Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Adsense Business Model.

A few years ago I was involved in creating a website that I figured would be a waste of time from the beginning. However, certain articles on the website had some spelling errors that slipped through the QA.

Rather than fix the errors, I let them slide to see what would happen with the site, traffic, and rankings.

It turns out the site is bringing in over 1000 visitors a day and doing very well in regards to the adsense.

The site has likely paid for itself by now, and hasn't been touched since the launch. It just sits there and generates revenue.

I haven't paid much attention to the people out there making a killing on adsense. To me, this always seemed so small potatoes, it wasn't worth it. I'm starting to think otherwise.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to put up 20 or 30 of these types of sites, and hope that some day I could retire and watch the adsense revenue come in.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

HBO: Human Brain Optimization

I've read a few references to HBO lately(other than all the well deserved articles on the HBO network's high quality programming like Deadwood/Sopranos/Carnivale).

HBO in the context of search marketing (yeah, the acronym sucks) really just means usability. A highly functional site that is easy to use is, following the trend set by Google, likely to rank better than a crappy site.

Ok... so SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is replaced by (Human Brain Optimization). My thoughts are that if your site isn't HBO, why bother with SEO in the first place? Search Engine spiders don't buy your crap.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Social Marketing Optimization

I've been reading the occasional blog/article about Social Marketing Optimization, and it has a lot in common with Search Engine Optimization. Basic guidelines such as good usability, link strategies, and of course the content is king mantra.

Social Marketing Optimization is the name for that thing you do to make sure your website is getting lots of attention in the Social Media. Places such as youtube, blogs, etc. are your target publishers.

The most important factor is to have something worth talking about. Be it a product or content, if it isn't interesting it's not going to work out no matter how many special features and gimmicks you have on the site.

I've heard this interestingness refered to as linkability. Linkability is a little more complex than the interestingness of the content.

Linkability should take into account how easy you make it for the user to link to the target content. You should have important features such as rss feeds, nifty buttons that generate the link code (which is great for SEO and making sure your keywords are in the link), del.icio.us buttons, and pretagged content. You will also need to let your content go. If you set it free, the links will come back to you.

There are traditional marketing strategies that you should take into account as well. Your social media optimized content should be aimed at your target audience. There should be a end marketing goal for each social media campaign. Be it increasing traffic to a specific widget or gaining links for SEO, your approach will be different.

There are ways to buy your social marketing, but for it to be effective you will need to keep in mind that like any social group, online social groups have a set of morals in effect. You need to keep everything on the up and up. Paying bloggers to post or having a fake blog with posts, these things can easily backfire. Take the walmart sponsored blog where a couple travelled across the US staying at walmarts and saying nice things about walmarts in each post. When it was discovered that the blog was created by walmart there was a backlash. Now all those people Walmart reached with the campaign have a negative idea about walmart.

So, to sum up.

Social Marketing Optimization simplified:

1. Interestingness
2. Linkability
3. Target Audience
4. Integrity.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Why Google Radio Ads Will Work.

Recently a co-worker who has been assigned off-site marketing for a web site, attempted to market to the wrong demographic entirely with a test radio ad. Not surprisingly, it wasn't very successful, and now we're not doing any radio ads for that product.

A little over a year ago, Google purchased dMarc. dMarc's focus is automated advertising to radio stations. Recently Google started a test on print marketing, which I am sure will work.

The key to the success of Google ads is the inherently different way that the ads are able to reach potential customers. Whereas traditional marketing techniques like radio put the marketing message out there hoping that the customer will remember the message when they are ready to start shopping. Google Ads on the other hand reach the customer when they have already started shopping.

Say I was buying someone a big screen TV for Christmas, being the type of shopper I am, the first step would be to research big screen TVs. How do I do that? I type in "Big Screen TV reviews" into Google and see what happens. You know how the rest goes...

I can't imagine how Google will repeat this advertising model in radio and print. Without customer input, like the search for TVs above, it's pretty hard to deliver the right message to the customer at the right time.

Why will Google off-line media ads be successful?

Because they will solve the problems of their customers. Google's customers aren't the people using their search engine. Web companies market online because it is the most efficient way of marketing their web product. Google ads are the easiest and fastest way to gain market share. You want a market, you go out and buy it from Google and Yahoo. The return on investment is measurable, and cost easy to justify.

The problem online marketers have, is how to market off-line. They have this nifty interface where they can buy the customers, set up the ads, track the results, and generate reports. If web marketers want to market off-line, they either need to learn how to talk to people, or hire somebody that knows how to talk to people and what people to talk to.

Google will solve this problem. Google will do the talking to people for the web marketer. No longer will a marketing person need to call up an advertising agency or radio station and put up with the excessive meetings and boring sales presentations.

Say I want to put a radio ad out that reaches parents across the US between the ages of 35 and 40 that are going on a vacation without their kids in the next month. Google can do that. How? Who knows... but it's just data, and the mining of massive amounts of data seems to be something Google is pretty good at.

Yes, I'm a fan of Google. They're systematically taking the shmooze out of marketing.