Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Online Advertising — The Smart Way

I knew I’d stumbled on to a great story when my research led me to my first
“Google whack.”

A Google whack consists of any two words that produce one and only one
result when entered into the Google.com search engine (without quote marks).
A recent example from the hilarious
Googlewhack.com site is
ambidextrous scallywags. That’s how one Web page describes
Enron executives who contributed to Senators of both the Republican
and Democratic parties.

My own singular search result came when I entered the terms
maestro gotoast. Those names are two of the most important Web
services available for Fortune 1000 companies that want to excel at online
advertising. Finding only one result at Google amazed me. (Even more
surprising, the page I’d found merely mentioned both services in passing,
without describing them.) Apparently, no one on the entire Internet had
written a meaningful article comparing these two services — either
one of which could help you revitalize your brand.

Allow me to explain.

Go Toast and Maestro as Managers of Your Online Advertising

Both Go Toast, offered by Go Toast LLC,
and Maestro, a service of Did-it.com,
make it possible for corporations to control their advertising in major
search engines such as Google, AOL, and MSN.

Consumers increasingly turn to search engines to buy everything from canaries
to cars. As a result, over 110,000 companies already advertise in
Google, according to Did-it’s CEO, Kevin Lee, and more than 80,000 buy their
way into Overture, a service that feeds ads to Yahoo, MSN, CNN, and numerous
others. But Fortune 1000 companies represent only about 20% of the advertising
currently found in search engines, Lee says.

That represents a huge opportunity for enterprises to get their names
and products in front of millions of consumers who are looking for
exactly what these companies sell. To take advantage of this market,
however, you first need to understand the two top competitors in this space.

Tapping the Power of Overture and Google

Almost any search at Google these days — and on sites such as
MSN that display content from Overture — will reveal advertisements
or “sponsored links” at the top of the page or down the right-hand side.
The advertisers make bids on these ads, paying Google or Overture amounts
ranging from 5 cents to several dollars for each visitor who’s induced to
click.

Go Toast and Maestro are bid-management services. They adjust your
company’s bids up or down to position your ads favorably against those of
your competitors. These services exist because the complexity of advertising
on all the search terms related to your products can overwhelm even the
most dedicated person who works full-time at the effort.

Go Toast.
Some Go Toast customers juggle ads involving more than 100,000 different
search queries, Go Toast CEO Dave Carlson said in a telephone interview.
These include office-supply retailers and auto-parts suppliers who may
carry 50,000 or more items. Consumers tend to search for such products
using different terms, such as “stapler,” “Swingline,” or “SF1.”
Smart companies bid on every possible word that could lead to a sale.

Go Toast’s servers generate statistics for each search term, showing
the dollars reaped from each sale divided by the money spent on ads.
(This is known as “return on ad spend.”)

As Go Toast’s computers find patterns, they increase or decrease each
client’s bids to maximize the stated goals. Ads with the highest bid
are usually displayed in the first position on a search page. But
Carlson says this isn’t necessarily worth the extra cost. “Position 3
continues to be, for most clients, the best return,” he explains.

Go Toast offers a 2-week free trial of its services. After that, clients
can have the software adjust bids on 50 search terms twice a day for $80 per
month, 10,000 search terms once an hour for $9,000 per month, and so forth.

Maestro.
Did-it doesn’t support a free trial — it unashamedly aims for large
enterprises only. The typical Maestro client is paying Did-it at least $1,000
per month plus 15% of its gross ad spending, Lee said in an interview.

For that money, Did-it clients get a high degree of hand-holding.
“We’re a better solution for someone spending $30,000, $40,000, or
$50,000 a month” on search-engine advertising, Lee asserts.

Maestro is particularly optimized to find patterns that may occur only
on certain days of the week or hours of the day. For example, Lee showed
me that the buying patterns of Web visitors can plummet
between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. Eastern Time. The total number of visitors
may dip only slightly during that period, but purchases can drop as low as
one-tenth of the daytime rate. Maestro can be configured to turn off
a client’s ads during such unproductive periods to avoid wasting ad dollars.

Getting the Most for Your Advertising Spend

Go Toast can also be used to chart time-of-day patterns, as Maestro
can. Choosing between the two comes down to your company’s need for technology
and the two providers’ approaches to maximizing your ad budget.

“Go Toast gives you much more control,” Carlson claims. “Maestro is
much more ‘set it and let it go’.”

The more automatic method may appeal
to corporations with a lot of products to push. If so, Go Toast provides
a self-managed tool through an advertising firm, EonMedia.com, that
eliminates some of the usual fine-tuning work.

Conclusion

If your company isn’t currently using search-engine advertising, you
should look into it immediately as a method to attract highly motivated
customers.

Your first step should be to type into Google or MSN Search
the name of a product you sell. You may find that your competitors show
up several times on the page, whereas your company hardly appears at all.

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