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.
We do a lot of design for e-commerce driven businesses. One of the things we’ve run into a lot over the past couple years is people with unfinished Magento sites who need our help to get them functioning properly.
This can be a daunting task depending on several factors including which version of Magento they have and what type of hosting solution they are using. We did a lot of research into the costs associated with building and maintaining and found this article by the good folks at Shero Designs that covers the issue with great nuance. We borrowed a few of the key points from it for our blog and we encourage you to click over to their website and read the full version of the original post if you’re seriously considering a Magento site. (We also encourage you to read this thread and as many of the responses as you have time for.)
Let’s start with the basics. You need to strongly consider your hosting before anything. We recently took on a client who does pre-sale launches that produce incredibly high traffic spikes. Initially working with this customer there were issues with his server CPU maxing out. We were forced to move him to a more robust host and they are no longer having problems. If you are using Enterprise Edition you will need a dedicated server – however, we recommend it with Community Edition as well if you are planning on serving a large, international market.
If you are a site that’s doing 30 / 50,000 uniques or more per month it’s a good idea to get a dedicated server that is not cloud based. Most people completely negate the cost of hosting when looking to build a site of this nature but it’s an important one. You should be able to find a good dedicated server for $300 – $500 a month. If you are a small store without a budget like that you can work with shared hosting to start and find a hosting company that can grow with you. A lot of companies will have basic starter packages for $10 / $20 a month and as your site begins to grow you can expand to larger packages with ease.
Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a Magento hosting company are:
This is a basic website for a business starting from scratch or moving over from a different platform. This can be done by using a pre-built template which can be purchased or comes with a basic install of Magento. Another method is by converting an Adobe Photoshop design into a Magento store. Both of these options require a good deal of time to set up, configure, customize and test which is why even at a basic level Magento sites are not cheap.
Here are some of the basic features you can expect with a basic set-up of this nature.
This option is for bigger, established retailers who do most of their business online and are either moving from a different eCommerce platform or are upgrading their existing Magento websites. It provides a complete solution to online selling and with a business continuity plan in place for growth.
This option includes all the features from the Custom Magento website. Magento Enterprise Edition comes with the following additional features:
To find out more about how Apex Digital Media can help you with Magento Design and Development click here.
Back in Oct of 2014 we did a post about responsive web design for Google AdSense. The post was really popular but as all things internet related do, the details and process have evolved quite a bit since Oct 2014.
With that in mind I thought I’d publish a quick update as sort of a “heads up” to bloggers & publishers who may still be struggling with this issue. It’s actually very very simple now for Google AdSense. We will cover setting it up in DFP and other ad servers in a later post but we’ll keep this post nice and simple for Google AdSense.
It took me a while to grasp this but Google’s new “Responsive” format will fit ANY ad size – including the 728×90. I mistakenly thought the responsive ad size was simply a 300×250 that would scoot over on a mobile device screen…
I always opted for the 728×90 as my header ad, but in fact the responsive unit IS a fully responsive ad unit that when placed within a “div” tag will read the size of the space and serve ad formats that fit based on the user’s screen size. It’s pretty awesome. As an example, below are some shots of how the Apex blog looks on my desktop (Macbook Pro) and on my iphone.
Here’s the types of ads I’ll see on the desktop version of the site:
And here’s how that ad unit displays on the mobile version of the site: