Online Advertising Increases, but Newspapers are losing there too.

It’s sad. Even online advertising on major newspaper home pages is dwindling. These guys can’t catch a break. I fear the death of newspapers and really believe Craigslist is the killer. Not really Craigslist, because online classifieds were going to happen; effectively diminishing a multi-billion dollar local classified industry down to the $100+ million revenue of just one company with less than 50 employees.

And this New York Times article shows even major newspaper brands continue to lose revenue to more pedestrian online sites. So, while online advertising continues to increase, these news outlets are seeing less and less of the money. Apparently, even major advertising campaigns spending $100,000 per WEBSITE are finding that smaller, targeted ad campaigns are more efficient and effective. However, I think blending the use of these sites, as discussed in the article, is very effective for Brand Image promotion along with product sales/lead generation.

From the article: Over all, the Internet is the only advertising medium expected to grow this year in the United States, rising 9.2 percent, to $54.1 billion, according to figures released this month by ZenithOptimedia, a media service firm.

My small business accounts already understand this. I’ve encouraged them to increase spending on their Internet marketing from improving their websites to trying new pay per click or direct email campaigns. We’ve found funds by cutting back in more traditional marketing areas, such as less print (Ads & collateral), less trade shows, less travel. And so far, we’re very pleased with our results.

So it begs asking…what multi-billion dollar industry are we hurting? I guess I shouldn’t think poorly of my ‘friend’, Craig. Afterall, ‘he’ did help me sell my leather Den furniture in just two days. 🙂

Full Disclosure for Blog and Author. Summary: Not for ‘Secret’ Hire.

I’m very happy that the FTC unanimously approved new guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials, specifically the online ‘bloggers’ requirements.

I figure I should at least state what I hope has been obvious: I don’t blog for compensation.

Want the in-depth details?  I am a partner of Astute Marketing. I receive a compensation in the form of both salary and equity. Astute Marketing receives compensation from clients for performing various marketing and business services, such as consultation. The following statements encompass both my personal full disclosure as well as Astute Marketing’s full disclosure. Bottom line, no one at Astute Marketing, including myself, accepts money or gifts for endorsing, blogging or reviewing products or services as an independent, neutral, non-compensated source. We do produce press releases, web pages, brochures, sales flyers and represent clients in the most positive, factual way possible while clearly and publicly associating closely with the client and/or their brand.

Other than compensation from Astute Marketing, I do not accept any money or other forms of compensation, such as gifts, from any companies or individuals. I have not and do not accept speaking fees, honoraria, or trips. I don’t accept free, discounted, or loaned products. Products that are given to me are either returned or given away.

I have not been paid to speak at events, nor would I accept payment for doing so.  Either my company or I pay my own travel and hotel expenses when I speak at an event, unless I am working and representing a client who has paid those charges as a business expense similar to their own employees.

I do not run advertisements on any of my sites, nor otherwise receive any monetary compensation from the operation of my website. All opinions expressed on this blog are mine.

Finally, I don’t post anonymously. I grew out of that when I grew up. I’ve been posting, commenting and building my on-line reputation since the ’90s as “J. Chandler Hall”. The reason I emphasis and use my first initial “J.” is because there are lots of universities with a Chandler Hall dorm room, or some such building. As long as you search for “J. Chandler Hall”, you’ll almost certainly find my ramblings and such. Have fun and thanks for ‘stopping by’…      🙂

Good Adwords case studies and tips from article in New York Times

The New York Times has just published an article that provides a decent overview, tips and case study of four small business and their experience with Google Adwords, even though it glossed over some issues a bit incorrectly (but mostly corrected at the very end of the piece). The biggest error suggests one owner had huge runaway costs before realizing it. That’s just flat wrong as you have to set a budget, which isn’t confusing or misleading, and Google doesn’t exceed it. Otherwise, it shows one business that likely isn’t appropriate for Adwords, one that did well after analyzing and adjusting the keywords being bid upon, one that modified a campaign to just target potential customers near his two brick & mortar stores and finally one small business that hired a professional.

There are several great lessons in this article, especially around geographic ‘local’ targeting and using specific keyword and negative keywords.

A few quotes from the article:
“… Monitoring an AdWords campaign requires a lot of effort. That’s why some entrepreneurs, like Rick Smith, prefer to outsource the management of their campaigns. … After attending an S.E.O. trade show … Mr. Smith hired a firm to run his campaigns for him. … They update or change the ads on pretty much a weekly basis, adding in seasonal or holiday hooks when appropriate, and they monitor the results… “I’m spending less than I did when I did it myself,” said Mr. Smith, “and I’m getting more sales as a result.”

Looking for a Google Wave “Web Dev” team…

UPDATE: Got my invites. Sent out my core ‘5’ invites. Will select and send out the rest during first week of Nov.

I’ve recently received a Google Wave invite. I’m going to use my invites to build a team that can try out Wave on a fun collaboration.

I would like to set up a pilot project oriented around a typical small Web Development project. Fundamentally, I would like to include a few different skill sets, similar to how I outsource today to various professionals.

I anticipate this project to be a very minor time impact on a weekly basis. Fundamentally, we won’t worry about making this perfect or look fantastic. Instead I just want to make a quick pass touching on the major milestones of a web site development.

So, I’m planning on taking the role of overall director of marketing (final approval), and also as an individual contributor for page copy writer, SEO & SEM work.

I want to invite:

  • A Graphics Designer, Photoshop, Illustrator or some similar skills
  • An HTML / CSS guru (IE, ‘our web coder’, would love HTML5 knowledge and/or Joomla/Druple)
  • Flash person
  • PhP person

I may not get exact fits, so I’m going to look at my group and try to come up with a fun, solid mix.

If you’re interested in receiving an invite for this effort, please follow my twitter account and send a tweet stating:

@chanhall I want to collaborate on your Google Wave Project #googlewave

I’ll pull those in the evening, follow you back, check out your profile and Direct Message you for an email address to send the invite to…or possibly to follow up with additional questions before making my decision.

THANKS for reading this and hopefully taking the time to join me on this effort!

Huge Growth in Sales? Consider Mobile phones & local searches

The dramatic growth in searching from mobile phones (particularly smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry Storm and the Palm Pre) suggests many businesses can obtain significant growth in sales by properly implementing a mobile search and/or advertisting plan.

This recent report from The Nelson Company, General Mobile – Strategies for Growth, details various research about mobile cell phone features, usage and predicated growth, along with historical facts such as smartphone market share by country.

I’ve highlighted a few facts that suggest if you sell products or services that tend toward the impulse or discretionary purchase, particularly if it is attractive to a demographic of “males aged 18 – 34, making on average over $75K per year“, you should be targeting mobile advertising, especially ‘local’ proximity ads via Mobile Search. Other methods for attracting their attention close to purchase time is through “mobile marketing activities like providing product information, coupons, discounts and event notifications“.

What’s important to understand primarily about this movement? More and more customers are seeking and finding what they want by searching on their phone. Anyone that has spent more than a few minutes around someone with an iPhone understands the phenominal attraction to launching Google Maps and keying in “fine dining”. I have often and quickly helped small groups decide on where to eat by doing so, giving some quick ‘at-a-glance’ star rating summaries, called up a menu or two and then called the place to reserve a spot as we’re heading that way.

If you run a business that mostly caters to geographic point-of-sale customers, you need to understand how to make sure your business shows up in such a scenerio. Is your business registered with Google’s Local Business Center? Do you have any online coupons available? Does your site show up in the 10-Pack? It’s not critical today, but it will be…

Traditional Sales & Marketing down 50%, but Adwords growth is 4.5 times Higher

Are you cutting costs? Decided to cut back on some of those sales give-aways, travel and advertising? You may find your competition is actually cutting back traditional ‘spend’, but increasing their Google Adwords campaign spends. Many, many businesses are doing just that in a more increasing fashion every year.

How do I know?

Google recently created various financial trend indexes, based on various keyword searches going back to 2004. They’re called “Google Domestic Trends” and can be found at: http://www.google.com/finance/domestic_trends

If you select a particular index, say “Sales and Advertising”, you’ll see a graph showing how frequent related terms (Google selected) were searched on at a particular time…and then all of that data is totaled and graphed showing a timeline trend. Above the graph, you should look for a link in the description that says, “To see more details on the queries that make up this index, visit Google Insights for Search.”

If you select this link, you can compared this trend against your own keywords. Here’s a chart where I selected “Sales & Advertising”. First, Google’s domestic trend index shows “Sales & Advertising” to be down about 1/2 of its size since 2004. (This seems to track with general data points I have read from other sources.) But does this mean ALL Sales and Advertising is down? What about online spend? Pay Per Click…such as Google Adwords?

I used this tool to plug in two other terms: Google Adwords & just Adwords (some people only search on “adwords”, so I’ll have to add these two together roughly). Here’s a screenshot:

Google Adwords growth over Traditional Sales & Advertising

Google Adwords growth over Traditional Sales & Advertising

It should be no surprise that this shows people searching for typical sales & advertising keywords are down by 50% since 2004…but during that same time period, more and more people have been searching for “Google Adwords” (285% higher) as well as just “Adwords” (185%). I’d estimate that combined together 3.5 – 5 times more people, today, are searching on Adwords.

Should you be considering Adwords as well?