If you’ve worked in digital marketing for a while, you’ve probably noticed something as of late – overall costs are going up, up, up. As the online advertising ecosystem matures, and the demand for eyeballs increase, it means higher costs associated with growing and maintain your reach in the marketplace. This means that more than ever, you and your dollars need to work smarter. Here’s a short list of some big changes that are driving cost increases, followed by a few ideas to counter them.


Google Monetization

The company behind the #1 search engine on the planet has gotten  very good at making money, as they should.  They’ve got shareholders to answer to, and this means we all will be paying the great and powerful Google much more for traffic in the future. This translats to less free traffic. A short list as to why includes:

-          The expansion and prominent placement  of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)  is driving more of overall search traffic into the paid category, while creating increased competition right at eyeball level, both among advertisers and among Google’s own paid media assets (traditional paid search ads).

-          Less organic real estate in the SERPs, due to the above mentioned changes, plus other layout changes Google has made to its results pages.

-          Increased SEO costs, due to an emphasis on creating high quality content, and promoting that content around the web. Google’s algorithmic changes have driven this. Gone are the days of just “ok” content. It’s all about engagement today.

-          Decreased Email open rates, due to Gmail tabs: Your Email Marketing program doesn’t pay Google a darn cent directly. Sure they make money off the ads in Gmail, but that’s already happening. Which is probably a good reason why Gmail now groups all marking flavored emails into a “Promotions Tab’, no longer to your default inbox. With fewer customers interacting with your brand for virtually free via email, they might be more likely to use search to visit you again, and migrate through one of the paid Google properties in the process.


Facebook Throttling Down the Free Ride  

Following Google’s suit, Facebook continues to monetize itself, slowly shifting much of its organic content out for paid. Social Media is cheap right, practically free….right? Those days are waning. FB has spent years gathering our demographic and psychographic information and now they mean to cash in, to whatever degree its user base will tolerate. For now, it’s looking like they can test further in that direction.


Paying Twice for Radio

The rise of streaming radio and recent reboot of PodCasting is providing advertisers a small but growing way of reaching markets, but there’s a twist. A radio personality who use to only be syndicated using terrestrial radio (old school radio), now may also offer a streaming channel. So now you’ll pay to test that out right? Often you’ll need to book streaming though a different agency and at a different cost than terrestrial, how much of that personality’s audience is listing via old school vs. new? It’s believed that the two work as complementary channels to increase ad recall, but yes, you are spending more too. As streaming grows, so too will the cost, as music services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and the like pay high licensing fees. This is one to keep an eye on.


So costs are going up, but what to do about it. There are some good answers that are quite specific within some of the articles I referenced, but across the whole here’s what I would offer:


-          Take a good hard look at your creative. Have you been using the same thumbnails, ad copy, script, or page title for several years simply because it won out in a test you did in 2011?  It needs to perform better now than ever before, so invest in understanding what is going to resonate more with your customers than the go-to pieces you may have relied upon, and specifically for the audience in each discrete channel.

-          Never stop testing

-          Work that much harder at getting more eyeballs for the cheaper channels: grow your email house file attending/hosting offline events, expand your organic keyword universe, and double down on getting crafty with the content you push to social media. Increasing your reach on cheaper channels should help to offset increases to your overall costs.


Thanks for reading, would love to hear from you..

{ 1 comment }

Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy

by pvincler on June 19, 2013

patrick-vincler-interactive-meetupLast week I spoke on the subject of Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy at the San Diego Interactive Marketing Meetup.  With access to fast and cheep means of publishing content, many promotional marketers begin and end with content marketing, and never really get to the strategy.  My presentation covered an approach to a content strategy, one the is centered on the customer/reader first, then cascades into the development of deliverables, goals, assets, and then finally the content creation.

Thanks to all of you who attended! It was great to see you and to get all the wonderful feedback, which in turn has encouraged me to do more speaking. So thank you twice.

And thanks also to both Max and Monique of Thunder SEO for hosting the event.

Below is a copy of the deck for those who attended. Looking forward to see you all again soon!


Coaxing The Big Picture on Search out of SES NYC

March 29, 2013

Thursday concluded the final day of the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York City. On tap were the usual topics; architecture, enterprise seo, search+social, how to get out of Panda and Penguin jail, among others. While the sessions themselves are indispensable for newcomers to the field, I find myself at search conferences like these […]

Read the full article →

SEO: Role or Skill in 2013 and Beyond

March 24, 2013

In advance of the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference next week in New York City, I wanted to share some thoughts about a question I’ll be asking most over my three days in the Big Apple – how are in-house SEOs evolving, or not, in an environment that is quickly becoming more content focused? It’s […]

Read the full article →

What makes a good infographic?

November 2, 2012

Though not new concept by any means, the infographic has become a very popular asset to both marketers and publisher over the last few years.  “Popular” could also be refereed to as an explosion, the likes of which has caused a vast spectrum of quality. On one end, an effective tool, on the other an […]

Read the full article →

3 Significant Trends in Marketing Leadership

October 26, 2012

The role of a marketing professional is ever changing, and so too are the responsibilities for leaders within this profession. Once largely focused on traditional core activities, future marketing leaders will need to do much more. In my own words, here is what I’ve been observing: Focus on becoming a business leader, not just a […]

Read the full article →

Vegas PubCon 2012 Recap

October 19, 2012

PubCon 2012 wrapped up today, ending three days of sessions on a variety of internet marketing topics, with a slant towards search marketing. Having attended PubCon for the last four years now, and MozCon earlier this year, I took care in choosing my sessions. Fewer new, earth-shaking ideas were gleaned, but what I did take […]

Read the full article →

Forecasting for SEO

March 17, 2012

For organizations that have made organic search a considerable part of their online marketing efforts, there eventually comes the question of how to forecast for what can be one of the most unpredictable marketing channels in your online marketing portfolio. When I first interviewed for position in search at Provide Commerce, then ProFlowers, I was […]

Read the full article →

PubCon 2011 Las Vegas – Gold at the Bottom of the Pan

November 13, 2011

PubCon 2011 in Las Vegas wrapped up this week with what should be a new record for attendance. This years sessions were heavily skewed towards SEO, and more so toward in-house SEOs than in years past.  For me personally, I relate PubCon sessions to the Discovery Channel’s new series – Gold Rush. You spend days […]

Read the full article →

SEOmoz Meetup in San Diego

December 23, 2010

Last night was the annual San Diego SEO meetup jointly hosted by SEOMoz, developer of industry leading SEO software, and EngineReady, a San Diego search marketing agency. The event which was hosted at the Beer Co. was well worth braving heavy rains that have been plaguing our little corner of the South West. (Moz truly […]

Read the full article →