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August 25, 2011

Getting SMBs Online – Today on SEM Synergy

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Today on SEM Synergy, I rounded up a PPC power line-up during my time at SES San Francisco. Interviews with paid search specialists Kevin Lee of Diddit, Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media, and Jason O’Hare and Will Eisner of WordStream touch upon the increasingly complex state of online advertising today. The landscape navigated by a paid search marketer is undergoing dramatic shifts, as search engines Yahoo! and Bing partner and with newer social media channels competing for resources and attention.

For small businesses engaged in or newly exploring online marketing, it’s a chore to get a working understanding of each channel, the ROI potential and the compound effect of channel interactions with one another.

It’s enough for online advertising professionals to keep up in the shuffle, as Kevin explains the major challenge of managing a PPC campaign:

“If I were to say what the biggest challenge is for those managing PPC campaigns on a day-to-day basis, either within an agency or on an in-house basis, it’s really ‘what to do next?’ The prioritization, the homework list of what to do on a paid search campaign, just like SEO, is endless. You have stuff to do to keep you busy from here to infinity. So the real question is, what do I do next? Where’s the next best area to concentrate where the next lowest hanging fruit is, for me to move my campaign forward, to really move the needle against my objectives? …] It’s very challenging to decide what to do next. Do I test creative? Do I add new keywords? Do I change match types? Do I reorganize my campaigns? Do I test the elasticity of the marketplace by bidding differently? There’s just tons and tons of stuff to do.”

businesses on the streetSo how are small businesses faring in the race to keep up with the competition?

Andrew Goodman shared research conducted earlier this year that illuminates the situation for many SMBs:

“A study was done by AmEx OPEN SearchManager commissioned this year to understand where small businesses are at in terms of their adoption of tools, in terms of their adoption of paid search and other things, and the findings were, I think, as expected. A very large number of businesses are still not using them much at all, not using paid search. And the ones that do have trouble finding the time. They have very little time to spend on it and 50 percent of them or so, the owner of the business themselves manages the paid search campaign. As you might expect, they don’t do it very well. It’s inconsistent in the time they can devote. So we have a gap there.”

The guys from WordStream add to the conversation of providing online advertising resources to small businesses with their free tool that evaluates a Google AdWords campaign. VP of Product Will Eisner said:

“We’ve definitely found the case to be that there’s a lot of people who try AdWords and then they think, ‘I’m just not getting the return on investment that I want here. It’s just not really working for me.’ And a lot of the times the reason for that is that their AdWords accounts are not set up in a way that’s going to make them successful. So what the grader is going to do is it’s going to tell you here’s why you’re seeing the kind of performance you’re seeing in your AdWords account. If there are problems we’re going to tell you the areas where the problems are.”

The challenges facing small businesses online makes up but a snippet of this special episode from SES San Francisco 2011. So please take a listen to hear the search advertising experts talk about pay-per-click advertising developments, the effectiveness of social media as an ad channel, the missed opportunity of retargeting and so much more.





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