Outside of YouTube there aren’t really a lot of great options for a no name video content creator looking for a place to upload their work. While destinations such as Vimeo and Facebook exist no one can yet match YouTube’s massive audience, easy to use interface and recommendation algorithms.
Comcast plans to change all that with the launch of their new video content portal “Watchable.” So what sets Watchable apart from other video platforms like YouTube? Their selling point right now is that they are going to pay content creators a bigger cut of ad revenue – 70% to be exact. This seems like a very fair Publisher rate on a network – a 70 / 30 spit gives the majority of the revenue to the creator – without whom the audience would not exist. In the past networks like YouTube have always had the luxury of being the “only game in town” for a digital video guy who doesn’t have a big budget. This expansion of the marketplace is a big win for digital filmmakers as more competition will improve services and income streams.
Another factor to consider in the launch of Watchable is that Comcast is probably one of the few companies with the size and reach to take on YouTube (Google) effectively. Rumor has it they are already in talks with companies like BuzzFeed, Vice Media, AwesomenessTV, Vox Media and Onion Inc. to distribute original video content on the new network. Watchable is slated to launch in beta in the coming weeks with a full scale launch later in the year.
The Watchable service will be available to any and all web users whether they live within Comcast’s service area or not. This move is happening as several of the big telecom companies begin invest in preparation for the future. Verizon is also creating a free, ad supported streaming service called “Go90.” The name comes from turning your device 90 degrees sideways to stream video. Much like Comcast’s move with their Watchable service, Verizon is already busy signing contracts with content driven companies like Vice Media and AwesomenessTV who will be featuring live channels and exclusive content on the platform.
In addition to the size and scale to take on Google, Comcast has also something YouTube doesn’t – a network of existing cable users and you can bet they’re going to leverage it. Watchable’s website is going to be a compliment to a Watchable on-demand channel that Comcast will make available to customers who use their X1 web connected set top box. This creates an additional incentive for filmmakers to use the service – aside from the 70% ad revenue split you’re also getting access to a cable connected audience that does not currently exist (at least en masse yet) on YouTube.
I was initially cynical about their being a catch on the 70% rev share Comcast is offering – but rumor has it the NBC Universal group never struck an ad revenue deal with YouTube due to the 45 / 55% split they insist on. Also, while some people like myself are looking at this as an affront to other digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook, Comcast is much more modest about their intentions. Spokespeople for the company have said they simply wanted to create a curated web portal for semi-pro and professinoal web video content that will attract a younger audience. It’s not going to be a full blown YouTube service that anyone and everyone can upload their videos to.
Recently YouTube announced it would be phasing out the sale of YouTube inventory on the DoubleClick exchange. This obviously makes a lot of 3rd party media dealers upset but they are doing it for a good reason.
As someone who has spent the majority of his career in digital helping content creators earn what they deserve this makes a lot of sense to me and here’s why.
When you run on exchanges there are all kinds of 3rd and 4th parties in the mix. This always negates quality due to lack of control. As a brand, YouTube is aiming for TV Budgets which are quickly moving to digital outlets. Having complete control of their platform and who’s buying what makes sense when you are moving to a more brand dollar driven system. The current ad spend for TV is around 70 billion dollars, so that’s a pretty big pie and even just having a small slice is incredibly profitable. Smart businesses are preparing for the massive movement of these dollars from standard television to digital outlets (which to be fair started a long time ago.)
Google, has more than 1 billion unique video views a month and people are uploading over 300 hours of video every minute. So not only does YouTube have the ability to track users habits and viewing rates, drop offs, etc. they also have the largest pool of available content AND the largest audience. It only makes sense to leverage an audience like that in order to sell targeted brand advertising.
Essentially what’s happening is that YouTube is becoming a “premium” advertising destination for digital video. This could mean a few different things to a few different types of businesses.
First – any of the media buying firms using exchanges will be hurt by this. If you’re a company who’s a middle man for YouTube via AdX or DoubleClick exchange you’re losing that source of inventory. Luckily there are a lot of new sources of digital video popping up so these firms won’t be completely left out in the cold.
Next – content creators. This is actually great news for YouTube filmmakers. If you have a large audience and are putting out interesting video that drives views you should see an increase in your earnings as more brand dollars begin to flow into YouTube. Higher CPM’s should also result from the lack of 3rd party players in the system and a more exclusive environment. So it’s really great for the content creators that use YouTube as it should mean increased revenue.
Finally – advertisers. Advertisers are now going to have a premium environment to buy targeted video impressions. If you’re Nike and you want to buy ads on sports content you can microtarget right down to the age demo and gender. Nike buys a lot of media that targets high school age demographics so they can buy into local high school athletics channels and other youth sports outlets.
All in all, this is the type of publisher centric move that drives media prices up for the content creators and gets them more high level and respectable brand advertising – which in some cases, if you’re not a complete cynic – can complement a well put together video production.
If you know anything about adwords management, you know that in order to boost your quality score you need to do things like use smaller ad groups, small batches of keywords, keyword heavy copy, etc. But what do you do when your landing page is the problem? Here are a few of your options…
Quality score seems complicated but it’s actually very simple. It’s a rating based on relevance. How relevant are your keywords, ads, copy and landing page? Do they all tie together? Would a user who searched your keyword and clicked on your ad be happy with the page they landed on? These are all the factors that together make up a quality score. You can win this game by being simple, straightforward and honest about what you are trying to sell. In SEO this is fairly common knowledge but it gets lost in the PPC world due to the fact you are buying. Still, as a buyer you want to pay the best price possible for your clicks and a high quality score will help decrease the amount you pay per click.
If you’re using WordPress you can be guided through a lot of this by simply using the Yoast plugin and following their instructions to get your post a green light. However, even in using Yoast it’s good to understand why they are asking you to do the things you’re doing. The following is a great primer for that.
The more specific you can make your landing pages the better. As an example say you are an online store that sells fishing and hunting equipment. Rather than bidding for fishing & hunting searches in the same ad group you would want to separate these into separate ad groups each with separate landing pages that contain keywords specific to the items you’re selling. That’s not to say you can’t run a campaign that has a combined fishing & hunting theme and be effective, you can. The likelihood of you paying more per click than you would had you separated them is high though. Google likes relevance and anything that aids in a positive user experience.
For relevance your landing page should repeat keywords you are targeting. To return to the fishing / hunting example again. If I’m running a campaign for fishing gear I may have an ad group with keywords like “buy fishing poles,” “bait & tackle,” “fishing equipment,” etc. I would then create ads that match these searches “buy fishing poles 15% off” and run these ads to a landing page I created specifically for a sale on fishing poles that repeats my keywords in a natural and fluid way. So maybe there’s text on the page that says “we have the best prices on bait & tackle, fishing equipment and gear. Right now you can buy fishing poles 15% off!” – as you can see this text repeats several of the above mentioned keywords and will help with landing page relevance.
In keeping with our theme here, your header tags should also repeat your keywords. After the introductory text there will be a heading that reads “Buy Fishing Poles 15% Off” with all of your sale itmes underneath it. Then maybe a bit further down the page there’s another heading that reads “Bait & Tackle” – “Related Items” “More Fishing Gear” etc. For best practices you’re going to want to have only 1 H1 tag and then a variety of other header tags (H2, H3, etc.).
Since a search engine doesn’t read an image it’s good to tag them with alt=”description”. This is a pretty basic and standard thing in the web design world but less likely to be considered in AdWords Management. To hammer it into your head – repeat your keywords in the alt tag wherever possible. Seeing a theme here? Good… that’s how you win the relevance game. Repeating your keywords everywhere you possibly can on your landing page.
What should you do in your meta tags? REPEAT YOUR KEYWORDS! See kids, it’s really simple. The process of optimizing your landing page for quality score breaks down to finding relevant keywords to bid on and then repeating those keywords anywhere you can in your ad copy and on your landing page. Meta data is no different. Try to narrow everything you’re selling down as much as possible so you can tag it with very specific meta data and repeat your keywords.
Page load time is the one aspect of landing page optimization that does not involve repeating your keywords. Anything you can do to make the user experience better is going to help. Think of it like this – If you’re Google or Bing or Yahoo you’re a search engine who wants to keep users coming back. If you’re serving them pages that load slowly or time out the chances are good users are going to stop searching there. For this reason it only makes sense that you optimize your pages for load time.
All in all if you follow the mantras of “be specific” and “repeat your keywords” you can drastically improve your quality score and garner better click through rates and lower costs per click.
Best of luck!
For today’s post I thought I’d kill 2 birds with 1 stone. We need more samples of infographics and we also want to provide as much data as possible about Magento since a lot of our clients use it… with that I bring you today’s Magento infographic.
When we first started Apex Digital Media in Sept. of 2014 SEO was pretty much our core competency. When prospective clients would ask us “What does SEO Cost?” – before even offering a quote I would usually prime them by sending a link to this article from Search Engine Watch. The reason being is that SEO is an extremely undervalued skill and a lot of people don’t realize it.
As a business your wisest move is to hire an agency or consultant to do SEO work for you. Some people will try to do it on their own and are capable – but think about the fact that time is money and if you’re running a business you probably don’t have time to sit down and spend several hours a day doing the intensive labor it takes to be successful. Some people will opt to hire a relative or current employee who “knows a lot about SEO,” and sometimes this can also work but rarely does it deliver the level of results you will get in finding and contracting a competent SEO agency.
If you look at this infographic from the Search Engine Watch article you can see that average hourly rates for SEO in the United States are over $100 per hour. You will also see that rates in less developed countries like India are about 50% of that on average with some hourly rates being as low as $20 / $25 per hour. These prices are a good indicator of quality and when you hire someone for SEO it’s probably good if English is their first language. Have you ever received a spam email from an Indian or Chinese spammer? I rest my case.
The above image shows average retainer rates across several countries, again you’ll notice that the lower rates are usually found in countries where English might not be their first language. I say this not to slag India but because we get countless requests from “outsourcing firms” to do cheap SEO work for us. Outsourcing SEO work to an international 3rd party almost never works out. If you’re interested you can view the full range of this data here. In the meantime, let’s discuss the different methods companies might want to charge you should you hire them to work for you doing SEO.
Digital agencies charge in a variety of different ways. If you’re in the market for a company to do SEO for you it’s good to understand payment structure so that you can work to find a company that meets your budgetary needs.
Finally, to quote Search Engine Watch: “As you begin shopping for SEO agencies and making your decision, be mindful of the following points”:
SEO takes time and you aren’t likely going to see results for at least 90 days. For this reason a package that gives you the best price over a long period of time is going to be the most effective for your needs. SEO is a long-term investment and the most enduring SEO results come from a long-term relationship. If you’re looking for instant sales or traffic you will want to spend on Pay Per Click which is a whole other ball of wax!
SEO is constantly changing and your rankings will fluctuate: New sites spring up every day, Google is constantly altering it’s algorithm to prevent cheating and provide for a better user experience. With all these and many other factors at play realize that nothing will ever be set in stone. It takes constant monitoring and effort to maintain great organic rankings.
If you’re in the market remember that SEO shouldn’t about shopping around for the lowest prices. It’s about finding the finest agency you can. Look for an SEO agency with good case studies that clearly defines its deliverables, and takes the time to educate you on what it’s doing and why. Unless people are able to find you online what’s the point of being there?
To learn more about how Apex Digital Media can help you with your SEO needs click here.
One of the most frequent questions business contacts will ask us is – “how much does a wordpress site cost?” – to be 100% honest there is no straight answer. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that is extremely versatile. It can do just about everything but most importantly it allows people with zero knowledge of web design the ability to create content online.
Some businesses need to sell products – WordPress has a deep ecommerce integration through WooCommerce. Some websites need to be able to allow new users to create and manage their own accounts – WordPress has a built in solution for handling this, etc. etc. A typical WordPress site at it’s core, domain, hosting, software installation can be fairly cheap. Good domain, good host and you’re looking at $300 a year if you can install, set up and customize the site yourself. Those are just basic costs – but when you need custom apps, design adjustments, etc. that’s when the costs begin to increase. Building a wordpress site isn’t much different than coding a site by hand. The core elements are there for you to use and a designer / developer can take those elements and shape them to a customer’s needs – in much the same way the basic HTML or CSS elements are there for a coder to use. WordPress is simply another platform, or vessel for design.
One thing we find time and time again is that business owners will do as much as they can to get a website “on the cheap” – they will try to do it themselves in their spare time, have a grandkid or a cousin tinker with it… all the while having a subpar representation of their business visible to the world. These people will come to us and want to spend several thousand dollars a month on advertising to try and drive new business – but the advertising is sending people to a flawed website that will never result in actual business.
If you are a business owner, your website is a big investment! This is your first impression to most people who are looking for what you do online. Think about it on your own terms – if you want something you go to Google, type in “best fishing gear” and you’re going to see brands like Cabela’s and BassPro but you will also see mom and pop business in the mix with these muti-million dollar franchises. These smaller shops have one chance to gain your business and imagine if you clicked through to “Dave’s Fishing Shop” because they had a great price on some waders but their site looked like it was built in 1995… You’re going to be less likely to make a purchase there.
There is no right answer here, however there are some good price ranges to consider and anyone that is way above or below these should raise concern. Someone who is too cheap is likely going to do a subpar job and then you’re just going to have to pay someone else again to do it right. Someone who is too expensive is either overcharging, outsourcing for a profit or in some cases just good enough and in enough demand to charge higher rates than their counterparts.
For a company just looking for a basic, 100% mobile & tablet responsive, 10 to 15 page website with a typical templated design the average cost is going to be around $2,500-$3,500. The low end would probably not include things like hosting, domain costs, email addresses, ongoing support & updates, etc.
This would include all of the basics from the typical set up but then add in items like a custom-built contact form, newsletter registration, hosting and domain registration costs, 5 – 10 email addresses, etc. These more customized design packages will run a bit higher in the $3,500 – $5,000 range.
eCommrece for WordPress is a bit more development heavy and as a result more costly. While plugins such as WooCommerce are available to help you will most likely still need the aid of a developer to customize them to your liking and set up payment gateways, shopping carts, etc. Other features that you will want to consider here are support (in case something you can’t fix breaks), custom landing pages for advertising campaigns, feeds for 3rd party store fronts, and anything else that helps you drive sales or new business. So how much does an eCommerce WordPress Site Cost? You’re looking at a range somewhere between $5,000-$15,000 depending on your needs.
For more information about how Apex Digital Media can help you with your design needs, click here.