How to do SEO sustainably

How to do SEO sustainably

When you read Fred, Penguin, Possum, Panda, what comes to mind? If you own or administer a website, it should be SEO: these are the euphemistic names (thank you Moz) of only a few Google algorithm updates over the last couple of years.

And that algorithm is key to your SEO triumphs and fails. Although these updates typically pose greater volatility to black-hat SEOs, it is important for everyone to understand what they are signaling.

Ultimately, all search engine algorithms are aimed at two goals; provide results that match user intent and prevent SERP gaming. Base your SEO strategies on these and they will be sustainable.

The foundation of SEO: Intent

User intent; many think that it is synonymous with the query a user is making through a search engine. But, there is a deeper picture at play; the search query merely signals intent.

For example, a siren signals an emergency and the type of emergency it is signaling depends on context, as well as the nature of the sound it is making.

Thus, begin with intent when considering what short- and long-tail searches you want to rank for…consider the why of the search. At its most basic, user intent is either transactional or informational.

User intent and the buyer’s journey

User intent is also dynamic; it changes according to the stage of the buyer’s journey. How you address each point along that path will depend on what you are offering.

To begin, plot the path-to-purchase and identify the intent of the user at each point. Next, formulate likely queries that the user will make and the content that is most likely to satisfy them.

Creating a visual aid, such as the diagram below from PPG Web Solutions, or a spreadsheet will help you organize the process. Be sure to include an intent column; in the diagram below, I would place it after the Buyer’s Journey.

Why content? It is the most accessible form of SEO and content gives users a reason to visit and spend time. Besides, gone are the days of building content-light sites and hitting the high positions in Bing, Yahoo, and Google SERPs.

Your SEO well: Content

Content is popular now because it works, not only for lead generation and nurturing, but for SEO. Word Count is being touted as SEO hack for content; we now interrupt this blog post for a Public Service Announcement.

Please stop looking for #hacks, they’re the refined sugar of the SEO world. Click To TweetThe issue with hacks is that people don’t scrutinize them to determine why they work. Granted, there is a correlation between length and SERP position:

Image from SEL

But, correlation doesn’t equate to causality; if it did, you could write a keyword stuffed series of unrelated sentences and rank. As with intent, the question is why does content with this word count rank?

Simple answer: meat, it has meat for bots and humans to sink their teeth into. That’s good news because if you can provide around the same amount of substance in a leaner piece, you don’t have to worry about word count.

SEO currency: time

Google wants to offer relevant results to user queries, but they can only infer relevance. They use metrics to accomplish this and one important metric is time on site.

The rationale goes that the more active time spent on a site, as measured by Session Time, Time on Page, and Session Depth, the more closely they must have hit their mark…and you will be rewarded with a higher ranking.

This is where tagging, page layout and internal linking strategies come into play. For example, we include internal links on our site pages that point to relevant content and vice versa: just make sure it makes sense.

Can you spare a link? Link building and SEO

Everyone’s talking about link building because this is an authority ranking factor. It is similar to the belief that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, i.e. quality sites associate with other quality sites.

While a good theory, it hasn’t always been the case. There are many black-hat link building techniques that worked very well to artificially inflate page rankings. But with Fred, the latest algorithm update, their days are numbered.

Aside from creating content that others want to link back to, start building relationships with relevant content producers. The keyword is build: read their work, provide sincere feedback to build rapport and DO NOT ask for a link when you first reach out.

I cannot tell you how many people have requested a link without reading our content. It is lazy at best…rant over. An easy way to find contacts is through paid tools such as Followerwonk and Buzzsumo; or, if you are the do-it-yourself type, try a web scraper.

Let’s get a little technical: Schema markup

You can do something right now that most publishers are not bothering with: implement schema markup on your site. You may have heard about it in terms of rich snippets that provide more information within individual search results.

But it’s more. As Kissmetrics puts it, “Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.” For instance, Top Gun can refer to a naval aviation school and a movie. Schema markup provides search engines the context they need to accurately place it…

Example from IMBD Page Inspection

…and it’s not that hard to implement. You can do it manually via HTML Microdata, JSON-LD or one of hundreds of plug-ins available. Note: it can be somewhat difficult to implement with certain WordPress themes.

Sustainability is in: Shift your SEO focus to the long-term

If you have read this far, congratulations: I have not provided hacks or step-by-step tactics on how to improve your SEO. That is not what you need because hacks and tactics have a shelf-life; they become irrelevant.

For example, it is only a matter of time before everyone is using Schema markup and any edge you gained from it will disappear. Besides, it is not really a hack and something that search engines actually support.

No, what you need is a mindset that will help you build sustainable SEO, one of curiousity, focused on providing value, and strategic. Build out your buyer’s journey, plot each stage, identify intent, formulate queries, develop content and build links. See you down the road.

Sound off, let the community members know your SEO tips and tricks!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

A beginner’s guide to CPM, CPC and CPA campaign options

A beginner’s guide to CPM, CPC and CPA campaign options

CPM, CPC, CPA…on and on, and so on. If ad tech is anything, it is an alphabet soup of epic proportions. The concepts behind the campaign acronyms are simple, but integrating them into your ad strategy isn’t.


However, to succeed in maximizing the return on investment of your ad spend, you must know how to use these campaign options in an integrated fashion. After all, each has its strengths and weaknesses.


The acronyms represent a common language of exchange for you and the publisher/s displaying your campaigns. Collectively known as payout options, they determine when you pay the publisher.

A journey through the ad tech alphabet

The first and oldest payout option is CPM, also known as Cost Per Mille. What is Mille? It is Latin for 1,000; therefore, you pay per 1,000 impressions.


Its primary drawback? That it is impression-based.


It is all but impossible to attribute performance to a specific campaign; even the most sophisticated attribution models are educated guesses. That said, it is the least expensive option because of its imprecision. Advertisers often use CPM campaigns to increase and maintain brand awareness.


What if you want more actionable campaigns?


The CPC, or Cost Per Click, option is the first iteration of what are known as performance-based models. Performance models provide advertisers with greater budget oversight and attribution.


With CPC campaigns, advertisers pay for a click and even attribute a conversion to said click. The issue? You can’t control for multiple clicks from the same user and attribution is difficult if the conversion doesn’t immediately follow a click.


Enter the CPA payout models, or Cost Per Action, of which there are many. Whether it be registration, installation, sale or other action, advertisers do not pay unless a user performs the action.


These payout options result in a more equal exchange between publisher and advertiser because the publisher must be more strategic when placing the ad space. Otherwise, he or she will waste an impression.

The CPA option is stronger…but possesses drawbacks as well

With CPM, publishers can place ad space below the fold and therefore only visible through scrolling: the publisher can potentially get paid for an impression that was technically served, but never seen.


While the standard is moving toward in-screen CPMs, the most surefire way to ensure that you’re getting what you expect is to opt for CPA payout options. The same goes for accidental clicks from CPC campaigns.


CPA campaigns are protected because a user not only has to click an ad, but perform a specific action. Consequently, it is to the publisher’s benefit to provide visible ad space to qualified traffic.


But it isn’t without its drawbacks and CPA campaigns should be used in concert with the other: they run the risk of not providing the same level of traffic as the others due to the level of commitment they require from the publisher.

Hey, it’s your funnel but it all flows one way

The payout types you use and when you use them will depend on a number of factors: not the least is the part of your funnel you’re targeting. However complex your conversion path, the aim is the same; take multiple leads in and convert as many as you can:

campaign options

Spread the word, but precisely: start with CPM

For the top funnel, the most cost efficient payout option is CPM. Think of CPM campaigns as windshield campaigns; you pay a kid to run stick flyers underneath the windshield wipers of cars.


But, CPM campaigns are better because digital ad serving platforms allow you to tell the kid which vehicle to target. Just bear in mind that the more specific you are, the less traffic you will have.


Instead of targeting 2015 BMWs parked in a specific lot, target late model luxury vehicles parked in store lots within a specified area. Remember: it’s not just about payout type, but how you target.

Test and optimize your sales path: use CPC

Once you’re happy with your brand awareness and able to correlate a rise in website visits with your CPM campaigns, it’s time to address the middle of the funnel by implementing CPC campaigns.


These campaigns are great for deepening user engagement because you are only paying for clicks, the implication being that users who click are curious and interested in what you are offering.


Tip: effectively structure your click path and you will reap the most from CPC campaigns. Specifically, your ad should redirect to a landing page that either converts or sends them elsewhere.


Track each stage and identify where bottlenecks are within your path to purchase: CPC campaigns are not only a good way to target for conversions, they’re also a good way to test your campaigns.

Pay for your outcome: use CPA campaigns

Once tested and optimized, use CPA campaigns to target the bottom funnel because you are asking users to perform a specific action: they must be ready to convert or you just wasted everyone’s time.


Remember: you can use multiple CPA options to drive specific outcomes. For example, if you provide a service that has a longer path to purchase, you might not want to ask for the sale immediately.


Instead, start with a registration, such as for a newsletter registration. Don’t get caught up with making an immediate sale, today’s buyers will likely make many micro conversions before they convert.

The tighter the weave, the stronger your ad strategy

Plotting your funnel stages and tying your payout options accordingly will give you the greatest budget efficiency and effect. The above is merely an example of how to arrange your payout options.


Real funnels are more dynamic and never straight forward. Therefore, you may combine payout options at specific funnel stages or substitute one for another. The only way to know what works best is to test.


Nonetheless, you need to weave all payout options into your ad strategy and weave them tightly. Follow the ABCs and you will lead your customers along the path to purchase and convert.

Sound off, let the community members know how you use campaign options!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Understand these 5 app trends and stay ahead

Understand these 5 app trends and stay ahead

Smartphone subscribers were expected to comprise 46% of the global population by the end of 2016 according to Forrester. The market opportunities will decrease quickly, but those who understand the trends will stay ahead.

2017 is not so much about new as it is about the increasing intimacy of our relationships with smartphones. This will only continue as mobile payments, wearables and AR/VR technology become more accessible and adopted.

But it’s not the trends that are important, it’s the core truth they are grounded in. The question to ask is, what do the trends tell you about how users are engaging with their phones and what they expect from it? Now on to the trends…

Trend 1: App stores will remain the hub of app discovery but…

Google is beginning to roll out Instant Apps to a limited number of users, opening an additional channel for app discovery. Instant Apps are the sample toothbrushes that you get from the dentist of the app world.

You don’t have to install the app to use it and when close it, the app is gone. Consequently, none of the device’s storage has to be sacrificed to test an app or for one that won’t be used often, e.g. booking app.

How will this bode for the future of app development, especially the small- and mid-cap apps built to drive income? On one hand, Android users will be able to find suggested apps to go with their Google search.

On the other hand, you will be investing a lot of resources in creating an app that isn’t truly able to be monetized just for the opportunity to entice the user to download the full version while still running the risk of losing them within 90 days.

Trend 2: Aggregation apps will become increasingly popular

How many blog posts do you think are produced each day? If you guessed around 2 million, you’d be right. That’s just blog posts and doesn’t take into account other forms of content such as infographics, videos and social media.

With brands entering the content fray and technology providing users the means to efficiently create all forms of content, user eyeballs will become evermore saturated with content. The solution? Aggregator apps.

These apps satisfy the two requirements of apps: to make users’ lives easier and to entertain them. And they are getting better at what is fast becoming a third requirement: other- and self-personalization.

Get these three requirements right and you might just provide enough incentive for the user to download and keep your app. How do you accomplish the third? Use data for the former and provide tools and features for users to accomplish the latter.

Trend 3: Churn baby churn

Churn will continue to be a problem for app developers as 80% of users continue to leave apps within the first 90 days. The margin for error is even tighter considering that the majority of in-app time is spent within a small number of apps.

How can app developers/publishers beat the average? The Localytics research referenced above indicates that rich push notifications and in-app messaging are essential to encouraging engagement…and they must be personalized.

See those couples and groups of friends physically occupying the same space but with their noses firmly placed in-screen? The digital world will not only enhance the real, but it will replace many aspects of it.

But users are still humans with human needs…we will expect the same from the digital world. In this case, we will expect that our devices and apps know us to such a degree that they will even be able to predict our wants and desires.

Trend 4: Your app is only as good as your data and segmentation

Enter data: 2.5 quintillion bytes of it are created. Daily. How many zeroes are in a quintillion? 18. Simply put: that’s a lot of data. Money may make the world go ‘round but data makes the money go ‘round.

Luckily for you, your app is the perfect data-capture solution: users willingly hand over data for access to your app. This provides you a unique opportunity to personalize the in-app experience.

The trick for you will be collecting data in a non-threatening way. Specifically, the permissions you request need to be relevant to the in-app experience. It’ll be the difference between your user feeling taken care of or interrogated…

…no one likes to feel interrogated. Back to the data; you’re getting a lot of it and you will need to segment it to make any sense of it. Only through effective segmentation will you be able to realistically provide a personalized experience.

Trend 5: Be one with the platform and use discretion

Remember those rich push notifications we covered in Trend 3; why are they more likely to encourage engagement than a textual notification? The technology. The technology we use shapes our expectations.

After all, if your users were accessing your app through a feature-phone, their expectations would be different. Let’s consider how to work with the current technology while drawing from what worked in the past.

The record-breaking pre-registration numbers for the Nokia 3310 are not just the result of nostalgia, they are the result of something else: design. Its elegance lies in its purpose-built simplicity, complexity produced anxiety.

Hint: it’s not complexity that users expect. Ask why rich push notifications engage users? Answer this and you’ll get to the core truth of the technology; then you can ask how you can implement it into other app facets?

So, what core truth are these app trends grounded in?

There’s no question that you have your work cut out for you; you face greater competition and other external pressures in capturing and maintaining users for your app. Luckily, the opportunities have never been greater.

Be aware of what is happening, yes; but dig deeper to understand where each year’s trends are grounded in. In fact, review the trends of the past few years and you’ll see that they are all grounded in one core truth.

So, what is the core truth of these 5 trends? The smartphone is a dynamic device that is more an executive assistant than phone. They become our extensions due to their knowledge of us and how they use that knowledge…to give us what we want before we even know it.

Sound off, let the community members know where you see the app trends pointing and start a discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Combat ad fatigue and save your app

Combat ad fatigue and save your app

By 2020, Ad Fatigue (ad lassitudinem) is expected to cost digital publishers $27 billion. Although the in-app environment has been largely immune to Ad Fatigue, this will change as mobile ad budgets continue their migration to apps. Additionally, app users are active on other platforms.

Therefore, they are either symptomatic or already susceptible to Ad Fatigue. Only by taking measures to ensure a good user experience can publishers prevent Ad Fatigue from developing within their user base and extending to the greater digital environment.

What is ad fatigue and what causes it?

Ad Fatigue (AF) is a psychobehavioral syndrome with genetic, cultural and environmental factors. Clinically, it is is characterized by affect instability, increased ad disturbance and decreased ad engagement.

Unfortunately, every internet user appears to possess a genetic predisposition to Ad Fatigue and culture can mediate its development. Additionally, changes in the macro digital environment have contributed to its prevalence since the release of the first digital banner in 1994.

Acutely, the micro digital environments that users visit, i.e. apps and websites, cause Ad Fatigue. For instance, properties that overexpose their users to ads either in number or frequency are particularly toxic.

Progression and prognosis

AF’s progression has three sequential phases: ad irritability, banner blindness and ad hostility. Left untreated, Acute Ad Fatigue progresses into Chronic Ad Fatigue Syndrome (CAFS).

Once a user develops CAFS, they typically employ ad blocking technology. Desktop and mobile web publishers are provided a glimmer of hope: users can be convinced to stop using the technology.

But app developers have no such hope: users will abandon the app altogether. Coupled with an abandonment rate of 25% from healthy users, Ad Fatigue presents app publishers with an existential threat.

An existential problem for app publishers

The bad news? AF has evolved to pandemic proportions. All users are exhibiting the symptoms of one of its three stages. The good news? You can take steps today that will prevent the majority of your users from developing its chronic form.

While most of the onus has been put on advertisers to prevent Ad Fatigue, ad networks need to provide publishers the tools to effectively combat it. After all, their app/s are on the chopping block once users develop AF.

To combat Ad Fatigue, publishers need an ad network that works with premium advertisers and provides an SDK equipped with engaging formats and tools to control for ad exposure.

Your ad network’s SDK is your primary tool

Relevant, non-intrusive ads ensure engagement and engagement is inversely related to Ad Fatigue. Reward Video and Native Ads are the latest research-supported ad formats that demonstrate high rates of engagement.

However, no matter how engaging the ad, users will quickly develop Ad Fatigue if they are exposed to ads too many times. Thus, publishers need to specifically control for redundancy and frequency.

With adaptive targeting, publishers can control for redundancy by preventing their users from seeing additional ads for products they’ve converted on. For frequency, day and lifetime capping allow publishers to decide how often and long users will see the same ad.

Prevent in-app Ad Fatigue today or pay for it tomorrow

Like one’s physical health, the actions that publishers take today will determine their app’s health tomorrow. Only through consistent monitoring and application of knowledge will they be able to maintain their app’s health over time.

The decisions publishers make over how they arrange their formats and control for exposure will be unique to their individual user base. Nonetheless, one thing is certain in this cross-device world: less is more and the ad network publishers partner with should allow them to do more with less.

Give your app and ad network’s SDK a check-up today. Otherwise, the only indication that your user base has developed AF will be when their numbers have inexplicably and unexpectedly plummeted…never to return.

Update: Here’s some advice on how to effectively battle ad fatigue with some of our new and engaging formats. Read about native advertising and how we gave our site-under a serious facelift.

Sound off; let the community know how you beat Ad Fatigue and add to the discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.
Media Buying Mistakes: A Sneak Peek

Media Buying Mistakes: A Sneak Peek

I would like to present you a list of the most common mistakes media buyers make when they are optimizing or preparing their campaigns.

It’s normal that – when you are getting started in this amazing world of affiliate marketing – you make mistakes. Let me help you solve some of them.

A short note: this article is dedicated to newbies. You Big Sharks don’t need to offend me or claim that my mother performs a weird activity because I won’t go into deep details here.

Higher Payouts Don’t Mean More Profit

It’s really common for newbies to make mistakes when considering the most important metric. Quite often, they speak with us, telling us they want offers with the highest payout possible.

We explain that this is not the most important thing, since you should consider the EPC/eCPM as the value that will help you define the revenue you can make and the performance of the offer. But they insist (some are really stubborn). And then they come back to us after having poor results and we can use our favorite English sentence, which is “Told ya”.

Now, more seriously, you can have an offer that pays 50€ for every conversion (normally related to Credit Card billing) but the Conversion Rate is so low that it just doesn’t pay off. You should seek offers that combine a good payout and a good conversion rate, thus the EPC/eCPM.

For some newbies, starting a campaign is so exciting that they need to monitor their pacemaker carefully. You are investing money, checking numbers, noticing that you have some conversions, and then you see that you are losing money! Oh God, I’ve spent 1.57€ without any conversions. You start to blame everything: this offer sucks, the traffic source is bad, my wife is cheating on me, etc.

Take it easy!

You just need to be patient and wait for more impressions so they can bring more conversions. The piece of advice I usually give is that the average payout of the offer can define the amount of money you need to spend in order to start optimizing.

If you promote an offer with a payout of 0.50€ (in countries such as IN, TH or BG) spending 20€ should be enough for you to have an idea and start to optimize the biggest browsers, websites, devices, etc. If you promote an offer with a payout of around 2€ (AR, BR, MX) you can spend 50€ before making any decisions. For bigger payouts such as 10€ (CH, DE, FR) be like Floyd Mayweather (not too much, though) and spend money – less than 150€/200€ will not help you to start optimizing your campaign.

Some media buyers apply the 20% rule: if, after spending a good amount of money, your ROI is less than -80% (you’ve earned less than 20% of what you’ve invested) there is no potential on this campaign. I leave this to your criteria 😀

Split test

A mistake I see happen sometimes is when people are working only with one offer and one LP and are investing all the effort and optimization on the traffic source. It’s very important to test different angles and even test the same offer through different Affiliate Networks.

As I alluded to before, when an offer doesn’t work, it can be because the landing page you are using is not appropriate or the banner is not performing. That’s why you should try different combinations with Offer, Pre-landing page and Banner.

The best advice I can give you here is to spy: go check the competition, check their pre-landing pages, use them to get inspiration, and create your own, check the banners normally used on this offer type, and so on and so forth.

And SPLIT TEST! It can also happen that the same offer has a different performance on different networks: the redirection can be faster depending on the servers, the partnership is different so one Network has a higher payout, the cap can impact the volume you bring to the offer, etc.

Test your blacklist

The oldest task on earth, right after fishing and hunting, is to cut websites when optimizing the campaign. It’s easy: you see a low-performing publisher and bam! Go to hell! But sometimes it can be useful to test them with a lower bid. It can happen that they were not performing because you were paying too much.

Sometimes you cut a source that has a considerable volume. It’s a shame to ignore it forever. Don’t cut it just yet. Try setting a lower bid and you can be surprised. Remember that Media Buying is simple: it’s just about finding the right balance between price of traffic and revenue.

You can even create different buckets for the same target: the exact same campaign with different bids. Then, you can move your websites from bucket to bucket according to performance.

Getting good profit margins? Think about increasing capping

I’ve seen media buyers getting really happy because they’ve spent 5€ and earned 20€. That’s very good but you can increase it more. “Oh but I already have the first position and cannot set a wider targeting”. Okay. Then increase your capping.

Your capping plays a huge role on increasing the volume. It’s simple: you start your campaign with a capping of one or two. Then, the challenge is to increase and see from which impression/position you start losing money.

Here’s a quick example just for you to get the idea:

As you can see, until the capping of 3, the margin was increasing. Then, we went further, but our margin started to decrease. Therefore, our optimal capping on this campaign is 3.

If you are a newbie, take your time and don’t get started in difficult GEOs

“I will start Media Buying today! I’ve read several articles online, I know capping, I can bid like the best of them, I am full of myself. I will try IN and TH at the beginning because it’s where the money is”. And of course, you’ve just ran straightforward and hit a tree.

When you start, it’s always good to begin exploring easier GEOs, where the competition is not so fierce and you are not competing with the big sharks that are wandering out there. Go slow, be patient, learn all the small details of Media Buying, and keep scaling into harder GEOs.

Copycatting is good. It allows you to have ideas and check what is going on out there. But don’t do exactly what the others are doing. Get inspired by checking other people’s work but don’t forget to create your own style, adapted to your own self, and to your innate skills.

I would like to be able to copy the really technical guys that do Media Buying but I can’t, because it’s not really my thing so I will be focusing on the creative aspect of Media Buying instead. The final goal is for you to create your own way of working.

About the Author

Nelson Nascimento is Mobidea‘s Sales Team Manager, an author in the Mobidea Academy and a media buying expert with extensive experience in affiliate marketing.

Ecommerce 101: get ’em in with an ad network

Ecommerce 101: get ’em in with an ad network

You’ve implemented website best practices, and created a social media and content schedule to increase long-term engagement. Now it’s time to spend money to make money: using an ad network to get ‘em in.

We are going to look at how to best rate an ad network and make the most out of your campaigns. While website design/SEO, social media and content are long-term plays, advertising provides immediate traffic.

We want to cover display networks that broker traffic between publishers and advertisers. In this case, you’ll be operating as the latter. They are difficult to vet because there are many and they vary in their offers. Let’s dig in.

An ad network is an ad network is an ad network…

and an apple is an apple is an apple…they all have a similar shape and nutrition profile. But did you know there are 7,500 varieties of apples? The same goes for ad networks; each has its own size and color.

You probably have a favorite apple or two based on your preference. Choosing an ad network will be a little more complicated. You need to rate them according to the 3Ts: traffic, targeting and tracking.

Traffic: not all is created equal

At the end of the day, it’s all about traffic and publishers are the ones providing it. You “buy” traffic by paying for space on the publisher’s property, i.e. website/app. Your network needs to provide premium publishers and monitor for fraud.

Otherwise, you could waste money and worse, risk brand image. To the former, there are publishers who will sell space but not display the ads that purchase it on their site through various schemes.

Not even Google and Facebook can claim that their traffic is 100% clean. Nonetheless, the network you choose should proactively combat fraud, like Adcash…apologies for the plug but this is one area we excel in.

Targeting: your traffic is only as good as your targeting

You want access to a large pool of premium traffic but you also have a specific demographic in mind. If you aren’t provided the proper targeting options then your budget efficiency will suffer and margins will tighten.

For every cent you spend on advertising, you subtract one from every sale you make; you have to make it count. Basic targeting features include geo, language, device, browser and IP. These are a good place to start but you need more.

Your ad network should provide category and interest targeting at the very least.

Category targeting allows you to limit the sites that your ads to only those of a specific theme. The strength of this targeting is also its drawback: it targets the site. Your users visit multiple sites with multiple categories/themes.

A way to improve category targeting? The buyer personas you created in part 3. Ask yourself, “What site categories are my buyer personas likely visiting?” Create a target diagram with your answers.

Your bullseye will be the category most closely related to your product/service. The next ring will be the second closest, so on so forth. You should have three to four rings beyond your bullseye…test, track and adjust.

Interest targeting presents an easier way to reach your audience because it will track them according to their interests, regardless of the site they visit. As with category targeting, you’ll want to create a diagram to determine corollary interests.

Tracking: Track or throw your money into the wind

Most ad platforms provide what can be described as mandatory conversion tracking. It provides accountability and proof that you are getting the impressions you paid for. But it should also provide informative tracking.

There are 3rd-party platforms that provide both forms of tracking and integration isn’t too complicated. Regardless of your level of expertise, all integration costs one thing: time, which we want to save.

Why informative tracking? This type of tracking allows you to track what google would call micro conversions. These are events that lead up to your ultimate, revenue-producing conversion; your macro conversion.

By tracking the events that lead to conversion, you can identify where your audience is reaching a bottleneck within the buyer’s journey. For instance, you can track those who’ve provided their email address, filled out the shipping form, etc.

Make the most of your ad network budget

You’ve found your network: you need to make the most of the traffic your ads produce. Most of your visitors will leave empty-handed regardless of the channel you use. Don’t worry, you can improve the odds.

According to a small study conducted by Fairfax Media, your ads should possess 4 characteristics to be memorable:

  • Contrasting colors/brand colors
  • Simple, concise messaging
  • Clear, uncluttered design
  • Prominent brand logos/symbols

Control for exposure through frequency capping. If a user has seen your ad three times and hasn’t engaged with it, they likely never will. Continuing to advertise to them reduces budget efficiency and courts ill will.

For those who do engage with your ad, they should be taken to a landing page. If you don’t create a landing page, your conversions will reflect it. It’s simple, users demonstrate intent when they click your ad.

Sending them to a homepage is either lazy or greedy. You told me to come into your store to buy a Coke and then send me to your cooler to find it among all the other sodas. Instead, send me to where it is clearly displayed.

Consider including a small discount in return for email addresses. By acquiring email addresses, you create the opportunity to recapture some of your spend down the road through remarketing efforts.

Your ad network homework and what’s up next

You’ve done it, you’ve made it to the end of section 1 of the Ecommerce 101 series, get ‘em in. Hopefully, you’ve completed the homework and are consistently applying the principles we’ve covered in all four parts.
The pace will increase as we cover what to do when you get ‘em in, converting ‘em. As always, there is homework involved. It’s now time to expand your scope and look at alternative ad networks.

Naturally, I’m partial to Adcash and believe that it is the best ad network to partner with. Registration is free and starting budgets are low: here’s a pretty balanced review of where we get it right and less than right.

But I want you to make an informed decision, so evaluate a few according to the 3Ts. Also, if you haven’t created a campaign thus far DO IT. You don’t have to run it now, just create it. And we’re on to section 2, convert ‘em. See ya soon.

With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

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