That’s right. Your’s truly and your favorite Manchester NH digital publication the Manchester Ink Link are collaborating on a series of marketing topics to help businesses improve marketing and lead generation programs in a competitive economy.
Our second installment is now live. Visit the Manchester Ink Link to read Integrating Intent into Demographic Marketing Channels.
Stay tuned as our next installment is coming soon!
That’s right. Your’s truly and your favorite Manchester NH digital publication the Manchester Ink Link are collaborating on a series of marketing topics to help businesses improve marketing and lead generation programs in a competitive economy.
Our first installment is live now. Visit the Manchester Ink Link to read Demographics vs Intent: The Power of Marketing to Prospects that are In-Market-Now.
Stay tuned as our next installment is coming soon!
The equipment financing and leasing industry is a great study in lead generation channels. Between banks, private lenders and brokers the industry is incredibly competitive and heavily saturated. This makes lead generation a priority, and just like other industries, there are a lot of options out there.
Having personally managed acquisition lead generation for a large financing company in my state I can assure you each lead gen channel has its pros and cons.
Below is some helpful information I learned over the years for you to benefit from. For comparison, I will go from my least favorite to most favorite to give you a sense of direction. Enjoy!
Let’s just start here, since every sales person, small company and independent broker begins with the art of the cold call. Or, as I like to call it, brute force.
PROS: The great thing about cold calling is you only need some prospects to call and telephone and you are in business. It’s a low barrier to entry and very inexpensive in terms of equipment and technology. However, this is about where the pros end.
CONS: Cold calling may be a simple and affordable way to get started but there are many pitfalls. First, it can take up to 100 cold calls to find a prospect that will answer the phone, be willing to speak with you and be in-market for financing. Not to mention if they are even a fundable prospect.
Quality of the data is also a factor like most channels, but bad information can hurt in this channel especially. It’s great that it won’t cost you much in equipment and technology, but you will make up for that in your time trying to capture lightening in a bottle.
Radio & Television
PROS: Talk about a large potential reach! Radio and television reach millions of people every single day. A captured audience in their cars or homes where you can target them with your message means the message is delivered, even if only half attention is paid.
CONS: The cost of radio and television advertising is astronomical and tracking back to mid and bottom of your pipeline is almost impossible. Intent also isn’t there as this is mainly an awareness play for bigger companies with even bigger budgets.
PROS: Social media can be the bane my existence, but there is no denying how many people are logging on and hanging out each day on the various social media platforms. This offers an opportunity for you to get in front of a large audience very quickly, and usually for a less money than some other lead generation channels. This channel also offers some tracking ability depending on where you send a prospect post click, and tractability is very important when it comes to tracking your marketing and lead generation performance.
CONS: Sure, there are a lot of people on social media. They are looking at peoples lunches, concert photos and baby pictures. Sounds like a great time to say hey! You need some financing for your business? In marketing we have a saying, the right message at the right time. I would include, in the right place, and I question if this is the place.
If you have budget to burn and want to see if you can generate leads from social media go for it. At least you can track it through your pipeline if done properly. Otherwise this is more of awareness play where eyeballs will suffice over pure lead generation and return on investment. It also lacks the in-market intent we look for in a lead generation channel.
PROS: Direct mail may be dying, but it’s not dead just yet. As long as the postal service will deliver a piece of mail there is some opportunity. This channel must be married to quality and accurate lead data to be sure you are hitting the right mail boxes but bulk mail can offer some leverage in reaching out to prospects. It’s another demographic play and with good data and perhaps a post mailer landing page or phone tracking you layer some tracking on top of the program for insights. If you can leverage a trigger for more targeted mailings you may be able to get some intent involved as well.
CONS: This channel certainly qualifies as a shotgun approach and what you mail is as important as who you mail it too so effectiveness can be all over the map. Tracking is difficult even with some phone and digital mixed in here, never providing the complete performance picture. Cost is also an issue, as printing and postage can add up quickly.
PROS: Cracking the top rankings for a relevant search term with the proper intent can pay huge dividends in the long run, paying out like a annuity. You can match the content to the searchers need via your targeted keywords. Most businesses have a resident expert that can generate original content so it doesn’t always require outside help or a new employee.
CONS: Most mid to large sized financing companies have a department of employees that churn out content every week. Search engine results pages reward large web site conglomerates and directories, further clouding the results. It takes time for content to achieve ranking, and age of content matters. Google changes its algorithm on a regular basis, which can wipe out all your rankings over night. True optimization may also require changes to your web site in addition to your content and that can require a specialist.
PROS: There are two types of models within this segment. The Buyerzone model, where you can buy leads for a low cost, and the Lendio model, where they provide leads to direct lenders for free and charge a commission on funded deals. Leads are generally inexpensive and in abundant supply, and you can put requirements the prospect must meet before you purchase the lead. You can also track these leads through your entire pipeline to track performance. Plus, they always have more, meaning you can attempt to scale by purchasing more leads.
CONS: In the Buyerzone model these companies sell the leads multiple times. If the prospect submitted their information at more than one of these sites, they can be sold upwards of ten or more times, creating a confusing and frustrating experience for the prospect, and a highly competitive selling situation. I’ve even experienced prospects that thought they sent us an application when in reality they sent it to someone else. In the Lendio model, Lendio ultimately decides which funding proposal the prospect sees based in part on which lender is offering them the biggest commission. If this isn’t you, your offer may never make it to the prospect, even if it is the better deal.
PROS: Email has become much less of the wild west in the last five years. Service providers better restrict who you can mail to and what makes it into an inbox versus junk or spam. This channel works best when you have a home grown list of interested users and triggers that allow you to email with a purpose. For example, emailing a user that visits your site and exists in your database that doesn’t call or submit a form but spent a good deal of time looking at multiple pages. Email is also very tractable, providing solid insight into what is happening throughout the funnel. If you can organically grow a large database you can generate some consistent lead flow as a result.
CONS: Although service providers have gotten better, they aren’t perfect. With so many financing companies and agents out there competition is fierce, spamming is an issue and over mailing can exhaust your list unless you can grow it faster than your attrition rate. The better uses of email that get away from just mass mailing take a level of technology, people and infrastructure that smaller companies probably can’t afford. Plus, people are tuning out email more and more after years of emails showing up in their inbox and intent isn’t there unless done properly.
Search Engines (A.K.A PPC, Pay Per Click, Paid Search Marketing & Search Engine Marketing)
PROS: Tractable, repeatable and ROI positive. These three attributes are the holy grail of marketing. You can target in-market-now prospects based on intent and in some cases what they are searching for, right at the moment they are indicating they need it. You can control your messaging yet change it quickly, get to market quickly and control your spend. This means financing companies of all sizes can compete. It’s tractable from every penny you spend to every penny you make. And it’s repeatable, providing a solid lever you can pull year after year to grow your business.
CONS: By far my favorite channel, but it’s not without a downside. You need a skilled professional that understands both the financing world and how to use the paid search marketing tools. There are up front costs to get everything set up and running. And you need a budget to fund the advertising spend.
*To be clear, we are talking about search marketing, not display or banner marketing.
So there it is. A first person experience with lead generation for equipment financing & leasing companies. If you’d like some help generating leads for your equipment financing company, by all means reach out using our contact form!
A Note About Triggers and Automation
Many channels can move more toward an intent based marketing and lead generation play if you can implement triggers and automation.
For example, UCC filings were used for call and direct mail campaigns. Web site visitors can be targeted based off behavior if their contact information is in your database. Email openers can be targeted for an immediate phone call for a live contact campaign.
Find the triggers that can help you identify when a user is easily contactable or in-market-now for a better chance at generating that lead.
Google really came out swinging at their 5th anniversary of the Google Marketing Live conference. The Marketing Innovations keynote presentation is always chock full of changes you can expect to see sooner than later. So if you did miss the event live, don’t fret, you can watch the keynote and other videos on Youtube.
Here are just some of the highlights from the keynote speech embedded below.
- User privacy controls
- Changes to Google product brands
- New YouTube ad conversion strategies under the Trueview banner
- Machine learning in almost every product including search
- Responsive search ads
- Google optimize (for landing page optimization)
- Landing page speed scoring
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- Cross device reporting and remarketing in Analytics
- Smart Campaigns for do it yourself business owners
- Auto-optimized landing pages
- Grow with Google (training for small business owners)
- Google My Business
- Automated feeds for shopping ads
- Local campaigns (for local small business)
- Hotel campaigns
- Google Marketing Platform
- Search Ads 360
- Display & Video 360
- Integration Center
- …and dare we say, a whole lot more.
The entire keynote runs about an hour and twenty minutes with some post keynote discussion. Our opinion, totally worth the time. There will be a lot of new marketing opportunities on the horizon and you don’t want to miss out.
*post image property of ppchubbub
Have you heard the news?
In case you missed it, let me share something truly exciting with you. According to a PR Newswire release at MarTechSeries.com, Google is launching Google Ads Click Identifier, a tool that will display contact information on all ad visitors.
According to the release “Google Ads users can now access detailed contact information about all the businesses that have clicked on their ad campaigns…”
This Sounds Great, But What Information Will They Give Us?
I am so glad you asked! Per the release we will now be able to view detailed information like…
- Business Name
- Key Employee Contact Information
- Web Pages Viewed Withing the Last 12 Months
Why Does this Matter?
Let’s face it. The reality is that the majority of clicks on your ads won’t convert. Some of the non-converters may not be the right prospects or the relevance to your targeted keywords was too loose. But, other segments may have been interrupted, ran out of time, not been persuaded by the first impression of your content or other reasons that indicate they are still an in-market-now prospect.
This new program will uncover who they are and provide an opportunity to add them to your CRM and target them using other channels in addition to Adwords to make contact and generate a lead.
This is Awesome, So What’s the Catch?
Having used visitor ID technology before, I can share that the data, and quality of the data heavily depends on the company whose database is attached to the visitor ID system. In this case it appears that company is Fastbase. I’m not aware of them or what other systems they might power so time will tell if how much data they have, and what the quality of that data is.
Also, this product is reported to cost around $550 dollars per month when the free trial period ends. Effectively pricing smaller business out of the service unless they can quickly derive a positive ROI from the additional cost.
According to the release, the new tool is expected to help businesses increase the number of new leads and customers by up to 66%. As with everything Google says, I’d take that with a grain of salt. But if you can generate a demonstrable profit off it for your company, this could really be a winner.
Have you used the new tool? If so, let us know how it is working for you in the comments below!
*image property of Fastbase, Inc.
“You Could Benefit from a Free Consultation with a Google Representative”
If you use Adwords you may have seen or heard something like this by now. Either an alert in your account advising how you can beat your competition by reviewing your account with a Google rep, or maybe you had one call you directly offering to help. Either way, what sounds like a fantastic opportunity to get some truth right from the source isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
That isn’t to say it won’t be helpful. Reviewing your account with someone trained in all the system’s capabilities may provide insights into using the various tools at your disposal. You might even learn a new way to use features already deployed in your campaigns. Which can certainly be considered a positive thing. At the end of the day, I’d recommend that you do it, but…
So What’s the Problem?
First let me set the stage by letting you know that since I manage multiple client accounts I’ve fielded many of the calls with Google representatives. And since they rotate out every six months I receive a minimum of 2 calls a year, multiplied by all the accounts I manage, every year.
Now, you can say Google’s efforts are well intentioned, or you can say that it is Google’s job to get you to spend more money and this is one way of doing it. Both views could be correct. But that isn’t the primary issue at hand.
“I’m from Google, and I’m Here to Help”
Words that are supposed to fill you with a sense of confidence should make you stop and think for a moment. Who, exactly, are you speaking with at Google? And what, precisely, is their experience in running profitable Adwords programs?
Are they a new employee just out of training? Have they served in an advisory capacity for years? I recommend asking these questions before you get into any serious discussion about your programs. Yes, these employees are trained in the various tools of the Adwords system. But that is where their experience usually ends. The sad truth is that I have yet to speak with a representative that has run a real world paid search marketing program profitably. Not one yet. Period. Full stop.
In addition to that, they have zero idea of why you might be deploying certain settings or tools in any given campaign. They have been told that using X setting/tool/method will make you more successful, because Google told them so. So it must be true!
They may not understand you’ve made a choice to forego call extensions because you prefer to have more tractability even if it might result in a slightly lower conversion rate. Or that you want to receive leads only during business hours because your live contact rate increase results in more sales. Or you are using manual bid strategies to muscle your ads into the top 3 to see how you perform against the top competition.
Context is incredibly important when discussing something as complex as Adwords. Combine that with the fact they rotate every six months so even if you did manage to educate one representative you find yourself starting all over again, twice per year.
In my experience these Google reps have zero real world experience running active campaigns with their job on the line if it isn’t profitable. They are trained in the tools of Adwords and their job is to call clients and get them to use tools that will increase the amount of money Google extracts from your wallet, without any idea of if they will truly work or how to best deploy them.
A great example of this is the enhanced CPC that focus on conversions. Things may have changed, and every client is different, but so far everywhere I’ve tested this setting it has resulted in higher cost per conversions and lower conversion rates. The exact opposite of what they tell you will happen. Interesting, no?
What Should I Do?
As mentioned above, I would schedule the call and review your account with the representative. However, do not change anything in real time. Take good notes, then have some deep internal discussions about the pros and cons of each recommendation to make sure anything you implement matches your ability, tracking and goals.
Then, should you decide to implement a recommendation, be sure to do it in a way that you can test and track to an outcome. If the outcome is positive, you now have a new tool in your tool box to deploy throughout your program. If the outcome is negative, you can quickly revert back to your previous state.
The golden rule of using Google Adwords is first, do no harm. Implementing too many changes that negatively effect your performance is a recipe for disaster. So be smart and skeptical in your interactions with Google. And always remember, they have Google’s best interest at heart, not yours.
Want an easy method to increase your Google Adwords conversion rates? Here is a quick and easy suggestion. Try adding a call extension to your ads.
Why Should I Add Call Extensions?
Because the mobile revolution has come and gone. According to a Search Engine Land report in August 2017, 57% of traffic is now from smartphones and tablets. That is one heck of a lot of opportunity to get in front of your prospect at the moment they can take action.
From my testing call extensions with various clients I can confirm that in most cases, including a phone call extension to your Adwords ad will indeed increase conversion. A side benefit is the increase in live contact rate achieved if you are answering the calls in real time. There is something to be said for saving time chasing down a prospect that filled out a form to get live contact. You can also qualify prospects faster and push them further into your funnel before the competition does.
Setup only takes a few minutes. You will need to go into your campaign to the extensions tab and add a call extension. That is the easy part. But let’s not forget the tracking. To track calls as conversions you will need to go to tools and select conversions. Then set up a click to call conversion and apply the settings that make most sense for your goals. Once you’ve finished that, go to the account/ad group/keyword level (whichever you want to see the call conversion data for) and add the phone conversion column. But beware, from my conversations with Google the best way to track them accurately is to look at the clicks on the extension, or the click by device segment.
Too Good to Be True?
So it’s all good, right? Well, not so fast. There is a down side to call conversions that you need to know.
First, for what you gain in conversion and live contact you will lose in tracking down funnel. Using a custom phone number or call conversion tracking gets you the top of funnel information you need. But when the call comes in how will your sales team identify it is from Google Adwords? Will they input the lead into the system tagged to the right lead source? Manual intervention always results in tracking errors so training is important here. But even if you create a fool proof system, there is still a big hole.
That hole comes in the shape of knowing what campaign generated the lead. With all but the most sophisticated setup, you simply won’t. Seeing overall contribution by channel is important, but ROI based marketing means knowing exactly which campaigns are generating ROI positive production. You can’t focus your budget or efforts around something if you don’t know what is happening.
So what should you do? Well, it depends. We have clients that forgo click to call in favor better tracking, and others that add click to call knowing they will be missing part of the down funnel performance data. I certainly recommend using it if you have the right training and systems internally. I also recommend that you figure out a baseline of Adwords performance and apply it to the call volumes you receive. If you convert X percentage of Adwords leads for X sales dollars or profit, apply that to the calls and add it as a line item on your performance tracking to give yourself some sense of the click to call contribution to your ROI.
Want more information regarding click to call tracking? Below are some quick links to help.
It started a few months ago. A surge in phone calls from equipment financing companies and equipment financing brokers looking for lead generation help. While it’s certainly not unusual for us to field inquiries about lead generation for the financing industry, the surge felt out of place. So we asked everyone what prompted them to call us.
The common theme? They had all been cut off from Needalender.com leads. I’m not sure of the reason, nor am I here to speculate. What I will say is that this is a blessing in disguise for these lenders and brokers. They just didn’t know it at the time.
Why, You Ask?
Simple. There are better alternatives for generating in-market-now leads exclusive to your company. Having worked in a position where it was my responsibility to purchase leads from companies like this I can share some of my experience with you.
- Sometimes the leads were aged days or weeks
- Latency from when the prospect filled out their form to when we received it made live contact more difficult
- The lead was usually sold multiple times, to you and your direct competition
- Prospects often got confused about who they were talking too since so many companies were contacting them at once
- Multiple lead vendors would sometimes send us the same lead
The truth of it all is that we once in a great while one of these leads would fund a solid sized deal, just enough to make it worth our time. If it wasn’t for this occasional large deal we wouldn’t have bothered with these leads at all. They just weren’t good enough or exclusive enough to be a good driver of growth for the business.
A Better Way
So is there a better method of lead generation for equipment financing lenders and brokers? Well, let me ask you…
- What if you could receive your leads and distribute them to your sales team the minute they were submitted?
- What if that resulted in a significant increase in your live contact rates and reduced your time/effort to make contact?
- What if the lead was yours exclusively, with little or no competition?
- What if you could continue to generate more of these in-market-now leads in a predictable way?
Would these things help you grow your equipment financing business? Absolutely. And it’s why paid search lead generation is the best method of attracting in-market-now prospects looking for financing.
It is one of the few channels that allows you to target prospects at the very moment they are looking for financing and provides the data to help you track every penny you invest all the way to your return on investment. It’s scalable, repeatable and predictable, and that provides you with a lever you can pull every year to grow.
Want to learn more? Download our free whitepaper and learn all about the benefits of lead generation via paid search marketing.
Like many managed IT services companies you may be relying on outbound calling to generate leads for your business. After all, it’s the way it’s always been done. And if you want to grow, more leads means more sales people doing more cold calling.
One of the challenges with the outbound call model is its inherent inefficiency. How many calls does a member of your sales team need to make to find a prospect that is both interested and in-market-now for managed IT services?
Having worked with companies in this space I can tell you it’s a lot. Depending on where the data originates from, the ability to get the decision maker on the phone, the happenstance of them actively looking for managed IT services and being open to an outsourced solution, that number can reach oppressive heights.
Now imagine what is possible if your sales team was having meaningful conversations with in-market-now prospects rather than spending time on all those wasted cold calls?
Getting In-Market-Now Prospects to Come to You
I know what you are thinking. If it was that simple to get prospects coming to us we’d be doing it by now. I won’t tell you that it is easy. But I can tell you that business owners are in fact searching for your service, every day, and in droves. And that is the beauty of paid search marketing.
In this day and age when a business needs to find qualified managed IT service providers they inevitably go online to find options using Google, Yahoo and Bing. If you aren’t there, you are allowing your competitors to cherry pick the best prospects right from under your nose.
The right paid search technician can put you in front of business owners searching for managed IT services at them moment they are in-market, and get them coming right to your door. They can also teach you how to manage leads effectively to generate a positive ROI.
Demographic marketing allows you to target someone that looks similar to your ideal customer. Unfortunately, you never know if they are a true prospect, or if/when they will be in market for managed IT services.
Intent based marketing allows you to target prospects as they enter the consideration and decision stage of the buyer’s journey based off the words and phrases they use in their Google search. Targeting them at the very moment they are in-market for managed IT services.
Just imagine all the prospects searching for your services every day. You could be marketing to them at the very moment they are in market for managed IT services. This intent based marketing targeting in-market-now prospects is more powerful then demographic marketing can ever hope to be. Plus, it’s linear, tractable and repeatable!
How many prospects are searching for IT, application, technology or cloud services in a given month? Below is some data straight from Google to give you a sense of the opportunity in front of you.
Look at how much opportunity you are missing. Above is a small example, and for those four keywords alone Google estimates close to 82,000 related searches (impressions) in one month in the U.S. One. Month.
When you focus your sales team’s efforts on having meaningful conversations with in-market-now prospects instead of marginally effective cold calls you will change the entire trajectory of your managed IT services company.
And this is just the impact on your acquisition channel. Factor in the contribution from follow-on retention deals, cross selling other services and referrals generated from new customers and you are talking about a powerful feeder mechanism you can count on year after year to fuel your company’s growth.
Set the Stage for Success. Build the Proper Foundation.
Routing and Managing Inbound Leads
Before you get your paid search program up and running it’s important to remember that processes must be put in place for making sure you get the most out of each lead generated.
You will need to address issues like how the leads are imported into your CRM software. How you will route leads to the best sales people in a timely manner. What your campaign name nomenclature will look like. Whether you will tag just the lead, or also the account and any associated opportunity to paid search.
All of this is important in helping to be sure no leads are lost, that they are contacted in a timely fashion, that input errors are kept to a minimum and that full channel reporting will be possible down the line to justify investment in the channel.
Don’t Forget to Integrate Your Sales Team
Even with the best lead management and sales processes in place, you might find that a good portion of your leads will be closed due to no contact. To combat this you will need to be sure your sales team is trained with a very clear set of expectations on how to handle these leads. The leads should be imported or input to your CRM immediately, routed to sales just as fast, and called by your sales rep within 5 minutes or less of arriving to give you the best shot at making live contact to qualify the lead.
It’s also critical that your sales team is trained to put any lead into their name and set up proper activities and opportunities tagged to the paid search channel in your CRM to be sure there is proper action and accountability. Sales personnel at or above the median performance are the only ones that should be allowed to work the lead channel.
If a lead is closed lost, they must be marking it as such and tagging it with the appropriate reason why so the account can enter the lead nurture phase for reclamation through marketing automation. After all, it takes a fair amount of effort and resources to generate these leads. You cannot, and must not let them go to waste.
Robust Reporting is Critical
Sure the front end of paid search tools will provide you with a wealth of information on how many conversions you have, what the cost per click or conversion is, your conversion percentage and more. But there is a lot that it won’t tell you that you will need to know. In particular, what happens in the second half of your funnel once a lead enters your sales process.
You’ll need a good look at additional metrics to answer questions like how long before a lead is contacted? What is your lead to opportunity and opportunity to deal ratios? What is your revenue generated in first deals and subsequent follow on deals? Which of your sales reps convert the most leads? What are the reasons for leads closed lost and what percentages are they?
This type of information allows you to adjust your strategies and hone your sales team and processes to be the most effective they can be. The ideal way accomplish this is by importing front end and back end data in to a data warehouse, where you can pull answers from all the important questions into reporting to help manage the program. For the less sophisticated, it’s critical to craft what you can to tie in as much data as you can while working towards a more robust solution in the long term. After all, if you want to have confidence in where you invest your marketing dollars, you need to know what’s happening at every phase of the lead conversion process.
The Snowball Effect
Your initial conversion rate on the first lead for a prospect is important in gauging the effectiveness of your efforts. But when marketing for ROI it’s just as important to understand the impact of lead generation today, tomorrow and after the first sale. Sure some prospects will close quickly. Others may take more time than your initial sales person has patience for so they move on. And yet others will be cold leads that can be reactivated by your lead nurturing program.
To truly know the impact of paid search lead generation for your managed IT services company you have to see the snowball that grows as you get better at generating a higher volume and quality of leads. This means slicing and dicing performance and looking at conversion by calendar instead of static, percentage and volume of second and third contracts, lifetime revenue of channel customers and other important performance metrics that will guide your investment over time.
This is the tip of the iceberg when thinking about lead generation and lead nurturing for your managed IT services company. If you are interested in learning more about this powerful lead generation mechanism, contact us to set up a free consultation today.
Want to learn more about how we can help you generate more sales via paid search marketing? Visit our paid search marketing services page.
One of the great things about collaborating with fellow digital marketers is the variety of perspectives you encounter. When competing opinions arise in the process of creating successful programs for a client it forces you to really think about why you are making a recommendation and to defend your position with facts and reason.
This very thing happened recently regarding a client that hired us to create and manage their paid search marketing campaign, while a second company was hired to build a new web site and handle the search engine optimization efforts.
The discussion boiled down to the following case for using native web site product pages as paid search landing pages.
- We believe that building quality pages is the key to a proper web site.
- We will optimize the site to rank for relevant keywords and optimize the product pages to be the best they can be.
- We believe that paid search marketing is a temporary strategy and that landing pages are not necessary as our product pages will be awesome.
- A couple of the paid search landing pages have 85% duplicate content and we believe that will hurt our SEO efforts.
- We should instead take the time and effort to improve quality score using the native product pages instead of using landing pages.
Are They Wrong?
No, and yes.
It’s been quite a few weeks in the world of Paid Search Marketing. Google recently announced, and carried out, removal of their right side of the page pay per click ads. In the weeks that followed the intertubes were full of doomsday, the sky is falling predictions. We take a more measured approach, and here is what we think it means for paid search marketing in the near future.
A Little Perspective
The right side and bottom of page results only accounted for 14.6% of the clicks in January 2016. So we are talking about losing only a segment of those clicks. BUT added a listing up top, and are now showing more ad extensions in the results pages. (Stat via WordStream)
Non Technical Users are the Biggest Losers
There is still a large contingent of search engine users that aren’t aware that their are paid ads at the top of search engine results pages. It was much clearer that the right side listings were in fact ads. These non-technical users now have one more listing above the fold in most cases, and they probably still won’t notice the difference. But that might mean…
Paid Search Advertisers are the Biggest Winners
At least regarding these non-technical users. More ads up top, and less on the side, could mean more users click on our advertisements instead. And after all, that is one of our main goals. So this could be a net win.
SEO Becomes a Little More Problematic
As if the larger companies, national brands and directory sites weren’t making it hard enough to rank on the first results page organically, now there is one less spot available in the organic listings. Add to this the one additional paid listing at the top pushing organic results further below the fold and our jobs in search engine optimization just got a little bit more complicated.
Campaign Focus Just Got Even More Important
Targeting and campaign specificity just got more critical to running profitable paid search programs. If you haven’t been running more specific campaigns rather than fewer high volume general campaigns now is the time to make the switch. Better optimization means better performance. Time to get on the train.
A Hidden Opportunity?
It’s certainly possible we’ll see an increase in cost per click across the board. Or, we may end up weeding out some of the less sophisticated competition that is currently driving up cost. These exits from the competitive landscape could be just what the rest of us need to better break through the noise.
So it looks like a mixed bag in terms of results. Hopefully we’ll see the fallout start to take shape over the next few months. If you see changes in your program that you think are related to the change, please let us know!
Related Paid Search Marketing Articles
- 15 Google Adwords Tips to Improve Your Campaigns
- Breaking the Keyword Limit. Rules for Lead Generation via PPC Marketing
- Inbound Lead Generation via Paid Search for Equipment Financing Companies