12- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
32 Views

5 advanced Google AdWords features to enhance your PPC 

Google AdWords is a highly effective marketing channel for brands to engage with customers.

The auction-based pay-per-click (PPC) model has revolutionized the advertising industry, but beneath the seductive simplicity of this input-output relationship lies a highly sophisticated technology.

Within this article, we round up five advanced features that can help you gain that vital competitive advantage.

Google AdWords has undergone a host of changes over the past 12 months, some cosmetic and some functional. Google’s prime revenue-driver has a new, intuitive look and feel that makes it even easier for marketers to assess performance and spot new opportunities.New-Adwords-InterfaceUnder the hood, AdWords is home to some increasingly sophisticated machine learning technology. Everything from bid adjustments to audience behavior and even search intent is now anlyzed by machine learning algorithms to improve ad targeting and performance.

All of this is changing how we run search campaigns, largely for the better.

Meanwhile, there are broad trends that continue to converge with search. Voice-activated digital assistants, visual search, and the ongoing growth of ecommerce all center around Google’s search engine.

At the intersection of Google and these emerging trends, paid search will evolve and new ways to reach audiences will arise.

Though this future-gazing reveals just how exciting the industry is, marketers also need to keep one eye firmly on the present.

As it stands, AdWords provides a vast array of features, all of which can impact campaign performance. Though automation is taking over more aspects of the day-to-day running of an account, there is arguably more need than ever before for seasoned paid search experts how know how to get the most out of the platform.

Below are five advanced AdWords features that can boost any PPC campaign.

Demographic targeting

For all of AdWords’ virtues, it has not been able to rival Facebook in terms of sheer quantity of demographic targeting options.

As part of Google’s ongoing shift from a keyword focus to a customer-centric approach, demographic targeting has improved very significantly.

This feature now allows advertisers to target customers by income and parental status, along with gender and age. Targeting by income is only available for video advertising and is restricted to the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand for the moment.

Nonetheless, this is a noteworthy update and provides an advanced feature that many brand will welcome.

The available options now include:

Demographic targeting for Search, Display or Video campaigns:

  • Age: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more,” and “Unknown”
  • Gender: “Female,” “Male,” and “Unknown”

Demographic targeting for Display or Video campaigns can include:

  • Parental status: “Parent,” “Not a parent,” and “Unknown”

Demographic targeting for Video campaigns can include:

  • Household income (currently available in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand only): “Top 10%,” “11-20%,” “21-30%,” “31-40%,” “41-50%,” “Lower 50%,” and “Unknown”

Combined with the improved user interface, this can lead to some illuminating reports that highlight more detail about audiences than we have ever seen in this platform.

It’s not perfect yet and has some drawbacks in practice, as creating audiences can be quite labor-intensive when combining different filters. Nonetheless, demographic targeting is improving and will be an area of focus for Google this year.

Our previous article on demographic targeting goes into more detail on how to set this feature up.

Click-to-call

A very natural byproduct of the increase in mobile searches has been an explosion in the number of calls attributed to paid search.

In fact, BIA/Kelsey projects that there will be 162 billion calls to businesses from smartphones by 2019.

click-to-call

Search forms a fundamental part of this brand-consumer relationship, so businesses are understandably keen to ensure they are set up to capitalize on such heightened demand.

Click-to-call can be an overlooked opportunity, as it does require a little bit of setup. If advertisers want to add call extensions, report specifically on this activity, and even schedule when these extensions appear, it is necessary to do this manually within AdWords.

reporting

Helpfully, it is now possible to enable call extensions across an account, simplfying what was once a cumbersome undertaking.

This is becoming an automated process in some aspects, whereby Google will identify landing pages that contain a phone number and generate call extensions using this information. However, some manual input will be required to get the most out of this feature.

Our step-by-step guide contains a range of handy tips for marketers who woud like to enable click-to-call campaigns.

Optimized ad rotation

Google made some very notable changes to its ad rotation settings in the second half of 2017.

In essence, ad rotation constantly tests different ad variations to find the optimal version for your audience and campaign KPIs.

Google’s machine learning technology is a natural fit for such a task, so it is no surprise that Google wants to take much of the ad rotation process out of the hands of advertisers and turn it into a slick, automated feature.

Perhaps this focus on the machine learning side of things has led advertisers to beleive that the process now requires no input from them.

A recent study by Marin Software across their very sizeable client base found that many ad groups contain fewer than three creatives:

Ad rotation

This is very significant, as Google recommends providing at least three ads in every ad group. Their official stance is, “The more of your ads our system can choose from, the better the expected ad performance.”

Creating a range of ads provides the resources Google needs to run statistically significant tests. No matter how sophisticated the machine learning algorithms are, with only one or two ads in each group there is very little they can do to improve performance.

There is a broader lesson to be taken here, beyond just getting the most out of this AdWords feature.

Even the most advanced technology requires the right quantity and quality of inputs. Although more and more elements of AdWords management can be automated, this doesn’t mean we can leave the machines to their own devices.

There are plentiful best practices that we still need to follow. Optimizing your ad rotation by including at least three ads in each group certainly counts as one of these. 

Custom intent audiences

Google is clearly making a play for more of the traditionally ‘top of funnel’ marketing approaches.

The launch of more granular custom intent audiences with the Google Display Network is part of a wider strategy to take on the likes of Facebook by providing greater control over target audiences.

Google’s guidelines provide clear definition over how this recently launched feature works:

For Display campaigns, you can create a custom intent audience using in-market keywords – simply entering keywords and URLs related to products and services your ideal audience is researching across sites and apps.

In-market keywords (Display campaigns)

  • Enter keywords, URLs, apps or YouTube content to reach an online audience that’s actively researching a related product or service.
  • It’s best practice to add keywords and URLs (ideally 15 total) that fit a common theme to help AdWords understand your ideal audience.
  • Avoid entering URLs that require people to sign in, such as social media or email services.
  • Include keywords related to the products and services that this audience is researching; these will be used as the focal point for building the custom intent audience.

Custom intent audiences: Auto-created (Display campaigns)

To make finding the right people easy, Google uses machine learning technology to analyse your existing campaigns and auto-create custom intent audiences. These audiences are based on the most common keywords and URLs found in content that people browse while researching a given product or service.

For example, insights from existing campaigns may show that people who’ve visited a sporting goods website have also actively researched all-weather running shoes. AdWords may then auto-create a new ‘waterproof trail running shoes’ custom intent audience to simplify the process of reaching this niche segment of customers.

Once more, we see the addition of machine learning into a core Google product.

These automated audience lists are generated based on activity across all of your Google marketing channels, including YouTube and Universal App Campaigns, along with Search and the Google Display Network.

Although this does not yet provide the level of targeting that Facebook can offer, custom intent audiences do dramatically improve the product and they move Google closer to a truly customer-centric approach.

Sophisticated advertisers will find thata this advanced feature improves performance for both prospecting and remarketing.

Smart bidding

Smart bidding has some crossover with the other AdWords features on our list. In a nutshell, smart bidding uses machine learning to asses the relationships between a range of variables and improve performance through the AdWords auction.

It is capable of optimizing bids to ensure the best possible return on investment against the advertiser’s target KPIs. Smart bidding does this by looking at the context surrounding bids and isolating the factors that have historically led to specific outcomes. Based on this knowledge, it can automatically bid at the right level to hit the advertiser’s campaign targets.

These targets can be set based on a target CPA (cost per acquisition), ROAS (return on ad spend), or CPC (cost per click).

The latest option available to brands is named ‘maximize conversions’ and this will seek to gain the optial number of conversions (whatver those may be for the brand in question) against their set budge.

As we have noted already, these algorithms require substantial amounts of data, so this is a feature best used by this with an accrual of historical AdWords performance data.

Smart bidding is also not quite a ‘set and forget’ bidding strategy. Some marketers will still prefer the control of manual bidding and it would be fair to say that smart bidding levels the playing field somewhat across all advertisers.

Nonetheless, it is a hugely powerful AdWords feature and can create multiple account performance efficiencies.

Source: 5 advanced Google AdWords features to enhance your PPC | Search Engine Watch

06- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
31 Views

6 Growth Marketing Best Practices for Higher SEM Profitability

We’ve all heard of growth marketing.

But what does growth marketing actually mean?

At the risk of over-simplifying, growth marketing is essentially the path to attracting the right visitors to your business. Not just the low-hanging-fruit, top-of-funnel visitors, but those who are “sticky” and likely to lead to a conversion or sale.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the unsung hero — and the secret weapon — for today’s growth marketing leaders.

In addition to achieving a successful consumer decision journey across multiple channels and devices, search delivers bottom-line results and ensures on-track results for the long-term.

Here are six best practices for a winning SEM strategy.

1. Deliver Value Across the Decision Journey

As the behavior of your fragmented customers evolves, your growth marketing plan should as well.

Who are the customers behind all those clicks?

New research from Bing Ads allows us to better understand the five distinct stages all customers share:

  • Initiation: Getting background information and buying landscape to become a more informed researcher.
  • Research: Exploring buying guides, recommendations, and products that meet basic criteria.
  • Compare: Comparing a handful of products that meet the customer’s criteria, including ratings, reviews, features, and cost.
  • Transaction: Finding where to buy, then seeing pricing and promotions, availability, and local stores.
  • Experience: Getting customer service, asking maintenance questions, and making additional purchases.

2. Align Your Campaign & Business Goals

Search can impact, and help you measure, your business goals.

Be sure to align your SEM strategy with your campaign objectives:

  • Brand awareness and perception: Bid competitively on your non-brand, brand, and competitors’ keywords. Non-brand searches are the key to starting a journey: 72 percent of brand ad clicks had a non-brand or conquest term in the user journey preceding the brand click. Searchers were 30 percent likelier to conduct a branded search after being exposed to a brand ad on a generic search query or a competitor’s branded query.
  • Win new customers: Consumers rely on search to inform purchase decisions. SEM can help with every stage of the decision process. At the start of their journey, 49 percent of consumers use a search engine to find the products they want.
  • Drive sales: Search’s strength is driving conversions. It outperforms other marketing channels across devices in conversion rates.
  • Enter new markets: The ubiquity of search allows you to activate a cross-border marketing strategy that drives foot traffic with Location Extensions, get more phone calls with Call Extensions, and increase ad clicks with Sitelink Extensions.

3. Expand Your Marketing Funnel

As our constant companion, search is no longer just a product — it’s a behavior.

We turn to search at all times and in all places, whether on our desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

Understanding how people search at different points on their purchase journeys opens the door to engage your brand with this new audience.

Having become an engine of insights, search now delivers influence throughout the five buying stages (initiation, research, compare, transaction, and experience).

SEM also reinforces your conversion funnel and unifies disparate marketing activities.

4. Take Audience Targeting to the Next Level

Right-time, right-place engagement alone is no longer enough to compel potential customers.

You need to reach as many unique searchers as possible utilizing audience targeting.

Step 1: Build richer buyer personas that consider these factors:

  • Behavioral: Past behaviors are useful for understanding consumers’ interests and their likelihood to purchase. To better measure user behavior, analyze activities across websites, searches, and content.
  • Demographic: Buying preferences are influenced by elementary but important factors that include age, gender, and location.
  • Contextual: Consumers often search in the moment. Analyzing where, when, and how they search can provide useful content for creating more impactful ad campaigns.

Step 2: Choose keywords that align with the key stages and mindsets of your target customers:

  • Initiation: Keywords such as “What is” and “Benefits of” work best at this stage.
  • Research: Keywords such as “Buying guide” and “Models” work best at this stage.
  • Compare: Keywords such as “Reviews” and “Features” work best at this stage.
  • Transaction: Keywords such as “Where” and “Coupon” work best at this stage.
  • Experience: Keywords such as “Support” and “Experience” work best at this stage.

5. Lift Other Investments with Paid Search

Optimize your search efforts by combining organic search with a paid SEM strategy.

  • Search and social: Customers who click your paid search and social ads are likelier to buy and spend more. Strengthen your keyword coverage to get more impressions, and tailor your bidding strategy for commercial-related PPC campaigns.
  • Search and TV: Search volume spikes for days after a commercial airs. In a Bing Ads study of the biggest commercial event of the year, the Super Bowl, the increase in branded search volume followed a consistent pattern across industries.
  • Search and display: Conversion rates increased by 52 percent while display and search were running simultaneously. Not only did conversion metrics increase, but campaign reach (impressions) increased by 45 percent as well.
  • Search and other channels: When Bing Ads is alone in the purchase path, purchases have a 27 percent higher order average order value than purchases not including Bing Ads, which also generate value when paired with other channels.

6. Fight & Win the Battle for Paid Search Budget Share

SEM still competes with other channels for a share of your marketing budget.

So bring along hard data that connects the dots between search engine marketing and business benefits.

Your budget share battle plan involves three elements:

Pick the Right Metrics to Measure SEM Impact

Metrics provide an easy way to see what is and isn’t working.

Your team can test, change and optimize your brand’s SEM strategy for better results.

Focus your reporting by identifying and tracking key performance indicators that reflect your business goals:

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Driving foot traffic
  • Getting more phone calls
  • Increasing ad clicks
  • Building your brand trust
  • Expanding cross-border strategy

Separate SEM Impacts from Other Channels

Know which channels drive your marketing results.

Each sale is the culmination of a series of marketing touches that may involve several channels over the course of days or even weeks.

Attribution gets quite complex at times, so if you can prove campaigns with paid search deliver ROI and bottom-line results, you’ll unlock more budget and further optimize search performance.

Apply the Same Process to Allocate Budget Between AdWords & Bing Ads

This last piece falls into place when you analyze the paid click share and query that each SEM option represents within your industry.

You’ll not only get your business in front of a large audience, you’ll be confident that your paid ads will lead to clicks.

Conclusion

SEM is the backbone of today’s marketing mix.

With so many channels and more fragmented customer journeys, the real challenge is ensuring you engage audiences at the right time through the right device.

You no longer can afford to put all of your marketing dollars into one search ad network.

Follow the best practices outlined here to maximize the reach, impact, and value of your paid search campaigns with bottom-line results.

Then your fight for marketing resources will be far easier to win!

Source: 6 Growth Marketing Best Practices for Higher SEM Profitability

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
31 Views

The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

If you’ve never done so before, embrace SEO! Try it for yourself before you write it off as a “gimmick” or a “risk.”

As someone who’s been practicing SEO for the better part of a decade, I find that my typical concerns are not at all aligned with those of people learning about SEO for the first time.

There are millions of business owners and marketers not using SEO, despite the sheer number of proponents advocating for its effectiveness (and the availability of reliable metrics on its potential ROI).

There’s a reason (or multiple reasons) for this. Specifically, most of the people I encounter who are avoiding SEO have at least one major concern preventing them from following through with — or even just learning more about — this strategy. So, to help clear up some misconceptions and get in touch with an audience less familiar with SEO, I came up with this concise list of some of the most common concerns I typically see and hear about from SEO newcomers:

1. The ROI

Most SEO newcomers wonder about the “real” ROI of the strategy. Increasing your search visibility is a good thing, clearly, but it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish those rising rankings, and there’s no guarantee how much extra traffic they’re going to send your way. On top of that, you need to think about your conversion rates: If they’re not high enough, that traffic may not be worth it.

But while these concerns are to some extent valid, it’s important to remember that SEO is a strategy that’s both flexible and intended for the long term. So, if you aren’t seeing a positive ROI after a month or two, try changing tactics and/or improve your methods until you start seeing positive momentum.

2. The time investment

As I mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t see results in the first week, and probably not even in the first month. You’ll spend hours optimizing your site, or thousands of dollars hiring an agency to do the work for you. If your company is short-staffed, or you’re already busy with existing marketing strategies, you may not be willing to make the time investment in learning and practicing SEO.

However, you don’t need to go over the top to start; even a few simple changes to your website’s structure and visibility can give you a boost, and provide a foundation that you can grow when you do have time.

3. Technical SEO

If you’re hesitant about the effectiveness of SEO, it’s safe to assume you don’t have much technical experience with website development or programming — and that the prospect of technical SEO intimidates you.

4. The penalties

The prospect of Google penalties strikes fear into the hearts of most webmasters — or at least the ones who don’t fully understand them. After the emergence of major updates, like Panda and Penguin, search optimizers have thrown around the term “penalty” to scare SEO novices into thinking that one simple mistake could instantly tank their site’s rankings.

Certainly  it’s true that if you do something that decreases your trustworthiness (such as publishing questionable content or building spammy links), your authority and rankings could fall. But even this outcome is nothing that’s beyond repair—and these mistakes are pretty easy to avoid.

 

   

MARKETING>SEO

The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

If you’ve never done so before, embrace SEO! Try it for yourself before you write it off as a “gimmick” or a “risk.”
The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own..
As someone who’s been practicing SEO for the better part of a decade, I find that my typical concerns are not at all aligned with those of people learning about SEO for the first time.

Related: 10 Fundamentals to Understanding SEO

There are millions of business owners and marketers not using SEO, despite the sheer number of proponents advocating for its effectiveness (and the availability of reliable metrics on its potential ROI).

ADVERTISING

There’s a reason (or multiple reasons) for this. Specifically, most of the people I encounter who are avoiding SEO have at least one major concern preventing them from following through with — or even just learning more about — this strategy. So, to help clear up some misconceptions and get in touch with an audience less familiar with SEO, I came up with this concise list of some of the most common concerns I typically see and hear about from SEO newcomers:

1. The ROI

Most SEO newcomers wonder about the “real” ROI of the strategy. Increasing your search visibility is a good thing, clearly, but it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish those rising rankings, and there’s no guarantee how much extra traffic they’re going to send your way. On top of that, you need to think about your conversion rates: If they’re not high enough, that traffic may not be worth it.

But while these concerns are to some extent valid, it’s important to remember that SEO is a strategy that’s both flexible and intended for the long term. So, if you aren’t seeing a positive ROI after a month or two, try changing tactics and/or improve your methods until you start seeing positive momentum.

2. The time investment

As I mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t see results in the first week, and probably not even in the first month. You’ll spend hours optimizing your site, or thousands of dollars hiring an agency to do the work for you. If your company is short-staffed, or you’re already busy with existing marketing strategies, you may not be willing to make the time investment in learning and practicing SEO.

Related: Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website

However, you don’t need to go over the top to start; even a few simple changes to your website’s structure and visibility can give you a boost, and provide a foundation that you can grow when you do have time.

3. Technical SEO

If you’re hesitant about the effectiveness of SEO, it’s safe to assume you don’t have much technical experience with website development or programming — and that the prospect of technical SEO intimidates you.

Fortunately, technical SEO is a lot less “technical” than it sounds, as I outlined in SEO 101: A Guide for the Technically Challenged.

4. The penalties

The prospect of Google penalties strikes fear into the hearts of most webmasters — or at least the ones who don’t fully understand them. After the emergence of major updates, like Panda and Penguin, search optimizers have thrown around the term “penalty” to scare SEO novices into thinking that one simple mistake could instantly tank their site’s rankings.

Certainly  it’s true that if you do something that decreases your trustworthiness (such as publishing questionable content or building spammy links), your authority and rankings could fall. But even this outcome is nothing that’s beyond repair—and these mistakes are pretty easy to avoid.

“True” Google penalties are manual actions that come into play only under the most egregious circumstances — such as when you’re intentionally and repeatedly trying to manipulate your rank.

5. Public perceptions

I’ve spoken to business owners who were afraid of the consequences of their audience finding out they used SEO as a strategy to earn traffic. In this context, they see SEO as a cheap or gimmicky strategy that could negatively affect the public’s trust in them.

Maybe this was true back in 1999, but today’s SEO is built on a foundation of providing high-quality content to a targeted base of users; it’s about providing value, not tricking search engines into ranking you higher.

6. Targeting

You might also be concerned about the idea of targeting your audience and specific keywords. The world of search is a big one; even if you serve a niche industry, there are hundreds — or even thousands — of keywords and topics to choose from, and your choices could make or break your strategy.

Fortunately, there’s some wiggle room here; you can choose to target words based on volume, competition, relevance or a customized mixture of all three. That may sound complicated if you’re uninitiated, but even after just an hour or two of diving into keyword research, you’ll find that everything will start to make more sense.

7. The complexity

The sheer apparent complexity of SEO is enough to turn some people away entirely. There are literally hundreds of factors that could influence your rankings in search engines, and even more considerations to bear in mind when you factor in content marketing and conversion optimization.

This is true, but none of those hundreds of factors are, by themselves, especially complicated. It will take you some time to learn them, but they’re all perfectly digestible: It just takes time to become acquainted with them.

There are some legitimate concerns about SEO for newcomers; it isn’t a strategy you can master quickly, nor is it guaranteed to pay off. But given enough time, investment and dedication, anyone can plan and manage a respectable SEO strategy that yields a positive ROI. And as long as you’re playing by the rules, there’s no significant danger that you’ll earn a penalty or damage your reputation in the process.

So, dive in! Embrace SEO and learn more about it, perhaps even trying it for yourself before you write it off as a gimmick or a risk; you might be surprised what you’re able to accomplish.

Source: The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

11- Oct2017
Posted By: DPadmin
133 Views

6 ways IoT will make local search for SMBs scalable

Don’t turn your attention away from the Internet of Things just yet. Contributor Wesley Young contends that the data provided by connected devices could help smaller players better compete with the big guys.

In an age of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) may seem like yesterday’s news, but, of all the technologies currently developing, it has the greatest potential for near-term changes that affect local search.

While it remains murky how AI will benefit agencies, IoT is reaching a critical point in adoption and maturing to a stage where it provides actionable data. Or, as Brian Buntz with the Internet of Things Institute stated, “The IoT is about to shift into ludicrous mode.”

The growth of the IoT is spurred by decreasing costs of hardware, such as sensors, together with the ease and availability of wireless connectivity. IoT devices already outnumber smartphones by about four times, and growth is expected to accelerate further with Cisco estimates topping 50 billion devices by 2020. The amount of data generated by these devices is enormous.

Growth in the Internet of Things

Source: Cisco

Annual global IP traffic already exceeds 1 zettabyte of data and will double by 2019, Cisco forecasts. What is a zettabyte? It’s 1 billion terabytes. Or 1,000 exabytes. One exabyte amounts to 36,000 years of HD video, the company says. And Cisco adds, if a small (or a tall, for you Starbucks drinkers) coffee represented 1GB, a zettabyte would equate to a volume of coffee the size of the Great Wall of China. That’s a lot of data.

Back in 2014, Cisco’s CEO pegged the IoT as a $19 trillion market opportunity that will almost certainly change the way consumers do pretty much everything, from working to driving to shopping to exercising, and many other things.

And a subset of IoT, the location of things market — which enables connected devices to monitor and communicate their geographic location — is expected to reach $72 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. With location being the heart of local search, IoT will impact local search and search marketing in profound ways. But it goes beyond location.

According to Goldman Sachs, there are five main IoT verticals of adoption: wearables, connected cars, connected homes, connected cities and industrial internet. The first three are those most relevant to search, as they are related to consumer intent and behavior.

ey verticals of adoption - IOT

Source: Goldman Sachs

The SMB scale issue

Servicing local businesses with small budgets has always been a challenge for agencies. It’s too much work for too little money. It’s also expensive for SMBs who don’t enjoy the scale that larger businesses benefit from when purchasing search advertising or other marketing services. Both of which lead to the high churn rates at agencies that service SMBs.

Even though search boasts the ability to know the intent of users through keyword searches and display relevant advertising in response, it still has inefficiencies that are magnified for SMBs. Understanding user intent is largely dependent on how accurately the user can express his or her needs in typical keywords.

Let me illustrate with a personal example. I recently replaced an electric cooktop in my kitchen with a gas one. But the electric cooktop used a unique 50 amp plug. Instead of hiring an electrician, I wanted to see if there was an adapter that would convert that 50 amp socket into one that would fit the standard 15 amp plug that my gas cooktop used.

Gas range adapter vs RV plug adapter

What I needed (Gas Range Adapter) vs. What I got (RV Plug Adapter)

I must have conducted a dozen searches of varying terms describing what I wanted. I was repeatedly served search ads of products that seemed to be what I was looking for. But all the products advertised did just the opposite — converted a 15 amp socket for a 50 amp plug — an issue I discovered was common to RV hookups. I finally found a product conveniently called a gas range adapter. It seems obvious now, but, since I didn’t know the name for it, I wasted a lot of time, and more importantly, clicks on irrelevant search ads.

Consumers with experiences like mine may be why so many SMBs stop buying SEM services. But if search engines and advertisers had had more data about me and about my recent offline behavior, this problem might have been avoided, and I could have been served up information that was relevant to my needs.

Better data — which IoT can deliver — will both improve the consumer experience and result in better returns from marketing for SMBs. With better ROI, SMBs can better justify spending money on hiring agencies, and agencies can spend more time doing the job right. Data will also produce better results with automated processes like programmatic ad buying, reducing time and cost for agencies.

What kind of data are we talking about?

Current data use in targeting and retargeting is just the tip of the iceberg compared to how IoT will change the landscape. It appears nothing is off-limits when it comes to connectivity. Connected products being developed include mascara, contact lenses and ink for tattoos.

Simple applications would already be improvements over former or current uses. For example, location information can be enhanced by real-time data from wearables such as clothing, shoes or smart watches that indicate speed, and thus, whether the user is passing by in a vehicle or walking down the street. And, if the user is walking, it could indicate whether the person is walking for exercise, at a pace to get to a destination or at one that would indicate window shopping. Multiple location devices on a consumer are also more likely to interact with on-site location devices such as beacons and WiFi and help improve location accuracy.

Another area of significant growth for IoT is health care. Devices like contact lenses, implants, wearables or tattoo-like connected ink can track sweat composition and body chemistry, measure blood flow and glucose levels, or even determine whether you’ve taken medication. Lack of adherenceto medical prescriptions is estimated to cause 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, making such devices arguably medically necessary.

Home connected devices — including lights, appliances, thermostats, vacuums, pillows, TVs, lawnmowers, video cams, voice assistants, scales and security systems — capture behavioral data in the home as never before.

Examples of IoT devices

Examples of IoT Devices

But the potential lies in the way data from multiple devices may be integrated to tell a deeper story. Envision knowing the sleep habits of a consumer such as:

  • how soundly they sleep.
  • what body triggers occur before they wake up.
  • how many times they get up at night and turn on the lights.
  • whether they turn the TV on.
  • how that sleep varies based on the temperature of the room.
  • whether the chip-tagged cat climbing onto the bed triggers minor allergies that wake the homeowner.

The potential for insight into consumer behavior and responding with timely information is limited only by imagination. Yet the impending impact is already something agencies and SMBs can plan for. Below I take a look at six ways IoT will boost the ROI of search marketing for SMBs, making it a much broader and viable option.

6 ways that IoT will make local search scalable for SMBs

1.Boost search ads through improved targeting

Good data will make targeting the right person at the right time more accurate. Multiple GPS-connected devices per person provide additional location data for tracking users with greater accuracy and additional IoT data will provide deeper insight into needs and behavior.

For example, your wearable knows you just worked out and are hot and thirsty, based on your sweat readings. Your car knows there is a 7-Eleven two blocks ahead on your right where you can swing in quickly. And your phone can read you a notification on a 99-cent deal for a large cold slushy drink at that location which is good for 10 minutes. You pull in, and the coupon is location-triggered and automatically applied to your credit card when you pay.

2. Customer data becomes the new competitive edge

Large buyers of marketing services gain a competitive edge in scale by spreading costs over a large volume of interactions or leads. That lowers cost per lead. Smaller local businesses often don’t have that luxury, but good IoT data that improves the conversion of leads means that you can get more customers even when buying fewer leads. So the cost per customer goes down.

Ultimately, having the right customer data — rather than scale — is the new competitive edge.

3. Identify real-world offline behavior that drives online action

Knowing more about a person’s habits or preferences isn’t just about being able to target them directly. That data, when aggregated for many other individuals, reveals trends and predictability for targeting strategies. SEL’s sister publication, Marketing Land, recently published an interview with PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall, who explained that offline data on user location and behavior is a better indicator of intent than online signals.

In other words, knowing real-life choices, actions and behavior predicts online decisions better than clicks, search history and page views. Presumably, this is because the offline behavior is a deeper and more complete picture of the real world, at least until we live in a Matrix-like AR universe.

And that type of data is exactly what IoT devices collect and measure. The data can provide some surprising audience insights. Data from targeting platform NinthDecimal revealed that fast-food patrons were not the best targets for a quick-service restaurant campaign. Rather, DIY enthusiasts, moviegoers and leisure travelers were better targets.

4. Boost data sharing and overcome privacy concerns with services consumers want

There’s a great concern, especially with companies that have business in Europe, over evolving privacy laws. Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which takes effect in May 2018, limits use of a person’s data unless express consent is given.

The way to overcome that limitation is to provide a product or service that the user values more than the information he or she is releasing. For example, a company called Mimo makes onesies for infants that measure breathing, sleep movements and other sensitive data. But concerned parents gladly turn that information over to the company in return for protection against SIDS or improved sleep routines.

Roomba, the maker of robotic vacuums, uses maps of your home to improve the overall user experience. The inside of your house seems like something most wouldn’t want to share, but consumers routinely choose convenience over privacy. If data sharing will make your vacuum perform better and get your house cleaner, many users will agree to it. Data might be shared with Amazon or Apple to link the device to your Echo or to Siri. It may link to any of a number of smart home devices made by Google (Nest), Samsung (appliances) or a flooring company or a retailer that carries Roomba-friendly furniture.

However, the GDPR prohibits making provision of a service conditional upon release of data if that data is not necessary to the service. While not law in the US, there certainly are discussions over similar privacy concerns. Yet again, providing related benefits in return for the data can solicit “freely given consent.”

For example, I recently installed a Honeywell WiFi connected thermostat in my home. Honeywell has since emailed me to offer a software upgrade that will optimize my thermostat settings to help save me money and states that customers save $71-$117 a year on their energy bills by enrolling in the program. I get customized reports with insights into my energy use, comparison to similar homes and tips to help track and improve energy efficiency. I’m sure those “tips” will include some referrals to vendors such as insulation companies, solar energy vendors and HVAC contractors. But I’ll likely opt in to save a few bucks.

5. Level the playing field in access to big data

One of the complaints about privacy regulations is that they favor the big players that have sufficient leverage to get consumers to consent to handing over their data. Not many opt out of using Google Maps because they don’t want to share their location data, whereas smaller lesser used apps are easier to say “No” to.

Apple is also limiting ad tracking and frustrating ad buyers, but since its revenue is not advertising-dependent, it doesn’t really care. Those restrictions hurt advertiser conversions, make retargeting less effective and reduce reach. Meanwhile, Google is beginning to block “annoying” ads in its Chrome browser, further demonstrating that decisions made by a few big players can have a lot of impact.

The explosion of IoT devices means a lot more players in the data supply chain that provide quality first-party data and widen the narrow funnel controlled by a few major players. With data being the new competitive edge, that’s a great thing for ad buyers.

For example, in my Honeywell thermostat example, ad buyers can target users directly through Honeywell’s communications to its customers, or Honeywell can use its customer data to match and target users within other third-party media outlets such as Facebook or Bing.

6. Overcome ad blocking

Ad blocking occurs because users are tired of being served ad content they don’t want. However, there are repeated studies that show users are receptive to targeted or relevant advertising.

Verve shared a study called “The Rise of Mobile Prodigies” at LSA’s Place Conference that demonstrated that young consumers want ads to be tailored to their interests, hobbies, habits and location. Forty-six percent of them even saved ads they found innovative to revisit at a later time.

InMarket shared a case study at the same event showing a 2.3x lift in purchase intent, as well as 100 percent positive social media reaction to ads they created for ProYo, a protein-rich ice cream product.

Consumers are receptive to advertising when the content and timing are right. IoT data will drive relevant content at the right moment to consumers, reducing the aversion to receiving ads. The end goal is to change the perception of ads from slick sales pitches to helpful information for making decisions at the time when consumers are researching a purchase.

Closing thoughts

IoT has gotten somewhat lost in the conversation dominated by AI and personal assistants. Yet what some have predicted as the “third wave of the internet” after the fixed internet and mobile devices is cresting towards huge volumes of devices and accompanying data.

It may seem ironic that big data is the solution for scaling small business needs, but it’s the automation, efficiency and effectiveness at small tasks that will make it cost-effective for SMBs. They will still need providers to help them determine the use cases that benefit their businesses and to match products and services with business needs. But those who can leverage the new depth of data will have a marked competitive edge in building profitable small business marketing models.

Source: 6 ways IoT will make local search for SMBs scalable