One of the things I'm always talking about is how the line between search marketing and online media is blurring. Indeed, they've crossed over right into offline.
Clearly, search marketing is a form of online media, but consider this: when you turn on content targeting for your PPC (define) campaign on Google, are you now running online media even though your ads are targeted by keywords contained in the content the ads appear next to? Of course you are. Add in Google Image and click-to-play ads, and you're now actively running an online media campaign.
Every once in a while, Google visits our office to give us the full update on all the kinds of media that can be managed by both media and search professionals through its system. Here's a quick breakdown for search marketers, online media planners, and offline media planners of all the things Google has to offer. I'm not writing this because I'm trying to promote Google. It certainly doesn't need more promotion. I just find it interesting and useful to understand what can be obtained through the Google interface.
Google PPC ads on the search network. Unless you've been asleep for the last seven years, you know about this. These are the sponsored text ads that usually appear on the right-hand side of the Google SERP (define). It's always good to supplement your traditional display ads with search ads. Not only will you have a heavier, consistent presence online, but you'll also reach your target consumer at the critical moment -- when she's actively seeking your offerings or information about your offerings. PPC ads deliver extremely meaningful brand impressions and interactions when consumers are most receptive to your marketing messages, thus they usually deliver higher conversion rates.
Google PPC ads on the content network. These are the text, image, or video ads that appear on Google's content network, which consists of thousands of Web sites that will show your ad based on keyword relevancy. You can also opt to exclude some sites to optimize your campaign. The content network offers an inexpensive way to display your ads based on a site's content, which could complement the existing display ads you bought on a property basis. The click-to-play video ads are particularly interesting because you don't pay for the play, just the click.
Site-targeted ads. These are also known as placement-targeted campaigns. Google can act as an ad network where you can pick placements on Web sites based on categories, topics, or specific URLs. Site-targeted ads may be text, image, or video ads and may be bought through CPM (define) or CPC (define) bidding. Having site-targeted ads further saturates specific sites with your ads, and if you combine these with direct property buys and ad network buys, you can come up with an optimum online media mix that balances out extremely high prices -- thus achieving more impressions and ultimately generating more clicks and higher CTRs (define) and conversion rates.
YouTube ads and YouTube channels. YouTube offers various targeting options and great advertising packages so you can make sure your ads (whether they're just banner ads or video ads) reach the correct audience. YouTube, as we all know, is the most popular site to watch, upload, and share videos. So aside from advertising on YouTube, if you have video assets or video ads, definitely set up a YouTube channel as part of your online media campaign.
Print ads. Google print ads allow advertisers to find and select local and national newspapers; choose dates, placement locations, and ad sizes; upload ads; and submit payments all through the easy-to-use Google AdWords interface. You even get an environmentally friendly electronic tear sheet that shows exactly how your client's ad appeared, thus reducing cumbersome hard copies. This feature eliminates the hassle of negotiating and placing ads in each newspaper. Google Print is the good option for small businesses that don't have the resources to manage a print campaign across several newspapers or that can't afford to advertise on a national basis. This is also effective for businesses that have mainly focused on online advertising but would like to test print.
TV ads. Buying and managing TV advertising campaigns have gotten much easier with Google TV Ads. Similar to Google Print, Google TV ads allow advertisers to search and select networks based on their client's target market, choose dayparts, upload ads, select daily budgets, bid on a CPM basis, and track ads and impressions. Setting up and launching a Google TV ad campaign literally takes minutes. If you're not sure where you want to advertise, you can even enter in your client's target market, and the system will offer network suggestions. If you don't have an ad already created, Google will recommend a list of vendors that will customize your ad within your budget. With Google TV, media planners have greater control and flexibility by selecting as many or as little networks, by having the ability to manage all networks within one interface, having more accountability through the auction-based CPM pricing system and having access to immediate customer viewing data.
Audio ads. Rounding out Google's offline offerings is Google Audio Ads. Advertisers can target ads by market, format, and daypart; set a budget; change their ads quickly -- without added cost. Don't have an audio ad? Advertisers have the option to select a preferred vendor through Google's Ad Creation Marketplace. And through Google Analytics, advertisers can track traffic and conversions, even customer calls. However, make sure you have a unique phone number and offer in your ad to track actions separately from other campaigns.
Clearly, Google has broadened its spectrum of advertising products, and knowing Google, it won't stop there. Whether you think Google having this much control and hegemony over the full mediascape is good or bad is up to you. What's important is that you know what Google has in its arsenal and how to leverage it to you client's benefit.
As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.