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Cameron Prockiw is the Big Cheese at Vovia and has helped top companies around the world use the internet more effectively for over 20 years. Cam also enjoys traveling, experiencing different cultures, and unsurprisingly, cheese.

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5 Ideas to Fight Online Advertising Inflation

inflationExpect to pay more for your online ads this year.  The cost of online ads has historically increased at about 15% per year, but a recovering economy and the continued migration of advertising dollars to online are creating inflationary pressures for online ads.  In fact, two recent investigations put the current figures at much higher for both Google and Facebook.

Google online ads increase 6% in cost per click in Q2 alone!…
http://searchengineland.com/google-kills-the-quarter-9-billion-in-revenue-85716

Facebook online ads increase 74% in cost per click over the past year!…
http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-advertising-increases-19-fold-in-year-2011-07

What does that mean for companies that rely heavily on online advertising?  Either prepare to pay more for you ads, or get creative!  Here are some creative ideas for combating online advertising inflation:

  1. Improve your quality scores – The cost of search ads on both Google and Bing/Yahoo! are partially determined by your bid and partially by your quality score, so improving your quality score will actually decrease the cost you pay for each click.  So what is a quality score and how can you improve it?  Quality score is Google’s and Bing’s way of determining if your ad and website are relevant to the search being performed–they look at the ad, the page you’re sending people to, and the proportion of people who click on your ad in order to determine what your quality score is for any given keyword phrase.  There are a number of ways to improve your quality score, but the most effective is to create landing pages for phrases which have low quality scores.  The landing pages should be all about the phrase(s) they’re targeting.  For example, if you sell t-shirts and are targeting “three wolf double moon t-shirt” (which are strangely enough very popular–google it if you don’t believe me), then you should create a page entirely about the “three wolf double moon t-shirt” in order to increase your quality score and pay less for clicks on that ad.
  2. Target niche phrases – If your high volume keyword phrases are getting expensive, look for more niche variations (known as long-tail phrases) which aren’t as expensive.  For example, “t-shirts” may be competitive and expensive, but I bet “three wolf double wolf t-shirt” is a much more cost effective phrase.  You won’t sell as many t-shirts targeting this phrase alone, but if you can find a few dozen phrases like this you’ll be in business.
  3. Invest in search engine optimization – SEO involves more up-front work and cost, but once you’ve achieved top rankings they’re usually easy to maintain.  As a result, SEO usually provides the best return on investment of any online advertising costs.
  4. Invest in social media – Social media can be a very effective way of promoting most products and services.  But keep in mind that it’s not an instant solution–it’ll take time and effort to be effective.
  5. Look for other advertising and sponsorship opportunities – Most of the advertising effort and dollars go to Google, Bing/Yahoo and Facebook, but they aren’t the only options available.  Look for direct advertising and sponsorship opportunities within online communities where your customers hang out.  Also consider forms of advertising which may not be as competitive yet, such as podcast advertising.
These ideas will help you fight online advertising inflation, but there are also many other things you can do.  If you have any tactics which have worked for you, please share them!