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Take-Home Exam - Due April 30

The following is your one and only exam for the semester!! Please complete and email me your responses by the end of the day on Tuesday, Apr...

WEEKS 15 & 16: Learning Google Analytics, StatCounter & Web Analytics Tools/Final Projects & Social Media Marketing Plans

SUMMARY:

For the final weeks of the semester, we will:
  • Learn about website analytics tools (such as Google Analytics and StatCounter) that enable a better understanding of site/campaign traffic, referral and behavior patterns.
  • Learn about Google Ads, Google AdSense and Google Ad Manager.
  • Finish our semester-long campaign website and related social media channels.
HOMEWORK:
  • Work on your final exam (available here), due no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, April 30.
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Tues., April 30. (Note: Please see the syllabus for a rubric that includes criteria on how this is evaluated).
  • Continue to Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times this week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. (Note: Please see the syllabus for a rubric that includes criteria on how your website and social media campaigns are evaluated).
  • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 8: "BrandYou"

Take-Home Exam - Due April 30

The following is your one and only exam for the semester!! Please complete and email me your responses by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 30.

There are only two written response questions on this exam (both valued equally in scoring).

1. For this question, you will first need to identify and select any current web-based advertising or PR promotion for a national brand or organization that uses multiple social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Then, once you've made your selection, give a brief (minimum 3-5 paragraphs) analysis and critique (good or bad) of this campaign. Be sure to cite specific examples, if appropriate, of how the campaign aligns to some of the guidelines and "best practices" cited in class and/or in our lectures.

Please do NOT use an existing example cited on this blog, in class, lecture notes or in the blog.

Things to consider:
  • How effective do you think it is at reaching its intended target audience?
  • Are they engaging in a one-way or two-way conversation? How?
  • How would you characterize the general voice/tone in their messaging?
  • What data might they use to quantitatively or qualitatively determine if the campaign was a success? Are there any publicly-available resources that might tell you how well the campaign is doing? If so, what did you find?
  • Is the campaign optimized for search engine and social media discovery? How?
  • Does the campaign have the potential to go viral? Why or why not?

2. We've talked quite a bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even Social Media Optimization (SMO). Thinking about your semester-long project and website campaign,  please share your thoughts on specific strategies that you used (or should have used) to improve its organic search rankings in Google and other search engines -- as well as your social media presence on Facebook and/or other outlets.
  • How is your campaign site or social media presence doing in organic search on Google? (Does it show up at all?)
  • What, if any, specific techniques and tactics did you use?
  • What other things might you do to help with your search engine optimization and presence?
  • Please provide specific examples that are applicable to your project.
That's it! Please email your responses to your instructor (Brett Atwood at batwood@wsu.edu) no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, April 30.

Introduction to Google Ads

OVERVIEW: WHAT IS GOOGLE ADS?


In mid-2018, Google announced a rebranding of its various ad initiatives. The company now has multiple connected platforms including Google Ads, AdSense, the Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager.

For this class, we will focus primarily on Google Ads -- since that is the program most likely to be of use to aspiring professional PR and advertising students.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is an advertising service that enables you to create your own ads to appear on relevant Google search results pages, as well as on other Google Ads-enabled websites. Thus, companies that want to promote their services would use Google Ads to advertise for acquisition of new customers.

WHY GOOGLE ADS?



With Google Ads, you can create ads that are eligible to appear on Google within the search results. Your ads are also eligible to appear on some Google Ads partner sites.

Unlike some traditional forms of advertising, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad! Thus, your ad will generate lots of impressions - but your ad costs are linked to the "click-through rate" (CTR), which is what ultimately matters in driving traffic to your site.

How do you determine what each ad will cost?

In many cases, you will bid on "keywords" that are matched to the types of search engine queries that people make. There are branded and non-branded searches.

What is the difference between branded and non-branded searches?

BRANDED SEARCHES: If the customer already knows your brand name, they will likely type that into the search engine or they may already know the website address and go directly to your site. If they type your brand name into the search engine, this is known as a "branded search."

A good starting point is to do a general search for your brand on Google. Does your brand show up? If so, how high does it rank? Be aware that people might misspell your brand name -- do typos and variations of your brand also show up prominently?

Branded searches include any searches that originate with an attempt to search for your brand -- including typos and variations.

For example, branded searches for the 3D virtual world Second Life would include "Second Life," "2nd Life," "Second Life game" and even typos (e.g. "Secund Life").

NON-BRANDED SEARCHES: What about searches that happen when people don't already know your brand name? Maybe your potential customers are looking for a type of product or service, but are completely unaware that you even exist! A "non-branded search" encompasses searches for general descriptors and phrases that relate to your brand without actually including your brand name.

For example, popular non-branded searches for Second Life might include "virtual world," "3D virtual game," "avatar game" and "virtual life."

How does Google Ads work?

Non-branded searches present a huge opportunity to acquire new customers and/or website visitors! You can use Google Ads to place "bids" on ad placement on searches for both branded and non-branded searches. However, chances are pretty good that other companies are also targeting non-branded searches - so the prices may vary dramatically for your ads based on how in demand your keywords and phrases are. You have lots of options on how to bid and spend your money. You can use Google Ads to pay a higher amount for prioritized placement among ads -- or distribute your costs more evenly so that your campaign budget lasts longer.

Here is a video that further summarizes how keyword bidding works on Google Ads:



One thing to note is that Google rewards you for relevancy over the long-term. To deter companies from bidding on popular phrases that have nothing to do with their brand or service, Google will actually factor in the accuracy of your ad copy and keyword bids into its algorithm that determines where your ad is placed. Thus, you don't want to "spam" or "bait and switch" potential customers with ads that are irrelevant to their searches.

Will my ads only be displayed on the search results pages on Google?

Not necessarily. You have the option to place an ad only on Google's search pages and/or the Display Network of partner sites. If you choose to include the Display Network, your ad can appear across the Internet on numerous sites that match the theme or topic of your campaign. These ads can include images, interactivity and even video.



For Display Ads, you can either import in your compliant ad or build a new Display Ad right inside the Google Ads Display Ads tool. 

How do I get started with Google Ads?

Looking to get started using Google Ads?

Sign up for your free account. Although you don't necessarily need this for class, here is a link for a free $75 (when you spend $25) in starter advertising for first-time Google Ads users.

Once you are logged in, you can start to write your ad copy and then use the ad creation tool to identify the keywords that you want to bid on. You can also target your ad for placement in particular geographic regions and other variables.



How can I learn Google Ads?

Google has a self-paced online learning platform that is free to use. Academy for Ads is a great way to learn everything you need to know to get up-to-speed on Google Ads!

Visit Academy for Ads >> 

There are also several tutorials available on the official Google Ads YouTube channel.

How Do You Measure Success in Google Ads?



Other Useful Tools:

  • Use the Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaign.


Monetizing with Google AdSense

WHY GOOGLE ADSENSE?

As the semester comes close to ending, many students may find interest in the topic of monetizing their content. This means that you can potentially make money from the work that you create!

Google AdSense enables content creators to monetize their sites via displayed ads. So, if you are a content creator or publisher, you would likely want to participate in the AdSense program to make some money!

To get started, you need to first have a Google AdSense account.





To learn more about Google AdSense, visit the Academy for Ads help pages or watch the various tutorial videos provided by Google. 

ADDING ADSENSE


For Blogger:

If you have a Blogger account, getting set up with AdSense is easy. Here are the instructions:
For Wix:

If you have a Wix site, you can set up AdSense using these instructions:

For Wordpress:

If you have a Wordpress account, watch this video to learn how to connect AdSense to it:



 

For Tumblr:

For Tumblr blogs, you can add AdSense using the instructions in this video:


 

GOOGLE AD MANAGER: AD SERVERS & AD NETWORKS

Many journalists and content creators have websites that include advertising that originates from one of several ad networks. However, managing multiple competing ad networks might get complicated quickly. Google Ad Manager (formerly Doubleclick for Publishers) helps you centralize and manage the inventory of ads originating from the various competing ad networks so that you get the most value out of your advertising. It can also be used for scheduling, reporting and targeting of your various ad opportunities.

You can learn even more about Google Ad Manager at the Google Publisher University.

AN INTRODUCTION TO AD SERVING

For an overview on how ad serving works, please watch the video below. (Note: I recommend watching only the first 3 minutes as the last minute is an ad for a specific service).



Examples of ad networks that work with Google Ad Manager include:

Additional Resources:



Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is an influential Web ad service that enables you to target specific audiences inside the popular social network.

Facebook has a series of tutorials that will walk you through the basics:



You can see the entire tutorial series here.

Here's another video that goes in-depth on the basics and intermediate level skills necessary to learn Facebook Ads:



CASE STUDIES FOR FACEBOOK ADS

Facebook has a page filled with case studies that you can explore to see how both small and large companies are using the Facebook Ads platform to expand their reach and build their business.
Here are even more video tutorials that walk you through the basics of creating a Facebook ad and then identifying your target audience and budget in the Facebook Ads creation tool. (Note: The specific menu options may have changes since these screencasts were originally recorded - but they are still useful as they show a general walk-through of the Facebook Ads creation process).

Creating your ad 

 

Defining your target audience and budget 



Facebook Advertising can be displayed as a traditional ad on the right-hand side of the news feed or in the news feed itself.
  • News Feed
    • These ads will appear in the center of the news feed along posts from friends and followed pages. This "native ad" blends in seamlessly with the general news feed content. You can even pay for placement of a recent Facebook post so that it appears in the news feed for targeted recipients -- even if they don't yet "like" your page.
  • Right Side Column
    • These ads appear on the righthand column adjacent to your news feed. The size of these ads is considerably smaller than a News Feed ad.
Read the full FAQ for more info on these and other options.

Related Links:
THE DOWNSIDE OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING?

There is some debate about the effectiveness of Facebook Advertising. This video shows one ex-advertiser's experience with "Facebook fraud" and fake Like followers after a recent campaign:



FACEBOOK "BLUEPRINT" UNIVERSITY

Did you know that Facebook offers free online courses including certification covering the basics of Facebook Ads and other social media initiatives?

Check out Facebook Blueprint to get started.

April 16 - Guest Lecture - Darren Helton, Performance Marketing Manager

On April 16, our class will host a video-based live Q&A with Darren Helton, the lead performance marketing manager for Linden Research, Inc. (maker of social VR and gaming products).

Darren will be available to take your questions about all things related to paid digital campaigns, including trends and best practices using search, display and social media advertising.

WEEKS 12 & 13: Social Media Marketing Plans and Building Facebook & Twitter Pages

SUMMARY:

Over the next week, we will:
  • Continue to learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
  • Learn about best practices in building an official Facebook, Twitter & YouTube presence for our campaign sites.
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due April 30)
  • Create a Facebook and Twitter page for your campaign. These social media sites should then be linked to your main campaign website.
  • Start posting Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times a week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. 
    • You should try to have at least 30 Facebook followers by the end of the semester.
    • You should try to have at least 10 Facebook and Twitter posts by the end of the semester.
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Optimize your Wix-created website for mobile devices using the mobile editor built into the Wix.com edit tool. Your final campaign site will be evaluated for how it appears on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.
  • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 7: "Staying Current in Digital Space"