Last week we wrote about Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in the bar code industry. As expensive as some of those keywords are, ("direct thermal labels" was $16 per click) , they are only a fraction of what other industries pay.
Here are some of the most expensive PPC keywords at the present time, according to the folks at Wordstream.com
Insurance - $54.91 - (example - "auto insurance price quotes" )
Loans - $44.28
Mortgage - $47.12
Attorney - $47.07
We did find a few other bar code related terms that were also very costly:
"hand held barcode scanners" - $29.00
"thermal transfer label printer" - $14.00
"zebra bar code printers" - $15.00
"zebra bar code labels" - $9.75
"cordless bar code scanner" - $11.00
"handheld bar code reader" - $15.00
(click for last weeks article on The Cost of PPC In The Bar Code Industry)
Keywords are the term that a person is searching on, and enters into their browser or search engine. Keywords can be a single word, or they can be a multiple word term. Those multiple word terms are sometimes called "long tailed" and they reach a smaller but perhaps more focused group. Those four word search terms above would be considered long tailed.
Two vendors I spoke with utilize long tailed key words - Nate Schubert at IDAutomation.com pointed out that "(companies) can also avoid some of those very high bid amounts by identifying long-tail search terms which are normally more focused and available at lower bid amounts. Either way it’s a very competitive landscape and so what works today may need to be redefined in the years (or months) to come."
and Mike Gross, at Retail Management Solutions, commenting on his own experiences with PPC, said that "There are certain keywords that are ambiguous that won’t get you the first page search results ... in a niche market, you have to be very specific with what you choose for PPC, otherwise, you’ll spend a fortune on clicks that aren’t relevant and don’t have ROI."
PPC VS Magazine Advertising:
PPC offers a number of advantages when compared to traditional magazine and print advertising.
PPC (and almost all Internet advertising) offers tremendous authentication - on a level magazines can't touch. While a bonafide print publisher will show you an audited circulation statement indicating how many copies were printed and how they were distributed - including free vs paid circulation, they can't tell you how many people actually read an article.
So called "Trade" publications have been under tremendous pressure these last few years. Several that I subscribe to in the point of sale industry have shed dozens of pages as advertisers have fled for more measurable advertising methods. Trade pubs that were running 80 to 96 pages are now much thinner - coming in at 40 to 48 pages, and publishers have cut back from 12 or 13 issues a year, to just 8 or 10. The annual "Buyers Guide" still seems to be a popular issue for advertisers, but I have to wonder who is really using a publication for a full year anymore, when product changes and new models come out increasingly quickly and the information is so easily available on a vendors website.
Many trade pubs have been discontinued and some publishers have merged in an attempt to remain viable. Still, the hand writing is on the wall and as the post office moves to close its deficit, print marketing will be increasingly expensive - while still not offering the accountability of Internet advertising.
Timing and Penetration
While I love the feel of a magazine in my hand, I often don't read them right away. I happen to have a small pile of trade publications on the floor of my office right now. I will end up stuffing them in my briefcase and skimming them on my next plane flight. I might read two articles in depth out of thirty. If a magazine has 30,000 "subscribers" (I use that term loosely, because those publications are mostly free) - but, like me, people are only reading 3 articles out of 30, - the ones that interest them, that is a circulation of just 3,000 readers per article - and there is no telling when an article is being read, or if the magazine is just discarded for lack of time.
PPC, in comparison, shows you exactly how many people clicked on an advertisement and gives an advertiser "instant gratification". As opposed to a magazine, the web content is reviewed immediately and then lasts forever - whereas trade publications are quickly recycled. Internet content is quickly and easily retrieved on any device, at any time.
Better Options for testing with Digital Ads
PPC lets you test multiple advertisements inexpensively. Testing multiple ads in a magazine requires months and months of time. Even if done with an A/B split (the magazine prints two slightly different issues of its monthly pub, running one version of your advertisement in half, and another version of your advertisement in the other half) it's a very slow process. Not many trade publications of 30,000 circulation can do an A/B split anyway. So testing a print advertisement takes about forever.
With PPC, companies test multiple advertisements simultaneously. It is extremely cost effective and one of the more overlooked benefits of digital advertising.
Furthermore, whereas a magazine goes to press about 60 days before distribution, and may take a week or two for the post office to deliver, PPC is in the "here and now". You can place an ad at 9am, and by 3pm it will have been viewed thousands of times. Is the ad working? No need to guess.
Push VS Pull Marketing
Push marketing gets product into the reseller "channel". Pull marketing gets it out of the channel and into the hands of the end-user. Both are important.
For decades our industry marketing has been focused on the reseller. Why? Because you needed a reseller to install the equipment. Today, almost every device has a USB connector, and a reseller is often not needed. Just about every device you can imagine is available on both Amazon and eBay, including high end, very expensive equipment. With end-users facing increasing competition in their own markets, and budgets for technology being squeezed, they are often eschewing resellers and installing the equipment themselves. So manufacturers should split their marketing efforts between the reseller (push) and the end-user (pull). This trend will continue to eat into the marketing dollars spent on trade publications with their limited circulation. Traditional reseller focused manufacturers who cannot adapt will be forced out of business, or be acquired by other companies who utilize more contemporary marketing approaches. We've seen this already and it's going to continue.
Companies of all sizes have been moving to digital advertising since the late 1990s for many of the reasons mentioned above. It may require a lot of experimentation and testing, but the cost of running marketing tests has never been cheaper and, the amount of competition has never been greater. PPC is just one form of digital advertising and there are many others - an intelligent approach will utilize a variety of digital marketing venues - even Craigslist is a viable tool for many companies.
Do you have an interesting experience with digital advertising to share? We'd like to hear about it.
Other articles on digital advertising: