Posted by Julie Warshaw on February 8, 2012
According to statistics recently released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, iPad and tablet ownership essentially doubled over the past holiday season. The increase has been reflected in a number of demographics; notably, that of adult users. In May of 2010, it was estimated that roughly three percent of users owned an iPad or tablet. Beginning in January with a jump to 10%, that trend has continued through the current month; with tablet users numbering around an astonishing 19%. Experts are attributing the increase to a variety of factors.
The use of tablet technology in the classroom has skyrocketed. Studies have found that students utilizing an Apple iBook application achieve higher scores in math than those students who were using a traditional textbook. Many schools are now asking parents to purchase an iPad or tablet for their child’s use in the classroom. There are even schools which have purchased the technology themselves and provide each student with a tablet for school use; the school retains ownership of the hardware and students return them at the end of the year. An organization called DonorsChoose.org has plans to fulfill 80,000 classroom project requests this year; at a cost of 40 million dollars.
In addition to the tablet’s spreading popularity in the school system, many people have begun to utilize an e-reader in lieu of traditional books. Possibly prompted by the increasingly affordable price tag associated with electronic book readers; the number of users has doubled since November 2011 from ten to twenty percent. There are still some variations in tablet ownership based on income. Thirty-six percent of users whose income exceeds 75,000 annually own tablets, versus only 16% for those users who earn between 30,000 and 50,000 per year.
The sale of traditional personal computers has been hardest hit in the public’s rush for tablet internet usage. The PC industry’s revenue sunk to its lowest yet in 2011; generating 5% less than in 2010. These statistics have a clear message for business owners: a mobile-friendly site is paramount. Tablet users are not going to Pinch and Squint as they try to maneuver your desktop site; they’re going to move on to a competitor’s site that is built for use on their mobile device. If your website is not ready for the mobile revolution; prepare to be left behind.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on February 2, 2012
The shift to mobile internet usage is quickly becoming a landslide. People are using their phones to access the internet in all kinds of situations. A car accident victim in an emergency room is searching for a personal injury lawyer. Office workers on their break are trying to find the best lunch deals. A busy Mom is looking for an area grocery store with her toddler’s favorite snack in stock. These people are looking to mobile search to connect them instantly with the provider of a desired product or service. What’s more, they are expecting to be presented with sites tailored for smartphone access. The days of “Pinch and Squint” are over.
Most websites can be viewed on a mobile device, but unless built specifically for that platform, they can be very difficult to navigate. Users find themselves doing the “Pinch and Squint” in an effort to see the whole page; pinching the image of the site and squinting to read its tiny print. This increases the likelihood of human-error and miscommunication. Because many companies have integrated mobile versions of their sites, people are increasingly bouncing back from sites which are not smartphone-friendly in favor of those that are. Mobile users are generally in a hurry and do not have the patience or the need to struggle with a standard, desk-top site; they’ll simply skip to the next listing.
Your company can greatly benefit from mobile traffic and it would be foolish not to create a complementary site. Convincing yourself that your business doesn’t need one is tantamount to turning away potential new customers. Regardless of how well-suited your product is for a consumer’s needs, your Pinch and Squint site will always be abandoned in favor of one adapted for mobile use. Because the market is still growing, now is the perfect time to launch a mobile-friendly version of your company’s website. If you’ve worked with a qualified internet marketing agency, you’re familiar with the added revenue an optimized website can generate. Exults has the tools to create a mobile site which reflects your business and augments your existing website.
Call us today!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on February 2, 2012
Google’s integration of Google+ into the search arena has led to the rise of social media’s importance in respect to the SERP. This has left many in the internet marketing community wondering what factors Google is taking into account when calculating a site’s position on the personalized results page. Namely, is it giving preference to a site with vast numbers of fans or one with less fans but a higher level of engagement? For now, it’s difficult to tell; but many are predicting that Google’s algorithms will be refined and developed to a point where a site with an engaged following will overshadow one with an army of non-interactive fans.
Connecting with fans of your brand is paramount; it’s the difference between a one-time sale and a lifetime customer. This means that gaining prevalence through purchased “likes”/fans is pointless. Buying popularity may boost your position on the SERP for now, but the day is fast approaching when all of those unengaged friends may hinder more than they help. True engagement requires an understanding of the wants and needs of your audience. It’s important that you connect with them just as you would offline; offer incentives, special deals and promotions. Draw them in and retain their attention by consistently producing original, helpful content. Doing so will cement your status as more than just a brand; you will become a valuable and trusted resource.
Unless your brand has already achieved global recognition, garnering legions of engaged followers for your social media pages will require constant attention. Do your homework before launching a new campaign; interact with your network and get a feel for what drives their online activities. Take advantage of the tracking tools available for social networking sites and familiarize yourself with your users’ patterns of engagement. The better your understanding is of your fan-base; the better-equipped you are to provide them with germane content and promotions.
It’s great to have tons of social media followers, but when it comes to true engagement, there’s no quick fix. It takes time, patience and hard work; however, put in the effort, and the potential returns are tremendous.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on February 1, 2012
Your business has a website, a Facebook page and a few followers on Twitter. You have an AdWords account managed by Google and are pretty sure it brings in some new business; you’ve had a few new customers who said they found you via your Google Places listing. This is a great start, but it would be a mistake to think that representation across these platforms means you’re maximizing your online presence. Creating these pages and accounts are fairly simple; using them to your fullest advantage requires a much greater level of expertise.
Advertising on Facebook is a great way to connect with fans on a personal level, but you need a good understanding of Facebook’s Ad Manager. If you’re not familiar with terms like Social Context, Ad Targeting or Platform Integration; you may be throwing money away. The efficacy of a Facebook ad campaign hinges on a number of different factors. To whom is the ad being shown? What is the content of the ad? Where does a click take users? Are these users able to see how their friends have interacted with your brand? If you’re not quite sure what the right answers to these questions are, you’re not alone. The average business owner does not have the time to continually educate themselves on the ever-evolving landscape of social media marketing.
The same holds true for other online advertising mediums. The potential to grow your business through your AdWords account is immense, but a cost-effective campaign requires diligence and refinement. Without careful attention, you’ll likely find yourself paying for clicks that rarely convert into sales. When you work with a full-service marketing agency, you’ll get a much better return on your PPC investment. Your Facebook campaign will show the right things to the right people. Your optimized website will be pushed to a higher position on the search engine results page. Your business will get better local visibility when it’s listed in major directories.
The internet is ripe with advertising opportunities, but without a skilled internet marketing team in your corner, you could be missing out! Don’t waste any more time wading through the complicated world of online advertising; call Exults and get your campaign on track today!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 31, 2012
If you don’t make room in your advertising budget for online, interactive marketing; you’re not making the most of your budget. Your clients are online; at home, at work and on the go. It would be a mistake to ignore this fact and keep allocating marketing funds the way you always have. While using half of your marketing budget for online ads may seem exorbitant to you; you must realize that the number of companies using this new medium to generate buzz for their products is growing exponentially. Consumers are turning to online resources for everything from the best deals on a new air conditioning unit to consumer reviews of the new Chinese restaurant up the street. If you’re not expanding your online presence, you’d better hope that your competitors aren’t either.
Still don’t think you need to allocate a bigger online ad budget? Forrester is predicting that by 2016, advertisers will be spending near $77 billion on services like display ads, search engine optimization, social media as well as mobile and email marketing. This figure represents 26% of all advertising revenue; more than was spent on television ads in 2011! The benefits of interacting with your clientele are limitless. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter often serve as one giant substitution for focus groups. It’s your opportunity to get real time feedback on new products or services being introduced by your company; you can give special deals and offers a trial run and track which bring in the most new business.
A diminished online presence for your business hurts your revenue in more ways than one. Companies who pay little attention to their internet marketing are likely not promoting themselves in the mobile market either. It is vital that your business be represented in the different areas of mobile search, including numerous local directories if you want to be found by potential new customers in your area. The mobile online platform is experiencing growth more rapidly than any other internet faction; with a 38% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), funds spent on mobile advertising are expected to leap to $8.2 billion by 2016. According to the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, Intercontinental Hotels is planning to expand its mobile ad budget significantly after seeing a 1,000% increase in room-bookings from a mobile device during the first five months of 2011.
The effective marketing of your business requires visibility across all available online platforms. Mobile, Search, Pay-Per-Click, SEO and social media are all areas germane to the effective promotion of any brand. Due to the ever-evolving state of the internet, an online campaign needs to be flexible and applicable to emerging trends. Without a knowledgeable implementation team, you may find yourself spending valuable time and money laboring over a strategy that is no longer relevant. An internet marketing agency will be able to save you that time and effort. In the hands of an experienced agency, your online campaign will be tooled to appeal to your target market. An agency will have the expertise necessary to channel your marketing funds wisely; in a way that will provide the most cost-effective return on your investment.
When selecting an internet marketing agency, it’s important to remember that not all agencies are created equal. Many seemingly reputable marketing firms do not have the skills to back up their promises and will lock you into a contract despite delivering minimal results. The team at Exults understands the frustration associated with this level of service and prides itself on bringing transparency and accountability to the online marketplace. Exults’ proprietary reporting system provides you with a window into every aspect of your online promotion; you are able to make requests through this system and it is accessible from any location, day or night. The success of your PPC campaign is easily tracked via a user-friendly data report driven system which allows you to filter different components at your discretion. The reporting system keeps you current with the progress of your campaign; no one knows your business better than you do and your input is extremely valuable!
Society’s progression to an online world is undeniable. Companies who are unwilling to adapt will be left behind. Your business deserves a partnership with an internet marketing agency who works as hard as you do. Call the team at Exults and get your business noticed today!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 27, 2012
Social media has evolved into a wonderful marketing opportunity for advertisers. Despite limitations in regards to the size and placement of Facebook ads, the majority of businesses who ran a Facebook campaign say that they would do so again. There have been numerous studies regarding the efficacy of running paid ads versus promoting a brand via a free page; it’s been found that the most compelling campaigns utilize both.
The addition of Sponsored Stories to the Facebook ad menu makes the social networking site an even more desirable place to advertise. With a Sponsored Story, a business is able to reach out to the newsfeeds of friends of one of its fans; sharing that fan’s interaction with its brand and connecting with a new audience on a personal level. Facebook has been known for the remarkable degree to which an ad’s target audience can be selected; Sponsored Stories takes that level of targeting even further.
An ad campaign run on Facebook is unlike one run on any other platform. Instead of a click representing the end goal of an ad, a Facebook click is more like the beginning of a relationship. A user who clicks on a Facebook ad is giving that brand permission to interact with them; they’re inviting that brand to talk to them and share content with them. It is that level of interaction that makes the difference between a one-time customer and a lifetime customer.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 27, 2012
A sponsored search campaign can be extremely lucrative. Effective use of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads is a cost-effective way to increase visibility, generate revenue and track your investment. Unfortunately, a poorly-managed PPC campaign can have the opposite affect; draining your budget and doing little to promote your business. The difference between the success and failure of your campaign can be found in a qualified PPC management team.
Most major search engines offer to run a PPC campaign for you. On the surface that may seem more cost-effective than hiring an internet marketing agency, but it’s important to remember that these companies are businesses that need to make money, too. A successful sponsored search campaign requires research and refinement. It takes a qualified internet marketing agency, certified in Google AdWords, to hone in on the right keywords for your business. In order to maximize the return on your investment, it’s imperative that your PPC account includes negative keywords (words that may relate to your product or service, but do not reflect what your company offers). Without this level of PPC management, you could find yourself spending a large portion of your budget for keywords which are outside the scope of your business.
Like any other ad campaign, your PPC venture needs consistent attention. As time goes by, you will discover that certain keywords are doing better than others. There may be some words which bring a lot of traffic to your site, but that traffic rarely converts to sales; those keywords are costing you per click and not bringing any returns. Your PPC management team will periodically assess the progress of your account and make necessary adjustments to avoid wasting money on keywords which are driving traffic and not sales.
The success of your business in sponsored search depends on the expertise of the person managing it. The Exults PPC Management team has the experience to get your campaign where it needs to be and the tools to show you how it got there. Their proprietary reporting system offers a unique view of the progress of your campaign. Accessible from any location, day or night, you are able to track your successes for a given keyword; you can see what you are paying per click and what that converts to, sales-wise; and just as importantly, you are able to play an active role in the tailoring of your PPC campaign. After all, your knowledge of your industry is a valuable resource!
Call the team at Exults and get your PPC campaign started or back on track today!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 25, 2012
When Google introduced their Search plus Your World feature, many users found their searches influenced by the likes and recommendations of their friends. The new personalized search combined information taken from the users’ Google+ page and other Google products to populate the SERP with familiar results. This level of customization may be desirable when you’re searching for a good Chinese restaurant in an unfamiliar area; a friend’s recommendation could be extremely helpful. However, if you’re trying to put together information on the Chinese economy, you will probably not find that same recommendation or photos of that friend’s trip to China very useful.
The Terms of Service utilized by Google has also been trimmed down significantly and will take effect on March 1, 2012. The revamped document is much easier to read and understand; it applies to the majority of services offered by Google and opens the door for additional products to be included. Based on a recent AdAge article, we can almost certainly expect Google’s expansion to be in the mobile search arena. The new version is in keeping with Google’s newly adopting platform, touting increased transparency in search.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 24, 2012
It’s no secret that the incumbent president has the upper hand when election time rolls around…from a publicity stand-point, anyway. Premium visibility and recognition are clearly on his side. But where should the line be drawn between serving a current term and campaigning for the next one? Past elections involving an incumbent president did not have the depth of media that’s currently available; namely, the internet. With the November 2012 election date drawing nearer, there are many who think Mr. Obama may have overstepped his bounds with regards to his online campaign; in more ways than one.
Tonight’s State of the Union address is slated by Obama to be the jumping off point of his re-election campaign. An unusual move for any president, Obama has gone a step further and is utilizing the White House’ homepage as the landing page for the event. Many voters on both sides of the aisle feel his doing so creates a conflict of interest. Obama’s opportunistic use of the State of the Union address and his “ownership” of the White House home page are just two examples of how this administration’s bid for re-election differs from those in the past.
The updated BarackObama.com website was launched a few days ago; just in time for Mr. Obama’s State of the Union campaign, er, address. The desktop version of the site is well-constructed and easy to navigate; the mobile version slightly less so. Regardless of how you access the site, there is one feature that may raise a few eyebrows. Amidst the homepage’s supplementary content is a “groups” link. Click the link and a drop-down menu appears, giving users the chance to select the ‘group’ with which they’re affiliated. Obama divides his supporters into the following ‘groups’: African Americans, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, Jewish Americans, Latinos, LGBT Americans, People of Faith, Veterans & Military Families, Women, Young Americans.
Clicking on a given ‘group’ will take the user to a page specifically geared toward that user’s demographic. A paragraph at the top of the page outlines Obama’s goals and accomplishments with regards to that group. It’s followed by a set of links (which vary, depending on the group selected) and articles pertaining to Obama’s stance on topics he deems germane to that faction. The variance in links occurs on two pages; one on the page reserved for ‘Jewish Americans’, the other ‘Latinos’. The page dedicated to Jewish Americans includes a link to Mr. Obama’s watch dog site, Attack Watch. Someone clicking through to Attack Watch from the Jewish Americans page is shown content which ostensibly proves that the president is pro-Israel; on the Latinos page, there is a ‘donations’ link.
The president’s website is extremely disappointing from the perspective of a united America. Instead of reinforcing peoples’ commonalities, BarackObama.com separates Americans based on color, gender, language, religion, age and sexual preference. The site presumes it understands someone’s concerns based on their demographic. For a president whose campaign was focused on unity and equality, this website is a far cry from his agenda.
As America tunes in tonight to hear Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address, expectations are high. People are hoping to hear the president propose workable solutions to the current economic crisis, threats in the Middle East and the breakdown of the current healthcare system; they want a reason to be hopeful. But will his words succeed where his website has failed? We’ll see.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 23, 2012
The race for the Republican presidential nomination continues. While the remaining runners are the usual suspects, there were some surprises at the beginning; most notably, the success of Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum is a candidate with typical conservative views. Throughout his career in politics, he has been very vocal when it comes to his opinions on many social issues, like gay rights (he’s against them). In an interview around 2003, Senator Santorum infuriated outspoken gay-rights journalist Dan Savage with his condemnation of gay marriage and gay adoptions. Savage took his frustrations to the internet; running a contest which challenged participants to ‘redefine’ the word, Santorum.
What resulted is the now infamous website, SpreadingSantorum.com. The homepage of the website featured the newly redefined word (Santorum) along with the winning definition and a link to visit the rest of the site. The site had not received much attention outside of local circles until Rick Santorum announced his candidacy for president. Upon hearing this information, Savage vowed to utilize every SEO trick in the book to keep the Spreading Santorum website on the first page of the SERP. So far, he’s succeeded.
Many people believe that Rick Santorum’s costliest mistake was crossing Dan Savage. Rick may wish he could go back in time and undo that interview, but that is not where his biggest problem lies. Rick Santorum’s biggest mistake was underestimating the power of the online community. It’s clear that neither he nor the people with whom he surrounded himself had a good grasp of how online search functions. Before publicly proclaiming his intent to run for president, Mr. Santorum should have done a little research. Had he invested a portion of his campaign funding in acquiring some top-notch SEO, he at least would have been starting off with a relatively clean slate.
The campaign landscape has undergone some drastic changes over the past few years. The 2008 presidential election included online platforms that simply did not exist in previous years’ elections; 2012 promises to push that electronic envelope even further. Unlike other media genres where the person with the most money or power is able to purchase the loudest voice; the internet affords a level playing field to everyone. The speaker with the loudest voice online is the one who best understands how the internet works and is able to make it work for them.
Working with a knowledgeable SEO firm from the beginning is paramount. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Just ask Rick Santorum.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 19, 2012
Maintaining a high position on the search engine results page (SERP) can be a great way to track the success of your internet campaign; but only if the query for which you’re ranking brings traffic to your site. Holding the number one position on the SERP for obscure, unsearched keywords is almost meaningless. Like many of the tools used in search engine optimization (SEO), your site’s position on the results page needs to be viewed as part of the bigger picture. You must always consider how searched a given set of keywords are before determining the success of an SEO campaign.
Once you’ve made the decision to do some SEO, the very first thing you’ll need to do is decide which keywords most relate to your business. Google has free tools to help you determine the popularity of a set of keywords; querying those words will give you a feel for how much competition you’ll have. Focus on a handful of words or phrases that really describe your business. Ideally, what you end up with will be frequently searched and have a manageable amount of competition (if your keywords have competition in the billions, you’re probably not going to rank).
You’ve done your research and selected the keywords for which you want your site to rank. You’ve created back links, optimized your site’s content and listed it in several major directories. You query your keywords several times a day and your site always occupies one of the top SERP positions, but you’re not seeing much new traffic. What went wrong? While a high rank on the results page does not necessarily guarantee you’ll see increased sales, it would be strange if you did not see an increase in traffic. Your problem may lie in personalized search. Search engines’ algorithms have become incredibly sophisticated and the focus lately has been on providing results specific to an individual user. A site like Google will take into account a slew of factors when determining what results you see and their position on the SERP; factors like your history, location and activity on social networks, among others. This means that having your site listed first on your SERP doesn’t necessarily mean it’s first on everybody else’s.
The success or failure of your SEO campaign hinges on your knowledge of the internet and how it works; which is why managing it yourself can be so difficult. Thankfully, you don’t have to! The team at Exults is tapped into online trends and knows how to adapt your campaign in response to these changes. Call today and begin your company’s journey to better online visibility!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 18, 2012
When SOPA and PIPA were introduced to Congress in October 2011, there was an immediate outcry from the internet community. The two bills, (Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act) were sponsored primarily by the music and motion picture industries. Their goal was ostensibly to regulate the use of copyrighted materials on the internet. While many would agree that copyrighted property theft online does need some regulation, the methods laid out by SOPA and PIPA would disrupt the infrastructure of the internet itself; creating holes in national security and censoring American citizens’ access to global information.
Surprisingly enough, despite the far-reaching consequences associated with passing such a bill, public interest has been remarkably low. Even people who make an effort to stay current with news and politics were unaware of the existence of these bills. The tide turned early this morning when sites like Google, Mozilla, Craigslist and Wikipedia blacked-out their homepages in protest. Once these sites took a stand, people at last began to share content online relating to the protest of SOPA and PIPA.
Within hours of these internet giants posting their protests on their home pages, the movement to stop the passage of SOPA and PIPA finally got the visibility it needed. The value of a wide audience for your business’ website is immense. A few hours of online protest from some popular websites and Congress is affected. The free exchange of information is germane to the United States; a significant internet presence should be germane to your business!
The Web is one of America’s most rapidly growing industries. The range of people searching for products and services online expands by the day. Age and income level are no longer surefire indicators of a person’s accessibility to or understanding of the internet. Get your business represented online and discover all the ways a great internet marketing agency can ramp up your revenue!
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 16, 2012
The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) have been garnering heavy scrutiny by members of the online community since their introduction. Created ostensibly to target foreign domains which pose a threat to US citizens and their security, the proposed acts are viewed by industry experts as being unconstitutionally vague. There is also a clear financial connection between the acts and the entertainment industry, which continues its decades long fight over perceived copyright infringement. The intent of SOPA/PIPA is to take punitive action against sites which provide unauthorized access to copyrighted materials. The passage of these acts would enable the United States government to effectively shut-down any culpable site when brought to a regulatory committee’s attention; the accuser doing so on a ‘good faith’ basis.
As of this afternoon, there has been word that SOPA will not be put to a vote before Congress, effectively shutting down the House bill. PIPA is still active in the senate and is expected to be pushed forward during the coming weeks. The acts have brought together some unlikely allies, in both the business and bureaucratic arenas. Google, Facebook, Ebay, Wikipedia, Mozilla and a slew of other internet giants have joined forces in their opposition of PIPA; the bill has supporters and opponents on both sides of the political aisle. In a somewhat surprising move, the White House released a wordy communication which appeared to withdraw support for the bills; however, included were some statements which indicate that the president is supportive of online copyright infringement legislation, just not in the current SOPA/PIPA format.
While it is likely PIPA will not get the votes needed to pass, nothing is certain. Even if the bill falls flat in the senate, the fact that it rose so far, so quickly, is cause enough for alarm. The loss of a free, unrestricted internet would have devastating consequences for this country; constitutionally and economically. Contact your state’s representatives to make sure they know how you feel about online censorship in America; or you can sign the petition to fight PIPA here.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 13, 2012
Google would like you to meet their newest addition; personalized search. In a recent blog post, Google introduced the world to a new, more specific way to find information. In true Google fashion, the search giant assessed the needs of the typical user and discovered that when people weren’t googling themselves; they were googling their friends, coworkers, third-grade science teachers and so forth. Google gleaned from this that most users are looking for familiar information. They’re searching for their own posts online; photos shared by friends or family; recommendations for products or services by people they know.
Using their social networking site, Google+, Google created an algorithm which connects logged-in users with relevant information; based on their friend circles. This personalized search, titled Search plus Your World, provides the user with an encrypted search engine results page (SERP). This is the same level of protection afforded to Google+ pages. The introduction of personalized search comes several months after Google’s announcement that logged-in users’ tracking data would no longer be available on Google Analytics. Though there had been some panic in the SEO community over the unavailable data, the consensus was that only a small percentage would be affected. With the establishment of Search plus Your World, the likelihood of missing out on an even larger percentage of data than predicted seems inevitable.
At this point, it’s difficult to say how popular Search plus Your World will be. Facebook still eclipses Google+ in terms of membership and industry experts do not expect that to change any time soon. Gmail users who do not have a profile on Google+ are not likely to notice much of a change in their search results; whether they are logged-in to Gmail or not. While no one can be sure what kind of following personal search will attract, many experts do not think it will be very successful. It may be nice to have a friend’s recommendation when selecting a restaurant in the area, but it’s difficult to imagine wanting the contents of your SERP dictated by the likes (and dislikes) of your friends.
Posted by Julie Warshaw on January 6, 2012
There’s a new AdWords format that may help advertisers accumulate better-qualified leads. There have been an increasing number of reports that advertisers are able to obtain user email addresses directly from sponsored ads. Though the appearance of the opt-in field accompanying some ads is relatively new, it’s been in the works at Google for some time. There have actually been other formats tested in the past; these were bulky forms that did not survive their test period. While the current change is still in beta, it certainly appears to be more promising that prior attempts.
The ability to acquire a potential customer’s email address has limitless possibilities. There are reports that the form is mostly attached to ads selling higher-priced goods; products and services that generally require a more hands-on sales process. The benefits of collecting contact information for qualified leads are obvious. It allows sellers to email a potential customer and discuss the purchase the customer was looking to make. Because the email address is attached to a specific ad, the seller knows what the customer is shopping for.
There has been some curiosity among bloggers and AdWords users regarding the methodology used to store the email addresses. It would seem that the only way to do so would be with laborious cutting and pasting; though it’s arguably worth it if the lead converts. There are some pretty terrific benefits from a consumer angle as well; people are able to get quotes for specific products or services. They’re also able to get additional information on something that interests them delivered directly to their inboxes; no searching around the SERP or a specific website.
For now, the test period will continue (though there has been some disagreement in the internet marketing industry about whether the feature is still in testing or has been finalized). Advertiser feedback has been positive so there may be an increasing number of ads that include the option before it gets the final vote from Google. Whether Google will give the new feature the official green light or not, remains to be seen.
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