It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Bing, Part 1

Bing is gaining momentum … and is hidden in places you don’t even know about.

In case you missed it, Bing is still around and gaining momentum. The search engine’s share of the search market fluctuates from month to month, but Microsoft isn’t going to give up. As of June 2017, Bing has over seven percent of the desktop market. That number is a little misleading, though, because Yahoo! Search – with nearly five percent of the desktop market share – is also powered by Bing.

In fact, Yahoo! isn’t the only search feature that uses Bing. Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Windows 10’s Cortana all utilize it. Those may seem obvious, but did you also know that Siri, the popular iPhone “assistant,” runs on Bing? The Amazon Echo, and Alexa, use it, too.

What’s So Great About Bing?

If Bing’s market share doesn’t impress you, perhaps some other numbers will. Since 2009, Bing has been used by 524 million unique users, and those potential customers run an average of five billion searches every month.

There are other interesting demographics as well, like the fact that Bing users are more likely to be female. They are also more mature, with Bing winning users aged between 45 and 65 hands down. Nearly half have a household income over $75,0000, and almost three-quarters attended college. And while it lags behind Google in mobile searches (thanks to Android), tablet users prefer to use Bing-powered search engines – thanks, in part, to Microsoft’s Surface product line.

What does all of this mean? It means that you may be missing out on a large piece of your primary audience.

Still Not Convinced? Here are some more statistics that might interest you:

  • Bing Network searchers have better conversion rates and spend more money online than their Google counterparts.
  • Users in many categories use Bing-powered searches exclusively:
    • Almost three-quarters of business, finance, and retail
    • Nearly 80-percent of automotive and telecommunications
    • Over half of retail
  • Head-to-head against Google, Bing wins on certain search categories, such as:
    • Home Décor
    • Thrills and Adventures
    • Bargain Hunting
    • Pets
    • Cooking
    • Art and Theatre

What are You Waiting for?

Google is still the king when it comes to search engines, but your audience may not be looking for you where you think they are. If you have been thinking about running Google Ads, or currently utilize them, consider trying out some Bing Ads. The average cost per click is lower on the Bing-powered network, and you can even import your Adwords campaigns directly into Bing Ads to save yourself some time.

If you aren’t a fan of search ads, don’t worry. There are many ways to improve your organic search traffic on Bing. It requires a difference Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy than Google, but in many ways, the qualities Bing looks for in a webpage are easier to produce than those adored by Google. In part two of this series, we will lay out tips for improving your website’s Bing visibility.

Stay tuned!

Why a .3% Click-Through Rate for a Banner Ad Is Perfectly Acceptable

I have seen this blog by Michelle Eichhorn of Apologia Educational Ministries, reposted several times this week. So between me thinking the information here is really worthwhile to share and all of my marketing peers thinking it is worthy to share … here it is!

Back in 2007, Ford ran a banner ad that was a simple yet attractive photograph of the inside of an Explorer. It was a sleek-looking interior, and I could easily envision myself sitting in that vehicle, my young children safely strapped in the back seat. It made me feel good to just imagine that for a moment. However, at the time, I drove a year-old 15-passenger van, so a new vehicle purchase was not on my radar.

Did I click on the ad? No. What would be the point? I wasn’t ready to purchase.

Three years later, a driver crossed the highway median, hit us head on, and totaled my 15-passenger van. The replacement vehicle purchased with the settlement money was (surprise!) a Ford Explorer.

And that is why a .3% click through rate is perfectly acceptable.

Because what are the odds that at the very moment people see a banner ad for a product, they are going to have their wallet open, ready to purchase?

So, why bother with online ads if consumers aren’t going to click on them and purchase?

Online ad response looks even more daunting when we look at reality. According to Pew Research, in 2011 companies spent $32 billion dollars on digital ads an increase of 23% over 2010. Online ads make up 20% of all advertising in the United States.

Looking at those numbers, it’s obvious that consumers cannot possibly make a purchase with every ad that is presented on their screens.

What is important about online banner advertising?

It’s not all about the immediate click-throughs and immediate purchases your digital banners produce.

What is important is “potential eyeball and retention” PEAR. A key goal with online advertising is brand retention and recognition. You want to have the consumer seek out your product when they are ready to make a purchase.

Here are five ways your company can achieve PEAR.

1. Design banner ads that reflect your brand and keep your message consistent

If a single banner placement brings a .3% click-through rate, don’t interpret that as an immediate message failure. The goal is to repeatedly get your consistent brand message in front of customer eyeballs.

You may want to test several designs that reflect your brand and message, but with slightly different graphics or a different accent color. Then test to see whether there are any differences in response. Note, though, that it takes more than one week on a site or one appearance in an e-newsletter to conclude that a banner ad is ineffective.

2. Research your audience and be selective about placements

Who is your demographic? What types of sites do they visit? Do they visit blogs? Are they reading hobby-related e-newsletters? Carefully analyze your placement options. Don’t simply place an ad on a site because its pageviews are high. What’s more important is that the audience demographic match your product.

Study the blog, site, or e-newsletter placements you are considering. How many other banners are visible at the same time? Will your banner rotate with others each time a customer lands on the page? Are you the sole banner in the e-newsletter or is it buried somewhere near the bottom?

3. Use visual opportunities via your social networks

Study your blog, Facebook wall, Pinterest boards, and Twitter account for available visual spaces.

Create a Facebook Cover graphic that is a larger version of your latest digital marketing banner. When Facebook implemented Timeline’s large Cover graphic, a major car company used a photo of its office building as its Cover photo. Was the brand message that it wanted to put in front of consumers really a steel and metal building? Was the company using the same building in its digital banners and advertisements? Likely not…

Build a presence on Pinterest, and create a Pinterest board for your digital ads and banners. Pinterest now drives more traffic than Facebook. Do what it takes to get that traffic coming to your boards where they can view your digital ads. A board or two with your current digital and print ads is acceptable among your other, content-driven boards.

However, just as with other social media, you should also aim for conversation, not just repeated broadcast of marketing messages; you’ll want to have more than just promotional boards on Pinterest, for example. Don’t forget to disseminate links to your boards via tweets and Facebook updates.

4. Partner with key bloggers in your market

Do not underestimate the reach of bloggers. Some may not have the large number of pageviews that a business site enjoys, but they have engagement with a very targeted audience.

Banner placements on blogs may bring extra perks. Some bloggers will also promote their advertisers on their other social networking accounts. That may not yield direct click-throughs to your site, but it does get your brand name in front of eyeballs. Again, think PEAR.

Arrange reviews and giveaways. In a survey of consumers from March to June 2012, About.com found that 84% of respondents needed to view the brand as trustworthy before they would “interact” with the brand, and 41% of those surveyed said being able to read reviews on social networks increased their trust in a brand. Nielsen surveyed 28,000 Internet users in 50 countries, and 79% of the respondents said they trust online reviews of products.

So, before approaching blog owners, read their other reviews and get a feel for their review style. How do they handle features they think need improvement? Is it a writing style that meshes with your brand? Do they blog photos of their family using products? In the About.com survey, 34% of respondents said seeing pictures of other customers using the product was one way to build trust in brand.

When arranging the review of your product, provide the blogger with a graphic of your banner ad, links that maybe of interest, and product to give away. If as a result you attract 300 participants in the giveaway, that is a very targeted 300 sets of eyeballs learning about your product (and, possibly, looking at your banner ad).

Bloggers often promote such giveaways on Twitter and Facebook, and some even require entrants to tweet a specific message about the giveaway again an opportunity to get your brand in front of eyeballs and in the memory of your target customer.

5. Commit the funds and time

Two or three well-placed banner ads over the course of a year will get your banner in front of your audience, but it most likely will not get your product retained in consumers’  brains.

Unless a banner ad is so creative and memorable that it goes viral on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you will need to plan on placing your banner ads repeatedly and consistently in front of your market’s eyeballs.

Companies are allocating a larger percentage of their ad dollars to digital marketing. Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reported a 25.5% increase in dollars spent on digital ads from 2009 to 2011. Your competition is most likely following this trend, so you need to as well.

Here are the five takeaways:

  • Focus on PEARpotential eyeball and retention rate. If you focus solely on click-through rates, you’ll miss the long-term goal of ensuring that consumers think of your product and brand over the competition’s when they are finally ready to make a purchase.
  • Pageviews and subscriber rates are important, but also consider the demographic of the audience. Sometimes the focus can be solely on the quantity of the audience and not the quality, but think both.
  • Review the available digital spaces on your social networking accounts. Are you fully making use of those spaces and bringing a consistent banner campaign, message, and branding to those available areas? Each can be effective on its own, but to have a collective and consistent message across social media spaces boost PEAR.
  • Partner with bloggers for reviews and giveaways. The quality of engagement they have with very targeted markets can exponentially increase the PEAR opportunities through their Twitter and Facebook reach. In addition, research indicates that brand trust is gained through reviews.
  • Budget for repeated placements. The spend on digital banner ads is increasing. Most likely your competition is following the trend, so you need to as well.

About Michelle Eichhorn

Michelle Eichhorn is director of marketing and events for Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.. She can be found on the Web at eyecorn.com and @eyecorn on Twitter.

 

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Blueprint to Creating Landing Pages that Boost Conversion

If you are launching a product or service, or spending money on PPC or ad campaigns, don’t waste money and lose potential customers with a lackluster, generic landing page.

Getting prospects and customers to take another action after they click on an ad or a link is the main objective. Post-click marketing to turn clicks into conversions takes careful planning and an understanding of what your target audience needs to take that all-important next step.

There is an art to creating landing experiences that boost conversions.

Regardless of whether you’re a rookie or veteran marketer, we’ve assembled the following blueprint, using a PPC landing page we designed for a client, to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls we see all too often.

The Building Blocks of the Perfect PPC or Ad Landing Page

  • Match Your Landing Page Headline with Your Ad Headline and KeywordsThere are two reasons for this one is very obvious and the other may not even be know to the rookie marketer. The obvious reason is to remind the visitor why they are there. The less obvious reason is to enhance your Google AdWord Quality Score. Having a high quality score will both decrease your cost-per-click and reduce oval acquisition costs.
  • Create a Single Call-to-ActionThe most common mistakes we see are dropping your customer or prospect onto the home page of your website or asking them to do too much on your ad landing page. To reduce bounce, you need to focus on driving a single action. The old KISS adage certainly applies here!
  • Simply State the Benefits of Your Product or Service – explain to the reader why they should choose your product or service concisely no more than 100 words please!
  • Strategically Place Your Form to Capture Leads – There is a science behind the way your eyes moves across a page place an imaginary z atop your page. Place your logo in upper left, phone number in upper right, benefits in the center left, and call to action “Submit” in mid-to-lower right. Be sure to keep the form simple to promote conversion.
  • Build Credibility for Your Product or Service – a great way to support a customer or prospects decision to take the next step, is by building credibility for your product or service. Bryan Eisenberg, the guru of conversion rates, suggests placing trust icons next to your submit button. Customer testimonials, awards, as well as trust icons help make people click.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.