PPC vs. Local Advertising: How Google Ads Can Replace Local Billboards

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In 2007, the New York Times shocked readers by revealing that we see over 5,000 advertising messages per day. It’s a staggering number, and a revealing admission that of all the advertisements we see each day, very few are memorable.

Local businesses can report much the same: of their billboards and display ads, only a few of the thousands of people that walk past them every day can remember what they were advertising and why they offered value.

Offline advertising, it seems, just isn’t as effective as it once was. With customers in major cities paying less and less attention to billboards and flyers, businesses are taking their ad budget to a more measurable medium: the Internet.

Read on to learn about the five biggest advantages that online advertising mediums such as Google Adwords offer that traditional local advertising methods simply can’t match.

Read more: internet marketing in Orange County

Adwords is measurable

Measuring the customers you get from a billboard is tough. While some customers might mention where they heard about your business, the vast majority fail to tell you where they heard about you – or in some cases, where you found them.

Adwords, on the other hand, makes it incredibly simple to track visitors from search keyword to advertisement, from advertisement to landing page, and from landing page to checkout. Every step of the process, and it’s all in one simple platform.

Adwords is scalable

Scaling your Adwords budget from $20 per day to $200 per day is simple. Scaling your billboard campaign, however, requires a series of phone calls, several weeks, and a considerable budget for artists and raw materials.

One of the biggest advantages of online advertising is its scalability. Whether you’re aiming to rapidly expand your local customer base or sell lots of inventory in a huge discount sale, online advertising makes it easy to expand your audience in a hurry.

Adwords is affordable

Online advertising is very lucrative for businesses with the skills to optimize their campaigns properly. With the right conversion optimization, you can source new customers online for a fraction of the cost of acquiring customers via billboards.

While online PPC is undoubtedly an expensive venture early on, once you’ve found profitable keywords and effective ad copy, you can source new customers at prices that make radio, offline display, and newspaper ads seem very overpriced.

Adwords is easy to use

From setting your budget to testing different advertising images, using Adwords is far from difficult. While offline advertising is also easy to set up, you’ll often spend most of your time waiting for other people to take action on your campaign.

Adwords gives you a hands-on, user-friendly interface for managing your search and display campaigns. If you aren’t interested in managing them yourself, it’s an easy process to set up Adwords campaign management with a marketing agency.

Adwords is flexible

Want to capitalize on a hot new trend? While billboards and other offline display ads would take weeks – if not months – to set up, a timely new Adwords campaign is up and running in minutes.

Adaptability is key, particularly in today’s economic climate. Search marketing gives you the ability to rapidly adapt to new challenges and capitalize on opportunities – a process that’s far slower and less effective in the offline advertising world.

Why You Should Focus on Long-Tail Keywords First and Short-Tails Later

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A great SEO campaign is shaped like a tree: thousands of small roots stem into a few big branches. The most effective websites generally don’t target thousands of highly valuable short-tail keywords and a few smaller keywords, but thousands of long-tail keywords and a few carefully selected short-tail, high-traffic keywords.

Using the tree metaphor, let’s look at the approach that many SEOs take to building and executing their SEO campaigns:

Step One: Target 10+ lucrative, high-value, high-traffic keywords.

Step Two: Focus link building on these keywords and no others.

Step Three: Develop content solely for these high-value keywords.

The end result is predictable: their website moves up the ranks for its top keywords, but not at a particularly impressive speed. Instead of achieving a first-page ranking – and thus, receiving traffic – it sits on the second or third page, failing to attract more than a few monthly visitors from its ‘lucrative’ target keywords.

The unfortunate reality of SEO is that listings on the first page of Google receive a far higher share of traffic than those on the second page. The ration isn’t 70:30, as many expect, but something far closer to 98:2. Being at the bottom of the first page is a big boost over being at the top of the next, despite the closeness in numerical ranking.

Because of this, the best SEO campaigns are often planned with the lowest-hanging fruits targeted first, and the biggest fruits last. Long-tail keywords – keywords that receive as little as 100 searches per month – are the ideal initial target for your SEO projects due to their lack of competition and relative ranking simplicity.

Instead of the three-step model for failure we’ve discussed above, a successful SEO campaign should use the following three-step system:

Step One: Target 100+ lucrative yet low-traffic keywords.

Step Two: Focus link building solely on these low-traffic keywords.

Step Three: Develop content that targets all of your search keywords.

It takes very little effort to rank prominently for long-tail keywords, making them an ideal target for the early days of an SEO campaign. Better yet, every piece of content you build to target a long-tail keyword during your website’s early days becomes an exceptionally valuable SEO asset when it’s time to target higher-value keywords.

Think about it: it’s far easier for a prominent, well established website to rank for a high-value term than it is for a brand new website. As such, it’s worth building your website to become established and respected before you target the search keywords that are so frequently out of reach for a newcomer.

Great SEO is far more about planning and strategy as it is about the sheer volume of links and content you can generate. A website that’s built up gradually, with modest targets in its early days and ambitious targets later in its lifespan, will experience a long-term advantage that no race-to-the-top SEO effort can ever hope to match.

Location-Based Advertising: The Future of Mobile Ads

Imagine you’re walking down the street beside a pet store. Your phone vibrates. On the screen, there’s no text message, no email, no social notification, but a promotion for the pet store you’re walking past offering you a lucrative discount on pet food.

We’ve seen keyword-based ads, interest-based ads, and device-based ads. What we are just beginning to see is location-based advertising. With over 700 million GPS-enabled phones in use, location-based advertising is truly the way of the future.

The irony, however, is that the advertising of the future has been in use, albeit on a much less precise scale, for over a decade. Geographic targeting has been a mainstay of the display and search advertising world since the early days of Google Adwords.

Thanks to geo-IP databases, almost every online advertising platform offers some form of location-based advertising. The results, which are overwhelmingly positive for businesses that implement it properly, say good things about the future.

Studies show that consumers respond more favorably to advertising that’s for local businesses. Clickthrough rates, conversion rates, and other metrics that indicate ad success all increase when an advertisement is local to the audience it’s targeting.

At the same time, there’s a downturn in interest when consumers get too close to the source of their advertising. BI Intelligence recently found that ad CTR is lower when a business is within a mile of its target than it is when a business is further away.

Part of this can no doubt be attributed to intent – after all, when prospects are very close to your business, they may not need advertising to buy something. But another part could be precision, or a distinct, industry-wide lack of it.

One of the biggest problems location-based advertisers currently face is a lack of precise location data. Despite over 75 percent of smartphones using GPS, just 10 percent of mobile ad network impressions can be delivered based on GPS data.

Because of this, many location-based advertisers currently use IP and zip code data to calculate the location of their audience – data that, on most platforms, has been a targeting option since the early 2000s.

Despite this, the precision of location-based advertising is constantly increasing as GPS latitude and longitude data becomes more available. As such, location-based advertisers are no longer being held back by the traditional ‘rules’ of advertising.

With clickthrough rates of three to four percent very possible – figures that are as much as four times the industry average for display advertising – location-based advertising looks very promising indeed.

Given the fact that the smartphone industry is rapidly expanding, with more users than ever before purchasing GPS-enabled smartphones, location-based advertisers are poised for a dual opportunity: better targeting and a bigger audience.

If that’s not an appealing prospect, it’s hard to think of what could be. With location targeting growing more precise, mobile audiences growing larger than ever before, and mobile CPMs remaining steady, the advantages of a location-based advertising campaign are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.