Capture Email Addresses With Google AdWords

Dec. 27

I’m a huge fan of Google AdWords ad extensions. What are ad extensions? They are new ways of customizing your AdWords ads to greatly improve your overall CTR and interaction with searchers. Basically, Google is challenging the traditional paid search ad format with new, special extensions that make your ads more interesting and interactive than ever before. Different ad extensions make sense in different verticals. Some of my favorite examples from the finance vertical include Call Extensions and Sitelinks. In the retail vertical, you may quite familiar with seller review extensions.

Recently, I noticed another cool ad extension that’s still in beta testing, email lead capture extensions (check out the screenshot below). For many verticals, the money truly is in the email list. This is never more true than in the “daily deals” vertical. When I search for “sf deals”, I found a neat ad by Pinchit that allows me to sign up for their email deals without ever leaving Google AdWords! If you make a lot of money from your email list, I highly recommend asking your AdWords rep about this extension. If you’re in a vertical that is not as reliant on your email list, I highly recommend testing the other extensions, you will not be disappointed. Great work Google, please keep the cool ad extensions coming.

Google Email Address

Online Marketing Holiday Gifts Rule

Dec. 24

I’m a huge fan of the corporate online marketing career path. You get to manage huge budgets, face exciting challenges every single day, experience rapid career growth (if you work hard and deliver results), and receive amazing holiday gifts. Each year, search engines, vendors, and partners send truly great gifts. Today, I’m thrilled to share pictures of a few of my online marketing gifts from this holiday season.

QuinStreet Patagonia Jacket

QuinStreet Patagonia Jacket

Before getting into the gifts, however, I wanted to to first say Happy holidays, happy new year, and thank you to all PPC Ian fans. It my readers (you) that truly make my blog. Thank you so much for your emails, comments, support, and friendship in 2011. I couldn’t have done it without you. Lately, I have been blogging more than ever before and I’m going to continue to ramp up PPC Ian in 2012. A bit more on that later (in my 2012 goals post), but stay tuned, it’s going to be awesome.

So, back to the gifts… I’m a huge fan of holiday gifts and cards. I enjoy giving gifts to search engines, partners, and vendors as much as I enjoy receiving them. Gifts and cards are a way to reflect on the past year and let your valued partners know just how important they are to you. Relationships are everything and a simple card and gift can really make all the difference. Take time to give thanks to your valued business partners, it’s the thought that counts.

This year, I received an awesome Patagonia sweater jacket from QuinStreet, a leader in vertical marketing and media. You can see a picture of my new sweater jacket above. I used to work at QuinStreet so I have a ton of QuinStreet apparel. This year’s sweater jacket is my absolute favorite, however, because of its fit, warmth, and overall comfort. It’s the perfect sweater jacket you can wear to work with a long sleeve dress shirt.

Marin Software Chocolate Tower

Marin Software Tower

Also this year I received an amazing tower of chocolates from Marin Software, one of the leading online marketing platforms around. Check out the image of the colorful tower to the right. All of the chocolates and candies are in boxes that get smaller and smaller as you go up the tower. I really like this gift because you never know what’s in each box, you’re always surprised. We had a ton of fun sharing this gift around the office.

The largest gift I received this year came from Five Mill, a great San Francisco SEM agency. Five Mill sent us a massive gift basket. The picture in this post below does not fully do it justice. I honestly had some difficulty picking this gift basket up because it’s so big. Five Mill sent the same gift basket last year and it took some serious time to get through all of the goodies. My absolute favorite in the gift basket are the Godiva chocolates.

I wanted to close out today with my gift from Google. Instead of sending a traditional gift, Google Donated $40 Million To Charity this holiday season. I’m all about receiving cards and gifts, but I’m also a bigger believer in charity. This year, my wife and I donated a record amount to our favorite charities. Next year, we plan to go even bigger (stay tuned for my 2012 goals). I commend Google for giving back all year and especially during the season of giving. It’s up to the business community to help those truly in need.

Five Mill Gift Basket

Five Mill Gift Basket

Last, but not least, I wanted to say thank you to everyone else who sent over gifts, cards, and wishes. I just wanted to highlight a few of my gifts today. If your gift didn’t make the list, that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I actually enjoy cards as much as gifts, especially those that contain personal messages. I received so many amazing cards this year and spent a solid 8 hours writing/sending out cards as well. Thank you to everyone and happy holidays!

Images In This Post ©

Acquisio Acquires ClickEquations

Dec. 21

As of late, there’s been a tremendous amount of growth and M&A activity in our industry. Just a few weeks ago, Adobe acquired Efficient Frontier for $400 million. Personally, I feel like $400 million is a really solid, strong price for Efficient Frontier and sets the tone for more big liquidity events in the coming months/years. It’s really great news for our industry.

Way To Go, Acquisio and ClickEquations!

Today, I was absolutely floored when Acquisio announced their acquisition of ClickEquations. If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Acquisio, the leading performance marketing platform for agencies. I have covered some of their amazing whitepapers, interviewed their CMO Marc Poirier, and recently did a guest post on Acquisio’s awesome blog.

What you may not know is I’m also a huge fan of ClickEquations. As you can see in my SMX 2011 Recap, I had the great opportunity to connect with Craig Danuloff, CEO of ClickEquations. Craig literally wrote the book on quality score and is a true leader in our industry. The ClickEquations team is truly top-notch and they built an outstanding platform. Integrate ClickEquations into Acquisio’s platform and it’s going to be a true home run for the online marketing community.

Prediction: SEM Platform(s) Will Go Public In 2012-2013

So, what’s next after all of this recent M&A activity? First and foremost, it means better tools for end users like you and me! More M&A means more activity, growth, and competition. It’s a race at this point to build the biggest and best online marketing platforms around.

Second, I think the recent activity sets the stage for some even bigger deals in the future. Looking at companies like Acquisio, Kenshoo, and Marin Software, I would not be surprised if one or more of them went public in 2012-2013. One thing is for sure: If you manage large online advertising campaigns, I highly encourage you to audit the platforms out there, you will not be disappointed!

Image in this post © Acquisio

Yahoo! Rich Ads Are Back

Dec. 20

If you were a big advertiser on Yahoo! back in the Panama days (before the Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance), you may remember rich ads in search. What are rich ads? They are basically an awesome way to make your brand/trademark ads stand out. I’m talking about adding an image (or even video) to your brand keywords. I’m talking about including sitelinks in your ad. I’m talking about adding a zip code box to your ad so your users can start filling out your form right from the ad itself! When it comes to rich ads, it’s all about customization.

Rich Ads Are Now Powered By adCenter

When the Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance came around, Yahoo! rich ads disappeared. It made sense. adCenter became the platform of choice and adCenter did not support rich ads at the time. Yahoo! Panama was the only platform in our industry offering this capability. However, both Yahoo! and Microsoft promised that rich ads would be back, and they now are!

Capitalize On Your Brand Name Traffic

Check out the screenshot below. You can see Rosetta Stone’s rich ad (screenshot taken today). In this particular rich ad, Rosetta Stone is leveraging an image and also sitelinks. There’s no doubt that they are enjoying a higher click through rate and increased brand awareness. Also, they are preventing other advertisers from showing up in the top yellow bar. Rich ads take up a lot of space so when rich ads deliver they will occupy the entire top bar.

Enjoy Rich Ads On Both Yahoo! and Bing

I’m super excited about rich ads (more so than ever before) because they now display on both Yahoo! and Bing thanks to the Search Alliance. Moreover, the process for uploading rich ads (and the overall bidding framework) is more simplistic and scalable than ever before. If you’re a large advertiser on adCenter, you just have to reach out to your Yahoo! reps about rich ads. You won’t be disappointed and it could turn out to be one of your big successes of 2012!

Want to learn more about the Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance and my perspective on the transition from Panama? You’ll want to check out my Search Alliance Case Study which is now live on Yahoo!’s advertising portal.

Yahoo Rich Ads

Fun Times At The Pharcyde Concert

Dec. 17

Last night, Nicole and I enjoyed seeing The Pharcyde perform at Yoshi’s San Francisco. The Pharcyde is perhaps my favorite rap group of all time, with their album Bizarre Ride II being perhaps my favorite rap album of all time. Kanye West has also named Bizare Ride II as his favorite. If you’re interested in listening to Pharcyde tracks such as Drop, you’ve just got to check out their YouTube Channel.

DJ Equipment

If you’re been reading PPC Ian for a long time, you may also know that Rap Music Drives My Online Marketing. Pay per click search engine marketing is a lot like computer programming. When you’re managing large campaigns and making money online, you need to get in the zone. How do I get in the zone? I like to put on my headphones and listen to hip hop music. I like hip hop more than any other music genre for a few reasons. First, I can’t get enough of the beats and lyrics. I’m a walking encyclopedia of hip hop lyrics and facts. Second, I grew up listening to this stuff. Third, on a philosophical level I can relate to the relentless pursuit of money that comes across in many tracks.

Nicole took me to Yoshi’s San Francisco for my birthday earlier this year. We saw another one of my favorite rap groups, De La Soul. (Side Note: You’ve got to check out The Bizness Remix on YouTube, a true hidden gem.) Since then, we have kept a close eye on the Yoshi’s calendar for great hip hop and jazz artists (we also enjoy jazz music quite a bit). The food at Yoshi’s San Francisco is always top notch, and I must say The Pharcyde and De La Soul concerts were both amazing! I went away from both thoroughly inspired to see some of my personal heroes perform their best tracks. It’s always a great crowd and great time at Yoshi’s, I highly recommend it.

How do you get in the zone when you’re working on online marketing? Any other fans of rap music out there, especially 90s artists such as The Pharcyde and De La Soul?

Image of DJ Equipment © iStockPhoto – Roob