a software that automatically plugs into the publishers and then plugs into the purchase-conversion database so that we can see the performance of every publisher at a purchase-converion rate.”

The idea is basically to move away from impressions but to track actual performance, he said.

It’s no wonder Comcast took a close look and decided to invest in Integrate. Comcast and Liberty Global, the second largest cable provider in the world, behind Comcast) plan to use Integrate to help them be more effective with their advertising spend.