Geo-Scores, Netflix, Image Ads … & a Chance Encounter at a Stanford Geek Party

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AdWords News, from Bryan Todd

First off, is this old news? It’s actually been around in some form for awhile:

Google is counting geographic performance as part of your Quality Score (QS). At least, they’re now announcing it. Meaning, in the regions you’ve chosen where you happen to be advertising, they grade you on the curve of other advertisers who are aiming there too (Google ALWAYS grades you on the curve) and determine your QS accordingly.

On a similar melody, Google now has as one of your options under “Reports” a Geographic Report, which adds a column for the various countries or states/provinces or regions or cities you’ve chosen. So in one of my ad groups that I just ran a report for, it’s showing me ad-group-wide data on my clicks for the date range I chose (month of August, in this case), broken down by Countries and regions within Countries.

Which means I’ve got separate impressions & clicks & conversion rates for Australia, for Ontario, for the rest of Canada, for a boatload of states in the U.S. (all swing states, looks like), South Africa, Singapore, the U.K. and more. A total of 711, to be exact. That’s a lot.

Pretty granular. If you want granular, by golly you get granular.

Different topic, related to another new piece of AdWords techno-sensibility that I’ll mention in a second:

Those of us in the U.S. can learn a helluva lot from Netflix. They’re becoming gigantic and are knocking threateningly at the door another corporate giant, Blockbuster Video. They’ve taken a spur-of-the-moment transactional business – renting movies – and turned it into a continuity subscription service. And a very involving one too, if you’re a movie nut like I am. Their interface is incredibly easy to use. You can find any title of virtually anything put on film in the last 100 years. Their shipping is lightning fast, no matter where you are in the U.S. Their advertising is ubiquitous but their growth is as much a function of rave-review word-of-mouth as anything.

But what’s the single most important defining fact about Netflix, to me personally? That rush of joy I get every single time I open my mailbox and there’s another red paper envelope in it with my next DVD. I’ve been a member since 2005 and I still love getting that biochemical “hit” 2-3 times a week.

Netflix does what Snapfish and YouTube and all those other online-offline-online media services do:  makes it a no-brainer for you to go online, pick stuff you want to work on or have mailed to you or upload or whatever, does most of the thinking via a very simple, intuitive interface, and rewards you with a nice little emotional mini-buzz when you get what you requested.

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In fact, I talked about this very thing with a guy in L.A. just yesterday during an AdWords consultation. He’s working on a technology-plus-service that will let you do certain specialized types of video work online in a service model not unlike Netflix and those others. Details forthcoming as he perfects his technology.

Couldn’t be ready fast enough.

So here’s where I was going with this:  Google is making it easier for you to design image ads for your AdWords campaigns, if you don’t have great photoshopping skills or you lack the software. They let you design them right there, online, from within your Google account:

Contextual Targeting expert Shelley Ellis pointed out to me today that Google makes this look as though it’s about the Ad Builder. In reality it’s not. It’s about making it feel easier to use all the features of content and placement targeting options across Google’s whole interface.

Perry and I virtually never have conversations with people about Google’s image ads, even though they’re a vital advertising medium and have been around for years now. Take advantage of them. Banner ads are well-established and you should use them for your business.

Oh, and about Netflix – Story of the week: My old high school classmate Samir works for Netflix now. He’s some kind of whiz-bang designer or programmer for their interface; I don’t remember exactly what he does. Either way, Samir graduated pretty near the top of our class and went on to Stanford. Did grad work there too.

He tells how one evening in the mid-90’s he was at a geek party on campus and noticed a couple young guys wearing white t-shirts with some odd multicolored word on them. Didn’t recognize the word, didn’t recognize the guys. He found himself in conversation with one of them and asked him what kind of geekwork he was doing.

The guy said, “My partner and I are building a ‘search engine’ for the Internet. Really sophisticated. You can use it to find anything you want online.”

The guy was obviously really into his idea. Samir thought he was a little off kilter, and the idea itself kind of overblown, if not downright nutty.

Yeah, you guessed it. That was Larry and Sergei.

Samir thinks better of their kooky idea now.

Never know when the guy you bumped into at last night’s party is going to turn into the next multi-billionaire

More news to come,

Bryan Todd

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About the Author

Bryan Todd, co-author of "The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords" is an in-demand consultant not just in Google AdWords but in all of the major aspects of online marketing.

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