Category: Google

While managing B2B campaigns are a big challenge in the search marketing space, over time we’ve learnt that using Remarketing – we can address the challenges rather quickly. What are these challenges in the online space:

a. Audience differentiation between consumer and business audience.

b. Common web destination for both consumer and business.

c. Limited traffic or premium prices on niche sites.

d. Same keywords on search for consumer and business products.

If you run campaigns on search and on the Google Display Network, you are likely to be familiar with the remarketing feature or audience targeting feature available. By advertising on mass keywords and selecting topics of interest to your audience the first step involves collecting the audience data that you will want to build your remarketing list on. Secondly, you;ll want to setup your site and tag it in such a way that each product/service bucket can be easily identified and you are able to setup the audiences lists clearly. Third, ensure your campaign runs across 3-4 weeks.

With the data collected over the course of time, the next advance step to take is to start using your remarketing lists. These lists will help you identify where all the users have landed on your site, which product/service interest them the most, and if at all they have taken any action on your site (if you are doing conversion tracking). Setup unique creative messaging for your audiences in the list, and start serving them ads across the network.

The entire learning process is estimated to take place any where between 1 – 2.5 months. At the end of it, you will have a solid database of your target audience and you will see your ROI only go up (provided you keep your list fresh – as audience interest will change).

So, while the travel guys have really used remarketing brilliantly – the B2B guys can use it to take their digital marketing plans to the next level. I’ve not seen many other brands or businesses in asia really take advantage of this feature.

Use it – you won’t regret the change.


If you started working on search campaigns in early 2000 – you will know how difficult it was to really-do-real-time-optimization of your search campaigns. Your clients were jumping on your head with a gun ready to be pulled when you should them the change log with few bid changes…and you wished there were automated tools out there…Few hardcore search agencies went with developing their own tools using APIs; while few opted in to use some 3rd party tools. I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to pretty much most tools that are out there for bid management.

As a search marketer – how frequently do you think you should optimize your bids?  and that’s a trick question.

If you can’t afford the complex 3rd party tools, I think the Google automation tools are a big-big-relief. And, it works. You can know more about it here :

The beauty of this tool is the simplicity in application of logic and bid rules. Here is a quick evaluation of what Google Automated rules do for you and do not do as compared to other bid management tools in the market :

Feature Google Automate Any 3rd Party Tool
Rule based Bids Yes Yes
Ad Activation Yes No
Keyword Pausing Yes Yes
Ad Pausing Yes Yes (Not All)
CPA Based Bid Mgmt Yes Yes
Budget Changes Yes No
Hourly Changes No (but can be done) Yes
Multiple Search Engine No Yes
Search Funnel Yes No
Create New Keywords No Yes (Not All)
Custom Programs No Yes

Google won’t want to kill the tools out there, but with DoubleClick opening up to other search engines it will soon become a key contender in the bid management space. I can say out of my experience that the Google Automated rules are a breeze if applied correctly and really does wonder to your account – no need to upload/download keywords/ads into a3rd party tool. and, if the website you are driving traffic to is using Google Analytics – the scenario becomes even more favorable.

Incase you contest that Google cannot do dynamic page based keyword generation or ads and you have to go via the API to build it. Well, Google recently introduced ‘dynamic search ads‘. Its a bit different than traditional automated ads; but also works very well. Still in Beta, but am sure the end result is going to be again – simple & useful.

All in all – Google is out there to learn from the tools and deploy…and they will continue to co-exist until such time.

Coming from an interesting afternoon at the Google Offices, which shared the vision and future of DoubleClick (previously known for being a tracking tool – now evolving to be part of the Google Stack – adwords, adsense, doubleclick, ga, etc); soon became a debate point for Demand Side Platform or DSP with the panelists.

Demand Side Platforms have been talked about in the last 5 years and now we are seeing some traction on someone somewhere putting the system to test. Here is what I think are the challenges in Asia and maybe some parts of it are global :

(I’ve put a score to see if it will impact the switch or not in the next 6 – 12 months).

1. Publisher Compliance : large websites are still going to ponder on whether to take up DoubleClick as a DSP Platform or build their own or use multiple parties to leverage on the network that it will expose to. I don’t think publishers will like to keep exclusivity. On the technology front – they still have lot to implement and ensure the platform works – everytime!. (Score :-1)

2. Technology Platform : there are going to be a surge of these and will add to the complexity of which DSP to tap into. So to manage DSP we’ll invest in building DMP. Never ending victious circle of technology. (Score: -1).

3. Inventory Sales Approach : every large publisher has a lot of way in which they sell inventory. Just like everything else – it is never sold to a 100%. Some publisher sell tenancy, some sell by day, and then there are a whole bunch of other ways in which they leverage relations to get benefitting agreements. (Score: -1).

4. Agency : while agencies uptill now have been the middlemen between the Client and the Publisher; this change will put them in the shoes of the publisher sales guy. This will require a significant shift in which agencies work with these publishers. So, eventually plans bought on DSP vs plans bought as per usual will decide which is the way to go for. (Score: -1).

5. Buying Approach : while DSP boast of audience buys and audience marketing. I don’t think the cost metric should be on a CPM or a CPA (A for acquisition). But a new buying currency needs to evolve which will be neutral across the networks – giving power to tap into global networks. I don’t have much visibility here – but i hope this evolves. Else no one is going to make the money!. (Score : -1)

6. Not all inventory will be on DSP : now this is the tricky one – which raises a lot of eye-brows. Then what inventory is going to be parked under the DSP’s….well only time will tell that. (Score : -1)

7. Client Side Understanding : yes, I want to ride the way, make my media buys more efficient, reduce my spends wastage. Sorry, this approach needs to make a significant shift on DSP. The only people who will fully try out this platform is going to be the ecommerce, and then subsequently the auto manufacturer, telcos, technology, finance. etc. (Score : 1).

Looking back up the post looks like a rant on DSP, but this is the future of media buying and planning. Though, its still in its nacent stages (and the score tallies up to – hold your horses) – data will become the new black and dictate business decisions than business guess’s.

Keep a close eye on this one…

This is the most important question that many “adwords” users or advertiser’s should start to answer…are you addicted to low cost traffic?

Many of the advertisers that I work with are not flexible in understanding how to make the most of search marketing…someone really forgot to put the thought of “relevancy” in their head…a problem with MBA Marketing Managers for whom marketing is about brand building, reach & frequency…the more you reach out to your so called target audience at the lowest cost…someone would buy the product or  service…or better still I am the market leader I don’t need change! (but I still wonder why I advertise) or sales is not my KPI!

It’s interesting to see the marketing manager ask, Adwords got me 2,000 clicks today but only 2 people bought what I had to offer. First statement, “it’s not working”. Second statement, “you guys are not doing a good job”. Third statement, “why is no one buying?” . Fourth statement, “why is no one buying?”…(breaks down crying asking the same question).

The solution to such problems are simple.

Imagin a large store running a promotion for “25% discount on latest plasma tv” and when you enter the store there is no sign of the promotion! wah! you probably came to the wrong store!

This is exactly what happens to the user online who is searching for a good deal on a plasma tv, comes to your online store and doesn’t find any mention of the offer on the landing page!

More and more advertisers especially the online stores are driving traffic from every possible corner of the web hoping for a sale. One, it doesn’t work like that. Two, drive relevant traffic to a relavant landing page and then see the magic.

Over and over I’ve seen personally, that the moment you start taking the user to the right landing page the chances of him/her buying the product/service dramatically increases.

So, if you are an adwords user and are wondering why people are not actioning on your site, start with your keywords and narrow down to your landing page. If you need assistance call up your SEM Rep or me 🙂

How many marketers in India have seriously read the book “The Long Tail“? I’ll say 0.5 out of 10 marketers I’ve met. And, how many marketers heard about “the long tail” = 10/10!!!

This post again evolves out of a discussion with my friend Mohak, who now works with an emerging travel portal. And, I’ve been constantly been battered by many clients on, “we need to be on the long tail”!!!

Here’s a description of The Long Tail from Wikipedia:

Anderson argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough. Anderson cites earlier research by Erik Brynjolfsson, Yu (Jeffrey) Hu, and Michael D. Smith, who first used a log-linear curve on an XY graph to describe the relationship between Amazon sales and Amazon sales ranking and found a large proportion of’s book sales come from obscure books that are not available in brick-and-mortar stores. The Long Tail is a potential market and, as the examples illustrate, the distribution and sales channel opportunities created by the Internet often enable businesses to tap into that market successfully.

ok, still don’t get it, read the original post on the long tail here.

Hello !!! “the long tail” is not about having 80,000 keywords in your search marketing campaign. But a combination of web analytics, traffic analysis, your search engine orientation, and the other smaller players on the web.

And, search contextual marketing is not long tail!!!

Many web-owners in India do not use their “web logs” or put to use popular web analytics. These tools forms the basis of data mining & looking at data which is driving traffic to your website, whether it is keywords people are searching for on the Internet or websites which are hosting your ads or websites/blogs talking about you. If you are a portal or a large website – this is basic hygeine. Here’s a good example of how “Weather.Com” put to use web analytics to drive their SEO efforts.

For Microsites or Web sites which are seasonal, don’t even bother to get into the long tail.

So, how do I benefit from “The Long Tail”

1. Start by collecting data driving traffic to your website.
2. Identify key offline trends which effect your traffic on your website.
3. Collect data for long time duration, give it atleast 6 months to settle in.

Once, you have all of the above put together, hire a data analysis company which specializes in web analytics. And, then you start working on your long tail.

But, I still want 80,000 keywords in my search campaign

No problem, here’s what you need to do:

1. Identify contexts in which your product/service fits the bill. Contextual marketing is relative & attempts to deliver the marketer’s message in a given context. So, it’s important to understand the importance of it.
2. Go back to your search marketing team/agency and help them understand your world of ‘context’, where you think your product/service will get the best results.
3. Don’t expect high & immediate sales from traffic coming from this approach. Collate data and work closely on those which are driving your “business results”.

I hope this will help clear some mess on the misconceptions of the long tail!

This post emerges after a extensive discussion with a old friend Mohak, on how search engine marketers around the world are talking about “Performance Based Marketing” or a “Cost Per Lead” business model, especially in the case when two SEM co’s are offering a lead price of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 1200 for the same product to the same advertiser? How do you decide which one is worth your money?

I’ll try to answer precisely that and some bits more.

1. Advertiser

A leading online portal selling airtickets online. They’ve estimated that they can incur a cost of Rs. 2000 per ticket sold to earn a revenue of Rs. 500. Now they want to optimize this spend to revenue ratio and bring it to Rs. 1500 & double their revenue. SEM must contribute at the minimum 60 sales per day.

2. Search Marketing Company

XYZ Limited charges a project setup fee and will deliver authentic ticket sales at Rs. 1500 per ticket as asked by the advertiser, but may not want to commit on the number of sales.

This is what the search metrics that the SEM firm has to sustain.

Search_Metrics The search firm has to ensure 1,000,000 impressions of ad per day with a bare bone 1% click thru rate delivering 10,000 clicks.

On a category like travel I’ve taken a conservative conversion rate of 1.25% and a spill over rate of 0.5% just to bring in some reality into the number crunching. (Read: Lead as Sale)

Given all this, the search marketer would be able to deliver at least 75 sales per day thru it’s efforts.

How does the Search Marketing firm make its dough?


The SEM firm now needs to work out its own numbers in terms of spends and how much money they can make to make this a profitable project.

It is evident that the SEM firm is operating at a 41% return on investment and earns its dough of Rs. 433 per ticket sold!

It looks all so simple when put up in an Excel sheet and see number’s crunched.

But the SEM company works hard every day to earn more and keep it’s costs under control – it’s not all that simple! Complex tools are used to sustain levels and they keep a track of data virtually every hour of the day!

3. Advertiser’s Devil Advocate

Assuming, you are an advertiser you would want to bring the CPA further down? The obvious answer is – Yes. But, reality is that you cannot operate below a maximum max CPA, given searchscape’s dynamic nature, number of competitors and effects of seasonality. And, Don’t push your luck with the lowest CPA’s, you will burn your fingers with poor performance.

4. What Should The Advertiser Do or What Should Be The SEM Suggest?

Search is not a one time activity which you should start and pull out from. At any given point of time the number of advertiser will differ given the category, geography and time of the year.

If you are an amateur to search marketing, start with the break even cost of acquisition (cost of acquisition = revenue), and slowly decrease CPA’s post at-least 1 month of data (keeping in mind the season/vertical/geo). If, you have a gratification attached with your product or service your conversions would be higher.

4.a Landing Page

Your landing page is the key offering to the search visitor, let the SEM partner help you design one or take their input in creating one which would be effective. Taking traffic to the home page or a page which doesn’t talk the same language as your ad copy will significantly impact your conversions.

4.b Ask the SEM co for Help

Take confidence in your search marketing expert, ask them for help in deriving an achievable CPA. Don’t suggest a number which the CMO or CEO or your Marketing Manager likes, it would not lead you anywhere. The closer you work with your search experts the better results you can expect from your search marketing campaigns.

Don’t stick to historic data i.e. one month you achieved a CPA of Rs. 1000 the following month it can either go up or down, this is especially applicable to projects done for very short periods.

In The End

If you are new to search marketing start with a simple project which is based on pure spends and a project management fee.

Once you have evolved into a slightly matured player and understand the dynamics of search marketing – build in performance metrics – and you would see how actually search engine marketing can make a difference to your marketing campaigns.

As for the Rs. 1000 or Rs. 1200 CPA offer goes, another SEM firm pitched for a CPA of Rs. 900! Now, the advertiser is confused 🙂

If google had its way, it would also tell you how many times your friend wore his/her favorite clothing in a month, thankfully it’s only now limiting to music and top songs for select regions.

Google recently introduced “Google Music” Trends service allowing you to see who’s listening to what.

Google Music Trends

How it work?

“The first step is to download and install Google Talk, if you haven’t done so already. You can then opt in to Music Trends from Google Talk’s Settings menu. After that, anytime you share your music status using iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, or Yahoo Music Engine, you’ll be voting on Google Music Trends.”


Voila! Why didn’t MSN or Yahoo think of this earlier!

What’s cool about it?

Advertisers, music company’s, artists, etc. can get to know where their music is being played.

The nifty “web search” feature returns websites talking about the sound track or artists. So, as a web site owner – it becomes imperative to offer fresh content or if you are a web music distributor, make sure that song is listed on your site and is available for sale.

For example, “Crazy Kiya Re” is a popular song from Yash Raj Film’s the new release Dhoom 2. Yash Raj recently spent a lot of money upgrading their website to offer original release songs on license, but unfortunately their site does not get listed when you click web search. Someone is not putting that extra effort to generate the revenue you got into the business for. Flipside > you are driving traffic to piracy sites – more money’s lost!

If you click on “artists” name, you are displayed a list of CD’s & sites to buy from. If you are an online music vendor, get listed and drive genuine traffic which will buy – FREE!

If Google Music Trends gets a lot of people contribute > which they will. It’ll again become a rich source of key insights into the music people listen to.

See the service in action here >


Google Flight Simulator

Ok, this has nothing to do with Google, but a lot to do with it too. I was waiting for the right thing to come up to write about Mashups…and these are nothing but, as Nilofer Merchant, CEO, Rubicon Consulting, writes in his article – “mashups use the functionality and/or content from two or more sources to create a new work. At least one of the sources is third-party to the developer. The most common type of mashup is a combination of multiple sources that the mashup developer had nothing to do with.”

And, I really find them interesting, especially this one… Goggle’s Google Flight Simulator, I mean what better way to surf the Google map, than to fly in it!!! A flight simulator’s dream! Check it out for yourself – Here.

When it comes to using such information to make a fun marketing activity, I guess Baskin Robins take the lead with their recent find the pink spoon campaign in the US, check it out at . But they use the Yahoo! Map API to integrate with their campaign.

Knowing the Geek I am, I’ll soon try to write a Mashup myself with help of my coder friends!

Watch out this space for the next exciting Mashup!

Ebay, Ebay, Everywhere

When it comes to Adwords, Google preaches that you should have keywords which are relevant to your website and have ads which are relevant to the keywords (adgroups). It is also advised to use the keyword filter in the ad’s with care. However, Ebay has gone miles ahead of what has been advised and be present of every keyword in the dictionary, every product/service/brand name!

Ebay (baby ad)

Try searching for “baby” on  google and see the ad which appears on the sponsered links on the right and read the Ebay ad!!!

SEM, should not be done in extream!

Things have become so funny that people have made games around, FIND FUNNY EBAY ADS! – Ebads! (you can play it too)

So, if you get into SEM…please watch your keywords and please write ad copies which make sense, please 🙂

First, it was generating keywords relevant to your website and target audience. Now, it’s all about user experience. Google’s mission is to provide a good user experience while using any of the Google services, umm search user of Adword User?
Google recently introduced Landing Page Quality Score, things have changed a bit and a whole bunch of people using Adwords are confused as to what does Google mean by the whole issue, so some are on their way of taking them to the court!

Let me throw some light on it, Internet has always been the playground where the user should get what s/he wants within the first select pages, ideally 1-3. Off late people were taking searchers on their webpages using Adwords ads on Google and giving them nothing, this forces them to come back and search all over again. Here the Search User is in concern who is using Google Services.

Google, needs to ensure that the user experience is the best and searcher reaches the right place. So, this new quality score puts a lot of pressure on the advertiser to ensure:

1. Their landing pages are relevant to their ads.
2. Use of selected keywords related to the ads and pages.
3. Cut down on Arbitrage.
4. Optimize, Optimize and Optimize.

So, if you are an Adwords user…watch your CPC’s, CTR’s, LP’s and Get off irrelavant keywords.

You can read discussions on :