Building Brands With PPC

Aug. 11

PPC is not just about direct response advertising. PPC is a core channel within any brand marketer’s toolkit. Learn today why I view PPC as a brand and direct response powerhouse. Learn how you can communicate the brand building value of your PPC efforts. Combine these with the direct response you are already driving, and the paid search channel is unstoppable, in my opinion.


  • Core paid search (Google AdWords and Bing Ads) drives substantial impressions. Even putting aside clicks and conversions, your efforts are getting your brand name and message out there to those who are most interested in your goods/services. Count those impressions and report on them. Map your adgroups to your key strategic segments. Let your management know the value you are driving in getting your brand name in front of your company’s most important target segments, at the best possible time (when the are actively searching and ready to buy).
  • Core paid search, via day parting, allows you to advertise when the time is right. Let’s say that’s a big media event in your industry. From the brand advertiser’s perspective, paid search offers an easy way to throttle up/down based on the brand impact opportunity. Be involved in marketing strategy discussions, share the amazing program you manage, and leverage paid search to take optimal advantage of key brand moments of opportunity.
  • Retargeting (also known as remarketing) typically falls under the paid search team. Retargeting is one of the most efficient marketing channels around. It also happens to be one of the best brand building opportunities online. You are delivering targeted creative to those who already visited your site. If done right, you are also driving an incredible number of impressions at some of the lowest CPMs available. Leverage those ultra low CPMs and ultra qualified audience to truly build a connection with your customer, the core of brand building. Make sure to report impressions and CPMs, in addition to middle click, last click, and view through conversions when discussing your retargeting program.
  • Don’t forget about Facebook advertising! Whether you are running direct response campaign, leveraging Custom Audiences to build loyalty with existing customers, or retargeting via the Facebook Exchange (FBX), Facebook delivers an enormous number of impressions at low CPMs. Facebook campaigns are not just about direct response. If you don’t also value the volume of impressions, low CPMs, and ability to target very granular segments, you’re missing half the value.
  • Embrace the new Yahoo! Stream Ads product. Ever wish you could do a brand building takeover on the Yahoo! homepage but don’t have quite enough budget? Stream Ads allow you to show up on the Yahoo! homepage, and deliver a huge number of impressions at very low CPMs. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than the Yahoo! homepage, and Stream Ads are a prime example of brand building via PPC.
  • Advertise on the Google Display Network (GDN). Whether you’re running text ads or image ads, GDN offers the ability to quickly drive direct response, while enjoying a huge number of impressions and low CPMs.

At the end of the day, we tend to focus on last-click conversions in the world of PPC and digital marketing. Take a step back and also value those impressions and brand building opportunities. Every single time someone sees your ad is a great opportunity to communicate your brand. There are few other channels that offer the scale and efficiency of PPC when it comes to delivering targeted impressions and messages to the most broad or precise segments.

Image of Brand © iStockPhoto – VCTStyle

Some Clever Offline Marketing Examples

Aug. 28

While I’m all about online marketing, I find so much inspiration in offline marketing as well. I especially enjoy it when the offline and online marketing worlds collide (as in the case of CPA Tank’s guest post about Offline Email Capture). From time to time, I like to write a post about offline marketing and here are some of my favorites from over the years: WebEx Caltrain Station Takeover, Showtime Photo Booth, and PPC Associates Billboards.

Today, I wanted to share some clever offline marketing examples from my friends at AdMedia ad network. I definitely recommend following AdMedia’s Facebook Page. I follow them and have been thoroughly enjoying their updates. Each day, they share really great posts, including these offline marketing examples. (Thanks AdMedia for the inspiration to write this blog post!)

Check out the clever offline ads below. The first ad shows a really cool billboard that actually blends into the landscape. How awesome! The second ad below, the bus stop ad, actually turns on/off as people pass by. That really helps communicate the message of saving energy. In my opinion, these are some clever offline ads. Have you seen any clever offline ads recently?

Offline Ad 1: Billboard That Blends Into The Landscape

Offline Ad 2: Bus Stop Ad That Turns On/Off To Save Energy

Images in this post © their respective owners
Sources: LAist and Ads of The World

Microsoft Opening Store At Stanford Shopping Center

Feb. 11

Today, Nicole and I visited one of our favorite places, the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. The Stanford Shopping center is great. The stores are top-notch, the mall has a lot of great places to eat, and it’s outdoors so you get to walk around and enjoy beautiful Palo Alto. Today, we noticed something really cool: A brand new Microsoft Store is being built. The store is truly huge. Check out the pictures below! It’s right next to the Apple Store but is several orders of magnitude larger. The signs say the store is opening on April, 19.

I’m a huge fan of Microsoft adCenter and look forward to seeing how their store does. The retail strategy has certainly worked for Apple, so there’s no doubt that it could also help propel Microsoft to the next level. This particular store is exciting because of it’s size and location. In the heart of Silicon Valley, Microsoft’s new store is sure to provide great exposure and marketing for Microsoft’s suite of products.

Microsoft Store Palo Alto

Microsoft Store Stanford Shopping Center

Microsoft Store Stanford

Images in this post ©

Is The Print Industry Going Under?

Jan. 31

I’m a huge fan of dividend-paying stocks. In fact, it’s part of my 2012 Goals to save as much money as possible and invest it wisely (in dividend-paying stocks and other income-yielding vehicles).

I’m always searching Yahoo! Finance looking for new opportunities. Recently, I found a stock called R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company. R.R. Donnelley (Ticker: RRD) provides printing and corporate communications services for businesses. They’ve been in business since 1864 and employ 58,700 employees. When it comes to print (newspapers, magazines, direct mail, and even investment materials), R.R. Donnelley does it all.

Over the last few weeks, RRD stock has taken quite a hit. There are a number of reasons the stock is going down, but one is certainly the belief that the printing industry is going under. It’s all about digital media these days. This is certainly good news for those of us in the pay per click search engine marketing career path. That said, it’s also sad to see an old company under such pressure.

When a dividend-paying stock goes down, dividend yield goes up (that is, assuming the dividend does not get cut). Right now, RRD is yielding an impressive 9%. It’s quite difficult to find any large cap companies yielding this amount. As such, RRD looks to many like quite the promising investment. That said, the dividend is only secure if the print industry is around for the long haul.

What do you think? Do you think that the print industry is going under? Do you think RRD could follow a similar fate to Eastman Kodak (recently filed for bankruptcy)? Or, do you feel that the print industry will always have a presence, despite the growing popularity of digital media? While the 9% dividend yield is enticing, I’m staying away for now. There’s enough uncertainty that this risk averse investor is going to wait and see. In any event, it’s quite interesting to see the trends we all know (more online media consumption) playing out in the stock market (both via the popularity of Internet stocks and the unpopularity of print stocks such as RRD).

Disclosure: I don’t own stock in R.R. Donnelley and do not anticipate opening a position in the next 72 hours.
Image of stock market © iStockPhoto – ahlobystov

Hearst Media Services Has a Neat PPC Strategy

Jan. 11

Hearst is one of the largest traditional media empires around. I’m talking about major brands such as Car and Driver, ESPN, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst owns newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and more. As a savvy media company, Hearst is now involved in online marketing. It makes perfect sense, the statistics are staggering. More and more online media is being consumed each year. Of particular interest, Hearst now operates an online marketing agency and I feel that the way they are marketing their agency via PPC is quite unique.

In the screenshot below, you can see that I searched for “PPC Ian”. I like to search my own name from time to time to make sure my PPC ad is displaying properly. You can never sanity check things enough, and that’s why I have Six Essential Campaign Checks that I run multiple times each day.

The search results in the screenshot show both myself and SF Gate showing up. What is SF Gate? It’s a cool, local website here in the SF Bay Area. I’m quite familiar with SF Gate and have been to the site before. I was surprised to see SF Gate displaying on a PPC-related term and I assumed the SF Gate ad broad matched to the “PPC” in my name. After seeing who was advertising, I started reading the ad and it piqued my interest. I had no idea that SF Gate offered online marketing services.

Upon clicking the ad, I landed on a page within the SF Gate website illustrating the Bay Area Hearst Media Services agency (you can check out the landing page here). I guess SF Gate is owned by Hearst. I personally feel the landing page could target a higher conversion rate, maybe with a prominent email capture. However, that’s not the core takeaway here.

Hearst Could have just sent this traffic to their core website for Hearst Media Services. However, they instead decided to send the traffic to a local brand, SF Gate. I think this is quite the strategy. Here in the Bay Area, I’m sure more people have heard of SF Gate than Hearst Media Services. They are leveraging their well-known, local brand name to draw the user in and then introduce them to Hearst Media Services. I really like this strategy and feel like it’s a great way to leverage an existing portfolio of local brands for improved click through rates. Way to go Hearst Media Services and I hope to run into you at one of the upcoming industry conferences!

SF Gate