Wrong Question: Probably I should be asking – how many of us haven’t reviewed it.

Purchasing new gizmo, white good – have you reviewed the product?
Wrong Question: Probably I should be asking – how many of us haven’t reviewed it.

People are increasingly spending more time online and it is quite natural for them to Google for products and services before finally buying it. In a recent candid discussion, CMO of my company (Quasar Media) asked 10 of us – has anybody bought a product without reviewing it online?
No prize for guessing – All of us have gone online and reviewed products before making any purchase.

Online discussion forums—commonly referred to as consumer generated media (CGM)—are increasingly being used by consumers to ratify or criticize products and brands. Because consumers use these online discussion forums to check out other consumers’ opinions and experiences—for pre- or post-shopping advice—they are shaping the perspectives of millions of consumers globally and taking back control from companies.

The question arises – why consumers are increasingly trusting CGM content rather than traditional advertising. The reason is no brainer – It is unfiltered and consumers trust it more than brand advertisement.

A recent study conducted by Forrester also corroborate that consumers trust recommendations from fellow consumers rather than TV or other traditional media(s).

forrester consumer trust study

Wish all of viewers a very happy buying experience for their next purchase.

April 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

Being unaware is no longer a choice for any online organization?

Are you doing business online or are your customers online?
Most of the companies jumped to online bandwagon to be able to reach to their customers and investors 24*7. Being accessible 24*7 also means that your customers are making choices about you, without you being aware of it based on your online reputation. Are you putting your best foot forward when they visit you online or are they getting cold feet just by your mention? Now people are not restricting themselves, just to what is written about your organization on your website. They are also searching for what is written by other consumers about your organization on social media sites like blogs and forums.

The problem is compounded as lot of decision makers in organizations are not even aware of what is happening to their brand in online world or are not sure what to do about it. Most of them are not even aware of the fact that waiting period can be suicidal for their brand. It is unlike pre web 2.0 days when a disgruntled consumer after complaining about organizations’ products / services would give up. Now consumers have choices and they are using it to voice their concerns.

Organizations thinking that “thou shall also pass” may get into huge shock. Web dynamics are completely different compared to other media(s) like television, print etc. As the blog / forum post containing negative reviews gets older and viewed / commented by more people it becomes more popular and more difficult to handle it. So don’t let your brand to get a beating from an over jealous customer or competitor. And take proactive steps to promote your brand’s online reputation.

Find a step by step process to protect and promote your brand reputation.

orm, online reputation management

April 30, 2008 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

Page laod time to affect fortunes of Web analytics companies

Online Auction space at google is getting hot and interesting. Now landing page load time will also affect google adwords quality score, earlier it was dependent on keyword relevancy to the ads , keyword’s historical clickthrough rate (CTR), quality of landing pages and account history and other relevancy factors.The move by google is definitely good from customer’s perspective as it will enhance the user experience and would also help the advertisers as people are more likely to visit the site which loads quickly. So now we have to ensure that besides all other things, our pages load fast. Find link to best practices to increase your load time at: http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

Though advertisers can definitely use best practices to improve the landing pages. But what to do with google analytics script or scripts from other analytics tool providers. They are just dragging the time it takes to load a page. We are in double whammy on the one hand – we need to use analytics tools to know our customer’s and on the other hand – analytics tools take so much time that it may jack up download speed and ultimately the adwords cost. So now for the first time advertisers who are not using any tool may get benefited as the load time for their pages would be less. I think problem is real and Google should at least discount the time taken by at least one analytics tool so that advertiser using just one analytics tool are not discriminated.

While site visitors and advertisers may benefit from the new rules, it has the potential of upsetting market dynamics of analytics companies. Some of the advertisers use multiple analytics tool – one paid and another free (google analytics) or may have their internal tools to measure some important aspects on the site. Now they would be forced to review the returns of using multiple analytics tools and would be forced to use only one tool. In all likelihood this move can benefit the google analytics tool – as it is hassle free, easy to install, faster than other analytics tools and, can easily integrates with adwords account – so may become the first tool of choice for new advertisers or advertisers interested in just one tool.

Do share what do you think?

March 11, 2008 at 8:22 am Leave a comment

Questions to ask before opting for Automatic Matching Option

It is widely known that Google is coming up with a beta program: “Automatic Matching Option”, which expands your reach and spend the rest of your budget by allowing Google to find matches that go beyond broad or extended keywords. Can it be really useful for your campaign, ponder these questions before taking any decision.
It may be beneficial for the companies who are using PPC for branding initiatives and using low bids as they would not be required to painstakingly find relevant keywords – system would do everything for them .But implementing the system for lead generation could be nothing less than catastrophic and would result in increase in lead conversion cost and would bring irrelevant traffic. It is quite simple, keyword quality score depends upon landing page content, adgroup content and keyword history. For any keyword under “automatic matching option” – landing page content and ad content may not be relevant which will spike up the ad cost. Another thing which is not favorable for using the option is “control would lie with the google’ – so initially for few months you may get positive ROI but one can never be sure of continued positive returns.

Yet another thing which forces me to doubt the option is how relevant is “keyword matching tool” for your campaign. Obviously we don’t use all the keywords suggested by it. So if “automatic matching option tool” uses keywords just like “keyword matching option tool”. Will such keywords would be relevant to the campaign and can they give positive ROI?

Let me try to explain it further.
Just research the query string used by people coming to your site using broad keywords without using negative keywords, you would find lots of irrelevant traffic. We generally restrict the irrelevant traffic by using the negative keywords when they become obvious to us or when we find them through “keyword suggestion tool”, or by researching the query string. In short – we are able to catch and restrict unrelated keywords when we find them. Now if there is no system to find negative keywords in “automatic matching option tool” – we may not be sure of what kind of keywords google is using. And if they allow us to find and restrict negative keywords – wouldn’t it too cumbersome to control it – thus defeating the purpose.

I think google should not try to take all the control itself and instead should empower the companies by providing us tool which makes us avaialible all the relevant keywords so that we can take decisions consciously.”

 

February 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

Google Adwords Qualified Professional

adwords qualified professional, ppc expert
Last few days were very eventful. First it was a trip from Mumbai to Delhi on road, then it was a very successful online marketing conference in New Delhi by OmCareers.org ( I am co-founder here), then it was successful passing of my google adwords professional exam.

I was little busy for last few days so could not post anything.
By the way I passed with pretty good score ( 87.2%) and am a qualified google adwords professional now 🙂 . Find here link of my credentials:

I will be soon writing about how was the exam, what were the important questions and how one should prepare for it.

February 25, 2008 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Lost on delhi roads – Use route guru

I am attending 3rd Delhi Bar Camp in Noida on dec 8.  While scanning the list of speakers, I chanced upon an innovative site – routeguru.com. I was really amazed to see the functionally in the site. I not only found a new route to my home but also was able to save 2kms in travel.  So if you want to save on the travel distacne, Try it at: www.routeguru.com. I hope they will soon start the mobile version of it.

December 6, 2007 at 12:46 pm 1 comment

Increase your business profitability – Track Your Customer Quotient

Most of the marketers grapple with increasing ROI from the Marketing Spend.
Problem is further augmented due to non subjectivity attached with marketing spend. Most of the marketers fail to categorize customers according to their potential.

Recently I came across a wonderful book – The Ultimate Question, written by Fred Reichheld which helps marketers to categorize the customer subjectively.

NPS, the system proposed by the author, is very easy. You just need 3 simple things to implement the system.
1. Systematically categorize customers into promoters, passives, or detractors. If you prefer, you can call them loyal advocates, fair-weather friends, and adversaries.

2. Creating closed-loop processes so that the right employees will directly investigate the root causes that drive customers into these categories.

3. Making the creation of more promoters and fewer detractors a top priority so employees up and down the organization take actions based on their findings from these root-cause investigations.
Find the detailed post at: http://netpromoter.typepad.com/fred_reichheld/

December 5, 2007 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

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