As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.
How to Play the Digital Agency Game:
Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.
What Startups really need from an Agency:
- 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
- Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
- Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
- Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.
Big Agency Regurgitation
I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….
As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.
Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.
The Misunderstanding of Monetization
In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.
- Contact Forms
- Email Newsletter Signups
- Live Chats
- Phone Calls
- Pageviews of a particular page can lead to
Mistrust of the Case Study
Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:
- Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
- Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
- Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)
Don’t Bet the Farm
I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.
Outside Opinion Overload
Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.
Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.
Forecast Projection Failures
How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.
- Take in account the following scenarios:
- Market Saturation Levels
- Seasonality Highs/Lows
- Potential Technical issues
- Search Engine Algorithm changes
- Increased Competitor landscape
“Off the Mark” Target Audiences
Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:
- Monthly Budget Trends
- PPC and SEO Keywords
- Top Text Ads
- Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
- Review monthly and seasonality trends
- Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.
Here’s an example:
Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.
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A lot of updates are hitting us at once between ad formats and the frustration of limited-data reports, but we’re all in this together. Let’s do this!
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been rather scarce lately, despite a host of woes besetting his company — but Wednesday he emerged from his cocoon to offer a limp apology, admit they had no control over data like that used by Cambridge Analytica, and that he “will happily” testify before Congress if he’s the right person to do so.
Well, Congress has taken him at his word. “You are the right person to testify before Congress,” wrote the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter detailed early this morning. His capacity as CEO and “the employee who has been the leader of Facebook through all the key strategic decisions since its launch” make him the best person to testify.
Earlier this week Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kennedy (R-LA) from the Senate Judiciary Committee specifically asked for Zuckerberg as well.
Senator Kennedy had sharp words (in a CNN interview) for Facebook and other tech companies that sent along some smooth operators to talk to them back in November: “We had one hearing — they all sent their lawyers. I don’t know what they paid them but they got their money’s worth, cause their lawyers didn’t say a damn thing.”
He and others are asking that the man himself to come along.
Kennedy said FB lawyers won't do: "They didn't say a damn thing, which was what they were paid to do," he said about Nov. Russia hearings "I'd encourage Mr. Zuckerberg to do the common sense thing and roll up his sleeves and take a meaningful amount of time talking to us"
— CeciliaKang (@ceciliakang) March 23, 2018
The Senate Commerce Committee also desires his presence.
At this point it would be pretty dangerous for Zuckerberg not to heed the call. Lawmakers don’t take kindly to captains of industry who send underlings instead of tackling major issues like this personally.
As the Open Markets Institute’s Matt Stolller points out in an insightful tweet storm, however, the shortcomings of Facebook’s privacy rules are only part of the story. Once Congress has Zuckerberg in the hot seat, they might consider taking on the idea that Facebook has been playing news organizations and publishers like a fiddle.
LG will be bringing a collar-like wearable wireless speaker to CES, which also includes in-ear buds for when you don’t feel like being a complete jerk. The sonorous neck horseshoe connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and contains “wearable speakers capable of delivering 3D surround sound” when the attached earbuds are safely ensconced within the electronic noise scarf.… Read More
An unfairly maligned Best Picture winner, an unlikely sequel, more than one career-maker, and one of the best ’80s action films ever. The post Watch These 8 Movies Before They Leave Netflix in December appeared first on WIRED.
Surveys 360 offers several advanced features that help you reach high-priority audiences, test markets, and gain a better understanding of your impact. They include:
- User list to help you measure the effectiveness of your media campaigns by surveying people exposed to your ads and videos
- ZIP Code targeting that delivers your surveys to high-priority or test markets
- Custom Audience panels that take the pulse of brand perception among key consumer groups
- Occupation and industry targeting to help you do business-to-business research with hard-to-reach professional audiences
Surveys 360 quickly analyzes your data and delivers it in easy-to-navigate graphs, demographic segmentations, and cross-tabs. That makes it easy to find fresh insights and help your business thrive.
BuzzFeed improves client campaigns with Google Surveys 360
BuzzFeed is one company using Surveys 360 to measure campaign performance and improve its ad effectiveness.
BuzzFeed is a global news and entertainment company that creates content intended for sharing, and helps advertising clients tell brand stories with engaging video campaigns. Campaign videos are less like advertisements and more like content people want to share. As they get shared, the campaign reach is extended.
To prove the impact of this innovative ad strategy, BuzzFeed turned to Surveys 360. As BuzzFeed launches each video campaign, it also releases surveys across the Google Surveys Publisher Network and the Google Opinion Rewards mobile app. They ask people exactly what their client brands want to know: Are the campaign videos memorable and understandable? What messages mattered most and why? Did they motivate sharing? What do consumers want to know next? BuzzFeed uses the Surveys 360 user list targeting feature to automatically put the right surveys in front of the right respondents: people who have seen or interacted with campaign videos.
Low-cost, high-quality survey data from Surveys 360 lets BuzzFeed give its clients a complete picture of campaign performance, fast. It helps them prove the value of the current campaign and even suggests strategies for the next campaign.
“With Google Surveys 360, we get more timely results. Everybody seems to want to run these studies to get an understanding of how their campaigns are performing … and what things should we do to make it more impactful in the future.”
– Margo Arton, Director of Ad Effectiveness, BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed’s culture of data-driven experimentation creates success for their clients. Watch our BuzzFeed video case study for more details.
This is only the beginning! We’ll continue to iterate and offer new features for Surveys 360 in the coming months. It’s available for purchase today in the accounts of all Analytics 360 Suite users in the U.S. and Canada. Go to g.co/surveys to learn more.
Posted by Michael Cumberbatch, Product Manager, Google Surveys 360