During the last weeks I had to explain this issue several times, so I realized I should write a new Blog post to save some time in future meetings 😀
With this article I pretend to introduce the big value that in-house accounts helps to increase transparency, maximize investment and boost performance. I will based my article on the Facebook and Google accounts as these two ads platforms allow you to invest in media on Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, YouTube, G-Mail, Maps and GDN.
Ok…. So, what is the problem? Why is there an overpricing on Facebook and Google media purchases? How is the current situation?
The chart below could be a good intro of the scenario. Let me go step by step:
Let’s say that Mc. Donald’s has a brand new product and and asks their Digital Agency (lets say…. Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Dentsu or other digital group) to run a campaign in Facebook, YouTube and Facebook. For the example I will chose Dentsu due to the recent scandal commented to by the Financial Times they had in Japan for some of these practices
Dentsu starts working on the campaign: The creative and content teams start making magic and once that the direction is clear they discuss with their media folks on the final proposal
Problems start when agencies work out media proposals that don’t provide:
Final performance of Clicks (CPC) / Engagements (Cos per engagement) gaps* based on Facebook/Google Ads estimations or variable costs. Instead of that, they set up fix Unit Cost (cost per click, cost per engagement, etc…) most of the times are three to four times higher than they are actually paying to Facebook.
Access to the client to their Facebook / Google Ads accounts
Support to their clients to create their own accounts
At this point, some of you may think:
Why should they provide a gap? – Most of the big digital publishers (Facebook, Google, Yahoo!…. do not have fix pricing lists but complex bidding systems (click her for further info)
Why they bill 3-4 times the price they pay to Google/Facebook? Several reasons:
As a back-up in case they fail in their estimation.
As a back-up to spend less time in optimization/set ups.
Media budgets are usually 20% – 50% of the total costs. Big agencies charge big fees in creativity and content direction that cover media overspending.
To earn more money – Good agencies. Good optimization teams master their jobs in order to boost the gap from the ‘Unit Cost’ accepted by the client and the price they finally pay to the publishers
To ease quotations and boost long term plans.
Given this point, the agency (usually) finishes the quotation with a unit cost a way higher than the market price.
The agency delivers a proposal:
The Client approves: Let’s go!
The Agency uses their own accounts to work with the publishers:
Facebook Business Manager Account to pay Facebook for Facebook ads, Instagram Ads, etc…
Google Adwords Account to pay Google for ‘Google Search Network, GDN, YouTube Ads, etc…
Facebook and Google deliver ‘performance report’ and ‘bills’ (this is the key) to the Agency, not the client. Afterwards the Agency sends back the invoice but they (almost never) include the Facebook or Google Invoice…. In other words… The client has no clue of how much money the agency paid for the services!!!!
This is a big problem because Mc. Donald’s actually cannot request Facebook how much money the agency spent on the campaign:
Facebook client is Dentsu, not Mc. Donalds’s.
Facebook has no liability of giving any explanation to Mc. Donald’s.
Facebook is not allowed to display any data of Dentsu account without their approval.
Damnnn, how can Mc. Donald’s solve this issue:
Ask Dentsu to grant you access to their account: agencies usually reject this option as they say that there is info about other clients they do not want to share
By having in-house accounts Clients get the full control of how much money is spent in Facebook. Given this point, Clients have two options to run campaigns:
Let the Agency use their account: By granting advertising permissions to the agencies, Clients can monitor the performance and the budget spent by the vendors. On top of that, they can access to the detailed performance information and develop digital know-how of the industry for future plans
100% In-house campaigns: Clients can run campaigns by themselves without agency intermediaries, which usually saves the ‘agency fees’ plus the VAT costs. Recommended only if the ‘head of digital’ has a strong background and extended experience
In a small alley of Hortaleza, the Madrid suburb where I grew up, there used to be a well-known mechanic that had a pretty famous billboard that said: ‘Rapido / Barato / Bueno – Solo puede escoger dos” which basically means: ‘Fast / Cheap / Good – You can have 2, only’
In other words, the man tried to summarize that:
If Fast & Cheap: He could not guarantee a good result. If not him, some junior assistant would do the job or he would it quickly and may deliver a botched job
IF Fast & Good: Not cheap. He used to be a good mechanic compared to other mechanics of the area, and his time had value.
If Good & Cheap: Not fast. He did not guarantee any timeline as he managed to cut the budget by doing the job on his free time or by delegating it on his junior assistants that he tried to monitor as much as he could.
This is one of these sentences I like to use with clients or peers that ask me for last-minute requests and (of course) with limited budget. As you can imagine, this principle works if you want to repair cars, motorbikes and especially with Digital Marketing Plans or websites (usually cheap and fast websites end up in big disasters as most of you may already know) but surprisingly it also works with complex bidding systems like Google Ads.
Using ‘Google Search Network’ as an example, we got the same principle by replacing ‘demand’ with ‘quality’ : usually high demanded keywords come with high volume and respond to clear needs…. in other words… are high quality keywords.
More to the point, Google Search Network give us three options with our ads selection:
Fast & Good: Not cheap. if I want a big volume of high demand clicks in short term I will have to pay a lot for it.
Cheap & Good: Not Fast. One of the good things of Google and YouTube Ads have is that you are allowed to set up low bids for clicks and views (Search Network and YouTube Ads respective). By doing that, Google and YouTube will deliver you residual volume with low competition and usually at a much lower price… however be ready to extend your campaign for months to achieve normal volumes….
Fast & Cheap: Not good. If I really want a lot of cheap clicks in short term, probably I will have to go for non-popular keywords or related to low demand businesses. This is something that can change if we spend time in finding the long-tail keywords tailored to our business. The only problem is that agencies usually cannot do it (or just do not want to spend time) very well and clients are the ones that have to spend more time doing research.
Have you ever had a similar situation where this sentence describes your services? 😉
1. How can I rank my keywords on Google first page quickly? What is the best way?
As all my pals are mentioning, SEO short term strategies are not recommended and I always try to avoid them as even if you can get impressive short term results, Google will probably ban you quite fastly
There are some tricks though you can follow for a specific keyword or for a small amount of keywords, however you will need some budget if you really want short term (only) results. Some advices:
Try to to attack low competency keywords. The lower competition, the easier to hike positions
Set up a website with the a domain that contains that keyword. This used to be more effective than nowadays but still works
Make a proper in-page set up: ensure your keyword is in the title/meta description/meta keywords list/ etc. If you want to attack some more keywords, add a page for each of them
Add some of the follow:
Some video with a title related to that keyword and push the views in YouTube ads.
Add maps, photos and other enriched media
Set some PPC campaigns. Some people will say that this does not help too much but I have experienced SEO increased after 1–2 weeks of driving traffic consistently, however you will lose this increase after stopping that
Money can get everything in this world. If you are able to engage or to get good deals from important media/ influencers or sites with high Google PR, your rank should hike too…
Clicks Generators. You can algo for Clicks generators solutions like HitLeap (Get Free Website Traffic) These sites will let you ‘interchange’ clicks, a big % of them may be fake though 🙂 🙂
Good luck with that!
Link to the thread and other Answers to that questions
3. Does it help for SEO to use a new domain name extension that includes a search keyword i.e. “design.services” for a design service company?
In my opinion it does and it does not.
In a long term perspective, if this decision comes with a proper in-page set up and a content plan + backlink plans to support this page, for sure it does, specially if it is a long tail keyword and your competition is low.
However, if you already have a page with good rank, it may be better to add a new sub-page with that “keyword” as a page title, in your second level, add a nice density, find these backlinks (it is always easier to find backlinks for pages with high authority than with brand new pages)
One video with a big amount of views, maps and other enriched content will also help a way more in short term than a domain
Link to the thread and other Answers to that questions
5. How do I calculate PPC budget given the incomes I want to generate?
Let’s say my company wants to generate 1.000.000$ a month, and let’s say the estimated conversion rate of purchases who come from AdWords is 5% (i.e. 10.000 users come from AdWords and 500 will buy). Average price for single product is 130$. How do I set an AdWords Budget that can generate that sum?
Your question will be totally different depending on which industry you are at and how is your website.
First of all, every online business needs to identify its digital sales funnel, different industries will have different funnels, in order words, different steps between your banners or ads and your sales.
Each step will have a cost and a conversion rate, if you have a 100% online sales portal like AMAZON, your major steps will be:
The cost will be called “cost per sale” or CPA (cost per acquisition)
To my understanding your question is very blur because the CPC is not a good reference for your CPA, if your website is very slow, ugly, not friendly and lots of spam, even if your CPC is very low your CPA will be high as your conversion rate click-to-sale will be very high…
My advice is first to optimize your site, and then make a different plan to generate cheap traffic
Link to the thread and other Answers to that questions
6. How can I safeguard my website from google dorking?
My first immediate answer would be to update your Robots.txt, as this is the file that shows Google what to read and what to skip from your site.
This other Quora thread can be a good reference anyway. For further info, have a look to the Infosec Institute. These guys are web security experts (they even issue certificates) and post lots of very useful and easy to understand articles
Google Dork for checking the .htaccess file is intitle:index of “.htaccess” would list the websites with the file .htaccess in the directory listing.
Directory listing should be disables unless required. The directory listing also happens when the index file defined by the server configuration is missing. On apache servers, we can disable the directory listings by using a dash or minus sign before the word Indexesin thehttpd.config file.
Link to the thread and other Answers to that questions
There are several local search engines that are taking a big % of the share market at several Asian countries:
China – Baidu: probably the second largest search engine. The giant “Chinese Google” competes with Google not only in keyword researches but also in Adwords, Maps, Video platform, etcBaidu
Vietnam – Coc-Coc: something similar to Baidu but in Vietnam. It has almost the 20% of the market share and has its own SEO algorithm, much easier to hack than Google’s. It can be interesting for affiliates looking for easy clicks (keep in mind Vietnam is still a 90 million people market).Cốc Cốc
Russia – Yander, Rambler and Mail.ru. In Russia the market share is probably even lower than in the two previous cases.
Yander is by far the main researcher and counts with almost 60% of the market share according the Russian Search Tips Blog to Anna Russian Search Engine experts, specially interesting is its Keyword Planner tool, Wordstat Yandex, you do not need to register and its quite easier to use than the google version
Rambler and Mail.ru are closer to Yahoo! than to Google, as they offer news and other third services
Arabic search engines. There are several local engines quite used at the Emirates and other Arab speaking countries, however these ones are mainly editors powered by Google, they do not have their own algorithm
Some weeks ago I got one of these non-common campaign requests that pushes you to write a new post, however I recognize I couldn’t foresee such a big performance contrasts among neighbor markets.
An Indonesia perfume manufacturing client based in Indonesia requested a regional Facebook Marketing campaign in 13 countries, 7 of them in the ASEAN region, for a brand new product launch . The campaign should kick off at the same time and there was no previous data to use as a reference
As it was a brand new product for a new brand, we agreed to go for a testing campaign to see whether the Facebook “estimations” were good or not. In this research there are other non ASEAN countries like Sri. Lanka, Taiwan or Korea are not part of the but I keep them as it may be a good reference for other readers 😉
As a branding campaign, the main objectives were clear, get a first reference of each country for:
Facebook Relevance Score of each country for the same banner
First step: find some third parties benchmarks. After some research, lots of Facebook official partners samples and some extremely funny reports (the Sales Force one that allocates Vietnam in Korea) it is easy to realize that most of the available data was not very trustworthy.
Overall, some minutes after doing this brief research I decided to make my own and write this post 🙂
Second step: Facebook estimation. Secondly, its recommended to compare the Facebook estimations you get on the Advert Set configuration (this info is showed only in Manual configurations) .
After doing the set-up for all these countries, here it is the ‘Facebook CPM suggestion’ for this pool of countries:
Third step: testing phase. After doing that we were ready to go for the testing campaign. Some notes:
Same set-up: Campaign optimized to obtain a low cost-engagement. Reccommended for branding.
Same audience indicators (simple audience set-ups are recommended in testing campaigns, once you get experience in that market, you can use this numbers as a reference to optimize)
Same wordings: content. To be a 100% accurate benchmark we should have used local languages, however our time limitation forced us to do everything in English
So, after 6 days and $600 among the 8 countries, here we have the results:
Overall, the Cost per engagement was much lower than expected, which was good news in terms of branding. The CPC performance was obviously bad due to the engagement-optimized set up, however I recognized that I expected better values at Vietnam and Myanmar. Taiwan surprisingly high and Malaysia high too considering how English friendly this country is
Ultimately, let’s analyze the quality score of the same banner and content for each country:
NOTE: This campaign was done with one single post. The post was exactly the same for every country (image and content). Text was typed in English which should carry out lower costs for English friendly countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka or Philippines
The campaign belongs to Chemarome, a multinational fragrance producer that operates in Europe, Asia, Middle east and Central Africa.
Also named as purchasing funnel (wikipedia included), digital marketers usually call it “marketing funnel”, “sales funnel” or “sales & marketing funnel”.
It does not matter so much how you call it, but this is a “must have” tool at any marketing plan to define user journeys and to connect marketing and sales activities
According to YourBusiness, a marketing funnel is defined as system that tracks the stages consumers/users travel through to a buying (or target) decision, in other words, a user/client/customer journey along your marketing & sales process
Different Industries, different funnels
Funnels are directly linked to the purchase decision process each product. Every industry and market has its general funnel depending on the total value, distribution system and market location. In digital marketing, it is essential to understand these funnels to link your traffic to specific actions, monitor its performance and define optimization processes
Each industry and market have different costs CPI, CPC, CPA and different conversion rates as long as we advance through the funnel
Lets see some digital marketing funnels across different industries
Education, construction, automobile, health & care and other high value services or products that requires consulting tend to use this funnel, where “leads generation” is the key step.
The digital marketing goals is usually to generate registrations by driving traffic (impressions + clicks) to specific landing pages
The leads database is transferred to the sales departments, generally via CRM or ERP
Telesales dept. will try to arrange consultation meetings (can be online but offline are more popular). CRM-ERP should be used to track the number of calls, lead status, etc
Afterwards, users can be re-approached with re-targeting campaigns through different channels: SMS or E-Mail marketing, etc..
Example: The education industry in Thailand and Vietnam has an average CPL – cost per lead (user registration) of 8 – 6 USD and an average CR of 3% to 10% depending of the channels. (ILA – Hoc Tieng Anh source)
Most of FMCG and brand awareness plans in general are mostly focused in impressions (and clicks/engagement eventually) only.
Marketing plans are based mostly on communication plans to introduce products, trends or promotions
On-line communication materials are focused on providing phone numbers or distributors information to convert engagement into Sales, usually off-line
Is also possible to connect this funnel with e-commerce platforms (3 case)
Airlines, E-commerce product sales, NGO’s, crowdfunding, retailers and Tourist packages can have a 100% direct sales oriented funnel.
Digital Marketing plans can be focused on driving traffic to purchase product pages (Ex: Lazada Thailand), distributors contact page (EX: Alibaba Thailand) or to custom researches focus on drive traffic to landing pages where where people move from seeing to buying.
Leads (or users generation) can also be introduced as a part of the funnels
This funnel is longer than usually as you have an extra step: Keep your users active. For this channel is extremely important to provide constant value through Inbound Marketing to keep your community active
Need to monitor very closely the average cost per Install. Whitin this industry, location and segments offer very different perforances. The e-commerce industry in Thailand and Vietnam is around 1 USD and the CR is around 10%, whereas in developing countries, that prices rises to 40 to 50% more Memeapp cho Phien source
A good example of good mobile funnels is Trip Advisor.
Trip advisor follow their users based on their GPS location and recent researches. When they see that users have moved to other city and have looked for restaurants on the app, they re-approach requesting for reviews. Moreover, they deliver custom reports of how many people viewed their reviews
Overall, the marketing funnel is one of these concepts that every marketer should understand, not only within their industry but also on other third industries. This knowledge can bring marketers to better partnerships, variants and combinations to optimize each level of the user journey
Most of publishers and PPC services based their pricing rates on CPM, for example, the New York Times banner services starts at an $8.00 plus additional targeting layers. However, our digital marketing plans are mostly CPC (or CPA) oriented… given that, a common question is how do I pass from CPM to CPC?
Let’s see an easy example of how to compare CPC and CPM services using Facebook Ads:
1. First of all, lets set the CPM ads option at some of our ads: Open (or create) any Facebook campaign you have already active on your Facebook ads panel
2. Move into (or create a new) advert set. Once there, click edit (pencil logo – first of the top right corner logos).3. Afterwards, click on “Show advanced options”
4. Then, change the pricing option to “Optimized per impressions” (usually this field is set as “optimized per clicks” as default)
5. After this, you will see a proposed price, in my case CPM – 0.69 USD. Which means that I will have to pay 0.69 USD per 1,000 impressions
5. Considering that my CTR on this campaign goes from 0.5% to 2%, it means:
CPM = 0.69 USD, it means I will have 5 clicks per 0.69 USD, in other words, a CPC of 0.69/5 = 0.13 USD
CTR 2% -> 1,000 impressions X 2 / 100 = 2o clicks
CPM=0.69 USD I will get 20 clicks, in other words, a CPC of 0.69/20 = 0.03
On average, I can expect to get clicks from $0.13 to $0.03, which is very good actually.
Given this, you may think… what happens if this is the first time I use this service and I have no reference of my CTR? In that case… just ask it! Publishers technical teams should have an average CTR of their banners which can make you guess the number of clicks you will have with a certain budget
Most of digital marketing beginners believe they totally understand what CPC, CPA, CTR and other terms mean, but after doing couple of campaigns and after seeing that your results on Google Analytics (or other measurement tools) don’t match with your expectations is when you understand how important is to understand these basics at 100%
Lets review some of the most used acronyms and their importance:
SEM – SEO – SERP – PPC. You may struggle to find 2 webs than agree on the full meaning of these terms. For this post I place myself along with Wikipedia, as these results have been deeply discussed among its publishing community
SEM – Search Engine Marketing: includes all the on-line marketing techniques that increase we traffic: SEO, PPC, etc. Most of times though, this term is used to refer PPC activities
SERP – Search Engine Results Pages: list of websites displayed by a search engine after running a queries.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization: SEO is “the quantity and quality of traffic earned from Search Engines”, or in other words, the set of activities needed to increase your rank in Search Engines results. SEO Moz, probably the best SEO portal nowadays, can be a good kick-off point for this area
PPC – Pay per click: internet ads that direct traffic to a specific website read more. Banners, Facebook ads and other Social Media ads should be included, however a big part of the web community will refer PPC to Search Engines Paid ads (Google Adwords for example) only like WordStream. Some blogs and communities even compare both approaches: Facebook vs PPC ads
CPI – Cost per Impression. How much do I have to pay to make a digital (or offline) impression of my brand. Directly liked to the CPM below
Cost per Reach. How much I have to pay to reach a user. Reach and Impressions are usually confused as Reach makes reference to the number of unique users I score. The absolute number of a campaign or banner impressions number will always be higher that its reach as I many of my users may receive more than 1 impression
CPC – Cost per click. Key term in digital marketing. The CPC is a dangerous term. Measurement tools like analytics usually measure “sessions”, not clicks, and these numbers are hardly ever the same which may make clients suspicious about what he buys (clicks) and what he gets (sessions).
CPA – cost per acquisition. Acquisition means a goal, depending of the industry, it can be a user-registration, a purchase, an app download or a Video view. If your campaign has a clear goal, you need to monitor both CPC and CPA and compare it for each channel of your mix
CPA’s can have different names like CPL – cost per lead, CPI – Cost per install or CPV – cost per view, depending on you ultimate business goals.
CR – conversion rate. Number of units or % needed of the previous level of the marketing funnel to get a conversion. Example: In terms of Leads generation, the CR can be shown in two ways:
Number of clicks needed to get a lead (conversion)
The % of clicks that become leads
CTR – Click through rate. It’s usually a % and it measures the amount of people that see your banner and click on it. Web Banners (like GDN, Admicro or other banner networks) usually offer low CTR’s (0.05% to 0.1%). Good banners on Facebook or Instagram on the other hand can achieve higher numbers (1.5% to 5%). Anything over 3% is considered as a very good number.
CTR values depend not only on the platform we place the banner (Facebook, GDN, On-line Newspapers) but on the quality of banners.
To refine CTR marketers need to apply A/B testing. CTR improvements can bring a huge performance difference. If you manage to pass from CTR 0.5% to 2% it means you have 4 times more users for example, a huge difference in PPC plans where you are paying per booking time instead of clicks rate