Tag Archives: search marketing

Microsoft and its ‘cash-back’ search strategy

The pros and cons of Microsoft’s cash back searches are well documented on far better blogs than contentcontent (just).

But this new search strategy could be an example of how Microsoft are trying to convince advertisers that paid search ads (ie Google’s) aren’t the be all and end all of search.

As well as the cash back search, it’s also worth watching Microsoft’s efforts in tracking and ‘engagement mapping’ tools which they’re supposed to be rolling out.

These tools (which MS bought as part of the aQuantive / Avenue A Razorfish purchase) claim to give online retailers a better picture of what ads or web content a user saw before they purchased a product on their site. The value being that not all purchases are made via paid search ads – display ads and other web content could inspire that purchasing decision.

Of course Doubleclick has being doing this kind of thing for years (which Google owns). It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft’s product offer will improve on Doubleclick’s offer.

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SEO – never be surprised by your customers’ search keywords and phrases

A contact at an agency just told me they’ve been invited to pitch. Woo-hoo etc. But what’s interesting is how they got in touch – the client searched for ‘award winning digital agency’.

Today’s takeaway moral? Never, ever, ever, ever underestimate your user or make assumptions. When developing copy for your website (or your client’s), explore EVERY possible keyword and phrase they’re likely to use or be reassured by.

Put simply, make sure your copy includes keywords which resonate with your user. It helps with your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO).

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Can journalists be web copywriters?

This topic has come up now and again throughout my career, but after reading a rewritten press release on Net Imperative, I just felt I had to share this with a wider audience.

The first time this issue came up was when I met a fairly high profile client for the first time. During a discussion about content, she revealed that she didn’t use copywriters because most were ‘out-of-work journalists.’

As well as the slightly cliched view of a journalist, the implication that journalists aren’t necessarily good copywriters was worrying.

I eventually put the client’s odd comment down to experience. So I was surprised to see this attitude rear it’s ugly head on a Net Imperative report about Spannerworks.

Search marketing agency Spannerworks has, according to Net Imperative, recruited two journalists to develop original timely content that is relevant to ‘the discussion’ – the idea being that the content can be used across social networks, debate sites and so on and to improve a client’s rankings.


But what really surprised me was a comment by Antony Mayfield, Head of Content & Media at Spannerworks:

“To make brand content useful we need journalists as well as copywriters, as a journalist’s instinct is to be on the side of the reader rather than the side of the brand. If brands are going to compete for attention in their online networks, they need to become part of those networks by adding to the conversation in a useful and non-commercial way. In short, to win attention brands need to be useful, not just look useful.”

What’s most surprising is the assumption that a copwriter couldn’t be tasked with distancing himself / herself from the commercial hard sell. As a journalist AND copywriter of over 10 years, I’d be amazed if I couldn’t find someone who couldn’t manage this task. A copywriter’s remit is to write to a brief for a target audience. If that brief suggests adopting a journalist-like ‘non commercial’ approach to content, then so be it.

Okay I admit I’ve met plenty of journalists who can’t get their head around writing to a copywriting brief and vice versa. But surely anyone worth their salt can at least appreciate the process and approach required?

If you can turn your hand to both, it appears that you really are a rare beast.

Read the Net Imperative ‘story’

How will Murdoch exploit digital marketing?

Interesting piece from iMedia Connection today, mainly for the commentary on Murdoch’s purchase of MySpace and how he intends to queeze revenues out of it.

Interesting to read about the focus on online ads, but what about its plans for non-ad revenues?

Google admits privacy policy could be improved

Google has responded to last week’s media frenzy over privacy concerns and admitted the company’s prolonged use of browsing habits data.

The search giant “could do better” when it comes to privacy statements Google’s prviacy lawyer Peter Fleischer told BBC News.

Encouraging news – especially when you consider that the portal has a dedicated lawyer for privacy related issues.

Read more at Brand Republic.

Future publishing appoints Richard Foster as digital director

It seems Future is getting its digital ducks in order after appointing Richard Foster of behavioural targeting firm Revenue Science.

Can Foster help squeeze more revenue from Future’s 3.5 million unique users? Only time will tell.

It’s interesting to recall Foster’s frustration with advertisers in a New Media Age (NMA) article back in December 2006. Apparently there was still a lack of understanding of behavioural targeting and its benefits a whole year after its arrival in the UK in 2005.

For those of you who are still none the wiser, behavioural targeting uses cookies to track the behaviour of users across multiple websites and is another way to “serve inventory like search and contextual advertising”, according to the NMA piece.

So basically taking what Double Click does with ads and applying it to web magazine content the user may like or is it just about the ads publishers display?

Read more about Foster’s and others’ appointments on Brand Republic.

Monkeymag myspace.com profile disappears!

How odd. No sooner had I flagged up Monkeymag’s new promo myspace.com profile, that the profile disappeared!

Monkeymag on myspace.com – nada! What’s happened? Who? Wha…?

Can anyone fill us in? Has myspace.com clamped down on what it might deem a ‘commercial’ profile?

Google – the saviour of print ads?

Today Alan Rushbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper suggested that classifieds are in their death throws. Alan predicts that by 2007, search engine ads will have taken over.

But Google’s now said to be trialling a service where AdWords customers can buy print newspaper ads online.

Customers can select a newspaper title from a list, then upload their graphics, copy etc.

A very nice service indeed. Will we see this eventually being extended to video ads? Okay, so Vauxhall won’t upload their new TV ad via a Google ad platform, but they might upload it for use / advertising on Google and other partner sites which support video. After all, newspaper publishers are starting to look at producing video content e.g. Manchester Evening News, Daily Telegraph and The Times.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.