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In the past few weeks Google announced that they were no longer offering Radio and Print ads. Just another reason why Search Engine Marketing is here to stay. The inventory that Google was providing for these services were on a remnant basis and when we approached clients that may have been opened to these advertising outlets, they were not confident that these inventory sources would help them reach their goals.

The services did not offer attractive pricing for clients that have used print and radio in the past. The fact that they were not able to get choice positioning was also a negative factor that could have contributed to the downfall of Google Radio and Print ads. It was a good effort on Google’s part to try to bring in more revenue, but the fact remains that Search Engine Marketing still remains to be the best ROI producers for most companies and businesses that advertise. This is simply why print ad revenue continues to dive down year after year.

What we thought was attractive about these two particular services was the reporting capabilities that Google so often emphasized. It is hard to measure these advertising sources and even with Google’s cool tools and gadgets, it was hard to correlate the results to the advertising.

The main lesson learned from this endeavor: Search Engine Marketing is the best bang for your buck.

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Many businesses invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars into their websites, hoping that it will generate sales and leads. Far too often, pros in Search Engine Marketing come across websites that, plain and simple, are not conducive to maximizing their business goals. Here are some quick tips to help enhance your user experience that should result in an increase in conversions.

  1. Calls To Action — Sites that lack calls to action tend to receive a lower conversion rate than ones that plaster their website directing searchers to actions. It could be as simple as adding buttons that say, “Sign Up Now,

When the economy is in a state of turmoil businesses tend to cut their advertising budgets first. The following is a list of examples of why this is not a good idea:

  • In 1981-82, businesses that maintained or increased their ad spend averaged higher sales growth throughout the recession and in the following three years.
  • By 1985, sales of the businesses that maintained or increased their ad spend during that recession had risen 256% over those that had cut back on advertising.
  • In 2001, a study found that companies that aggressively advertise during recessions increased their market share 2 ½ times the average for all businesses in the post-recession.

That being said, companies still may find it necessary to cut back on advertising spend. If you are an advertiser and are looking for an affordable solution to spend your limited advertising budget, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising may be exactly what you’re looking for. PPC advertising is a relatively low cost solution for generating traffic to your website; it allows you to see initial results; it is highly measurable and it can give you an immediate return on your investment (ROI) – especially if you’re an e-commerce site.

While it’s important to continuously update your site’s content and optimize it in order to rank organically, it is equally important to have a presence on the search engine results page (SERP) for those keywords that are highly competitive and will take time, through the use of proper search engine optimization (SEO) practices, to have any sort of presence. PPC advertising allows us to have a presence on these competitive queries.

If you decide to use PPC advertising you will not only be limited to the SERPs and keyword bidding game. If you are looking to create a buzz about your site or are just looking to generate more traffic, PPC allows you to create ads (using your own unique and creative ad copy and/or image ad) to display across the web on sites that have similar content as yours through the use of the content network. The content network can be helpful for generating a lot of traffic at a fraction of the cost. It can also be used as a valuable branding tool. (I will discuss the pros and cons of the content network in a future post)

We may all have to make sacrifices during these troubling economic times. If you’re a business owner it is in your best interest to think about the importance of advertising. And if cutting some of your advertising budget is necessary, you may want to consider PPC, which is a viable alternative and more cost effective approach to the traditional forms of advertising you might be used to.

Disclosure: the above statistics were taken from Paul Dunay’s post in Marketing Blog – Daily Fix (11.21.08) http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2008/11/statistics_on_advertising_duri.html

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Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it was laying of 5000 people from its workforce.  Sure we can blame the failing economy, but many people are contributing this major layoff on the Window’s Vista operating system. While it has not been yet reported if any of the layoffs are going to affect the Microsoft Advertising division, it has been reported that they are looking to expand this division post-layoff.

Microsoft AdCenter has come a long way in the past couple years. One of the last major search engines to step up its advertising platform, I have to admit they are doing a great job of trying to keep up with Google’s advertising technologies. AdCenter has already surpassed Yahoo’s Panama system, which is often far more complicated and tedious to manage (try making bulk changes on the fly!!!).

Recently added to MSN’s arsenal is the desktop software (currently in Beta) that rivals Google’s Adwords Editor.  Microsoft Advertising has also expanded it’s program to offer a more CPA-focused capabilities.  While the advertising programs keep improving one thing that MSN should concentrate on is expanding its user-base.

eVolving Interactive uses MSN to bring in supplementary traffic for its clients. We have found that the inventory has consistently stayed low. I believe that MSN could be a leader in Search Engine Marketing if they did a better job trying to attract everyday people into using it’s search engine.

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In a time of economic distress, Google still managed to increase it’s revenue 18% from the previous year’s Q4, according to ClickZ’s, Zachary Rodgers.

The article mentions that CPC’s keep increasing and this is a sign that people are still clicking on Sponsored Links. This is not surprise to anyone that works in Search Engine Marketing (SEM). We have seen increasing prices for clicks especially on Google. We have yet to see any CPC’s decrease without campaign optimizations in order to adhere to best practices on increasing quality scores.

In fact, every day we have seen that we have been having to increase our bids to maintain results. The downside is that this affords advertisers even less clicks.

Of of Google’s SVP’s was quoted as saying, “If a recession caused less commerce to take place, that would adversely impact us and you’d see CPCs go down,

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