Google has become mean concerning web sites and display advertising. If the advertising on your web page pushes the content down below the fold, then your site may receive a ding in the search rankings.
Why do I say “mean?” One poorly designed page could affect your whole site, not just that one page. If you’ve recently suffered a serious drop in search rankings, check your pages for advertising, have you overdone it?
There is a logic to Google’s approach. Google wants to present searchers with the best content. If a web page has more ads than content, and if a user has to scroll down below the fold to find that content, then, in Google’s humble opinion, that page is not quality. Furthermore, if that page is not quality, then neither are any of the other pages on that site. What isn’t clear is whether or not your own display advertising has the same effect – logically, it would since the emphasis now is content and having it readily available to users.
If you do have a lot of advertising on your pages, there are a number of approaches you can take. These include:
reducing the number of ads,
redesigning your web page so that content appears above the fold,
using sidebars for display advertising,
ensuring ads are relevant to the pages’ content.
Google is not anti-advertising. In fact, Google does encourage website owners to include Adsense ad units on their sites although they do suggest you follow their guidelines when it comes to quantity and placement. The rules related to SEO are constantly changing and so it always pays to stay on top of the latest news.
At one time, it seemed that no one could topple Yahoo! from the top of its mountain as king of online display advertising. It seemed that nobody really wanted to. Until now. And that somebody is, of all entities, Google.
Last year, Google owned 13.3% of the display ad market online. Yahoo! had 13.6%. This year, the numbers are 14.7% and 12.3% for the first quarter, respectively.
But don’t take from this that Google is taking Yahoo!s advertisers away. They aren’t. Yahoo!s target market are big corporations who advertise on television. Google’s target market are PPC advertisers who are now trying online display advertising. Completely different markets.
While all of that is interesting to note, there are two other bits of interesting data the AdAge article shares. First, online display advertising is growing overall. More companies are interested in the display advertising channel (this one is interesting because online display ads have been on the decline in recent years). And the second bit of information is that Facebook is in a very close third place in the online display ad race.
All of this is really good news for advertisers. The competition means that you have choices, and it also spells lower advertising rates as the companies compete for your dollars.
You are likely no stranger to Facebook. Almost everyone uses it these days and the company boasts 150 million users on mobile phones alone. The local Groups feature has been a popular Facebook offering since the beginning of the social service and it allows users to connect with people in their local areas. But Facebook Places takes local social networking a bit further.
Enter real time location-based social networking.
Facebook Places allows you to let your friends know exactly where you are located right now. For instance, you’re sitting in a Starbucks at the corner of Fifth and Main. If someone you know is approaching that intersection and sees you sitting there, she could just pop in and say hi. The courtesy of a heads up would be her choice, of course.
The biggest downside seems to be a loss of privacy, but you can change who sees and who can interact with your Facebook Places settings through the service’s privacy settings.
This puts Facebook on the forefront of location-based networking and close to the leading edge on location-based advertising, which is sure to follow. It’s interesting that other location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla see Facebook as friendly to their services rather than a competitor.
(Source) Appearing at Facebook’s announcement, some initial partners, including Foursquare and Gowalla, said they thought Facebook would be an enabler—not a competitor—by introducing a lot of new users to the world of sharing their locations.
Foursquare beat Facebook to the location-based networking space by a year and a half. Gowalla arrived on the scene somewhat earlier but doesn’t have as many users as Foursquare.
Of course, these are not the only location-based networking services online. Facebook Places does have its competition, including Google. Google’s service is called Latitude, which allows you to see where your friends are on Google Maps.
I have a feeling that location-based social networking is just getting started. According to JiWire, more than half of mobile users want to see location-based advertising. That means Facebook Places has a unique opportunity to capitalize and being that Facebook is the most trafficked website online, it has the market clout needed to rival Google in paid advertising services. Places could just be its ticket to the big leagues.
AdvertisingAge recently posted that Facebook and other social networks are lowing the CPM of ads across the Internet. Does it matter?
Advertising is about effectively engaging the right audience. If you advertise on Facebook then you are really putting your business image at risk just by engaging in semi-targeted advertising. I can’t say it’s non-targeted because Facebook does allow you to select demographics for your ads. For instance, you can target your ads to women between the ages of 18-25. But will your ads only be shown to that demographic?
There is some question as to whether Facebook ads are targeted properly, but it may not be Facebook’s fault. Perhaps the advertisers are not targeting their ads properly and that is causing the results of Facebook ads to move toward the south. In that case, if Facebook cannot demonstrate to potential future advertisers that current advertisers are getting results then they can’t justify raising their ad prices. Then advertisers would be forced to pay garage sale prices for advertising no matter what kind of results they are getting.
This is a conundrum for Facebook. On the one hand, Facebook gives advertisers the ability to target their advertising to some degree. That should make those ads more valuable. However, the high number of advertisers who flock to Facebook just so they can take advantage of the traffic potential but do not use the targeting features offered through the social network cause the advertising to be less effective. That lowers the value to other potential advertisers.
If Facebook is to brings its ad prices in line with the rest of the Internet then it needs to learn from Google how to optimize advertising based on user interest and that means taking away some of the control over targeting preferences to the advertisers.
I generally don’t recommend that small business owners put advertising on their websites. If you place Google AdSense all over your business blog or website then you are offering exit holes for your visitors to leave through. That’s generally not a good idea. Even if you make a little money on those leaving your site, wouldn’t you rather have them as a customer for life?
But let’s say that your online business model involves advertising in some manner. Would you rather use Google AdSense or Facebook socially intelligent ads?
If you’re wondering what’s the difference then consider this. Google AdSense is a keyword-based system. Google matches ads to the content on your website. But Facebook, being a social network, has much more important information about its users. They can keep tabs on your interests and show you ads related to those interests. Such a system might actually prove to be more valuable to advertisers than a keyword-based system.
So now that you know the difference, if you were to provide advertising on your website, would you choose to use Google AdSense ads or Facebook social ads?
Twitter has announced a revenue model called Promoted Tweets. Essentially, they’re Twitter ads. But, not really ads. They’re just like organic tweets except that they will be labeled “Promoted Tweet”.
There are a couple of noteworthy things to say about these promoted tweets. The first thing to say is that the first promoted tweets will be rolled out only by a select few advertisers, namely,
and Virgin America
This is a smart move. It means that Twitter won’t be inundated with ridiculous ads that will annoy us to no end. So right away there is a control for Twitter and a kind of symbolic toe tipping before a full commitment.
The second thing to note are these words by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone himself, which you can witness in this video:
Near the beginning of the video Biz says, “If the ads aren’t cool, we just won’t show ‘em.” Now what do you think he means by that? Does it mean that Twitter users can opt out of the ads? No. You can’t do that. But you can vote on the ads and Biz says how to do that on the Twitter Blog.
There is one big difference between a Promoted Tweet and a regular Tweet. Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar—they must resonate with users. That means if users don’t interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.
And that’s it in a nutshell. When you see these tweets, if you don’t respond to them, retweet them or put them on your favorites list then Twitter will just stop showing them. But I’m guessing that may not happen. What do you think? Are you looking forward to Promoted Tweets?
One of the things that helped catapult Google to the top of the search engines was its embracing PPC advertising. The income earned from Google AdWords has allowed the company to expand and grow beyond all comparison. Faceboo, too, has grown, but its growth has largely been seen as a grass roots effort. It has focused on one core competency and delivered on quality (for the most part).
But when I read something like this it takes my breath away. If this is true then it says a lot about how people search for online businesses. I didn’t even know Google was the number 1 traffic source on Yellowbook. If Facebook has surpassed Google in that regard then it says something important about advertising.
Online advertising specifically. First, Yellowbook; then what? Will Facebook become as ubiquitous as Google? Will Facebook ever become as dominant as Google due to its influence in advertising? Will that affect other social media sites as well?
When the economy goes south one of the first things business owners tend to cut back on is advertising. This is usually a big mistake. That’s when you should be spending more on advertising. Here’s why:
Your competition is cutting back. If you move forward then who do you think customers will see in the limelight?
A loss of revenue + less investment in your business = less revenue.
People don’t stop spending money in a recession. They may spend less, but they still eat, sleep, drive cars, etc. Chances are, they are still going to need your services even if in a lesser amount.
You put these three things together and it means advertising is still relevant and necessary. Instead of cutting your advertising spend, try to find ways to get more mileage out of the spending that you are doing. If you can increase your business by spending the same amount on advertising even when the economy is down then you know you are on the right track with your business. If you spend less on advertising you will likely earn less.
Banner advertising has slowly been losing favor for a number of years. Finally, a survey reveals that more than 50% of small businesses are abandoning online banner advertising next year in favor of SEM, e-mail marketing, and social media. This doesn’t really surprise me. Small business owners are wising up.
It just so happens that SEO, SEM, and e-mail marketing are the three top result getters in online marketing. It’s no wonder then that small business owners are ready to start spending money on these forms of online marketing instead of spending money on banner advertising and watching it evaporate into thin air.
SEO is still number one for results. Google is still the top referrer for most websites and organic search is still the No. 1 traffic source for most websites. Pay per click marketing, however, or SEM, is No. 1 for most cost effective means of online advertising. And e-mail marketing is tops for targeted captured results. That is, your opt-in subscribers are ready to buy if you give them an offer they can’t refuse.
The surprising piece of this puzzle is social media. It’s taken small businesses awhile to come around to trusting this form of online marketing. And the results are really starting to show for the first time, which might have something to do with building that confidence.
I just wanted to take this time to applaud small business owners for coming around to knowing what we Internet marketers have known for awhile. Online banner advertising is very low on results so why throw good money away? Divert it to forms of marketing that have proven to work.
You don’t have to go back far in time to when anyone looking for a service in the U.S. picked up the phone book and dialed a phone number. Twenty years ago it was an every day occurrence. Even ten years ago most of us were still using phone books. Five years ago? We may not have picked up the phone book every time, but we still used it. Now? I wonder how many people even consult a phone book.
It may not even matter any more. The Yellow Pages industry is creating its own opt out service.
The argument is that online yellow pages saves trees. That’s good for the environment. So if you’d prefer to search online rather than using the print yellow pages, well, then opt out of receiving the print phone books. Makes sense, right? Except that by offering the opt out in the first place, the phone book industry could be channeling all of its business online. How long will it be before the phone book is completely obsolete?
I have to admit, this is a smart move on the industry’s part. They know many of us aren’t using the phone book. They know how many of recycle the phone book. If they can get a definitive answer on how many of us opt out of receiving it altogether, that will change the dynamic of the yellow pages industry completely. The economics will change. The whole world will change. Good or bad, that’s the way it is. And, of course, advertising will change. It already has.