How to Hulu

I had a stomach ache over the weekend. Normally when this happens, I take a big swig of Pepto-Bismol, lay on the sofa, and watch some TV. This time Hulu accompanied my chalky pink stomach-savior.

About two weeks ago, I downloaded Hulu Desktop from Hulu Labs. Now I can surf Hulu from my sofa using my Windows Media Player remote. I attached my lil’ laptop to my LCD TV and voila! I can watch the Hulu in all its glory from my sofa on the TV. With about 30 minutes of putzing around on my laptop, I successfully stopped using my cable TV service.

Since I have officially gotten sick of seeing Men’s Speed Stick and Sprint commercials on Hulu, I thought I would look into their advertising model to see how this whole thing works. So I contacted their sales department and here is the low-down on Hulu advertising. Maybe I can perk some reader’s interest and I won’t have to hear more about armpits!

As you probably guessed, this is a CPM model. You get your commercials tossed into a show and you get a sponsor link on the video page. The big issue with this is the CPM. I was told that CPMs range in the neighborhood of $25 to $40.

Besides the high cost, there is one other factor that I’m not super excited about with Hulu’s advertising program. You cannot just bid to be shown along side a certain show; you bid to be included in demographic chunks. Now, these are not demographics like we normally think of online where you bid to be in front of someone who falls into a specified range. These demographics are based upon the people who tend to watch certain shows.

So how does this play out? I was catching up on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Thanks to Microsoft adCenter Labs’ Audience Intelligence tool, these shows that are most actively watched by men between the ages of 18 and 34. To me, that is about the audience that the Speed Stick commercials were targeting. They bid on that demographic and because I was watching a show that seemed like a likely target for a male between the ages of 18 and 34, I was served up their ad.

Was it effective? Sure. I mean I’m blogging about armpits so something had to take hold.

Here’s the thing you have to remember though: These ads are not going to result in boatloads of direct traffic to a site. Online video, rich media ads and standard banners are not going to get you the return you see in search, but what they will get you is the intangible concept of lift, the idea of more brand awareness and more people actively looking for your brand.

If you partake in some mad Hulu-ing, don’t freak out about low click-throughs to your site. Instead, watch your stats programs more carefully. Look for increases in direct traffic and increases in branded searches from the engines. Compare these numbers to a timeframe without the added benefits of video ads, and see what kind of growth you have. It might just be the missing piece to your marketing puzzle!

Thanks miss_blackbutterfly for the awesome pic on Flickr!

5 W’s of B2B Web Marketing

I’m heading off to Las Vegas today to go to CTAM West. I’ll be heading up the round table sessions on Web Marketing at their B2B conference this year.

As part of this gig, I’ve been asked to create some sort of hand out thingy. I toyed around with many ideas for the one sheeter, but finally, after seeing an invitation on my fridge for a party, I decided on “The 5 W’s of B2B Web Marketing.” For all you loyal SageRock Blog fans, I thought I’d share this info with all of you a day before my attendees get it.

The 5 Ws of Web Marketing


Your potential customers. Think about them for a minute. Do they know the technical industry terms that you may use on your site, or do they know your products or services by another common name? Write to your audience to better connect with them.


Goods and Services. Make sure people know exactly what they are getting when looking at an offer or product. Clear language with full descriptions of products or services leads to happy customers. And if people have questions, make it easy for them to contact you. Keep forms short and make it’s simple to locate a number.


Everywhere. People search with locations attached to terms. Sub-sections of sites that speak to regions convert well and contribute to an aggressive search engine optimization campaign. These pages also work for paid search as landing pages.


Yesterday. Your competition, be it your offline competitors or some company you’ve never heard of, is already active in the space. And they could be using your brand as a way to make themselves money. If nothing else, you need to be running branded efforts.


Why you? What does your company bring to the table that others cannot? This unique value proposition needs to be clear and concise. Whether it is one of price or service, it needs to resonate with your audience.

Wish me luck as I head to Vegas! Hopefully I’ll still have a few dollars to my name when I return!

Thanks for the photo go to Incase Designs via Flickr.

Google Mobile Keyword Tool

There is an Easter egg hidden in Google AdWords. Tucked away in your campaigns is a tool that will make you rethink mobile search and its implications for your business. Yes my friends, there is a Google Mobile Keyword Tool.

To access this tool, you must have an AdWords account with some odd specs set up.

The easiest way to get there is to open up AdWords Editor and create a new paused campaign with a paused ad group. In that new ad group toss in a random keyword and create a single mobile ad. Click-to-call or one with a link, it doesn’t matter the kind of ad you create. Now upload that sucker and head over to Google AdWords.

Log into Google AdWords and drill down until you are in your new ad group with one little mobile ad. Click on the Keywords tab. Next to “+ Add keywords:” there is a link to the Keyword tool. Click it.

This should look pretty familiar to you. We’re now at the Google Keyword Tool! I know what you’re thinking. “Joe, you made me do all of that when I could have just Googled “Google Keyword Tool” and been done with this? I hate you and your entire family.” Look up in the upper right corner. You’ll notice that your mobile ad is there. That’s a little different, now isn’t it? And if you read the text before the tool input, it says that the results are geared towards mobile searches.

Go ahead and use the keyword tool as you normally would, but check it out: the search volumes and cost per click data are associated with mobile and not with standard search.

When you clicked on that link back to the Keyword Tool back at the ad group level, something magical happened. Google looked at the oldest ad in you ad group, saw that it was a mobile ad, and is now giving you data that is all about mobile. If you accessed the tool any other way, you would get the standard search data.

I know it’s a lot of work to reach, but the Google Mobile Keyword Tool is a great gadget to help you determine if mobile search should be the next step in your marketing plan.

Thanks for the image goes to salomonrbc via Flickr.

Yahoo! Search Marketing Using Favicons

Yahoo! just launched a new test program that may (or may not) place your website’s favicon next to your Yahoo! Search Marketing ad. If you’re not familiar with favicons, they’re little images that appear the tabs next the page title in Firefox or next to a site listed in your bookmarks. Here’s the official word from Yahoo!:

Yahoo! recently launched a test that may place your web site’s “favicon” image in your Sponsored Search ad. Favicons are images displayed next to the address field in the web browser when users visit your site. The test is designed to help deliver more clicks to your site and provide a better search experience for your users.

This test is a part of our continuing effort to provide you with valuable Sponsored Search traffic. We believe that adding favicons to your Sponsored Search ads can help increase that value.

This test began May 6 and will last indefinitely. There is no additional charge to you for this test. You simply need to make sure that your “favicon.ico” file remains on your web server—and continue to bid on your own brand or company name keywords—to potentially be eligible for this test or future enhancements.

It took us a bit to hunt down an ad that uses a favicon, but we found one. This is an example of an ad using a Favicon for Mozilla in Yahoo! Search Marketing.


This could be very valuable to all you marketers out there! The distinction of a favicon next to your ad could influence click through rates. This is something you want to jump on fast as soon you could very well get lost in the masses of favicons.

If you don’t have a favicon for you site, contact SageRock and we can help you get one. We’re nice like that.

Image courtesy of i’m george via Flickr.

Top 5 Non-Traditional Ways to Advertise Online

I’m always looking at new advertising avenues to present to my clients. Traditional paid search and search engine optimization can only get you so far in the competitive web spaces. If you are in an industry that is brutally competitive online, you may want to start looking at new advertising methods to keep growing your business.

Here are my top 5 non-traditional avenues for online advertising:

  • Google Local Business Ads – For some strange reason, not everyone using Google AdWords is taking advantage of these ads! Once you confirm your business’s location (or locations) with the Google Local Business Center, you have access to listings specifically designed for Google Maps. From what I’ve seen these are dirt cheap ads. They work great for hotels and restaurants and are perfect for customer service purposes.
  • Mobile Ads – The mobile space is growing quickly. With a push from retailers on 3G phones, people all over are constantly connected to the web in new ways. Our pals over at Google make it easy to target cell phone internet users. In your campaign settings, you have the option to target iPhone and Android phone users where you select if you want to be in the content network or not. They also offer you the ability to create mobile ads. These ads can send people to a mobile site or you have the ad viewer click to call you. For as little as 5 cents you could get a qualified phone call. Also companies like AdMob allow you to buy advertising within iPhone apps. For brand advertisers, this is a great solution.
  • Pay-Per-Call – For many of our clients, phone calls are incredibly valuable. AT&T has a program that allows you to only pay for ads when someone calls you. Their Pay-Per-Call ads get you placed on many online and mobile sites like AOL and Unlike other forms of paid search, you don’t bid on phrases; you bid on categories. While this is bit different from what most people are used to, it works quite easily. Pair this with a call tracking solution and you would know exactly how well this works for your business.
  • YouTube InVideo Ads – YouTube is the big player in streaming video. As you have been watching videos about unicorns or checking out Japanese game shows, you may have noticed there is a new block of ads being served up to you… in your video. The InVideo ads are popping up in the lower 20% of YouTube videos. This new way of reaching an audience is easy to set up. In your Google AdWords account, create a new campaign and adgroup. In your new adgroup use the placement tool and type in look around for the InVideo placement options. Add the different categories you desire to your adgroup and you are good to go! (I would recommend adding in keywords to this adgroup too. This will increase the relevancy of your ads.)
  • LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn is a giant social network geared towards business networking. If you don’t have a profile over yet, bookmark this article and go set up an account. LinkedIn’s DirectAds is their internal pay per click program. While you cannot target keywords on this platform, you can target very specific qualities you would like the person who sees your ad to have. For instance, you could target people who work in IT at construction companies that have between 51 and 200 employees. How about male legal professionals in the medical industry? Or 18 to 25 year olds in Canada who work for non-profits? The list goes on and on. You won’t see giant volumes of traffic from LinkedIn, but you will see highly targeted traffic.

Chances are all 5 of these methods will not work perfectly for you, but they are all worth a try. You never know when an unsuspecting source of traffic will be the next big thing.

Image courtesy of MIAD Communication Design.

Targeting Spanish-Speakers in Google AdWords

The last time I blogged, I pondered the effects of dialects on Spanish PPC. This time, I want to go a little deeper into setting up the campaigns for targeting the Spanish-speaking populous in the United States through Google AdWords.

Step Zero is figuring out what you want people to do once they reach your Web site. If you can’t answer that question, don’t go any further. Bookmark this page and come back to it later; you have bigger issues.

Any good campaign is based upon good phrase research. For the Spanish language, this is a bit tough. There are few tools out there that do a good job with Spanish phrase research, let alone those that understand dialect. This makes things complicated right out of the gate. Sure, a tool like Trellian’s Keyword Discovery is a great resource, but you need to dig deeper. Try reading through articles related to your service or product in Spanish and see what type of terms the authors used. Stalk your competitors who are targeting Spanish-speaking audiences and see if they have anything on their sites that you can “borrow.” And if you can, ask a native speaker for help on this; their help is invaluable. No matter what avenues you try, take your time; this is one process you don’t want to rush.

I guess now is as good of a time as any to talk about accent marks and special characters. Some people search with the proper accents and special characters, some people don’t. In order to resolve this issue, you should have multiple versions of terms in your research. One version that is grammatically correct and another version stripped of accents and special characters. That way you’re covered. A warning: when you strip accents, you can end up with new words entirely. Papá and papa only differ in the accent over the second a, but one means dad and one means potato.

Now you can relax for a step. You have your phrase list, now you can divide that list into logical groups like you would for any other campaign. Breaking this list up into logical groups and keeping those organized in Excel or a text document will save you lots of time when you actually have to set up the campaigns.

If you are up for some placement targeting, I would recommend heading over to Google AdPlanner. This tool will let you set your demographics and will then spit out a list of sites whose visitors are most likely to match your criteria. There is even a pre-defined Spanish language audience that you can tweak to find the right sites for you. This will give you a decent starting list until you can get some data from your placement reports.

At this point you should have lists that will make up your campaigns and ad groups. Now you need ads. Once more I will pull out my soap box. Please do not use an online English-to-Spanish translator! Those will only give you a very rough idea of a possible translation. These rarely understand context and can give you some horrible results. If you are confident in your Spanish skills, take a stab at writing ads, but please talk to a native speaker. Even if it is just to review your ads, your money will be well spent.

Now you have your terms, you have your structure and you have your ads. Now you can set up your campaign. As you set up each campaign, be sure to select the proper regions you want to target. Also, be sure to select Spanish as the language you want to target; you wouldn’t want to have done all that work for nothing now would you? Everything else should be simple cutting and pasting.

Whew! That was a workout, wasn’t it? Well, it was good for you. It’s good to work those SEM muscles every now and then. What doesn’t kill us makes us better marketers.

Photo Courtesy of

Ads Targeting Spanish-Speaking Americans

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I saw a billboard for Doritos bearing the slogan, “¿Dónde es el party?” This blew my colloquial-Spanish-thinking mind out of the water; it should have read “¿Dónde está la fiesta?”.

I asked the friend I was staying with why the difference exists and if the Doritos ad was right, or just a really poor translation. She explained to me that, “¿Dónde es el party?” is just as correct as “¿Dónde está la fiesta?”

Thus, I was introduced to dialects of the Spanish-speaking world.

Thanks to the mighty Wikipedia, there are resources available to marketers that let us know what the dominant dialect is for an area. Cuban-Spanish, for instance, is all the rage in Florida and New Jersey; Isleño is the dialect to speak in Louisiana; and Puerto Rican-Spanish is the way to speak Spanish in New York and the Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago metro areas.

This leads me to one of my favorite features of paid search marketing: geotargeting. This feature enables you to craft campaigns that focus on a particular region of the US, and additionally craft ads unique to the dialect of that area.

Things can get tricky, though. According to a recent survey, many Spanish-speaking Americans search in English but read news and articles in Spanish. Translation: Content Networks.

Yes, these networks are a fantastic way to reach the Spanish-speaking audience. Between standard contextual and placement targeting, you may carve out a unique space in this market.

Now here is the part where I plead to you. Please do not go to an English-to-Spanish online translator and think that you’ve done a great job with your ad. If you are not a native speaker, don’t try and fake it. Hunt someone out who can help you say what you want to say in the right way. This will help you to establish trust, build market share, and cultivate more meaningful profits.

Don’t be the guy who made the sign for Taco Bell you see above, take the time and do it right.

Photo Courtesy of EngrishFunny

Content Network Catastrophe

I love bad reality TV. I’ve sat through a season of Tool Academy on VH1. I watch Shear Genius on Bravo. I even suffered through the first half of Pirate Master. But now a new reality show threatens contextual networks everywhere: RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Remember, content networks work by looking at the words on a page and trying to match those up against the terms on which you bid in Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and all the rest of the paid search engines. Do you see where I’m going with this?

RuPaul's Drag Rage Brings Up Miss-Matched Ads

RuPaul’s Drag Race brings up mismatched ads

Yup. RuPaul’s Drag Race is triggering terms that relate to racing and automotive in the advertising block at the bottom of the page. Thanks, Yahoo!.

Unfortunately, it is hard to identify on what sites you appear if you opt into Yahoo!’s Content Match network. In all honesty, I tend to not use it for that very reason.

Google’s Content Network gives you more control, but can deliver results that are equally as crazy if you are not a diligent advertiser. Running Placement Reports, however, may provide insight on which sites your ads appear. Take some time every week or once a month and run this report. Look for sites that spend a lot of money with little conversions in return and eliminate them. Spend an hour to visit sites you’ve never even heard of and see if the content is truly relevant to your business.

Looking at the placement reports and taking the time to manage your content network separately from your search campaigns makes the difference between an underperforming content campaign and a content campaign earns you money.

A Social Media Fallacy

For the past two years, the Internet has been buzzing with talks of social media.  It really is a wonderful means to keep in touch, meet new people, and learn about new topics.  In fact, a recent Nielsen Online news release, social networks are being used more frequently then traditional email sources.

With social sites growing so rapidly, advertisers are all grabbing for a piece of the pie in the hopes of reaching this new emerging audience.

The problem?  No one really cares.

A recent survey from the Participatory Marketing Network shows some interesting result.

Though an overwhelming majority (84%) of Millennial Internet users notice ads on social networks, only 19% find them relevant, and 36% claim they never click on them.

You can’t just through money at ads on social networks and think you’ll see an instant jump in conversions and ROI; ads are only part of the solution.  In order to see the true value in social networks, you have to actually participate.

You need a fan page or company profile in the networks, as well.  These pages need to offer unique and relevant content for the audience; and it never hurts to offer an incentive.  More than having the profiles and pages, you need to tell people you exist.  Advertise that you are in social spaces, talk to people as they contact you, and make sure you let people know their voice is heard.

The same survey from the Participatory Marketing Network showed that about half of people are quite willing to befriend brands.  It also showed that you need to offer some sort of incentive to get people to be your brand’s friend.

Some 62% of Millennials admitted they’ve visited a brand or fan page on a social network and nearly half (48%) actually joined.

The survey found Millennials join a brand group or fan page for the following reasons:

  • Getting news or product updates (67%)
  • Having access to promotions (64%)
  • Viewing or downloading music or videos (41%)
  • Submitting opinions (36%)
  • Connecting with other consumers (33%)

I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it is.  It should be.  Social media is more about the conversation and conversations take time to have.  This is not meant to discourage anyone from dabbling in social media; it’s meant to help you set realistic goals.  If you’re not willing to give the social networks more time than it takes you to placement target them in Google, the members of these online communities will not give you the time that you want of them.

A Missed SEO Opportunity in (Spanish-Speaking) America

Did you know that the US has over 28 million people who speak Spanish? We’re the sixth largest Spanish-speaking county in the world. That’s about the same as the population of New York City… Three times over.

Now, the important question is, what are you doing to reach this population? Nothing?!?! I just heard someone think “Nothing!” If you were marketing nationally in the United States would you want to miss the populations of the Top 10 largest cities? No! You’d find someone to help you hit this market! Well, it’s time to start doing something about your missed Spanish SEO opportunity in the US!

A recent Ipsos Omnibus study showed the many US Hispanics use English media and can easily switch between English and Spanish. Relating directly to online usage, here is what Ipsos found:

English is the leading language of preference for the internet among all Hispanic age groups, as over half of all Hispanics (55%) say their language preference for the internet is English. However, nearly forty-percent (39%) of Hispanics ages 18-34 prefer Spanish language internet sites, demonstrating that many younger Hispanics are closely tied to Spanish while online, Ipsos found. Moreover, 42% of Hispanic women prefer Spanish when surfing the web. This compares with just 29% of men.

Then I read this part:

More than four in ten Hispanics (44%) also read Spanish newspapers that cover news in their US community. This is most common among those with annual household incomes less than $50K (57%).

So what does this scream to me? Content networks!

While it appears that many Spanish-speaking Americans are comfortable conducting search and browsing the web in English, they follow up on information in Spanish and relate it back to their community. Many of the sites that US Hispanics are reading are displaying Google ads.

Take advantage of this.

Do some phrase research, write some ads and don’t hesitate to ask for help! If you want to seriously try and reach out to this market, you have to do it right. Hunt down a native speaker and make sure you are using the words people understand and not just what a free online translator offers you as a translation of your current phrases and ads.