I’m A Huge Fan of YouTube (Part 1 of 2)

Mar. 02

I’m a tremendous fan of YouTube. There are many reasons why, and I’m thrilled to explore them as part of a two-post series. Perhaps the most striking reason is the screenshot below from one of my personal YouTube accounts (not my PPC Ian one, but another account). This report (from YouTube’s amazing video analytics) demonstrates the ways in which viewers arrived at my YouTube videos. Before looking at my YouTube analytics, I naturally assumed those watching my videos would find them:

  1. Embedded on my website (the particular channel in question is related to a high-volume website, and most videos are embedded)
  2. Searching on YouTube
  3. Searching on Google (since YouTube videos are embedded in the organic search results)

While all three of these are driving video views, the number one way in which people are finding my videos is a surprising one: YouTube suggested videos. Out of my 5,888 video views in the last 30 days, 4,090 are from suggested videos (that’s 69.5%)!

What are suggested videos? At the end of a YouTube video, you will oftentimes see a matrix of suggested videos, those of similar topical matter (or closely-related topical manner). Those watching YouTube videos typically watch a series of videos and they find the next one of interest by following YouTube’s suggestions.

It’s almost like watching TV. You’ll be sitting there watching a channel. All of the sudden, you get bored and start changing the channel. You don’t just watch one show, you watch multiple. Since YouTube videos are short, one can expect the average viewer to watch many clips in a row. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense, but I would have never guessed this going in!

So, we’ve established that I get a lot of video views from suggested videos, but why does this matter? Why does it make me a tremendous fan of YouTube? It’s easy: This is a brand new customer acquisition media channel.

I’m always looking for new channels, new ways of reaching users/potential customers. I’ve got organic search and paid search covered. If most of my YouTube traffic was coming from Google organic results, for example, I don’t see that as truly incremental. However, I view these suggested videos as incremental. It’s a media channel I’m really not getting at any other way. For this reason, I’m even more of a fan of YouTube than I was before. Stay tuned, in part 2 of this post, I’ll share more interesting nuances and thoughts around why YouTube is so important for your marketing program.

YouTube Stats

Image of YouTube Stats © PPCIan.com

Kenshoo Does It Again With Their PLA Guide

Feb. 11

Do you Kenshoo? Kenshoo is an amazing digital marketing platform for the true digital marketing professional. You may recall, just a few weeks ago, I blogged about Kenshoo’s new eBook, Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance. I truly enjoyed reading that study, and highly recommend it to any digital marketer considering budget allocation decisions by channel. Well, Kenshoo has done it again! Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to share Kenshoo’s latest free guide: The Kenshoo Guide to Google Product Listing Ads.

As the title suggests, this guide is all about Product Listing Ads, also known as PLA Ads. It’s a free 17-page guide, packed full of actionable tips. Many years back, at the beginning of my digital marketing career, I was in the Product Shopping space and had great exposure to PLAs, feeds, and shopping comparison sites/ads. However, for most of my career, I have been in the Financial Services vertical. Those of us in Finance don’t spend quite as much focus on PLAs (we have our own Finance-specific ad extensions and advertising vehicles). This particular fact piqued my interest incredibly in Kenshoo’s new guide…

I’m a huge proponent of leveraging technologies from Product in Finance and vice versa. You can learn so much by investigating verticals other than your own, and leveraging ideas across categories. I picked up some solid tips and advice.

In Kenshoo’s guide, you’ll learn all about PLAs, Google Merchant Center, data feeds, product targets, important rules, and so much more. My absolute favorite parts of Kenshoo’s guide are the 8 best practices and common PLA mistakes. These sections truly provide some golden nuggets of info.

Kenshoo is one of the best digital marketing platforms around. They originally got started in the Product vertical so they know this stuff incredibly well. I highly suggest downloading Kenshoo’s free guide today to perfect your Product Listing Ad skills. Even if you aren’t in the Product category (like me), you will learn form this guide. As digital marketers, it’s all about generating new ideas. The best ideas often come from applying insights from one category to another, challenging the status quo. Elevate your PLA skills today!

Kenshoo PLA Guide

Image of Kenshoo PLA Guide © Kenshoo

Great Ways To Exercise During The Workweek

Feb. 04

I have a lot of goals this year (check out my 2014 goals). Goal 8, one of my favorites, is working out at least 4x per week. As a busy professional, I find that my personal free time is less and less as each year passes. As such, it’s sometimes a challenge to find time to exercise. This year, I’m going to have to get a little clever. Below are some tips on how I plan to exercise throughout the workweek in 2014.

Jogging 1 Mile

  • A while back, I wrote a post about Taking Advantage of Surges In Energy. When I wrote this post, I was mainly thinking about getting work done, and taking advantage of bursts of energy for hyper-focus. This year, I hope to do the same for workouts. If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’m going to try to do a quick workout. It will be all about quick, intense exercise.
  • Certain days, I plan to bring my running gear to work, going for quick runs either during lunch or after work. Depending on the day, the office I’m heading to, and my overall schedule, my commute can be either be long or short. On those variable days where I expect a longer commute, by the time I get home, I’m sometimes too tired to exercise (driving in traffic can drain your energy). My solution? I’m going to run before getting in the car to drive home. That way, I can truly relax once I get home.
  • I’ve been conducting 1:1s with my team while walking around the neighborhood. Walking is super great exercise. This is a fun way to brainstorm, while making sure my team and I get some fresh air during the workday.
  • I’m looking forward to hiking with my wife on weekends. Check out my recent video blog post about Taking A Hike.
  • I’ll strive to get in some quick pushups or situps whenever I can. Strength training is just as important as cardio. Even if I don’t have a ton of time, I can do a few reps here and there, throughout the week.

Exercise is important. It keeps your mind clear and focused. It increases your longevity and health. It’s all about keeping perspective. Do you have any clever ways to integrate workouts into your busy work schedule?

Image of Jogging 1 Mile © iStockPhoto – jpimages

Does Facebook Advertising Assist PPC?

Jan. 27

Do you advertise on Facebook? How about PPC (Google AdWords and Bing Ads)? If you’re a digital marketing professional, the answer is most likely a huge “Yes!” Both channels (Facebook/social) and also PPC are great on their own. However, have you ever wondered, does my Facebook advertising impact and assist my paid search? Many of us believe so, but have never performed a formal study to prove the correlation.

Thanks to Kenshoo, the leader in Bid Management Software and Social Advertising Platforms according to Forrester, I’m thrilled to share some answers. Kenshoo recently published a free whitepaper that proves a correlation between Facebook and PPC: Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance.

I’m a huge fan of Kenshoo; They are all about tracking, analytics, technology, and innovation. Long story short, they are perhaps the best company to do this type of study. They have deep roots in this type of analysis, and that’s something I respect incredibly about Kenshoo.

Some high level findings (download the free whitepaper to learn more about the particular experiment, and how it was conducted):

  • +30% ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
  • +24% AOV (Average Order Value)
  • +7% CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • -4.5% CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

Figuring out budgets and media allocation for 2014? Make sure to set aside some extra funds for Facebook advertising (knowing the positive impact it has on core PPC), and don’t forget to reserve funds for amazing technologies such as Kenshoo!

Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance

Image in this post © Kenshoo

My 2014 Goals

Jan. 19

If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I always enjoy writing about my goals for the new year. Here are my goals from the past few years: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Wow, that’s a lot of goals! You may be wondering, where are PPC Ian’s 2014 goals? This year has been super busy so far, and I’ve been thinking about my goals behind the scenes. I’m a little late this year, but it’s never too late… Today, I’m thrilled to share my 2014 goals.

2014 Goals

Before I get into the specifics, I wanted to first share my thoughts around the importance of having goals and documenting them. First and foremost, it’s important to have goals. All of us can improve. There’s always more to accomplish. There’s always more you can do, both in business and live. Never settle, always keep building. Second, it’s important to document your goals. Personally, I refer back to these posts about my goals regularly. My goals posts are not only for my readers but also for me. They are a great reference point to make sure I’m on target. Moreover, the written word is extremely powerful. Writing down your goals (via blogging or on paper) is a powerful way to solidify your goals in your mind, and get you one step closer to achieving them. So, if you have not created your 2014 goals yet (and/or have not written them down yet), you are not too late. We’re still in January! Without further ado, let’s jump into PPC Ian’s 2014 goals…

Goal 1: Empower and Grow Careers in Marketing

I’ve built my career and blog on the premise of empowering and growing careers in marketing. Each and every day, I strive to help those on my team, those on their teams, colleagues, leadership, partners, friends, family, and really anyone I interact with. Positivity, encouragement, assistance, and teaching goes so far. Invest in others and you make your company and the world a better place. I’ve written about this particular goal at length over the years, so I’m going to keep it short. The one sub-goal I wanted to highlight, however, is one I’m borrowing from last year’s list: Help at least five people every single day. And, one I’m adding to the list: Inspire at least two people on my team to take on the same goal of helping at least five people per day.

Goal 2: Invent At Least One New, Major Marketing Strategy/Channel

I had this same goal in my list last year, and it came true, two-fold. I truly believe in the power of the written word. I also truly believe in the power of innovation. Customer Acquisition Marketing moves so quickly. How do you stay ahead? Innovate, innovate, innovate (and optimize, optimize, optimize). I’m looking forward to another major, new marketing strategy/channel this year (new to me/my company)! Each year, I raise the bar and try to push myself, my team, and our industry forward.

Goal 3: Focus On High-Leverage Cash Flow Opportunities

As a Customer Acquisition Marketer, I’m always looking for the best ways to acquire quality customers at the lowest possible price. I’m looking for stability, and take a conservative approach. When you manage a large (or really any) marketing budget, it’s important to have a very conservative, thoughtful, and analytical approach. Every penny needs to be treated like pure gold.

When it comes to my personal life, I extend these same values. One thing I’m passionate about in my spare time is the overall goal of generating cash flow and income streams. For example, I’ve written extensively in the past about Lending Club (affiliate link) as one potential income stream and source of cash flow. Here are a few of my favorite Lending Club posts on PPC Ian:

(Side note: If you sign up for Lending Club via my affiliate link, I will be truly grateful. Such affiliate commissions help me pay the expensive fees associated with running PPC Ian.)

Whether it’s Lending Club, building affiliate websites, or any other strategy, I’m a fan of cash flow and passive/mostly-passive income. As someone who works incredibly hard and has very few free hours (maybe just a handful each week), you’ll find me spending a portion of my very limited free time in 2014 exploring high-time-leverage cash flow opportunities. I have been achieving great results via Lending Club as just one example, and will be blogging about them in a future post.

Important Note: I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial advice. Please consult your own financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Goal 4: Participate In a Huge Speaking Opportunity, The Largest of My Career

I’m excited about this one! Public speaking is a true rush. It’s also a true honor and opportunity to help others. In 2013, I really enjoyed Speaking At Search Insider Summit. This year, I already have a major speaking engagement on the books. In fact, this is going to be my biggest one ever. I’m taking this opportunity with such seriousness and dedication, I cannot wait. I can’t say too much, but some of my favorite friends from Rocket Clicks Digital Marketing Agency know what I’m talking about.

Goal 5: Connect With Amazing People Who Inspire, Find Ways To Work Together

I love blogging because it offers an opportunity to meet and connect with amazing people, both online and offline. A fun example: I was at the Marin Masters conference (put on by my good friends at Marin Software) and was given a shout out as “PPC Ian” in front of the entire audience. This was a fun example of online meets offline; the event became an amazing opportunity to network and meet amazing people who inspire.

There are so many amazing bloggers out there doing great stuff. As a fellow blogger, I always take the opportunity to leave a comment, introduce myself, and say “hi”. Some examples of people who inspire me who I’ve met via blogging: Jason from Dividend Mantra and Morgan from MorganLinton.com. My goal this year: Forge friendships with great bloggers and leaders, both online and offline.

Goal 6: Deliver “Backyard Blogging” Videos and Innovation on PPC Ian

This is one of my favorite goals, and one of the reasons I’m writing this post a little late. As you may have noticed, I’ve been super busy uploading a lot of video blog posts here on PPC Ian. I’m especially thrilled about my “Backyard Blogging” series, where I shoot casual, fun videos about business, life, and marketing from my backyard. When it comes to PPC Ian, video is one of my biggest goals this year so make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Here are some of my recent videos:

This is going to be a huge year of video. Additionally, I’m looking forward to exploring some other concepts here on PPC Ian to keep things interesting, and push my content to the next level. An idea I’ve been thinking about: A PPC Ian comic strip. (This idea was inspired by a comic strip my friend Jason Thomspon used to do back in the day.) Stay tuned, cool stuff coming this year!

Goal 7: Spend Time With My Wife, Family, and Friends

With an ambitious list of goals, it’s always important to keep the right perspective on the big picture (this goal and the next one). While my goals are ambitious, it’s all about efficiency. I need to remember to work hard and smart, and spend a lot of fun times with Nicole, family, and friends. At the end of the day, I work hard so that I have time for loved ones. (Side note: Nicole is doing amazing stuff, and don’t be surprised if you see a guest blog post here on PPC Ian from Nicole, and also some other exciting announcements.)

Goal 8: Workout At least 4x/Week

I’ve been a bit lax about this goal recently, but the new year is just getting started. My goal this year is to workout at least four times per week. Workouts can be cardio, weights, or a combination of the two. My particular strategy this year is not just about the typical gym workout, it’s about variety and making it fun. The perfect example: Check out my recent YouTube Video About Hiking and how it can clear your mind/help you brainstorm new ideas. Nicole and I are so excited to hike all over the beautiful Bay Area in 2014.

Goal 9: Donate Time and Money To Charity

I like listing this goal last because it ties together well with my first goal of empowering, educating, and helping others. Nicole and I keep raising the bar each year. We achieved our goal of donating a record amount to charity in 2013 and hope to do this again in 2014. It’s all about giving back. We are so fortunate here in the SF Bay Area, let’s do what we can to help others!

If you’ve made it all the way to the end, I truly thank you. I know this is a long post, one of the longest I have written in a while. I thank you for your support. Any special and exciting goals on your end this year? Please do share!

Important Note: I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial advice. Please consult your own financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
Image of 2014 goals © iStockPhoto – Rasica