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Paid Search Troubleshooting Tips You Might Have Missed

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment


As paid search marketers, you set metrics to measure performance and pace your performance against goals. If your report is setup properly, you are able to track performance on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It is pertinent to track your performance on daily or weekly basis because in no time, you can spot any spike or slump and take action immediately. It sounds easy, but the hardest part is – What Should I Do If I See Abnormal Trend in My Report? How do I troubleshoot it?

Many online marketers start panicking when they see a downward trend in their report. Stop freaking out! There are so many possible causes to it. Please note that this article is not to show you how to optimize your campaign but rather to troubleshoot your campaign if you see performance dip. I’ve put together a cheat sheet here, let go over them one by one below.

1)      Changes in Paid Search Account – Check the change (log) report and see if any change had been done on keywords, match types, max bid, target bid, bid rules, text and image ads, network, campaign and adgroup settings.

2)      Budget Issue – See if you reached your daily budget cap and the budget set at Client Level.

3)      Change in Landing Page – It is pertinent to check if your landing page was up the whole time, including the conversion funnel (each and every funnel step!) and Confirmation Page. Most common case I see is that one of the page in the funnel was down after scheduled web/content push. If possible, as your web QA team to QA your funnel every time web/content push is completed.

4)      Pixel Issues – Pixel drop off is also a common thing. Make sure somebody QA the pixel every time web/content push is completed.

5)      Product Change – This is the part that gets neglected the most. Performance drop in many cases have to do with change in product features, price, shipping policy, refund policy, etc. If you can prove by numbers that product change caused decline in sales, that’s great! If not, make sure you keep track of the change date and put a note on your report to get yourself covered.

6)      Seasonality – If you are new to the company or industry, makes re you get performance report dated a few years back. Don’t panic when sales declined. – It could be seasonal. For example, Hotels and Vacation packages bookings rise in the summer and during holiday seasons, and decline after.

7)      External Factors – Make sure you don’t leave this out! External factors such as economic recession, political election, natural disasters (hurricane, storm, earthquake) could impact your sales performance. Make sure you re-evaluate your media plan to maintain a brilliant scorecard (dashboard).

If you have more to add to the list, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.


Google+ Vs. Facebook

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Google Plus and Facebook

I have been a facebook user for years. Although Facebook is NOT the the first social networking site (Friendster and MySpace were), its social sharing features are truly amazing! Facebooking has become a daily activity to me, equivalent to brushing my teeth and taking shower everyday.

I log on to facebook at least twice a day, via mobile phone and laptop. Not sure if you notice, Facebook profile has become the ultimate “Stay-in-Touch Point” for new friends and acquaintances, slowly replacing email, MSN, and perhaps phone numbers because you can add a new friend within seconds, via your smart phone!

However, compared to Google+, Facebook still has its shortcomings:

1) Although Facebook allows me to segment my friends by creating Lists in a few steps, Google+ provides a more user-friendly interface – adding Google Circle to Stream takes only two steps. Also, adding people to circles is flash-like fast!

2) Ever since Facebook boosted its Advertising platform, I see at least 4 to 5 ads on every pages. These ads definitely create distractions to me. Remember what MySpace look like??  🙂

3) From the product portfolio standpoint, facebook is hundreds of years behind Google, who has a much bigger footprint (even compared to Apple!). Google has a library of products, just to name a few: Google Picasa (Photo), Doc, Contact, Map, Talk, Places, Group, Offers, Blog, Youtube, etc. The universe of Google allow its users to share every bit of life through Google+ easily because everything is under ONE single platform.

Although Google has huge potential to go head-to-head with Facebook in social network, it will take a few years to happen because Facebook still have 750 million active users from all over the world.  If Google start growing Google+ users base aggressively and integrating social sharing across different Google products, it’s impact can be unpredictable!

If you like this post, please feel free to subscribe. Comments are always welcomed. 🙂

Think Outside the Box with Groupon, LivingSocial, etc

May 5, 2011 1 comment

Creative promotions with Groupon

In my last post, I mentioned that merchants are encouraged to give 50% to 90% discount on deals and promotion to customers, AND share approximately 50% of generated revenue with Collective Buying Social Platforms (eg: Groupon and LivingSocial) – It sounds like a blood sucker promo! However, they are still effective channels for brand exposure and new customer acquisitions, at a much cheaper rate compared to TV, Radio, and some online advertising channel.

Now the question is, are merchants thinking about Life-Time Value of these new customers? Are they coming back to pay full price for the same or upgraded service? How often do they come back? How about their friends and family?

Below are some thinking process before jumping on the bandwagon:

Step 1 – What are the objectives of being featured on Groupon, LivingSocial, Twongo and Google Offers?
a) Brand Exposure
b) Store or Site Traffics
c) New Customers Acquisitions/ Increase membership subscriptions
d) Increase revenue/ Increase market share

Step 2 – How to meet your objectives?
It takes creative brainstormings to figure out ways to meet your objectives. They are usually call-to-actions and should be rewarded with incentives that seems valuable to your target audience . You can give them a small gift or free desert, or small discount if they act on it. Below are just a few examples of call-to-action:
a) LIKE your Facebook Page, CHECK-IN to Facebook or FourSquare, Write a review on Yelp, or FOLLOW you on Twitter. You can engage them and have them spread the word for long term business relationship.
b) Leave an Email Address and Contact Info. You can email them new promo and product releases to keep them updated with your business activities.
c) Send an SMS to designated number with their name and email address
d) Take a picture at your store and share with friends on Facebook. Think outside of the box by engaging them and make their visit memorable in a good way.
d) Get them to your website, and follow with re-Marketing Campaigns. Setup a re-marketing campaign in Google Adwords to target website visitors who have been to your website but never converted. These re-marketing ads will follow them throughout Google Display Network. Email me if you want to know more about it.

Facebook Places, FourSquare, Twitter, Yelp, Email, SMS

Step 3 – How to report and track?
We are getting more advance here. Getting new customers through Groupon and Livingsocial is one thing, keep them coming back is another. How about getting to know them better and make them come back more often, and make sure they leave your store with a big smile? Depends on your business types, there are numerous tools out there that help businesses store customer information and track their buying behavior anonymously. Integrating tools below allows business owners to get 360 view on their business, for both online and offline transactions:
a) Web Analytics: Track Website visitor or/and returning customer’s behaviors (eg: Google Analytics, Yahoo Analytics, Coremetrics, Adobe/Omniture, etc)
b) CRM: Customer Relationship Management tool (eg: Silverpop, Sugar CRM, SalesForce, etc)
c) Phone System: If you take order over the phone, you might want to consider using phone system to track calls from returning customers and get better insights on how to better service them.
d) POS: Merchants who offer members reward cards are able to track the type of products and services bought by each customer.

All Transactions from Customer

Step 4 – What’s in for long term?
a) Analyze your customer database. Slice and dice your customer database from multiple perspectives, look at different metrics, such as order value, return frequency, type of products and services, etc.
b) Segment your customers. Find out your Top 1% and 10% of your customers by Life-time Order Value, Recency and Latency,
c) Run multiple Offers. Based on your customer segment, run different promotions and offers against them. For example, provide great offer for customer who hasn’t been back for more than a week; offer high purchase frequency customer with “refer-a-friend” reward, etc.
d) Keep up with the revolutions. Stay on top of the game, understand your customer’s need, and don’t be afraid to change. To stay competitive, you can perform analysis on your business using SWOT Analysis and Porter’s Five Forces.

If you have better idea or proven track record of success getting the most out of your promo with collective buying platforms, feel free to write to me. 🙂

Thanks Groupon, LivingSocial, Twongo and ….Google!

May 1, 2011 1 comment


Many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon – getting featured on Groupon, LivingSocial, Twongo, and now the new comer Google. Businesses that had been featured on Groupon and Livingsocial now have the alternatives on other collective buying websites like Twongo, Google and Tuanhu. Who have been the winner of this game? Obviously the consumers!

Businesses start competing with each others to get their brand  exposure through significantly reduced offers (50-90% off) plus sharing up to 50% of revenue with these companies. Yes! It sounds like a promotion that costs business owners arms and legs. However, if you (the business owner) know how to get the most out of your promo on these collective buying social platforms, you can enjoy your offer as much as your referred customers.

Stay tuned for my next post on Think Outside of the Box with Grupon & LivingSocial…

Don’t Limit Your Mobile PPC Campaign with only WAP Ads

April 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Don’t limit your mobile PPC campaign with WAP text ads and WAP image ads, get your standard text and image ads running and targeting mobile devices too!

With more and more people using smart phones or mobile phone with full web browser, the rapidly-increasing mobile search queries not only trigger WAP ads but also standard (PC) text and image ads. If you are still running your mobile campaign “conservatively” through only WAP ads, please start adding standard ads too.

Here is the chart listing all the ad formats and on which Device and Google networks they appear. http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107516

How is your PPC Ad Campaign doing?

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Many businesses are spending thousands of dollars every month, placing PPC ads on Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. Some of these businesses have great return-on-investment (ROI), some have decent, some even not sure what their return is (No surprise! No kidding!). Read more…

Live Agent with Intelligence to Drive User Acquisitions and Conversions

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Just came back from Web Analytics Wednesday in Santa Monica. Thanks RPA and Anjan Haalder for your effort hosting such a great event. I got the chance to exchange ideas with web analytics professionals from Disney, Toyota, Yamaha, etc.

TouchCommerce-Live Agent-InTouch Sales

Live Agent with Intelligence

Read more…

Social Marketing Analytics: A New Framework for Measuring Results in Social Media

April 25, 2010 1 comment



View more documents from John Lovett.


Add Social Media Bookmarking Tool on WordPress.com

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Tweet Me

How to add Social Media Bookmarking Tool on Your WordPress so your readers can retweet or buzz it on other web 2.0 sites (ex:  facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc)? I have implemented both on this wordpress blog. 🙂

Method 1 (For Retweet only) –
Add this code in the HTML panel of your article. Read more…

“Is Your Baby Ugly” by Tim Ash

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, I attended Tim Ash’s webinar – “Is Your Baby Ugly” – Advice on Landing Page. What I like about Tim’s webinar is that he went to the basic root of landing page, suggesting us to keep our landing page simple and clear.

Here are 7 Sins of Landing Page: Read more…

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