Uncategorized - 14/36 - Digital Marketing Agency

Estimating Search Traffic by Rank

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Most search marketers would know that in 2006, AOL accidentally leaked users search data, which led to outrage regarding privacy, and also tonnes of analysis into what it all meant.

By crunching the numbers, analysts were able to estimate what percentage of search traffic could be gained by being at rank 1, 2, etc. Some results were obvious, showing rank 1 to be way out in front,  and some not so, like the fact that rank 9 brought slightly less traffic than rank 10. (Rank 10, with white space underneath, is probably more eye-catching than rank 9).

This data has since been used to try and estimate the relative merit in ranking at different positions, in different search engines, for different terms.

Of course, this is inaccurate. Google is different to AOL. Commercial terms would react differently to non-commercial. It depends on your brand strength, the presence of ads, who is ranking around you and even your ad copy.

However, like many other search marketers and web analysts, I went about compiling my own database of data, based on client rankings and traffic, to compare against the AOL ratios, and see how accurate it was. It turned out that, for some terms, these ratios are remarkably accurate.

My tests have shown that it varies largely depending on brand – e.g. if you brand is stronger in one of your products than another, you will likely get a higher click through for the same rank with the different products.

The point is – if you are interested in estimating traffic by rank for different terms – whether this would be for estimating targets for clients or just your own interest, it can be done. Some steps you might want to remember when starting on this project:

  1. Collect your traffic and rank information over time (make sure to restrict traffic to the organic and only from the search engine you are studying.
  2. Compare to AOL ratios, or start from scratch with your own ratios
  3. Try to identify multipliers for things like brand strength by product
  4. Don’t forget to take into account whether there is ad bidding going on for those terms
  5. Note the competitors surrounding you in the rankings, and the influence they have on your market share
  6. Remember to take seasonality into account, just because your traffic went down doesn’t mean you lost market share

Yes, there are a million things to take into account, and no one says it will be easy, but trying to figure it out is an interesting challenge that could keep you occupied for months…

Teach Me How to Use Twitter – for $8,000

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Birmingham University is introducing a Social Networking Masters Degree, with costs starting at 4,400GBP for the year. The course would teach students how to use Facebook and Twitter for marketing and communications purposes.

Criticism is of course rife, with accusations that it is too basic and teaching stuff that could easily be self taught.  I think there is a place in a marketing degree for a subject on social networking, and how it could be used for marketing purposes, however, a whole year? No wonder it is basic, you would have to stretch it out over 26 weeks.

Add to this the fact that social media is an infant of a subject – it is still evolving at a rapid pace. This time last year no one even knew what Twitter was, and now it is being discussed in lectures? No time left to see if it is a simple flash in the pan? And what about MySpace? That was the social media tool of choice two years ago and has been totally subsumed by Facebook now. If you study for a year in this Masters, would what you learnt even be relevant a week after you graduate?

The convener of the course, Jon Hickman, does not endear himself to me with this quote:

“It’s not for freaks or IT geeks, the tools learnt on this course will be accessible to many people.”

Which is a strange quote, and kind of offensive insinuating that the normal users of Twitter and Facebook are freaks or IT Geeks (and if this was true, what kind of marketing strategy does this guy have in mind?)

I do agree that social media is of use to marketers, business owners, PR people, journalists and other people working in communciations, however, this degree seems akin to a degree in how you can use a telephone. In this day and age, social networking is a basic tool that millions of people are using, and if you can’t use other social media (i.e. blogs, forums, etc), to find out more and teach yourself, then that should be an automatic fail anyway!

A quick search on Twitter is not showing any support for the idea of a social media degree. With comments like “I thought my degree in PR was bad”.

Why You Shouldn't Cut Your Marketing Spend

By | Search Engine Marketing, Uncategorized | No Comments

Last night while driving I heard the following advertisement on the radio (it isn’t exactly verbatim, but you will get the gist…)

We would like to announce a change to tonights advertisement schedule. Due to the Global Financial Crisis, the intended advertiser has decided to cut their marketing budget, and therefore abandon this ad space. This ad space will now be occupied by their competitor

Or something like that. The point was, of course, to advertise radio ad space and to emphasise to marketers the importance of keeping your marketing spend up during a recession or financial crisis.

During a financial crisis, consumers, like companies, want to rationalise their spend. They want to cut back on consumption, or change brands to save money. The big revenue pie will shrink during these times, meaning everyone gets a smaller piece.

What makes this worse for businesses is if they also decide that this is the time to cut their marketing spend. In this case, not only has the pie decreased, but their proportion has decreased also, meaning that they are hit even harder than their competitors. Then, when the good times do come again, it is uncertain whether people will return to their old spending habits, or if by that time they will have become won over, and accustomed to their new brand.

This is even more pertinent for SEO spend. The reason being, that SEO is a long term strategy, it benefits early adopters. The cuts you make now, will influence your rankings many months from now. By cutting your spend today you are not only delaying your high rankings, but it isn’t like you can just switch it on later as soon as the economy has recovered. Once you increase your marketing spend in the future, THEN it will be months before the effects take place.

Meanwhile, your competitors may continue their SEO campaign, entrenching them at the top of the rankings, gaining market share, and making it difficult for you to knock them off the top spot in the future.

Despite this, many marketers will decide, or will be forced to, cut their marketing spend at this time. Since online marketing, and SEO in particular, is such a new area of marketing for Australian companies, it may feel the chop more than most (despite it being one of the most measurable of all advertising mediums).

This can work to the advantage of savvy marketers. By investing in SEO now, while others are cutting back, it could be easier for your site to make it to the top of the rankings, and increase your online market share.  This will hold you in good stead for the future, as high ranking sites, with sustainable SEO campaigns, are difficult to remove from the top spots.

Why You Shouldn't Cut Your Marketing Spend

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Last night while driving I heard the following advertisement on the radio (it isn’t exactly verbatim, but you will get the gist…)

We would like to announce a change to tonights advertisement schedule. Due to the Global Financial Crisis, the intended advertiser has decided to cut their marketing budget, and therefore abandon this ad space. This ad space will now be occupied by their competitor

Or something like that. The point was, of course, to advertise radio ad space and to emphasise to marketers the importance of keeping your marketing spend up during a recession or financial crisis.

During a financial crisis, consumers, like companies, want to rationalise their spend. They want to cut back on consumption, or change brands to save money. The big revenue pie will shrink during these times, meaning everyone gets a smaller piece.

What makes this worse for businesses is if they also decide that this is the time to cut their marketing spend. In this case, not only has the pie decreased, but their proportion has decreased also, meaning that they are hit even harder than their competitors. Then, when the good times do come again, it is uncertain whether people will return to their old spending habits, or if by that time they will have become won over, and accustomed to their new brand.

This is even more pertinent for SEO spend. The reason being, that SEO is a long term strategy, it benefits early adopters. The cuts you make now, will influence your rankings many months from now. By cutting your spend today you are not only delaying your high rankings, but it isn’t like you can just switch it on later as soon as the economy has recovered. Once you increase your marketing spend in the future, THEN it will be months before the effects take place.

Meanwhile, your competitors may continue their SEO campaign, entrenching them at the top of the rankings, gaining market share, and making it difficult for you to knock them off the top spot in the future.

Despite this, many marketers will decide, or will be forced to, cut their marketing spend at this time. Since online marketing, and SEO in particular, is such a new area of marketing for Australian companies, it may feel the chop more than most (despite it being one of the most measurable of all advertising mediums).

This can work to the advantage of savvy marketers. By investing in SEO now, while others are cutting back, it could be easier for your site to make it to the top of the rankings, and increase your online market share.  This will hold you in good stead for the future, as high ranking sites, with sustainable SEO campaigns, are difficult to remove from the top spots.

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