Justin Freid – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:33:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.4 Creating a B2B and B2C overlap strategy /creating-b2b-b2c-overlap-strategy-285500 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:33:27 +0000 /?p=285500 How should you structure paid search accounts when your targets include both businesses and consumers? Columnist Justin Freid discusses how to develop an 'overlap strategy.'

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B2B and B2C search marketing efforts are two different animals. From keyword development to prequalifying searchers through ad text, distinct strategies need to be developed for each audience.

In some cases, businesses have a need to market to both consumers and businesses. For example, the PC/laptop industry makes a significant amount of money from sales directly to the consumers but also generates a significant amount of revenue working with companies who supply their workforce with computers.

Segmenting keywords by audience

In cases where a business is pushing both B2B and B2C search marketing efforts, an “overlap strategy” needs to be developed. The overlap strategy outlines the rules of engagement for keyword segmentation between the two marketing efforts. For each keyword, one audience-focused effort will receive priority or ownership, depending on the audience to whom it is most relevant.

An example of this is as follows:


  • New touch screen laptops.
  • Best laptop for college.
  • Laptop for small businesses.

When looking at these keywords, each can potentially be segmented into one of three categories: B2C, B2B or overlap.

The keyword “best laptop for college” most likely fits well within the B2C segment, as it provides signals that someone is shopping for a new laptop as they head to college. The keyword “laptop for small businesses” clearly calls out businesses, pushing this toward the B2B segment. Finally, the keyword “new touch screen laptops,” while most likely falling under the B2C segment, theoretically could be an IT person or business owner looking for new touch screen laptops for their company — thus placing this keyword in the “overlap” segment.

For keywords that fall cleanly within the B2B or B2C segments, they receive “ownership” of the keyword. That means these keywords will only be utilized within that specific audience’s set of campaigns or account (more on this later). Keywords that fall within the overlap segment become prime opportunities for testing between audience accounts and, when possible, double serving.

Segmenting the keywords by audience can be a laborious process, but when done correctly, it can significantly increase efficiency in your online sales or lead generation process. Many elements go into the segmentation process, including but not limited to: historic performance data, primary or secondary research and qualitative insights from key audiences such as customers and internal stakeholders.

Strategically leveraging double serving

When it makes sense strategically, double serving can be a useful tactic to present both B2C and B2B text ads and prequalify your audience through specific callouts within the ad text. In order to double serve, the brand must use different domains for their B2B and B2C efforts and have contextually different websites. It is wise to not try to game Google or Bing in these cases, as they actively shut down mirrored websites attempting to take advantage of double serving.

As mentioned above, double serving can be used strategically and efficiently. While it will not make sense on every keyword, a keyword like “new touch screen laptops” may make sense for a company that just pushed out the latest and greatest touch screen laptop.

Double serving on this keyword may look something like this:

As you can see, callouts exist within the ad text to prequalify the searcher. The top ad specifically calls out “Home Laptops,” while the second ad mentions “Workforce” and “Make Your Team as Efficient as Possible.” Using language that speaks to a specific audience can help eliminate wasted clicks.

In some cases where the audiences are extremely specific, the title of the target audience can be used within the ad. For example, if you happen to be marketing a pharmaceutical drug, calling out “Official Patient Website” or “Official Physician Website” in your ad text can help prequalify the searcher.

Double serving can make sense in a few different situations. If your brand has a substantial amount of popularity, you may find both consumer and business audiences searching high-level brand terms. In cases like this, double serving makes sense. Of course, bid rules will need to be implemented to limit bid inflation. This tactic can also be utilized if competitive brands are bidding on your brand name. With higher Quality Scores, you should be able to push their ads down by taking up the top two spots.

Your strategy must continue to evolve

As consumer purchase behavior changes, so should your strategy. It will be very dependent on your product and how educated your audiences are, but in order to truly be successful, you must continue to test and optimize your overlap strategy.

By monitoring site traffic at the keyword level, you can review which keywords are converting well and which keywords are jumping from one site to another, and determine if keywords should be moved to different groupings. It does not hurt to pause a keyword in one audience-specific effort and test it in another. The point is to always review what the data and insights are telling you and ultimately improve.

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What marketers need to know about addressable TV and OLV /marketers-need-know-addressable-tv-olv-278624 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:31:02 +0000 http:/?p=278624 As the population ages, the folks with the spending power are more likely to watch TV in non-traditional ways. Contributor Justin Freid explains how marketers can tap into this audience with online video and addressable TV.

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Today, billions of dollars are spent on TV advertising, and at the end of the day, for many demographics, there are still very valuable eyeballs worth targeting through traditional TV advertising.

But buying power is shifting toward the digital natives who access content when and how they want it. For example, the #1 show, “The Big Bang Theory,” has a median age of 55, while ratings for the 18-49 demographic dropped by 11 percent YoY, according to a recent article in The New York Times. That is a big drop-off of a key audience demographic.

As digital-first consumers age, their buying power increases and the balance of power begins to shift. Many of those now in the most coveted demographics identify as digital-first media consumers. Traditional TV is often not at the top of their list. While many big brands still utilize traditional TV as their primary means of driving awareness, it is important for marketers to understand the reach and opportunity presenting itself through Online Video (OLV) and addressable TV and how that aligns with their target audiences.

Is addressable TV the future?

One of the most intriguing ways brands can get in front of target audiences is through addressable TV. While not completely at scale yet, this approach provides advertisers with more targeting capabilities and the ability to more easily calculate ROI.

Through addressable TV, marketers can place their ads within certain segments of TV shows, even if they’re watched on-demand rather than live. Some cable companies allow for commercial slots usually held by local advertisers also to be purchased in this manner.

According to the Video Advertising Bureau (PDF), which cites Starcom MediaVest figures, Addressable TV reached nearly 50 million households in mid-2016.

Addressable TV also allows advertisers to overlay sophisticated targeting parameters such as household income, ethnicity, if the home owner has children, and if they lease a car. This level of targeting is sold at a premium, but it ensures advertisers are getting in front of the right people, instead of the general demographic targeting typically available to TV advertisers.

So why hasn’t addressable TV taken off? With cable companies advancing their technology at different speeds, there are no set standards across the industry. While many large buying agencies are taking the lead in setting standards, each cable company has different abilities based on their technology. As mentioned before, scale is also important, and addressable TV is something that can still only reach 12 percent of the US population.

How will online video shape video buying in the future?

If you fast forward 10 years, there is no doubt that OLV will consume a significant portion of advertising budgets. But if you ask many marketers today, they would tell you the adoption of OLV by advertisers has been slower than many expected. Budgets still sit with traditional TV.

If you look at one of the biggest players in the OLV market, YouTube, you will see it boasts better reach than most cable networks. In fact, according to YouTube (and even just YouTube on mobile), it reaches more 18- to 34-year-olds and 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network.

Similar to Addressable TV, OLV offers marketers the ability to target users more finely, ensuring their money is being well spent. Many of the same elements marketers are accustomed to using to target display advertising can be applied to OLV. Today, many brands leverage YouTube’s advertising platform to deliver their brand message to vast audiences. But if you happen to be a brand spending tens of millions of dollars on TV advertising, why switch to buying OLV?

The first answer involves your audience. A large portion of key affluent demographics are digital natives. If you are pushing a product meant for a set of DINKs (dual income, no kids), TV may not be your starting point. Places like Hulu or YouTube may be. Many of these partners have advanced sets of analytical data available to help you understand not only if they can target your audience, but also give you information about their viewing habits that can help guide your advertising creative. From browsing history to credit profiles, you can ensure your high-end avocado toast startup is getting in front of 24-year-olds with disposable income.

One other often overlooked factor is that OLV ads are clickable. If you target the right audience and deliver the right message, your ad can be clicked, and the conversion process can start instantaneously. It seems trivial, but TV often depends on message recall, and most recently, a user picking up their phone and looking for more information. But OLV connects the dots to conversion more quickly.

OLV doesn’t just exist on platforms like YouTube and Hulu, though. Providing, rich, valuable video content on your website and social profiles is also a great tactic to utilize. It is also important to note that as your search strategy evolves and you begin looking to take up more real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs), video can play a large role in SERP domination.

What does the immediate future hold?

Traditional TV buying does and will keep hold of large budgets over the next few years, but as consumers shift toward on-demand viewing and the buying power shifts toward the current younger generations, brands and media buyers will have to adapt. While no medium can scale the way TV can, brands are getting smarter, and scale is not the only thing that matters.

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Using search and social to support TV advertising /using-search-social-support-tv-advertising-274870 Thu, 18 May 2017 14:42:09 +0000 http:/?p=274870 Are you investing in TV advertising? Columnist Justin Fried explains how search and social can work in together to help capture consumers activated by your television ads.

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Brands still invest a significant amount of advertising in TV. According to eMarketer, TV spending will be over $72 billion in 2017. While TV is great at reaching a large audience, it is most effective when combined with an effective search and social strategy to be able to fully pull through with your audience.

As your media planning efforts go into full swing, it is important to understand what effect TV will have on your other channels and what best practices can be put in place to ensure your campaigns capture all potential extra eyes on your brand. ROI can only improve if the channels are integrated and not managed in silos.

How SEM can support TV advertising

Be ready for increased branded and unbranded traffic. With over 70 percent of users having a second device up and running while watching TV, according to Manhattan Research, advertising on TV can drive immediate reaction and inquiries for your brand. This needs to be taken into account when planning budgets for the year across both branded and unbranded efforts. Depending on your overall budget for TV and whether you are running in prime time, you can see varying levels of immediate increase in branded searches.

I have seen mature brands experience anywhere from 20-30 percent lift in search traffic as a result of TV ad buys. With a launch brand or new market, these numbers could be significantly higher. It is important to note that branded searches are not the only thing that will rise — unbranded searches for your product category will, too.

The image below shows the drastic increase in searches a brand saw for their brand name as a national TV campaign launched. In this case, the brand was relatively new to the market and had not done much mass marketing. This caused the overall lift in brand awareness to skyrocket in coordination with the launch of TV advertising. Because the brand planned ahead, they were able to take advantage and capture the extra brand searches with additional budget.

Review creative, bid on relevant terms. Chances are, there will be people who viewed your TV advertisement but the brand or call to action will not resonate with them. In some cases, they may leverage search engines and search for something like “tv ad with lady who had blue running shoes” or “commercial with man standing in the rain.”

While the total volume of long-tail keywords like this may be minimal, reviewing the creative content can generate a set of keywords that are highly efficient in converting users. If there are any unique taglines or calls to action utilized within the creative, including those as keywords is an easy way to capture additional traffic.

Edit ads to include common messaging used in TV creative. Relevancy is key in capturing searches activated by your TV ad. Leading up to the launch of TV efforts, make sure your search ads utilize similar messaging to that used in your TV advertisement. This could be anything from a discount to a new brand slogan. Relevancy will increase click-through rate (CTR).

How social can support TV advertising

Promote your TV ad through social channels. Not every TV ad is meant for social media, but in some cases, TV creative can be inspirational, funny or bring out other emotions that resonate with your target audience. In these cases, it may make sense for your social profiles to share your TV creative or even promote it through advertising.

Be ready for increased engagement. With your brand receiving more attention and attracting additional eyeballs, your social channels will as well. Be prepared for more engagement with your paid social advertising and your organic presence on social channels.

Connect TV and social through common messaging. Depending on how large an effort social is for your brand, the creative may utilize a call to action that drives users to your social presence. You may have seen recently that many brands choose to have social drivers within their creative. If this occurs, make sure your social presence is active and engaged with any type of hashtag or discussion that is called out within the creative.

Don’t wait for the conversation to start; have it be active and running prior to the launch of your TV advertising so new people can jump right in.

Using both search and social to measure impact

Measure the effectiveness of your TV campaign through search and social. While ROI will be your ultimate deciding factor on whether TV makes sense for your brand, both search and social media can be great ways to quickly gauge the pulse of performance. Monitoring increase in brand searches and increase in brand mentions pre- and post-launch of your TV campaign can help gauge how well the creative is resonating with your audience.

At the end of the day, if your clients are making the investment into advertising on TV, it is paramount to involve the search and social teams alongside the creative agencies and media planners. When all teams work together, the channels that capture users lower in the funnel can be most effective.

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How AI will shape the future of search /ai-will-shape-future-search-271833 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:30:23 +0000 http:/?p=271833 Artificial intelligence is changing the way users access information online. Columnist Justin Freid discusses where the trends are heading and what this might mean for search marketers.

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There is no doubt the search industry has evolved. Just one look at how search engine results pages are currently laid out shows how things have changed. We have come a long way from 10 blue links.

But have we gone far enough? At SXSW earlier this month, information access was a hot topic. People no longer head to Google’s search bar as their only way of accessing content.

How we access information is changing

Search engines used to be the primary (or sole) place a consumer would turn to when they needed an immediate answer. You entered in a phrase, clicked a link and read the page.

But now, there are other places we are spending out time. In fact, the average consumer spends over 40 minutes a day on YouTube and 35 minutes on Facebook. We get our news from peers on social networks and can even consult WebMD about our health through Amazon’s Alexa AI.

Most recently, Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, called Amazon the biggest threat to Google. When you think about it, if you are past research mode and want to buy something immediately, you will often bypass Google and head directly to Amazon.

The way results are presented to us is different

No longer are we dependent on a list of links. AI assistants across the board have changed the way content is presented back to the end user. From Siri and Cortana to Alexa, each answers your questions or searches in a unique way. Whether it is voice search or simply using the internal search function on your iPhone, results look different and include things we don’t normally consider traditional “search results,” such as apps, emails, social comments from peers and so on.

Chatbots are also becoming more and more popular. Another huge topic at SXSW, many brands are utilizing chatbots to present information to consumers as quickly as possible. Instead of sifting through content on a website, chatbots will allow the consumer to enter specific questions and get their response immediately. This process would potentially replace the need to search in a traditional manner.

How we search will be different

Depending on how we engage, the AI platform will shape how we search. Whether it is longer-tailed queries through voice commands or short queries entered on a mobile device, the questions we ask are shifting. There is also potential for the AI to live in new places. As the smart home evolves and becomes more affordable, AI has the potential to be accessed throughout your home and car. It could become second nature to utilize AI to access information throughout your day.

As marketers, we need to turn to AI as part of our strategy

Many readers of MarTech Today, like me have begun to consider how these new developments and technologies will affect the way we advertise and attract new customers for our clients. While there are not clear-cut paid media opportunities integrated with each AI platform, many companies, such as Amazon, have discussed monetizing theirs.

As marketers, we need to begin thinking outside of bulk sheets containing thousands of keywords and begin thinking about how the consumer mindset will shift and the new behaviors that will come along with the mass adoption of artificial intelligence.

[This article was originally published on MarTech Today.]

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The essential guide to pharma SEM /essential-guide-pharma-sem-267778 Thu, 26 Jan 2017 17:21:49 +0000 http:/?p=267778 Columnist Justin Freid explains the basics of getting your PPC campaigns up and running in the highly regulated industry of prescription drug advertising.

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One out of every 20 searches on Google is health-related. That means that many of us are heading to Dr. Google before heading to see our primary care physician. What the searchers do not see is the complex set of rules, regulations and processes that many pharmaceutical companies must go through to leverage paid search.

Though most are familiar with the FDA’s role in deciding which medications are approved for use, many are not aware that it also oversees advertising for prescription drugs.

The United States is one of the few countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceutical drugs, and the FDA plays a key role in making sure any type of advertising by pharmaceutical brands is accurate and not deceptive. It also ensures that any claims made are backed up with information about the potential side effects or risks.

For an SEM campaign to be launched, a strict set of rules must be followed. Many of the rules come from the FDA’s guidance on Reminder Ads, while others are set by legal and regulatory teams within the specific pharmaceutical companies.

FDA guidance overview

The FDA has extensive advertising guidance for prescription drugs, some of which is applicable to SEM. The issue is, some points within the guidance are interpreted differently by individual pharma companies because guidelines are general enough to apply to multiple forms of advertising (display creative, SEM creative).

That means that, as new and innovative forms of advertising are created, the guidance from the FDA is often applied to these new opportunities, even if it does not fit exactly. (Editor’s Note: the legal information provided in this column is just that — legal information, and not legal advice.)

Following are some FDA guidelines and how they apply to SEM.

Fair balance

FDA regulations require that pharmaceutical ads provide a “fair balance” of information on both a drug’s risks and its benefits. According to the FDA website, “This means that the content and presentation of a drug’s most important risks must be reasonably similar to the content and presentation of its benefits.”

This is why, at the end of TV commercials for prescription drugs, you often hear that long list of side effects and risks. This is meant to counterbalance the information given about the drug’s effectiveness in treating a condition — because an ad cannot place greater emphasis on benefits than it does on risks.

Reminder ads 

The FDA’s definition of reminder ads is as follows:

Reminder ads give the drug’s name but not the drug’s use. The assumption behind reminder ads is that the audience knows what the drug is for and does not need to be told.  A reminder ad does not contain risk information about the drug because the ad does not discuss the condition treated or how well the drug works.

In other words, reminder ads avoid the need for “fair balance” of information because they contain neither benefits nor risks — just the name of the drug, which serves as a “reminder” for consumers who are already familiar with it.

These ads cannot explain — or even suggest — what the drug does, what disease it treats, what the recommended dosage is, or how well the drug works; however, they do not have to include any risk information about the drug, either. These ads must mention the drug’s brand name (if applicable) and its generic name.

Because of character limits in search text ads, this guidance is often applied. Here is an example of what a reminder ad would look like:


As mentioned above, this ad falls under the reminder ad guidance because it contains the drug’s brand name but does not address the disease or condition it treats. If it did, “fair balance” would apply, and the risks would need to be disclosed. This obviously is not possible, as it would be significantly longer than standard text ad character limits.

It is important to note that the reminder ad guidance is not directed solely at SEM efforts and is applicable to many forms of advertising.

Space limitations

The FDA has also published guidance regarding “Internet/Social Media Platforms With Character Space Limitations.” This guidance can also potentially be applied to search text ads and in some ways contradicts the reminder ad policy.

This guidance restates that if a brand chooses to disclose a benefit, then the risk information must follow. However, it also explains that if there are not enough characters to allow the full set of risk information, then the risks must be listed in order of seriousness.

Here is the specific section addressing this:

At a minimum, a firm should communicate the most serious risks associated with the product together with the benefit information within the individual character-space-limited communication.

Throughout the document, the FDA states that if the pharmaceutical company feels they cannot accurately present risk information in the allotted space, they should reconsider showing their brand name and benefit information in that specific ad unit.

When this guidance is applied to a text ad, it could potentially resemble the following:

Campaign_Management_–_Google_AdWords 2

Many pharmaceutical companies are not comfortable leveraging this within paid search efforts and do not use this format. Almost all companies ensure text ads stay within the reminder ad guidance mentioned above.

Paid search for ‘black box’ drugs

boxed warning appears on a prescription drug label for any drug that has a serious risk associated with it. If a drug happens to have a side effect that could cause death, addiction or serious injury, it is often labeled as “black box.”

(Note: Advertisers are not allowed to use reminder ads for “black box” drugs.)

For many years, Google and Bing both had specific ad formats for black box drugs. This included an additional line of text, similar to current call-out extensions, that said: “Click to see full safety and prescribing information, including boxed warning. More info.

The “more info” part of the ad would link to the important safety information (ISI) page on the brand website. This ad format was not accessible within the AdWords or Bing Ads interface and needed to be set up by Google or Bing reps.

This ad format was done away with in mid-2015. Now many brands with boxed warnings utilize similar text within their description lines and drive users to a page that contains ISI information.

An example of what a black box ad may look like is as follows:

Campaign_Management_–_Google_AdWords 3

Changes to Vanity URL usage for pharma advertisers

As mentioned above, the FDA requires you to list risk information if you call out the disease or condition the drug treats within a text ad. This caused the pharmaceutical industry some problems with trying to make a text ad relevant to a search query.

If someone searched for heart failure medication and you wanted to include the term “heart failure medication” within your ad, you wouldn’t be able to unless you either disclosed the risks or removed the drug’s brand name. With both Google and Bing showing the destination URL within ads — which was often branded — this caused a big issue for brand ads.

To circumvent this issue, both Google and Bing previously allowed pharma brands to utilize Vanity URLs. These essentially were unbranded URLs that redirected to a brand website. For example, www.heartfailuremeds.com would redirect to www.brand.com. This way, the ad would not show the brand name but would show www.heartfailuremeds.com instead. This practice, of course, is against regulations for all advertisers outside of pharma.

In early 2016, Google did away with this option, as they called out the practice as deceptive to searchers. Now, advertisers can utilize a select set of “display URL options.”

Currently, pharma advertisers can choose from the following within AdWords:

Website Descriptions

This was a hot topic within the SEM community in 2016, as many PPC experts were surprised Google was allowing advertisers to execute something that is not available to any other industry.

The legal review process

Every pharmaceutical company has an internal legal and regulatory team responsible for reviewing myriad materials. From websites and in-office pamphlets to videos and SEM ads, all marketing materials go through a rigorous review process.

One potential issue agencies run into is how different companies, and even different reviewers within the same company, interpret FDA guidance. A process or approach to text ads that works for one client may not be acceptable for another.

As a best practice, working alongside legal and regulatory teams to ensure you understand their internal processes while also helping educate them on the specific channel you manage can help make the process as smooth as possible.

Working with the engines

Getting a new pharma SEM campaign off the ground is tough enough when you have to jump through the legal and regulatory hoops, but there are extra steps that must be taken with the search engines as well.

Unfortunately, you cannot just set up a new campaign and get it up and running right away. When flagged as a pharmaceutical brand, the website that traffic is driving to must be whitelisted internally at the engines to qualify for a campaign to go live. Without this, ads will be disapproved immediately.

Thankfully, both Bing and Google have dedicated teams that fully understand the pharmaceutical rules and regulations. Similar to other industries, spend is a factor of receiving dedicated support. In some certain cases, smaller startup pharmaceutical companies with low or no historic spend will have to utilize the AdWords Hotline to get their campaigns up and running.

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