Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Advertising 102...

Our Google Ad
We just completed our Google ad campaign. Of the three campaigns we ran, this one was the most interesting to me. Facebook and MySpace gave us some options for customization since they track the demographics of their users, but Google gave us the ability to select keywords. This means that we could type in the keywords for the typical search that we think people who might want our app would use. Then, Google would place our ad where those people would see it.

One of many nice features of the Google AdWords tools and resources, is that Google rates your keywords, tells you how likely they are to produce results, and recommends additional keywords. Also, in their list of suggested keywords, they estimate how many people use this search term. When you see that one term is estimated to be used 1,000 times per month and another is 135,000 times, you really want to select the 135,000 times term! In our case, we couldn't use it because it was a search for free iTouch apps.

Google's suggested keywords

Google also allows you to select sites where you want to see your ad. Instead of selecting a specific demographic such as "professional women in Slovakia and India between the ages of 50-60" (just for example...) as you would in Facebook or MySpace, you can type in "parenting.com" and "ivillage.com/kids" or choose from a list of sites that they have suggested because of your keywords (by the way, pages within babygaga.com came up a lot in their list for us) so that Google will place your ads on these pages.

Some of these "big name" placements come at a premium, but that seems normal to me. Lyle and I have been trying to understand the pricing and logic behind these new online venues—not that they are difficult or opaque, just new and different.  So, it was a welcome "normal" for us. This was the first time we could see the parallels between the online and print advertising experiencesit was like placing an ad on the front page of a newspaper section rather than toward the back or advertising in the big paid newspaper and not in the free small local paper.

After our five-day campaign at Google, we got about 150 clicks and nearly 80,000 impressions. Did that translate into sales? Maybe. I saw a "few" more sales than we had had during the prior weeks. There was a pattern and, as I said, I believe the sales went up a smidgen, but I can't say it was solely because of the advertising. And, as I wrote last time, it costs us at least $1 for every click and we get only $.70 for every sale, so unless we made more than 150 sales from this campaign, we could not break even.

But what about the multiplier effect? If we did get a single $.70 sale after spending at least $1, can we expect that this one single sale will lead to other sales? It certainly worked in Facebook and Twitter as Lyle built our following. How would you go about measuring this for sales? We are looking forward to the next lesson in our crash course on advertising.

(By the way, did you know that SoDunked! is the app that makes kidsand the rest of usgiggle?!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Web Advertising 101(ish)

This is one of our ads.
In the olden days (that's supposed to make most of us laugh), people used to pay a flat fee to put an ad in a print—not online—newspaper or magazine or on a billboard or other physical location...or on the radio or television. I won't pretend to be an expert about the terms of ad placement in all of these realms, but I recall that a printed newspaper asked for a flat fee for a set amount of space and time, say $500 for an eighth of a page ad in a certain section of the newspaper for one week. On television, the numbers are much bigger, but I think it works much the same way. Maybe someone “in the know” can fill in the facts here with more certainty (send us a comment).

Nowadays, to buy space and time on a web site, you pay per click or impression. A click is when someone actually clicks on your ad to go to whatever your ad links to (for example your website or the iTunes store). This does not mean someone will buy your product. An impression is when your ad appears on a web site that someone is viewing. That's all it is. Every time you see an ad on a web page—whether you click it or not—the advertiser counts this as an impression. An impression does not mean someone will buy your product.

We just finished a whirlwind ad campaign on Facebook. I say “whirlwind” because $50 gave us about five days worth of advertising. Here’s what we got for it: Over 200,000 impressions and 43 clicks. The average cost per click was $1.16. The cost per click depends on your bid and some other factors such as where the ad appeared when it was clicked on—was it showing on good real estate with lots of eyeballs or in a mediocre spot with less visibility. Did I just say “eyeballs”? It’s an advertising thing. I am getting the lingo down, man.

Summary of clicks during our Facebook campaign
For the first few days of our campaign, we had zero impressions or clicks because our bid was way too low. We upped the bid—actually tripled it to match the minimum suggested bid—and it made a big difference.

Does any of this mean we get sales? My unscientific opinion is no. We have not noticed our sales going up at all during this campaign. I imagine we need more clicks, more visibility, longer campaigns, better ads. But, when the app nets us approximately $0.70 for every purchase, how can paying $1 or more per click be worth it even if we do make sales? One click costs us more than we get for selling one copy of the app. If 500 clicks produced one sale, we'd have spent more than $500 to get about $0.70 in sales! So, for our business, this path to creating sales is very limited--at least on the face of it.

Well, just because we have one more free campaign to try, we will begin a Google campaign and see what that brings. Tune in again soon to hear how it goes. And please send out a "please try the SoDunked! app" note to someone today.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Web Advertising 101(ish)

So you want to sell a product online. What is the formula for getting your product out there enough for people to buy it? Where do you begin....should you place ads? How many impressions equals a click? How many clicks equal a sale? What is an impression again? Is this really an effective way to sell a product?

I have a lot of questions and, where we have so little to spend, I have a lot of hesitation in spending money on traditional advertising. Unfortunately, the wisdom of the marketing world all points to "get the word out there" and traditional advertising is one--not the only one--of the paths to doing this. Just like placing an ad in a newspaper the way people used to do, you can buy space on a web page to place an ad for your product online.

Luckily, our internet service provider (the company through which we host our SoDunked! web site) offers a few promotional deals as a perk of doing business with them and the deals include $50 of advertising at Facebook and a few other similar offers to advertise on MySpace and Google. This seems great, but then you start reading the sign-up form and see the recommended amount to pay per click (approximately $1.30-1.80) and you find out that $50 does not go very far. And, a click does not necessarily equal a sale.

In the next post, we will fill you in on our adventures with clicks and impressions and what we think it all means. And, don't forget to spread the word and play with the SoDunked! app.