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Integrated Search - Dynamic Ads

We have been advocating the management of Natural and Paid Search campaigns as a joint strategy since before the launch of The One Platform.  In fact, it was precisely this notion which led us to create a technology that could facilitate this.  Why?  For us there is a simple reason: potential and existing customers experience Search as a seamless list of relevant results to their query - few differentiate between Natural and Paid results. 

There is another incentive to run these two channels cooperatively, if Google's moves in the market are anything to go by.  Over the course of the past few years we have seen changes in the search engine result pages (SERPs) that are further blurring the line between Natural and Paid Search channels; we have also seen metrics such as Quality Score increasingly rely on what have traditionally been perceived as Natural Search metrics such as Relevancy.  A recent development, the introduction of Dynamic Search Ads (albeit in Beta for the U.S. from October 2011) further confirms this rapprochement between the two disciplines.

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

As the name suggests, Dynamic Search Ads are ads that are generated dynamically by Google predominantly based on a website's content.  Google takes natural search information gathered by its crawl and defines the keywords that your site could potentially appear for in Paid Search results.  When a user types a query, Google determines (very much along the same lines as with Natural Search results) whether your site is relevant to that query and automatically generates and serves an ad based on the site's content and the ad template criteria predefined by the advertiser. (See below)

Dynamic Ads Image

Source: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/10/introducing-dynamic-search-ads-beta.html

Dynamic Search Ads can be run in conjunction with non-dynamic campaigns (i.e. campaigns that a Paid Search specialist has defined in the standard way) to supplement impressions and clicks to the website or uncover new queries not previously targeted.  They are also meant to simplify the management of AdWords campaigns for those who simply don't have the resource to plan, deploy, monitor and update multiple campaigns covering thousands of potential keywords.

However, running Dynamic Search Ads without the appropriate reviews and checks in place has an inherent risk: potentially decreased Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for the advertiser. 

But the interest of this post is not to delve in the advantages or disadvantages of Dynamic Search Ads.  We are instead much more interested in the paradigm shift that Dynamic Search Ads appear to confirm.

Why do Dynamic Search Ads matter to Search Engine Marketing?

Leaving the benefits and downsides of running Dynamic Search Ads aside for a second, Dynamic Search Ads matter because the ability to run such ads successfully entirely depends on the overall state of a website from what has traditionally been a Natural Search point of view:

-          Without good performance from an Accessibility standpoint, for example, the indexing of content that defines whether a website could be used for x or y query in Dynamic Search Ads could be severely affected.

-         Even if Accessibility issues are not a hindrance, the lack of good quality, relevant content can severely affect when and for which queries a Dynamic Search Ad is generated.  Relevancy may take a whole new level of importance as it sways Quality Scores and defines the ads that could be potentially served using the alternative: Dynamic Search Ads.

Neglecting areas such as accessibility and relevancy of a website could limit the choices for testing and discovering new opportunities online that could be potentially derived from running Dynamic Search Ads.  Today, it may not seem of great value to pass on this chance; however, if anything can be deduced from previous feature releases in AdWords, we should expect Dynamic Search Ads to become more prevalent by 2013. 

This is important since it changes the priority assigned to the tasks performed by the Natural Search specialist and emphasises cooperation between Natural and Paid Search teams.  In fact, this may also point at the need to not only encourage cooperation but instead, create the right environment for knowledge transfer between the two disciplines. 

Personally, I believe that the days of planning Natural and Paid Search strategies are coming to an end.  It is becoming incredibly apparent that if a company or agency wants to succeed in search marketing, they will need to think of it as a single medium with a specific set of goals - and plan the strategy and tactics accordingly.

If you want to learn more about how to manage, optimise and monitor Natural and Paid Search campaigns as a single integrated strategy, get in touch

 

Posted by Ruth Zohrer at 11:36
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Optimising the Buying Cycle Part II - Tying Keywords to Desired Outcomes

Following on from part one of our recent White Paper - Optimising the Buying Cycle, we now release part two of the paper which focuses on tying keywords to desired actions.

For years, SEO specialists have been used to managing just a handful of keywords, and ordinarily without the combination of Paid Search data and insight. Recent technological developments however have evolved to such an extent that marketers can now view both SEO and PPC data side by side in an integrated view allowing them to achieve better ROI.

Our new White Paper considers keyword research, prioritisation and management of keywords across the disciplines, discussing how they fit into the various stages of the buying cycle. By using technology to better understand the buying cycle, its various stages and how to optimise search marketing campaigns within it - marketing specialists can better define which keywords elicit which responses from prospects. In this paper, we give tips to assist both natural and paid search specialists in fine-tuning the language used within campaigns across the different channels to ultimately enhance effectiveness and increase results.

 

Posted by Becky Hayward at 13:38
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Introducing the One Platform

Hydra is the culmination of many years of best practice in the Search Marketing and Social Media space. It takes all combinations of words and phrases your customers are likely to use and then gives you tools to push marketing directly back into the channels you need to be in to get customers to engage with you. Hydra is all about bringing channels together into one place and talking to your customers in the language they use to discuss your area of business. We call our technology "The One Platform."

For years we have seen Natural, Paid Search and Social Media treated separately by both client and agency alike, often seeing one company with an SEO agency and a PPC function working completely in isolation.

Times are changing however, the growth of Social Media as a proportion of online marketing spend and the need to see a clearer and more refined ROI from investments is driving a more collaborative approach to such activities. This is natural and makes sense as customers don't silo their activities into such buckets, they, "go to Google" or "have a look on Bing" or "post a status on Facebook to get friends opinions."

There is a commonality between all of this, "the words" and "phrases" they use in these discussions. We call this "Phrase Marketing."

So what is Phrase Marketing?

Phrase Marketing is the next evolution in online marketing. As we naturally gravitate to a more collaborative environment, sharing keywords and phrases across teams, learning about how customers discuss our products and services, it's essential we enable greater creativity and productivity across the organization and leverage the expertise of our agencies. The One Platform from Hydra IS Phrase Marketing.

Taking word and phrase feeds from ANY location, be it, SEO keyword lists, PPC Campaigns, Inventory of stock or Page content and querying that against Social Media to see the sentiment, or leverage phrases customers use in discussing your products and services, enables Hydra customers to build more specific, targeted keyword and phrase lists to take to the channels. Essentially our WordBank becomes the ultimate authority on what is being used today in your business, how well it is doing, what new opportunities exist, and how we could improve and beat our competitors.

This is why The One Platform has been created, because the task of amassing, and analysing the opportunities that exist is vast and is not manageable in real terms without enormous teams of people to deliver the outputs.

Need for Technology

Technology has revolutionized the life of the Online Marketer over time. You can now buy a tool to:

  • Help SEO work better
  • Manage PPC Campaigns
  • Optimise Social Media

However, inherently this approach of point solutions further silo's and disaggregates the best practice in your organization. In a recent survey we conducted 72% of respondents that don't share keywords and phrase across teams, didn't feel they were "on trend" when it comes keywords and phrases used today.

We view this as a big problem, and one that shouldn't exist. All we are talking about is bringing these technologies together on top of a database to manage and create a more targeted list of phrases your customers use. So we put our money where our mouth is and built it.

Other inherent issues of scalability of campaigns are even a struggle with some of the point solutions in the market, where you are hamstrung on your creativity by being restricted to the number of words and phrases your tool will let you manage. This makes no sense to us; technology should empower scale and creativity by driving more depth with greater focus by letting the processors do the hard work. So we have decided to let the tool do the work, and you can manage as many keywords as you want.

Enterprise class

Technology at this level is different, it needs to scale, it needs to automate processes and should be able to scale to allow as many users as possible to improve the work they are doing.

We've worked with a variety of Cloud platforms to work out what will work best for our customers, and we are delighted to say we have found a robust Cloud environment that allows us to scale to levels not experienced previously. This massively parallel computing allows us to deploy complex algorithmic logic into our systems, but still return results on a real time basis.

We are also conscious that technology without expertise is pointless. So with a fully integrated training programme, and vertical specific deployments, designed to increase your speed of ROI, we believe we can show you results of using our technology very rapidly. 

But what of those companies who are using an agency today? The depth of expertise and knowledge in your agency will by its very nature always be hard to replicate internally, even if you are lucky enough to have a rock star digital specialist, they will often be brow beaten under a pile of Excel spreadsheets. Technology at an Enterprise level should:

Remove the monotonous but tedious tasks that a machine can do faster:

  • Take the VAST tasks that a human simply cannot do, and automate it
  • Apply logic and process to calculations that a human cannot do en masse.

When all of this is deployed, it means you and your agency become more efficient, with less time and money burnt on the mundane, and more time and money spent on the innovative.

 

Posted by Martyn Jobber at 09:00
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