Digital Signage Augments Branded Search

There’s no doubt that online search remains a popular medium among customers in finding information. But with altered considerations for social media combined with updated online presence options, there can be doubt in how a bank should proceed to strengthen its appearance in a search engine.

One way to build customer recall is to develop a strategy for supporting branded keyword terms. Branded search results in an analytic solution is an expression of your customers’ recollection of your business online. Your bank should consider its brand strength – how can its current notoriety be used effectively.

The newest capabilities in paid search in Google and Microsoft’s Bing have linked ad services to other Bing and Google related platforms. The end result for paid search ads is an expanded relevancy towards intended customer segments and purposes. Google Adword Express, an Adwords extension, links your ads to Google Maps, highlighting its location. This provides a larger display on a computer screen, encouraging your customer to seek a bank branch if it is in a convenient location and increases the likelihood of clicking on an ad.

With regard to branded keyword terms, banks that have a long established relationship with its communities can put together a paid search strategy for extending branded search terms to these newly introduced services. Doing so would catch the segment of customers who are familiar with the bank but may not know what other services are provided. Features such as the aforementioned Adwords Express can be combined for provide further value online.

Branded search can be further augmented is an alternative appearance of services via a dynamic keyword insertion, a feature in which different keyword within an ad group appear in the ad based on the search query. The advantage can be grouping services together for a certain segment of customer, as well as creating a targeted campaign by context. So an ad for a “Bear Bank” offering home mortgage can have alternating text – refinance or first mortgage – in the title. A thought to consider is that words with similar meaning may differ in result appearance across search engines, so using additional tools such as Searchmetrics Suite and Wordstream can provide advanced keyword suggestions beyond the standard Google, Yahoo, and Bing accounts.

Digital signage ices the cake for many branded keyword programs by establishing customer recall of branded terms and intended service keywords in its media. The display’s impact occurs before the customer later decides to research services online. Customers will then recall the bank name and associated wording.

Once an ad campaign has been run, your analyst should confirm the impact from the results in a placement performance report. This report compares results across the campaign networks to identify and exclude poor performing ads based on networks. An online survey can be used at the landing page to assess if visitor did a search and had seen a digital display running. Influence from running a signage campaign can then be assessed, with a choice to pause the display message if the lift in click through rate is not significant.

Considering strategies to enhance paid search has a pay off. Recent white papers and studies are suggesting campaign sophistication in deploying paid search such as Google’s announced study back in 2012 that a combined paid and organic search usage can lead to a higher CTR. Enhancing branded search traffic with digital signage is one way in which a paid search campaign can lead to further payoff.

When to engage mobile customers: The Basics On Dayparting Ads

Time seems to be scarce with each day of a marketing campaign. But the answer in gaining some time back lies in targeting an effort at the right time. Dayparting is one nuanced way to connect to customers in the right time. Moreover, it can aid planning with digital signage by determining when messages can be most helpful to retail customers.

But first, let’s review a definition for dayparting.

Dayparting is the segmentation of marketing campaign responses by time period. The goal of dayparting is to match marketing efforts to time periods that are a best fit for potential response to a campaign message.

A little history on dayparting: first kind of contextual marketing, dayparting is a byproduct of radio and television programming. Programs included commercials tailored to the audience – If you recall seeing a Tide commercial during daytime soap operas, even their name stemming from Proctor and Gamble sponsorship in the 1950s, then you get the idea of dayparting pretty easily.

But the internet developed with a widely held belief that online advertising equated to advertising all time – if you have a website, people will “see” your business all the time. With smartphones becoming more and more shopping devices and tablets used alongside the TV viewing, the idea of selling around the clock online is morphing into discreet periods. Dayparting advertising has transferred from old media to the internet due to new features in less expensive advertising channels like paid search. Moreover, analytics solutions have begun to incorporate dayparting measurement capability.

What created this trend? In a word, mobile. The increasing acclimation of consumers to smartphones, netbooks, and tablets, combined with more public internet accessibility in places once considered offline, has shifted the way in which people arrive to a website. They engage, and the access is technically available around the clock, but genuine mobile connections are being made at hours different than behind a laptop. While much of the initial data is shopper-oriented, the retail behavior will surely filter into other tasks, such as account transactions and viewing sites through mobile devices.

Digital signage can easily use dayparting methodology for events such as announcing an upcoming bank branch seminar or cross-advertising events at various retail locations. To time announcements of events, dayparting display messages can be coordinated with mobile ads and SMS that lead to mobile sites.

Beyond reducing the amount of printing and shipping static materials to announce new events and limited-time offerings, dayparting on digital signage can provide the right message announcing event times and locations, services that customers can access on their mobile phones, or increase visibility of reminders. The end result is an increased likelihood of a customers using a retailer’s services that very day. Google in its 2011 study The Mobile Movement noted that 88% of respondents take action within hours to within the day of receiving local information in a smartphone. Dayparting signage marketing messages to drive customers to nearby branches can lead to increases transactions.

When I wrote this post originally for Digital Draw, I noted a comment from one of my colleagues, Daniel Berthiaume, that marketing managers “put a little extra into an analytical system to determine how often to refresh the content”. Combining digital signage with dayparted ads can provide solid means for that little extra by using mobile ads and sites.

For additional perspective, check out this Zimana post on dayparting.

IoT Primer: Beacon Basics For Retail Analytics

Maybe the joyous reaction of marketers to beacons, low-cost sensors that can communicate with tablets and smartphones, comes from the fact that the word’s spelling is close to bacon – seems to be a lot of memes suggesting that bacon is a favorite food.  But let’s stick to a more straightforward reason:  Marketers are as excited about beacons as a child is excited about Christmas day.

So what is the beacon excitement about? Here’s the run down:

  • The idea of using sensors in commerce started with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. These tags were used in retail and operations mainly for inventory management and shipping identification.
  • Beacons represent the next “evolution” of sensor usage because they can communicate with apps on smart devices.  The apps are activated by shoppers, allowing the device to be picked up by the proximity beacon.  This establishes proximity broadcasting, which means objects can continuously “communicate” information. The devices and sensors communicate in a data broadcasting environment that pairs mobile devices with beacon sensors on a physical item – a display, a store shelf, or in a store location.
  • A network of beacons are popular because mobile-savvy customers have opted-in through using an app provided by a retailer which has beacons placed in a retail space. Smartphones, tablets and laptops already use Bluetooth, so there is a natural usage already primed for beacons acceptance.
  • The latest generation of Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.0, expands the breadth of beacon sensor capability. It includes metadata association to the objects, allowing objects to essentially broadcast their identity, location, and additional information.  The data shared in this environment gives users valuable information, from on-the-spot announcement of a sales offer to simple assistance in finding the right product selection.
  • All of this plays into the Internet of Things (IoT) environment, in which machines are now communicating signals to each other in a coordinated effort.

Where are beacons being used in retail?

Luxury brands are becoming the first movers in experimenting with beacons as part of an augmented reality strategy. Sephora, a make up provider, announced beta testing beacons in its San Francisco store.  And Burberry uses augmented reality technology in its flagship store in the UK.

So what does beacons mean for analytics?

Beacon-generated data can then be pulled up into a corporate cloud application for tracking and analysis, influencing the business intelligence and the analytics associated with it. Real time analytics that include beacon-sourced referral traffic must consider digital activity over time.  Additional analytic tools highlighting foot traffic patterns can aid where message are being triggered, and facilitate inventory planning.   Integrating the associated metrics mean increased tagging complexity, so marketers must consider what capabilities lie within their tools.

Adoption is still early – eMarketer reports that 29% of retailers have incorporated beacons into their stores.

But as the IoT environment emerges from the budding stages, retailers will learn how to use beacons to determine how well their business model aligns with the customer experience needs.  Customers are demanding sophisticated experiences. Beacons provide the the building block for understanding those experiences.

Paid search ideas to increase your conversions and extend your marketing budget

Google AdWords
Google AdWords can augment a mobile marketing strategy as well as a desktop marketing strategy

Fall can be a great time to review marketing campaigns over the past year and make adjustments, particular with the holiday sales season around the corner.  But any time of the year is a good time to review results from paid and organic search.  Not checking on how your site attracts customers can lead to no conversions –which means no online sales or downloads related to lead generation.

There are a few ideas can help your small business renew the focus of campaigns that lead to increased conversions.

Set analytics reports dedicated to monitoring changed contributions to website goals

Analytics reports can show which campaigns are effectively contributing to goals, as well as reviewing time on site and pageviews per visit to confirm that your ads are driving engaged visits to your site. Consider also specialty reports such as Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel to compare the value paid search contributed to site goals and how it changed from one period to another. This can reveal how to approach adjustment to keywords between paid and organic search.

Ensure campaign ad categories are easily distinguishable

You should create specific categories for paid search that can be reflected in the campaign and ad groups. Doing so makes campaign tagging simple to apply and permits better attribution of the ads that contributed to site goals.

Verify the budget allocated against the traffic created

Import your organic and paid search data into a spreadsheet and compare the amount of traffic against the percentage of ad budget allocated for the segment. Does it make sense for a keyword contributing 10% of traffic to receive 40% of a PPC budget? Creating a comparison table will answer this question.

Consider paid search as an augment for keywords targeted in organic search.

Some small businesses emphasize search in lieu of a PPC campaign, but many digital marketing research firms are discovering that a combined paid and organic search results for a given keyword can have a higher conversion rate than that for organic search results alone. Apply organic and paid search for your top terms that need more exposure. The lift in conversion rates overall should be higher than any slight cannibalization of search traffic from having an ad appearing alongside an organic search query result.

Use long tails keywords that could draw visits while achieving a lower spend on clicks

Conversion lift opportunities can sometimes lie in long tail keyword terms, attracting more relevant traffic with a lower spend than many highly volume terms. Long tail keywords are words with lower search volume than a head keyword – typically a branded term in some cases. But three and four phrase keyword terms related to your industry, product, or service can yield a better combination of relevant traffic.

Use Contextual Marketing to make ad spend more effective

To better ensure that the ads appear when customers are considering your services, consider networks that display ads in a more relevant setting to your targeted audience.  For example, an ad offering DJs services can be displayed in a network that includes content for weddings – an event in which these services are needed. AdWords offers contextual marketing option by running ads on partner sites of the Google Display Network. Facebook Ads operate in a similar manner – The keywords in Facebook Ads are matched to profile activity rather than search queries. So an ad for an auto parts store would show for profiles containing an interest in automobiles. The end result is an audience being more receptive to an ad because the queries are occurring in a more specific online community or environment.

Create ads for specific events

If an ad budget is extremely tight for your small business, you should create ads for specific happenings. Seasonal events, such as a holiday sale, can be effective. Another approach is setting an ad for specific geographic region where your business serves but may not be receiving visitors.

Place ads on ads networks related to your referral traffic

Referral traffic from other sites may be complimented with ad exposure to gain better response leading to conversion. Sites like Linked In and offer ad networks specific for a business audience, while Yelp and may be helpful for sales offers. There are also publishers such as Adsmoke, a platform that display ads at the beginning of a YouTube video, which can provide opportunities to match your ad to the context in which it appears.

Scan your site for overlooked keyword ideas with CPC opportunities.

Site content can change over the year, especially if a blog is hosted as a site subdirectory and a high volume of posts are created.  You can use tools to scan your site for additional keyword ideas. The results can lead to more affordable relevant words to use in an ad. Both Google Adwords Manager and Microsoft AdCenter can your website and generate a keyword list. You can compare the generated list with a keyword density list, to determine if a preferred keyword does not appear frequently in your site – thus a potential candidate for use in an ad to attract audience.

Gaining conversion takes time and investment. But evaluating campaigns with web analytics and segmentation brings an improved focus of your business’ marketing. Your ads will then tempt more potential customers, because they are being served to the customers you want for your products and services.


Polymer.js example

How Semantic Search Relates Online Content to Customers

Polymer.js example
This HTML mark up is a technical example of how semantic search works. It calls out specific parts in the code, like this callout designed to address a version of JavaScript called Polymer.  Although JavaScript case like this is not an influence on SEO, most semantic search is meant to address highlighting specialty HTML elements in a search query.

Search engines have subtly changed their methodologies over the past few years. One methodology that has yet to see widespread adoption has already experienced its most significant change yet.

Back in 2013, an ontology library site, Good Relations, announced an alignment of its markup structure definitions with those used on, a metatag library. The end result is increased consistency of definition usage among businesses, and a wider shared usage of structure markup among web developers and search engine optimization practitioners.

This merger occurred thanks to increasing search discovery needs for digital media. From music to webinar presentations, businesses have added numerous content to appear when potential customers research product and service information online.

The content has led marketing managers to give a refreshed look at their optimization strategies through apply semantic search. Semantic search involves organizing keywords and content with website element protocols and structure markup language. The organization makes the pages and site content more visible to nuanced search engine queries.

Good Relations and support separate protocols for semantic search. contains metadata meant for HTML5, an update of the venerable website structure code language positioned for future website development. Good Relations contains RDF – resources description framework that has proven utility for current retailers and E-commerce sites.

One strategic benefit for managers is learning enhanced ways to translate potential client language to its digital properties. If businesses within a given industry agreed to ontology for services and needs, those businesses can adjust their content tags to position its content to potential query results from those businesses. Imagine a video on better financing for construction projects – With a metadata protocol, now imagine that video section appearing in a search query run by a construction firm.

That exact example lies at the heart of HTML5. HTML5 added video- and music-related tag elements, developed to increase media exposure to relevant search engine queries. Other tagging protocols can help search engines recognized a group of authors – an aid to marketing teams leveraging personal brands of its members online (You can learn about what Google accepts in structured markup here – Bing also has a structured markup guide). The fundamentals of digital marketing is increasingly shifting toward strategic data ownership, which is supported through content marketing and semantic search.

With the – Good Relations alliance, digital marketers and website developers can optimize metadata and RDF information across varied content. The success of such an effort will create a true application of semantic search’s definition – the science of actual customer’s language.