John Gagnon

BLOG POSTS

Search Predictions for 2015: The Industry Experts Weigh In

Foretelling the future has fascinated us since the 19th century, when methods as bizarre as observing a rooster pecking (alectromancy) and as common as creating earthen harmony (Feng shui) gave us a heads-up on what might be coming our way.

Because we lean closer to data and science than to mysticism (and we’re fresh out of roosters), we’ve decided to foretell the future in a not-remotely-bizarre way: By asking the experts what they think is coming for search advertising in 2015. We call it “expertomancy.”

Here, a round-up of predictions from search tool providers, agencies and experts.

RETARGETING WILL GET REAL

One of the big trends is audience marketing and audience targeting. Everything we’re doing is about understanding intent. It’s all about audience – understanding more and more about them and delivering more relevant messages.

The areas of display and search are going to become very gray and come together in terms of how you think about buying search and display, and retargeting across all those audiences.

Steve Sirich, General Manager, Bing Ads Product Marketing, @BingAds

 

Key strategies include audience development, dynamic campaign creation, and cross-channel management. Savvy marketers will take search intent data and combine it with social signals and first-party customer data to create complete audience profiles.

From there, you can target those segments (across channels and devices) with customized ads and post-click experiences based on what you know about each individual, what they’re interested in, and how valuable they are to your business.

Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo, CMO, @aarongoldman

 

I’m pretty excited about the convergence of paid social ads, retargeting, mobile, and content marketing. Basically the strategy of amplifying organic content using social ads, then tagging the visitors, applying demographic and interest filters, and chasing them on social media and across the internet, getting them to convert via remarketing ads.

Larry Kim, Co-Founder, Wordstream, @LarryKim

 

CONNECT SALES DATA TO MARKETING

In B2B paid search, I predict a new level of insight previously reserved only for large enterprises will be attainable for medium (and even small) businesses. I think we’ll see this in two ways: First is the convergence of data across warehouses, where it is lagging B2C. One core example is connecting of marketing, sales, and support data at granular enough level to enable optimization decisions across the entire lifecycle and all customer touchpoints. Second is making that data actionable and insightful with dashboards in the cloud, instead of data dumps and spreadsheets, to make it easier to find hidden gems and out-smart the competition.

Aaron Bird, Bizible, CEO, @birdstweets

 

STOP PLAYING CATCH UP, MOBILE WILL BE MASSIVE IN 2015

Make no mistake, “mobile-friendly” no longer means what it used to. Consequently, marketers will need to watch their site analytics and campaign performance closely in order to catch evolving usage trends and optimize for their audience’s current needs. Fortunately, I also expect innovations in cross-device tracking to wean marketers off cookies and equip them with the data and insights they need to best capitalize on changing habits. 

Sam Mazaheri, Director of Marketing, AdStage, @sammmer

 

Mobile is where it's at, and nearly half of all web searches are done on mobile devices.  Make sure your site is completely mobile-friendly - and this includes tablet.  And even when your IT department tells you it is mobile friendly, test out your homepage AND a few internal pages to make sure it all works well - you will often find surprises, like the pop-over that is impossible to close or videos that autoplay.

Jen Slegg, The SEM Post, @jenstar

 

Mobile will continue to grow in importance to advertisers and end users leading to interesting new ad formats and experiences.

Dare Obasanjo, Principal Lead Program Manager for Bing Ads, @BingAds

 

Advertisers will be playing catch-up to capitalize on the huge surge in mobile searches and traffic. They'll make better use of Call Extensions, create more mobile-specific ads, and better account for (and value) calls that occur once a paid search respondent visits the site. Average CPCs will still be a bargain, at least until the end of 2015 - meaning many advertisers would be wise to boost bids for mobile. Advertisers without a comprehensive mobile strategy could actually see clicks and conversions from desktops and tablets drop over the coming year.

David Szetela, FMB Media, @Szetela

 

The mobile PPC ad experience is often overlooked by advertisers, yet data is showing consumer searches are quickly shifting over to mobile. Consider that mobile queries make up 33% of searches on Bing. That number shouldn't be ignored. In 2015, mobile PPC will go mainstream because advertisers will start to see mobile traffic increases and perhaps desktop decreases as the query shares continue to shift. Advertisers ready for this shift will have a distinct advantage over competition and be ready to grow with their new mobile market.

Lisa Raehsler, Big Click Co, @lisarocksSEM

 

We're always and still going to be talking about mobile and tablet traffic as we should, but I see obstacles being removed for advertisers that don't have the development resources or mobile friendly sites through additional tools like Shopify, where the transaction and presentation of product info might occur off the main site domain. Cross tracking for devices and URLs are going to be so important as well as multi-touch attribution modeling - but I see us still dabbling with that. The emphasis on those pieces will come out of necessity once we can increase transactions and conversions via the mobile channel more widely.

Elizabeth Marsten, VP of Search Marketing, Portent, @ebkendo

 

Mobility: Constant connections drive the way we search, discover, and evaluate; context cannot be overlooked. As search breaks free from the desktop, there’s really no limits on where it can go.  Mobile search marketing now includes developing a strategy for wearables, cameras, apps, maps, review sites, directories, in-car navigation systems and vertical sites.

Leo Dalakos, Vice President, Performance Media, Performics, @performics

 

The hot play going into 2015 and beyond is going to be Video Advertising and specifically mobile video advertising. As more traditional advertising move towards digital advertising, advertisers are comfortable with telling their brand story using video. I have seen predictions of Facebook video ad revenue rising from a mere $151 million this year to $7.2 billion by 2015. Plus we all know that over 50% of traffic is becoming mobile, so we have to count on a lot of mobile video ad inventory. Advertisers are going to realize that they can now tell a more complete and compelling story throughout the funnel with the combination of social, mobile, video and search.

Bryan Eisenberg, @theGrok

 

CROSS DEVICE TRACKING AND BETTER ATTRIBUTION WILL HAVE ITS DAY

Cross-device tracking is going to be huge in 2015. Bing’s launch of Universal Event Tracking in late 2014 is a harbinger of the importance of tracking across multiple devices, delivering a user experience customized to the individual, rather than to a device or browser session.

Melissa Mackey, Gyro, @mel66

 

The financial value of identifying high potential points of purchase throughout the consumer journey will push cross-device tracking and attribution forward, ultimately allowing much more hyper targeted messaging in search creative and search retargeting.

LuRae Lumpkin, Head of Client and Business Development, WPP/GroupM, @LuRae5

 

Conversations on device switching and more accurate attribution of first and middle clicks in the user's journey will be white hot. We'll finally be moving away from the tired reminders of the "importance" of mobile. By now, I think we area aware that a lot of people use smartphones to search for things! And we can easily see in our stats that yes, clicks from these devices make up over 30% of all PPC clicks (and are headed to 50% or perhaps even more). The question is, what to do about that?

Andrew Goodman, PageZero Media, @andrew_goodman

 

We’re going to see a significant investment in attribution and cross-device attribution.

David Pann, General Manager, Product Marketing, Microsoft Online Services Division, @BingAds

 

Conversations that will be hot in 2015: cross-device tracking, cross-channel tracking, remarketing for search (RLSA), new ad formats (image formats like Bing/Yahoo RAIS features).

            John Lee, Clix Marketing, @John_A_Lee

 

PPC GOES BEYOND JUST TRADITIONAL TEXT ADS AND SEARCH PLACEMENTS

We will continue to see the splintering of traditional search share behavior across more specialty sites such as Pinterest, Reddit, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. Consumers are becoming much more savvy about how and where to get the information they want.

LuRae Lumpkin, Head of Client and Business Development, WPP/GroupM, @LuRae5

 

Shopping on SERPs with Bing and Google. We're going and honestly, should be, seeing more shopping/product specific results right in the SERP as well in Shopping results sections and not only that, more informative ones. Ratings, reviews, shipping and in stock availability are going to be king in pushing engagement and click through as well as conversions. Our crazy instant gratification needs will be met and we're going to get strangely comfortable with buying through platforms that are not the vendor's site, like SERPs, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Elizabeth Marsten, VP of Search Marketing, Portent, @ebkendo

 

I personally feel like 2015 is going to be all about advertisers fighting to find additional traffic and conversion volume. What exactly does that entail? For PPC, I see advertisers that have been slow to adopt to mobile waking up and pushing harder on mobile search. 2015 will see advertisers looking to features they may have previously avoided or loosely labeled as "irrelevant" (e.g. Bing Ads syndicated partner network, content network). Outside of traditional PPC, advertisers are going to be seeking out their volume growth in other digital advertising channels. Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, etc. will see even more growth in 2015 as a result. 

John Lee, Clix Marketing, @John_A_Lee

 

I’m concerned about high click prices. Paid search CPCs within established markets are at an all-time high. This obviously erodes ROI of paid search. So search marketing managers will need to get creative on how to squeeze more ROI from paid search by being:

•  More picky in terms of the targeting options they employ

•  Leveraging bid multipliers to ensure that click costs are better aligned with ROI

•  Generating higher conversion rates from paid clicks

Hopefully this trend benefits Bing Ads since we find that costs are lower there on average. Historically, mobile click prices have been lower than desktop, but maybe this year it pulls even, given the ongoing shift to mobile.

Larry Kim, Co-Founder, Wordstream, @LarryKim

 

SEARCH WILL BE ON THE LEADING EDGE OF “WOW”

Predictive Intelligence: Search will increasingly become a passive and preemptive pursuit, not a constant process of search and refine.

Leo Dalakos, Vice President, Performance Media, Performics, @performics

 

Consumer use of visual and voice search will further develop as voice technology further evolves and consumers use visual search to find products or snap in-store codes for product and price comparisons prior to purchase.

Wearables will be the gift of choice for the millennial early-adopter segment for the 2014 holiday season. This swell of consumers wearing devices that can be and are naturally ‘search’ enabled will stimulate a new advertising platform for search related offers. Connected devices and wearables will further evolve to offer consumers ‘deals’ or ‘offers’ based upon usage patterns, location and preferences.

LuRae Lumpkin, Head of Client and Business Development, WPP/GroupM, @LuRae5

 

The real trend to watch in 2015 is our ability as digital marketers to become more personal and valuable to searchers.  Search is a conversation, and our ability to market effectively hinges on our ability to listen to and understand each individual’s question and needs in the moment and provide personalized answers—and then manage this personalization at scale.

Jeremy Hull, iProspect, Director Bought Media, @iProspect

 

The growth of Siri and Cortana will continue to change SEM. Keywords will finally evolve into statements and questions changing how marketers find their audience. Broad targeting will replace explicit keywords matching intent as questions and queries will grow significantly during 2015.

Chris Doran, Acquisio, VP of Marketing, @acquisio

 

In 2015, ads will continue to evolve to be more interactive and engaging. Between extensions, product ads for shopping, and display, ads are already visually appealing. With these ad enhancements, I've seen improved click-thru-rates in my accounts (as I'm sure many have). Ads aren't just about the message anymore, but rather how much space they can occupy and how aesthetically pleasing they look. Additional features will be put in place to enhance the standard ad in order to garner more clicks and provide users with a more pleasing search experience.

Matt Umbro, Senior Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing, @Matt_Umbro

 

The PPC platforms will provide more options to automate common tasks - like bid management. As the features and algorithms mature and improve, there will be less conversation around "Should we trust these tools?" and more about using the automation capabilities to the advertisers' best advantage.

David Szetela, FMB Media, @Szetela

 

Here’s to an exciting 2015!

Keep reading

We Spend Where We Live: Why Local and Mobile Search are the Same Thing

The search industry has been abuzz this year with the growth of local and mobile search.  Some prognosticators say it will be the end of desktop search, others suggest that it plays a complementary role.  What we can say for sure is that it’s a rapidly growing trend that parallels the adoption of smartphones among information-hungry people who are seeking answers to their questions to help them make the right decisions.

As a marketer, you need to understand these trends and harness their power to help accelerate your business growth.  The three things you need to know about mobile search are:

  1. User context
  2. Which pay-per-click (PPC) metrics matter
  3. How to implement a mobile strategy

 

In order to truly assess the opportunity and make it work for you, we recommend downloading the white papers (live link) and applying the knowledge and know-how.  For a very short version, read on.

User context

This refers to the location, device and time the search originated.  It matters because it’s a powerful predictor of a user’s true search intent, namely, what the user is really looking for.  Using these signals, you can adjust your ad targeting, bidding and ad copy strategies to improve ROI.  For example, someone searching for “locksmith” on a desktop device at 1 p.m. may be looking to change locks and wants to comparison shop, while someone searching on a mobile device at 2 a.m. is probably locked out of his house and needs help now.

Mobile metrics that matter

  • Click-through rate.  You want to drive calls and clicks, but your ad position on mobile matters even more than on desktop due to limited screen size.  So that calls for smart bidding that gets your ad in the top spot.
  • Mobile impression share.  This is simply how often your ad will appear in relevant searches.  You can’t afford to be in a low ad position on mobile, because you won’t be seen.  Focus on keywords used by people who are looking to buy right now.
  • Mobile cost-per-click.  This has a big impact on your cost per conversion and mobile CPCs are typically lower than desktop, as there is less competition as advertisers opt out.  But mobile CPCs are rising as advertisers understand the strong purchase intent that’s motivating the mobile search.  So take advantage of the situation while you still can. 

 

How to implement a successful mobile strategy in Bing Ads

  • Modify bids for mobile to capture a top position
  • Implement call extensions so searchers are one simple click away from engaging with your business
  • Highlight an offer that makes sense to a mobile searcher
  • Implement map/location extensions to make it easy for people to find your store
  • Use geo-targeting to leverage buying intent and convenience factors
  • Time of day based bidding, aligned to shopping rhythms

 

For detailed, illustrated instructions, please download the white paper here, and accelerate past your competition.

Keep reading

Looking for Your Next Customer? Reach Your Business Goals with Bing Ads

Whatever kind of business you run – a restaurant, an auto shop, a clothing boutique, or anything else, you know finding new customers is not easy. How do you attract customers in a cost-effective, convenient way?

The answer may be in your hand – your mobile phone. We’ve all seen how the world is going mobile, and I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to constantly checking my smartphone for e-mail, directions to a restaurant, or a place to buy a gift.

Now, take a moment to think about who these people - people like me - really are. If they’re using a smartphone, chances are they’re on the go and getting things done. Search on mobile devices is creating easier, more efficient ways for businesses to connect with new customers. Research shows that more than half the people in the United States use their smartphone to search online[1] and are expected to spend some 51 percent of their online time searching in 2014.[2]

As a small business owner, you’d no doubt love to have a way to connect with those people quickly and easily, so they can find your business. That’s what we do at Bing Ads – create a simple, fast way for you to market your business effectively. We offer a number of features that help you meet your business goal, whether it’s to get more calls, find more leads, or have more people walk in your door.

When it comes to search marketing, one of the best ways to get local customers through your front door is Location Extensions. This simple feature lists a business address with your search ad, enabling customers to easily find you – they click on the address for turn-by-turn directions.

Another great way to get your phone to ring is with Call Extensions, which puts a click-to-call number on your ad. That makes it easier for a customer to call you, and for you to connect with new prospects who are actively looking for a business or service such as yours.

Mobile targeting and mapping capabilities ensure you are connecting with customers in your desired area.  Location Targeting lets you set up your ad so it appears within a certain radius, perhaps only in the town where you do business. That helps you control your budget and reach only the customers that are most valuable to you.

You also don’t want to miss out on Bing Places for Business, a free service that lists your business on Bing Maps, so anyone exploring your neighborhood with Bing Maps will see where you are. It’s easy to set up Bing Places with our step-by-step instructions.

So don’t wait – now is the time to get your business right in front of people who need you. Our infographic tells you more about how search can help you find your next customer:

Start advertising on the Yahoo Bing Network to reach potential customers today. You’ll be glad you did.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or ping me on Twitter.



[1] eMarketer, May 1 2014

[2] Ibid

Keep reading

Webinar: Ask Me Anything about Bing Ads on Friday, January 31st

How many times have you been working through your Bing Ads campaigns and thought to yourself, “I wonder if.…”? Or “Is it possible to….”?

If you’ve been stockpiling your questions, now’s the time to let us at ‘em! On Friday, January 31, I’ll be hosting a webinar with our partner, Wordstream. While we know some of the most common questions asked and will address them, right now, I’m asking for you to share your questions with me so I can answer them in the first half of the webinar.

So tell me – what do you need to know? We can cover everything from setting up an account to device targeting, optimizing for mobile, analytics and insights, training courses, tools, managing campaigns and tips and tricks for best use of your Bing Ads budget.

Ask me anything about Bing Ads!

Post your questions in the comments below, and sign up for the webinar:

Keep reading

12 PPC Tips From the Experts to Start 2014 with a Bang

If you spend any time at digital marketing conferences around the world, the likelihood is you will have seen one of the below industry experts generously impart their wisdom during sessions. Following on the success of last year’s post –  Bing Ads Presents: 10 Top PPC Tips for 2013 from our SEM Industry Friends (in Fewer than 140 Characters)we’ve asked the same folks (and one or two more) what they think will be hot topics in the Paid-Per Click (PPC) industry in 2014.

Take a look and share your thoughts on what you think should be a PPC professional’s focus over the next twelve months:

1.) Andrew Goodman from Page Zero Media:

Develop a keen sense of whether keyword intent is predominantly commercial, B2B, or informational. It's a vast keyword sea! Focus!

2.) Bas van den Beld from State of Digital:

Find out different holidays and traditions around the world and act on that. China has a different new year for example!

3.) Brad GeddesCertified Knowledge:

With the rise in mobile searches & the #PPC changes with enhanced campaigns, you must test ads by device: http://ow.ly/rijoL

4.) Bryan Eisenberg from BryanEisenberg.com:

Stop thinking of PPC as "pay per click" and begin to think about it as "pay per conversation."

5.) Jen SleggJenniferSlegg.com:

Does your competitor offer a similar product? Bid on the brand with you vs. them in the ad copy / landing page & explain why you are better.

6.) Joe Kerschbaum from 3QDigital:

In 2014, advertisers need to remember that search is a path, not a destination.  Search is about making a real connection between people.

7.) Larry Kim from Wordstream:

On avg, clicks from mobile search worth > desktop b/c stronger search intent, but currently cost less – sale to end as ppl. wise up in 2014!

8.) Lisa Raehsler from Big Click Company:

Max out PPC strategy for mobile. Try Bing smartphone or tablet only camps w mobile ad copy + call extens. Resources: http://j.mp/1bkj2mE

9.) Matt Van Wagner from FindMeFaster:

Get smarter w/ display advertising. Learn how colors, words, & images work together. Master real targeting. Avoid remarketing “schmere.”

10.) Melissa Mackey from gyro:

Businesses without a good mobile presence are missing nearly half of their market. Make 2014 your year to take advantage of mobile PPC.

11.) David Szetela from FMB Media:

Many advertisers think the Bing Ads Intelligence Tool is better than Google's Keyword Planner. Decide for yourself!

12.) Manny Rivas from AimClear:

Support business goals WITH campaign & acct STRUCTURE. A detailed naming convention allows data to pivot & report on important business objectives.

And, because a new year offers an opportunity for resolutions, this is a great time to look ahead. In 2014, I’m focusing on sharing more great insights (like our Ad Copy Heatmaps), YBN audience stats by vertical and Excel tips.  Here’s how others at Bing Ads are responding to your feedback and hoping to make your life easier:

 John Cosley, Director of Marketing, Bing Ads

Be more transparent on the impact your feedback has in improving our products and services.

 

 

Dare Obasanjo, Principal Program Manager Lead, Bing Ads

To write more blog posts answering your questions about Bing Ads and giving insight into our product roadmap.

 

 

Simone Schuurer, Community Manager (EMEA), Bing Ads     

Giving you great, direct access to those close to Bing Ads and Microsoft Digital Advertising through new initiatives in our LinkedIn group.                                                                                                                                                       

There you have it, 12 excellent points to consider for your PPC plans in 2014 and our Bing Ads New Year’s Resolutions. However, the conversation doesn’t have to end here, please use the comments to tell us your tips.

 

Happy New Year from Bing Ads!

Keep reading

Excel Tips & Tricks for Marketers

During my last talk at SES New York conference I had the pleasure to host a session about some of the actionable Excel tips and tricks I’ve found to mine for “gold” in report data that could help you improve your ROI.

One of my favorite simple tricks is to isolate your best performing keywords using a filter based on CPA & Average Position. Or how to correct various conflicting signals, such as good Conversions but poor Quality Score, to improve CTR.

Excel Tips_CPC Less than Goal

Pivot tables are also a great tool for fine tuning a campaign and I showed how to use them to analyze negatives and positive keywords, device types, match types, and brand vs. non-brand.

As a quick note, a hidden gem that you should get to know is Bing Ads Intelligenceand I demonstrated how it can be used to extract insights for keyword expansions, traffic for search volume, and keyword performance for bidding.

There are a lot of useful Excel tips and tricks from my session that you’ll be able to put in practice, too.

Excel Tips_ CPC Less than goal2

Thanks,

John

Keep reading