Word of Mouth and Internet – Google Study

Every marketer recognizes that Word of mouth conversations are the holy grail of advertising, helping to amplify paid campaign buzz and give messages longevity far beyond booked media schedule periods.

A new study on Googles Think Insight website explores the  relationship between the Internet and WOM conversations. Not surprisingly, the study emphasizes the role of search at all stages of conversations.

Google WOM & Internet Study

Some key findings:

1. The Internet is the #1 spark for WOM conversations and the first source for information after
2. WOM impressions generated by search are 27% more credible and 35%  more likely to lead to a purchase decision, compared to online or social media.
3. Smartphone users reference Internet a lot around WOM conversations

Implications
1. Increase SEM budget before and during a new campaign to capture impressions at all stages.
2. Bid on campaign related themes and words.
3. Send traffic to a microsite or YouTube channel so users can get more information (prices, buying locations) and continue discussions online.
4. Use advanced ad scheduling to upweight spending around TV spots when conversations are likely to spike (often at home)
5. Create separate mobile  campaigns for smartphone users

Have you used search to capture incremental campaign related queries? Please share your experiences with us in this blogs comments section.

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Is your PPC Campaign tool on Red Bull?

If you follow Formula One racing you will know that Red Bull are suddenly the team to beat in 2011, staying ahead of established teams like Ferrari that have ex-champion drivers in their ranks. Much of their new found competitiveness is down to them now having the best car, which counts immensely in this most technology dependent of premier world sports.

PPC marketing is analogous to Formula One in some ways in that the pre-requisites for success are similar. Both need a top-notch driver (Campaign Manager), race strategy (Campaign Optimisations), an experienced team principal (Account Director) and the best in line race car/engine (PPC Campaign Management tool).

As I read a recently released report on PPC Campaign Management tools by Search Marketing Now, I was left to ponder on the extent we as Paid Search marketers are dependent on our own PPC tools. So is it all about the tool?

I think a good tool can certainly improve campaign efficiency and outcomes especially with large accounts (portfolio of products/brands, active keywords >20,000,  multiple online channels). A PPC tool allows campaign teams to automate campaign tasks and provides complex reporting, competitive analysis and cross channel attribution insights all in one place. This frees time to focus on work that cannot be automated, like creative writing, forecasting, developing long term strategies, setting up tests and staying up to date with new search enhancements.

I have optimised many campaigns manually or simply through Adwords Editor and the Google/Yahoo interfaces with equal ease though I admit it does increase time required. The decision on whether to rely on a 3rd party tool or to what degree, depends on each Campaign Managers style and the complexity of the account. SMBs and SEM consultants running small or seasonal campaigns might often find working with free tools simpler and cost effective. If you are undecided, the report has a useful section on the pros and cons of campaign automation.

Here is a snapshot comparing the leading PPC management tools.  Disclaimer: I have not used any of the tools myself so cannot endorse or comment from personal experience.

PPC Campaign Management Tools

The above list at first glance appears more North America focused to me and hence may be unfamiliar to SEM practitioners locally. But it does provide vital information on the capabilities that leading automated solutions can provide.

Remember the PPC landscape today in Australia is not just Adwords and Yahoo, but increasingly also Facebook which according to an AdAge report did 60% of 2010 revenue in self-serve ads, as well as LinkedIn. In a previous post I noted IAB figures showing online advertising in Australia is growing steadily YoY and Search is already 50% of that spend. Read on and make sure your team or Agency is using the best tool on the market.

Why Mobile Search should be part of your 2011 strategy

A recent Performics report indicated that by the end of 2mobile search011, Mobile Google paid search will generate 16% of all Google paid search clicks, up from 3.5% in January 2010. And according to GoogleMobile search traffic on Android tripled in the first quarter of 2010 . Analyst Imran Khan of JP Morgan recently predicted that mobile paid search is key to Google’s future so we should expect more announcements and innovations in this space.

What does this mean for Australian advertisers who have been slow to embrace this space. In last years AIMIA Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index, 40% of respondents said they conducted a mobile search at least once a month and 25% accessed a website using a mobile search.  This blog believes the growth of large display smart phones and 3G handset ownership, as well as the astounding uptake of Android powered phones that come preloaded with Google Search will propel mobile search traffic even more in the future. The message for Australian marketers is clear – get into mobile search sooner rather than later. With overall search volume and competition currently low, average cost-per-clicks are still cheap even for categories that are highly competitive in desktop paid search. Being amongst the first-movers offers advertisers the advantage of building up channel learning’s and best practices before the competition gets in.

Mobile search campaigns can be easily set up in Adwords campaigns, with the option of offering a click-to-call feature by adding phone extensions to your paid ads. Either a national number or location specific numbers tailored to the user’s location can be displayed. Users performing a mobile search are time sensitive and expect immediate information that will help them transact quickly. By offering them an opportunity to speak to a customer service person through a simple click, you improve your chance to close a highly probable sale. Ad messages need to be crisp and keyword selection needs to be generic keeping in mind the space limitations of mobile. Ensure you create separate mobile only paid search campaigns within your account so you can benchmark mobile search ROI against existing paid search activity.  On the conversion side, invest in improving users experience during the path to conversion by investing in mobile sites.