When Microsoft bought Nokia earlier this week, they made a bold move. Sure, it’s a copycat move, based on the fact that Apple already makes iPhones and Google owns Motorola. But it was still bold, big, and important.
It’s also a bold move to remove Steve Ballmer as CEO. Personally, I think that was long overdue and I think you’ll see it happen relatively fast. They’re done with him. It’s time to get a more visionary person that will drive Microsoft into the future instead of holding on to it’s past.
One area of Internet marketing that most tend to ignore is advertising. It’s understandable. After all, the incredible opportunity of search engine marketing and the power of work of mouth in social media is more exciting and interesting than a boring ad.
However, at times you need to get your brand and message out there on a large scale to those that may not even know you exist.
Web advertising still works. In fact, it has advanced a lot from the banner ads you may remember. Different formats, interactivity, and even social components have been added.
I’m currently on my plane ride home from Vegas. Unfortunately, this plane does not have Internet access like my last one did. So this is a good time to write out a bunch of my observations and thoughts from the conference I just attended.
WARNING: This post is going to be long. Feel free to just scan over the Bolded/capitalized headings and just read what you are interested in.
(You can also just read the very brief points at the end.)
1. PUBCON HAS A DIFFERENT FEEL The style of Pubcon is different than any other conference in my opinion. Brett Tabke is a genuine nice guy that does this conference year after year. Many of the speakers and attendees know him personally and speak positively of him. The conference has an overall feeling of individuals helping individuals. Everyone is not just friendly, but genuinely helpful.
Guys like Jerry West, Greg Boser, Brad Geddes, Christine Churchill, and countless others all rally together to learn from each other and to help newbies at Pubcon. The whole event is very welcoming to newcomers. This is evident not only in the presentations, but in the constant conversations between sessions. Pubcon is mostly about search, but like most conferences, they delve into other areas such as social media, new media, etc.
2. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING TOOLS For keyword research, several marketers are complaining about the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. They are not showing all data as of just a few weeks ago. It looks like many are going back to using WordTracker and Keyword Discovery for inventory data. Another incredible tool to mine new keyword phrases is Scrapebox. It’s amazing.
For Link Building and other SEO tools, it seems as if SEOmoz and SEOBook are the clear leaders.
For SEO reporting, Raven Tools is quickly becoming the industry favorite.
3. PAY PER CLICK SEARCH MARKETING I was surprised that more people were not excited about jumping head first into Microsoft AdCenter now that it is powering both Bing and Yahoo. Rather, most everyone still focuses their energy on Google AdWords and simply copy what works into Microsoft AdCenter.
The strongest tips that came out of PPC were to focus more intently on negative keywords. Several presenters encouraged using thousands of negative keywords. Use tools such as Scrapebox to find as many as possible.
Some other good tips were to focus on Quality Score. Improving your QS can have a dramatic effect on your spending.
4. FACEBOOK MARKETING Between the sessions I attended and the conversations I had, it’s becoming more obvious that using Facebook for marketing is really in its infancy. Very few marketers are just STARTING to even try this, let alone see the potential.
The technique that many are using is to use targeted ads to drive traffic to custom built pages that engage and reward “liking” the page. Hopefully, the viral effect kicks in. If your audience engages, their friends see them and may join too.
The concept is that you then “own the audience” and can try to engage them on the page over and over. You may choose to push them toward an offer on your website or just keep engaging them to the benefit of the brand.
Interestingly, if it doesn’t work, it’s easy to start over, give up, and try something different on a Facebook page. So the general idea is to keep trying something until it starts clicking with your target audience. Very little harm is done if you fail at first. Just reiterate and move on.
5. E-COMMERCE It works. People make very good money at it. Search engine placement for the right keywords is money in the bank. In fact, it is reoccurring money that keeps on coming in.
This is so true that those that are involved in successful e-commerce can’t help but laugh at those that are trying to make money in social media. Both e-commerce and affiliate marketers look at social media and just smile, as if they know something the others don’t. (It’s kind of amusing to watch, actually.)
Several of the attendees of Pubcon are clearly making good money and are happy to just pick up a few tidbits here and there and get to know the others that are doing the same. There is much less effort into trying to “look cool” and “be in the forefront”, as is seen in the other conferences.
Search engine marketing combined with e-commerce and/or affiliate marketing is not a hobby. It’s an income stream. And it works. It really does. (But please don’t tell anyone. Smile.)
6. THE FUTURE OF SEARCH ENGINES In many ways, the future of how search engines will work is already here. When you type something into Google or Bing, you don’t just get 10 links anymore. Those days are mostly over.
You get what is called “universal search”, which means the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) shows videos, news, realtime (twitter), images, local info, and other things. You need to take all this into consideration.
SERPS are also taking more “unstated signals” into account. They try to determine where you are, what else you are already interested in or like, who your friends are, and what device you are using (PC, mobile phone, tablet, or even television).
7. WHAT GOOGLE THINKS Matt Cutts (the voice of Google) gave a presentation, but others spoke about Google as well. Overall, I get the impression that Google is scared of Facebook because of the data they own and won’t share. (What you like and who your friends are – often referred to as your social graph.)
Google also is very aggressively pursuing mobile and television. (Duh. It’s where the true growth and money is.)
Google is also admitting that spam is starting to increase within their SERPS. Therefore they are soon going to start taking an even stronger attack against spam, buying links, and other inappropriate activities that they feel promotes the wrong sites. They are already rewarding the larger brands over smaller ones. Several noted this.
Matt specifically encouraged all webmasters and site owners to claim their site in Google Webmaster Tools and turn on the flag that allows Google to email them when they note something of concern.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA vs SEARCH ENGINES This is a topic that I brought up to some very interesting people in my conversations. It seems as if several in the “social media” camp believe that the two may eventually combine and/or social may start taking away from search engines.
In my conversations with several very smart people that know both industries well, there seemed to be agreement that this just plain is not true. It won’t happen.
Social is good for hearing from and learning from your friends. Ask your followers on Twitter what they recommend. Check Facebook to see what your “social graph” likes, etc. But when you want to do the research yourself and/or follow up to determine how you feel, you almost always end up back at Google.
I had this very conversation with Tim Mayer after his keynote on the future of search. I also had a roundtable discussion (at a literal roundtable at lunch) with Brett Tabke, Warren Whitlock, Brian Carter, and a few others on this.
After thinking a lot about this, I firmly believe that search engines are here to stay. Social media is here to stay, too. And although they may assist each other a little, they are never going to combine. Nor are they ever going to cannibalize the other. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it – for now.
9. VIDEO AND MOBILE ONLINE These are by far the two biggest and hottest topics in all of the Internet right now. Period. Both of these are much greater opportunities, easier, and more powerful online than anything else, including social media.
How’s that for a bold statement?
If you are not starting to create videos and are not at least staying informed of what is happening with smart phones, you are totally missing the bus. The time is RIGHT NOW to get involved. The wave is coming and it’s time to get in front of it. No joke.
10. LOCAL MARKETING For the past six years, local marketing online has always been the next big thing and right around the corner. I feel that it’s actually true this year. The growth of mobile phones, combined with the effort both Facebook and Google are putting into this makes the claim more believable this year than ever before.
Then again, we said that last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… You get the picture. We’ll just have to wait and see.
IN CONCLUSION… (Sorry for the long post.)
1. Pubcon is great. 2. Go buy Scrapebox for keyword research 3. Use more negative keywords in AdWords 4. Don’t be afraid of marketing in Facebook 5. Don’t let people know that e-commerce makes real money 6. Realize that search engines show more than just websites 7. Don’t bother trying to spam Google 8. Learn how to market in both search & social 9. Start jumping into Video and Mobile right now 10. Local marketing is about to take off (maybe)
PS: I have another post ready to come out of me about the true state of Search Engine Optimization and those that practice it. More about that later. Stay tuned.
At one time, these 3 were barely competitors (especially Google). But those days are over now. All three seem to be wanting to do everything possible, especially if the other two are involved in it already.
Why do they race to be the same?
I’m sure you have your opinion. So please leave a comment below.
But first, check out the chart below for proof. (It’s just a matter of time before those blank boxes get filled in.)
Could it be that the CEO’s just can’t resist the fight? (That’s my first guess.)
Is there money in each of these that the companies can’t resist?
Is there some other reason?
I welcome your opinions. Please leave a comment below.
With all the excitement and press going on about the iPad, you may have missed the big announcement yesterday. But if you are involved in any way with Internet marketing, this is a HUGE one. In my opinion, it is the biggest news we have heard this year in online marketing.
Apple has created it’s own advertising platform for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. It is called iAd. This is not just a method for showing ads. It is a full-blown advertising platform.
This has the potential to be as big or bigger than Google AdWords!
Think Google AdWords – for apps.
Does Google AdWords makes a lot of money? Uh… Yea! Facts are, 98% of all revenue for Google comes from their AdWords advertising program. In other words, it financially supports EVERYTHING Google does… Google search, Gmail, Docs, Apps, Wave, Chrome, Blogger, Picasa, News, Books, Maps, Earth & Mars, Buzz, and everything else.
Google has a market value of 200 Billion USD! Almost ALL of their money comes from Google AdWords. It’s why Microsoft is promoting their search engine (Bing) so hard. They want a piece of that huge money.
But Apple has taken a different approach. Instead of gunning for advertising on SEARCH, they have built an entirely different advertising platform. Their advertising platform will be for APPS, which is even bigger and more profitable than SEARCH.
Steve Jobs thinks so. (He may be right.)
If you have not watched the Apple 4 Event yesterday, you need to – right now. You will hear him speak very directly about how the future is mobile. And on the mobile phone, it’s not about SEARCH, it’s about APPS. (He’s right.)
In it, Steve Jobs does the math to show the opportunity for 1 BILLION ad impressions per day, using his new platform. Why? Google is known to perform 1 BILLION searches per day.
Coincidence? I doubt it.
With this new platform, instead of competing with Google AdWords, Apple has made their own platform that will be just as large and just as profitable.
Think Facebook or Twitter have an opportunity to monetize with Ads? What Apple is doing will blow it away. Keep watching the video and notice the interaction and video that is involved in the ad. This thing is HUGE.
I’m not an Apple fan-boy.
For my regular readers, you know I’m not a big huge fan of Apple products. However, I do love my iPod Touch. (I also want an iPad. They look cool.)
But this advertising platform will be the primary advertising tool for iPhones, iPods, and iPads. It is a HUGE opportunity. I strongly suggest that you start paying attention to this space if you have not already.
If you are a blogger, content creator, online marketer, or sell anything online… This is your chance. Don’t blow it.
If you don’t have a simple iPhone app already, go make one immediately. You can use a simple service such as Mobile Roady to get going quickly and cheaply. Start getting users and be ready to either put ads on your app or get people to download your app by advertising it on other apps.
For those of us that look back longingly at the “good ole days” of getting very cheap advertising on Google AdWords (and Overture), this is your chance. Get in early to this new platform and it will likely start out cheap. Capitalize early, because it won’t last long. Prices will rise fast.
In just a couple weeks, everyone will be coming out with their predictions about 2010. I’m jumping the gun and getting mine out today. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, so I’m ready early.
I predict that 2010 will be the year of the online Giants!
The Internet and technology in general will have some major players that will dominate stronger than ever. Everything else will be much, much smaller.
The two biggest giants are going to be Microsoft and Google.
But they both had excellent years in 2009 and are just now starting to erupt in growth and power. These two biggest giants and will clash constantly and powerfully.
Interestingly, these two did not start out as enemies.
Microsoft was the big corporate software company, but they are much much more. They will be the 2nd place search engine (with no other real competitors). They are already putting constant effort into catching up to Google. What started out as a software company is now a giant in mobile phones, online advertising, video games, browsers, e-mail & more.
Google started out as the friendly “do no evil” company. But those days are already over. They are a corporate giant and will try to compete with Microsoft in every way. Their goals of “Organizing the World’s Information” is only eclipsed by their desire to put ads on all of it. Seriously, 98% of their revenue is in AdWords. They are now in software, operating systems, mobile phones, browsers and everything else.
These two giants will spend 2010 clashing, positioning, growing, and acquiring other businesses as fast and powerfully as they can.
The only other company to come anywhere close is Apple, but they will not (and don’t even want to) gain the market share that Microsoft and Google do. Apple prefers to have the overpriced hardware and software that feels exclusive and expensive. (The stuff the “cool kids” want.)
What about online content?
In a physical world dominated by content from News Corp & Disney (ABC), the two online equivalent giants will be Time Warner & Yahoo (if Yahoo can get their act together).
What about Social Media?
It’s official, Facebook and Twitter win. Which one? Both! Will another come along? Perhaps, but I doubt it. These two have officially won and will dominate 2010. It’s hard to imagine another giant gaining the power these two have.
What about Ecommerce?
The Giant is Amazon. Ebay used to be right there with them. But they are just plain falling into the toilet. Amazon is the clear winner and I don’t think there is a 2nd place.
The 2010 prediction…
None of the above is all that shocking or surprising. In fact, all of it is already happening. However, these giants will grow, gain strength, and overpower anyone else that even tried to gain on them. These companies are strong and will be extremely difficult to topple, especially as the economy starts to improve.
My prediction is that the distance between these giants and anyone else will only grow.
I bought it almost exactly five months ago on a recommendation from my brother-in-law. I don’t blame him for recommending it to me, because he loves his. But the whole situation was a bit of a nightmare for me.
One thing you have to give Apple is that they have very successfully branded themselves as a perfect solution to the problems people face with PCs. I fell for it – at first.
This post is to set the facts straight (in my opinion, as always).