Larry Kim is a marketing industry thought leader and the CTO and founder of WordStream, a $12 million search marketing agency and software provider based in Boston. He’s also the CEO of MobileMonkey, a leading Facebook Messenger Marketing platform. He regularly shares his advice and insight with over 650,000 visitors a month at his WordStream Blog and is a columnist and top contributor for leading industry publications including
Inc.com, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, and Social Media Today.
Larry often speaks at industry events like INBOUND, SMX, ClickZ/SES, Pubcon, MediaPost Search Insider Summit, PPC Hero Conference, SEMPDX and many others. He was recently named “Most Influential PPC Expert” for 2013 and 2014 by PPC Hero Blog and marketing agency 3Q Digital and won ClickZ’s Digital Marketing Hall of Fame and Small Business Influencer awards in 2013.
Outside of the office, he loves to travel and is the proud father of #PPCkid.
1. What do you think about SEM and Text ads?
Text ads are great, but there are some challenges ahead for search ads and marketers should have these on their radar. The first is the massive shift to mobile. Sure, there’s a ton of opportunity there, but the mobile space inherently has far less room for ads. Apps are stealing from time on desktop so in established markets, we’re seeing query volume falling flat.
All of this means way stiffer competition and higher costs per click for advertisers. Mobile space is really at a premium and advertisers need to use every weapon in their arsenal to outpace their competitors. The key to success in text ads/SEM in 2015 is that advertisers will need to be super picky. It’s more important than ever to be a first-mover and get into the underused AdWords features that can give advertisers an edge in Quality Score for their mobile ads.
2. What’s more important in a campaign: banner design, message, targeting, landing page, tracking? What’s the correct ratio between these? What should one focus on?
I can’t say one is “more important” than another – ideally, you can get each aspect of your campaign optimized for best performance. Great banner design is important and can help you increase your click-through rates, which Google rewards with better placement, more impressions and a lower cost per click. That can’t be ignored. However, it’s equally as important to sharpen your messaging and ensure it aligns with the right target market. We’ve seen in our research that improving your messaging and flow is the ticket to increasing your conversion rates to 3-5 times the average.
I think the real takeaway here is that if you’re only focusing on banner design or targeting or tracking or a few of those elements, you still have a lot of room for improvement. There’s no precise formula but those who put the effort into every piece of the campaign will reap the greatest rewards. If you’re just starting out and can really only afford to focus on one thing, start at the bottom of the funnel and work your way up. You have more control over the things at the bottom.
3. What do you think about the role of social media in advertising?
You can’t ignore social. People spend more of their online time in social media than on any other activity, including email, and 60% of the time they’re accessing it via mobile devices and tablets. Advertisers have to be their audience spends its time, whether that’s on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc., or in niche social networks. Getting in front of social media users is getting more difficult without paid advertising, and it allows you to reach out beyond your existing network, so there’s that.
There’s also the flywheel effect, though, and this is where paid social gets really interesting and impactful. The social element to advertising on those sites – the ability to share, like, or comment on a Facebook ad, for example – leads to even greater organic engagement. Even a minimal amount of paid social advertising can really help a piece of content take off.
Thank you Larry!