Marketing

Shopping.com Holiday Pricing Update Goes Into Effect November 1st

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As we get closer to the holiday season crunch, the comparison shopping engines are getting ready to raise their prices. A few days ago NexTag lead the charge with their new tiered pricing and holiday pricing surcharge. Today, eBay Commerce Network (Shopping.com) sent out the following notice:

Dear Merchant,

With the holiday season approaching, we anticipate increased shopping activity across many categories. eBay Commerce Network will implement the following holiday pricing adjustment and temporarily adjust CPC rates only in select categories from November 1st to December 31st, 2013.

  • 79% of the rate card will reaming flat (no rate increase)
  • 6 categories will increase by 15%
  • 48 categories will increase by 25%
  • View updated Holiday Rate Card

We will automatically adjust your CPC bids during the holiday pricing period; therefore no action is required on your part. On January 1st, 2014 we will readjust your bids to your pre-holiday amounts.

While some rates are increasing, most campaigns will not see a significant shift in cost of sale as we will continue to leverage Value-based-pricing, our network management tool, to sustain your ROI goals. This allows us to more prominently advertise your offers on the highest performing publishers to increase sales.

We recognize this is an exciting time of year for your business and we look forward to our continued partnership.

Sincerely,
Kristy Troup
Director, US Business
eBay Commerce Network

NexTag Implements Tiered Pricing By Category

NexTag sent out a notification this weekend announcing a few changes to their pricing structure. Effective October 14th, 2013 the CPC rate will be based on the actual price of the item. See the tiered chart below for more information.

In addition, the annual holiday surcharge will go into effect at the same time. The holiday surcharge will be in effect from 12 AM Pacific on Monday October 14, 2013 through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday January 5, 2014.

Read the full email from NexTag below:

Dear Valued Merchant,

As the marketplace evolves, we continuously adjust our advertising approach to help maximize traffic to your site. As we enter into the busiest shopping time of the year, we wanted to inform you of two important changes to our pricing structure to help you optimize your traffic opportunity for this holiday and beyond.

  1. Tiered pricing by category: To be more responsive to your needs, we’re introducing a tiered pricing model that helps align CPC pricing with merchant cost of sale. Essentially, you’ll pay less for clicks on lower-priced products and more for higher-priced products. This change will go into effect on October 14, 2013 and will continue unless the rate card is subsequently modified. The new tiered pricing is shown in our Rate Card.We believe this change will improve your overall COS for lower-priced products and ultimately allow you to list more products. With this change, we’ll be able to bid more for valuable traffic, and so will you.
  2. Annual holiday surcharge: At the same time as our tiered pricing update, we will also rollout our holiday rates to help deliver expected traffic volume during the most critical time of year for traffic and sales. The surcharge for each category is shown in our Rate Card. The surcharge will be in effect from 12 AM Pacific on Monday October 14, 2013 through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday January 5, 2014.

You do not need to take any action for these changes to take effect. If you do not agree to the changes described above, you must suspend or terminate your account. Termination or suspension of your account will be effective two (2) business days after receipt by Nextag. Please contact your Account Manager or email our Seller Support team should you have any questions regarding these changes.

According to CPC Strategy, we remain the #1 independent comparison shopping platform for driving high volume and quality traffic. Wize Commerce is committed to helping merchants achieve significant volume of traffic and expected performance goals. We now offer a number of sites to maximize opportunity in the marketplace Nextag (with the widest selection of products) to Price Machine (for price-conscious shoppers) to Wize (with expert product recommendations) to ApplianceShopping (for specs-heavy product shopping).
We thank you for your business and look forward to a busy and productive holiday season!

Best wishes,
The Nextag team

Important Note:
For products where you currently are bidding the minimum: All minimum bids on active products will automatically be adjusted up or down to the new minimum rates for the appropriate tier on October 14, 2013. Should you wish to bid above the new minimum rates for products where you currently bid the minimum, you will need to manually adjust your bids.

For products where you currently are bidding above the minimum: Bids that are above the current minimum but below the new minimum will be automatically adjusted to the new minimum bid for the appropriate tier. For price tiers where the new minimum CPCs are equal to or higher than the current minimum and your current bid is above the new minimum rate, your bid will not be changed. For price tiers where the new minimum CPCs are lower than the current minimum and your current non-minimum bid is above the new minimum rate, your bid will be automatically reduced to the new minimum CPC.

The holiday surcharge will also be automatically applied. The price tier changes described above will be applied first, and the holiday surcharge will be applied to the adjusted, price tiered bids. The surcharge applies to your total CPC, which includes standard CPC plus any CPC increases you have selected for the Logo or Marketing Message programs.

HOW TO: Plan An Effective Social Media Strategy

Becki Chester, CEO, Digicrab – a former journalist, Becki wrote for four national magazines before joining a leading digital marketing agency. She has extensive experience in managing SEO, PPC and social media campaigns.

social-media-strategy

Digital Marketing Services are an essential part of the expansion of all businesses in the current climate. However, of all digital marketing services, social media seems to be the most widely used, due in part to the huge amount of traffic that social networking sites receive, and the ease to which a social media can be used to promote a brand. But in order to maximise the effectiveness of such a strategy, you have to take a structured and conscious approach, otherwise your project will be lost in the tidal wave of other media on these platforms.

So here are my five general steps for a comprehensive social media strategy.

Step 1: Understand your customer

This is your first port-of-call. Who are the customers you want to interact with on social media? What do they like? Brainstorm around five ‘hot topics’ which your customers might be interested in, and remember to keep them in mind whilst constructing content: because with content marketing you promote your brand by sharing similar interests with your customer.  These topics should come from an understanding of the psychographics, the influencing factors and the behaviour of the types of people you’re after. The more specific you are about this ‘marketing persona’, the easier it will be to construct content for them.

Step 2: Set a Goal

First of all: what’s the point? What are you hoping to achieve with this? Try and base your goal on the number of leads generated over a period of time, or a certain number of ‘shares’. Achievable and measurable goals are a must. Also, make sure you only have one area for your objective. Most digital marketing services plan to achieve one of the following aims:

  • Attracting new customers; This is probably the most common use of social media. Because of the sheer number of people on social networking platforms, one objective could be using your page to direct traffic to your company website.
  • Building your brand; Give your customers a reason to talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most sought after type of marketing, and is often difficult to achieve. If you have a product that could work well in a social media context, use that advantage and get your customers to begin having a conversation about your brand.
  • Engaging with your customers; By creating a dialogue with your customers, you have the potential to create loyalty. A repeat customer is the foundation of almost all successful companies, so if you want to make your brand one that is interactive, and bring people in that way, then social media is a useful tool.
  • Supporting sales; Similar to the above, supporting sales is about creating content that feeds into your products. If people have queries about your products, you can answer them on social media, by supplementing your products with other information.

Step 3: Put It into Practice

To put your ideas into practice, create an editorial calendar that works alongside your promotional calendar; planning content and thereby keywords based on promotional offers. By doing this, you make the next aspect much easier.

By creating content keywords, and a calendar, all you need is to assign an individual (or team, depending on the size of your digital marketing services) to keep the sites up-to-date. Now you’re up-and-running!

Step 4: Evaluate

This is a hugely important step. Once you’ve started, make sure you are well-versed in the huge variety of social media. Select your success metrics well, and keep an eye on them, as the instantaneous nature of social media marketing feedback is one of the major advantages of the format.

There are plenty of online monitoring tools, such as Klout or Edge Rank, that you can use. Google Alerts is also useful in this regard, as it can help keep you aware of your brand keywords, and what people are saying about your brand.

Step 5: Repeat!

With any marketing strategy, it is important to keep it up-to-date, and that you react to your market and how well previous strategies have gone. So, once you’ve evaluated the metrics that are available, go through the cycle again. Make sure you keep building on what you learn, reacting to fresh assessments by laying out new plans with new objectives.

HOW TO: Track Conversions For Up To 90 Days In Google AdWords

Google just released the ability to track conversions for up to 90 days in AdWords. Previously conversion were only tracked for a set 30 day window. Now you can select from 7 to 90 days, depending on what fits well with your tracking goals.

Here’s how…

Go to AdWords –> Tools & Analysis –> Conversions. In the table listing your conversions you will see a new column called ‘Conversion Window.’ Click on the conversion window and you can edit it inline.

AW CL 9-23

You will need to have conversion tracking set up for this to work.

Google Is Blocking Organic Search Terms In Google Analytics, What Should I Do?

Image Credit: NotProvidedCount.com

As reported by many industry followers. Google will now be serving search results for most users on SSL secure secure pages. As a merchant measuring SEO traffic from Google Analytics, this is bad news. This means that you will no longer be able to see what search terms are driving traffic to your site for users who came from Google.

Not Provided… What Now?

Here are some websites, tools and articles I came across that can help you get the most of whatever data Google does provide for Analytics users.

#1 – Not Provided Count Tracker

Keep track of the Not Provided Count by checking NotProvidedCount.com. They provide you with aggregate numbers from 60+ sites that they are tracking. Visit →

notprovided_analytics2

#2 – Not Provided Kit For Google Analytics

The “Not Provided” Kit is a set of simple add-ons for Google Analytics to help you understand what’s happening now that data is absent. It won’t fix the problem, but it may bring other insight around ‘not provided’ visits. Import →

The Kit Includes:

  1. Your Current Percentage: A single-chart dashboard showing your current ‘not provided’ percentage (ie. how much open data remains).
  2. Full Dashboard: A full dashboard of trends for ‘not provided’, including graphs, metrics, and breakdowns by browser, device, etc.
  3. Detailed Report: A more detailed custom report showing full landing page info for not provided traffic.
  4. ‘Not Provided’ Segment: An advanced segment allowing you to see any Google Analytics reports for just ‘not provided’ traffic.
  5. ‘Keyword Known’ Segment: An advanced segment showing any report only where Google organic keyword data was known.
  6. A ‘Not Google’ Segment: This ‘Non-Google’ organic search segment shows you data only where you do have perfect keyword data from other search engines that you can act on.

Google Analytics

#3 – Watch This: Moz Whiteboard

In this special Whiteboard Tuesday, Rand covers what marketers can do to make up for this drastic change, finding data from other sources to stay on top of their SEO efforts. Watch Video →

moz-whiteboard-tuesday

HOW TO: Import Offline Conversions Into AdWords

Recently, Google AdWords introduced the ability to import offline sales data. If you get a lot of phone sales, you’ll want to do this. Google says:

Sometimes, a click on an AdWords ad does not lead directly to an online sale, but instead starts a customer down a path that ultimately leads to a sale in the offline world, such as at your office or over the phone. By importing offline conversions, you can measure what happens in the offline world after a click on one of your ads.

I think we all agree. Let’s do this. Here’s how:

Step #1 – Enable Auto Tagging

Go to Google AdWords → My Account → Preferences and turn on Auto Tagging. This will allow Google to add a suffix parameter with the GCLID to each URL. auto-tagging

Step #2 – Capture The GCLID

Whenever someone clicks on your ad and comes to your website, you will need to grab the GCLID from the URL parameter and store it in the session or cookie. Sample JavaScript code to store the GCLID in a cookie called ‘gclid’:

gclid

Step #3 – Store GCLID With Lead Data

When they submit a contact form, you will want to store the GCLID in your database alongside the rest of the customers information.

Here’s an example form with a hidden field for collecting the GCLID. You should insert the highlighted <input> tag in between your <form> tags.:

<form action="" name="myForm"> 		
         Name: <input type="text" name="name"> 		
         <input type="hidden" id="gclid" name="gclid" value=""> 	 	
         <input type="submit" value="Submit Form" name="btnSubmit"> 	
   </form>

Here’s example JavaScript code you can use to retrieve the GCLID value from the cookie and update the value of the hidden form element.

<script> 
  function readCookie(name) { 
  var n = name + "="; 
  var cookie = document.cookie.split(';'); 
  for(var i=0;i < cookie.length;i++) {      
      var c = cookie[i];      
      while (c.charAt(0)==' '){c = c.substring(1,c.length);}      
      if (c.indexOf(n) == 0){return 
  c.substring(n.length,c.length);} 
  } 
  return null; 
  } 

  window.onload = function() {      
      document.getElementById('gclid').value = 
  readCookie('gclid'); 
  } 
  </script>

Step #4 – Offline Conversions

Go to Google AdWords → Tools and Analysis → Conversions and click ‘+Conversion’ and add a new conversion. When adding the new conversion, select ‘Import’ as the source.

Conversion Tracking

Step #5 – Import Conversions

Now that you set up a Conversion in AdWords, you’ll want to go back to Tools and Analysis → Conversions. Now click on ‘Upload’ and you will get the upload page.

Conversion Tracking

Before uploading, make sure you format the data according to the template files provided by Google. Here is a sample of how the data should look:

csvtemplate

Header Notes: Make sure to edit the time zone in the header. I entered -5000 for New York in my sample. Column Notes:

  • Action – should always say the word ‘add’
  • Google Click Id – should have the GCLID associated with that conversion
  • Conversion Name – should match the exact value from step #3
  • Conversion Value – dollar amount, no commas or currency symbols
  • Conversion Time – date and time of the transaction

You should be all set.

Let us know how it works for you in the comments.

Bing Ads Launches New Sidebar For Easier Navigation

Looks like Microsoft added a new sidebar in Bing Ads. It works much like the navigation sidebar in Bing Ads Editor or Google AdWords. It makes it that much simpler to switch campaigns.

Previously, if you were working on multiple campaigns you had to go back to campaigns tab and then select another campaign. Or if you knew about it you can hover over the word ‘campaign’ in the breadcrumb navigation and it would drop down a list of all campaigns. But, I think most people didn’t even realize that option was available.

See below for a blurred out screenshot of the new navigation sidebar from Bing Ads.

Bing Ads Sidebar

HOW TO: Create The Perfect Post On Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & More [Infographic]

Today’s infographic comes from My Clever Agency, a quick run through how to optimize your social media posts for higher engagement and better results.

Social media works at a fast pace, Vine has only been around for 8 months yet it’s taking on the big social networks and is now used as a key aspect of many campaigns. If you read our last Perfect Post infographic then here’s a recap – but we’ve now included how to best use Instagram and Vine to your advantage.

If you’re new here, well, we can’t wave a magic wand and give you top-notch engagement across all your social platforms – we’re old fashioned and believe you have to work at it – but we’ve tried to make it easier for you. Here is what you can do to create ‘perfect social media posts’:

Infographic

Image Credit: My Clever Agency