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Paid and Organic are Indistinguishable

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When that reality was, though, was a matter of extreme debate ~ Iliad & Odyssey

The idea of Paid Search and SEO being one, has been debated for years. Paid search is pay per click (PPC) traffic that is not free. You have to pay a cost dictated by Amazon, Microsoft Ads, Google, Oath. SEO is free search engine optimized organic traffic, think Yahoo, Google and Bing here in the states. Referencing Wikipedia, “Webmasters and content providers began optimizing websites for search engines in the mid-1990’s, as the first search engines were cataloging the early web”. Following close behind, Wikipedia states, “there are several sites that claim to be the first ppc model on the web, with many appearing in the mid-1990s”. 

Debates surrounding organic search and paid have been going on since the 90s, this is clear. What is not clear is just how indistinguishable the two are. Google, launched in 1998, AdWords (now google ads) in 2000, how did this impact how advertisers’ market worldwide? Native advertising has been defined into 6 formats by the IAB, as a form of paid advertising, placed there to be indistinguishable from the content on the page, why? Content is king, disrupted more recently with fake news. Seamless cross channel amplification here in 2018, now includes voice, AI, search bots and in-market cross channel segments.

My Question To You

What is the difference between referral, ppc, display, organic, direct, and social? Is it personalization? A quick Google search states, and I quote, “Personalization is a means of meeting the customer’s needs more effectively and efficiently, making interactions faster and easier and, consequently, increasing customer satisfaction”.

Organic and Paid Search As One

Mitch Larson industry expert and friend at a top global agency told me more recently that, “I am having a hard time not thinking about organic and paid search as one. Not having an integrated strategy here has been a pain point for me”. A year and some change ago, I felt the same, reinforced after coming back from PPC Hero’s Austin conference and seeing Frederick Valley’s presentation.  (He asked Alexa to optimize all of his advertising accounts, Alexa with a smile, reported back with what she had already done). Since this conversation occurred between Mitch and I, Google went ahead and did some crazy things.

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Some of the Crazy Things:

  • Smart bidding with conversion action sets at the campaign-level
  • Local shopping campaigns & gallery ads
  • Google patented search behavior
  • Google patented user intent
  • Search has adjusted from answering questions to answering Intent
  • Cross account optimization and a new U.I.
  • Expanded on variations across match types
life insurance paid search

Consider The Crazy

Things you want to consider that I agree with, per Mitch, “is companies large and small have departments working in a silos”, these departments do not have skill sets that cross disciplines. From my experience across matrix organizations you would be hard pressed to get them all in a room together on a regular basis. Furthermore, to add salt to a wound, large brands have been and continue defend brand with paid search. Knowing that you have to defend your brand, or a brand is a good target for customers. You have to make adjustments to your bids because a: as a brand your competition is out bidding your bad ads or b: you as a non-brand business are not as relevant even with a good ad. Either way driving up cost incrementally. The good news is that brands recognize a user experience is channel agnostic, when intent is in play, I need to defend my brand. The bad news is that a generic search for say life insurance sampled above, this time thanks to HealthIq.com and Getethos.Com, is the reason why bids continue to increase. Add on universal Attribution Woes, were brands like Farmers are close to solving for the walled garden, yet so far away from a comprehensive marketing strategy that aids in the bidding decision.

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Advertisers Have No Answer

Still we open the door per Mitch’s questions, “Why are paid search marketers bidding on keywords that we are ranking very well for? and Can you quantify the results that having an ad in place where organic dominates decreases or increases your ability to convert?”. 

Back to my debate with Mitch, I said, “if strategy is no longer about building an ad, or paying for a keyword in a key wordless world”, Amazon is trying to bring back to life by the way, “that we should start to think of paid and organic as one.”   This is my opinion; and surely all methods of organic do apply to paid search across all channels. Data points from smartinsights.com suggest, “in 2017 46.8% of the global population accessed the internet and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 53.7%.” This is important for one reason alone, the data does not distinguish between paid activity and or organic, just an individual generic search itself, from accessing the web (It does not distinguish how the search occurred). Further supporting the idea that we should move away from distinguishing paid advertising and organic, SEMrush, “found that the number of direct websites visits to your site positively impact our organic SERPs position.” The math suggests from Martech.Zone that 39% of all global traffic, 35% from organic and 4% is from paid search. Leaving 61% of users going directly to a site, when one interacts online. Keep in mind there is very little public data about voice search. All this stated here means that the focus clearly has to be on quality.

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The engines reward our sites at the end of the day based on quality. Quality theoretically is driven by user’s engagement with your site, direct traffic likely being a significant factor, less all other things like content, bounce rate, pages per session or interactions in general. Interestingly enough why is it that paid search focuses so much on content curation and how that is delivered. Isn’t this the idea of organic? BethKanter.Org defines content curation as, “the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves, sifting sorting, arranging, and publishing information.”

seo and paid search query

Finally, thanks to the Farmers digital team for the sample. If you are not paying attention, or an advertiser having never seen Google Ads. You will click through the first thing you see which is an ad. The engines in parity partnership have been moving at an inconspicuous speed to make both Microsoft ads and Google Ads as indistinguishable to organic listings. 

In conclusion we can talk about a key-wordless future, voice, mobile, AI, bots, dynamic, native, responsive, css, html, flat, responsive ways for a user to interact with your advertising. Each goes a mile deep and requires a unique skill set, how about we stay a mile wide as an industry and start to focus our strategy on what is advertising generally. This starts with the consumer, turns into a query “paid or organic”, and ends with the consumer.

MARKETING

5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You

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5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You


Imagine spending 3, 5, 7, 10 years creating content about topics you love out of pure passion. Working through decision fatigue on what to create, what platform to focus on building, and not knowing the latest marketing monetization strategies to actually make money. Only creating from a place of inspiration because you care and have a message to share for years before making a dime. The dedication and consistency is what builds audiences that LOVE your media channels, listening, watching, liking, and sharing your content on a regular basis. That’s what majority of influencers have done to build their channels. 

So why work with influencers to create content for you: 

Reason #1: Audience  

If you are looking to break into a new audience and build brand awareness working with an influencer is a good path to explore. An influencer knows it’s audience better than any SEO search so they know what content to create that will motivate, inspire, and trigger to get a response. They’ve built trust through years of content creation and testing out new ideas to engage their audience.    

Reason #2: Creative 

When you find the right influencer to work with they can be an extension to your business adding to the creative content department. Creative content is a pain point in a lot businesses and why organizations for years have paid big buck to marketing agencies to take this off their hands to make the commercial, promo video, and ads. When you have someone who’s outside of the organization, who’s built an audience, and can play in their strength it will be an added value to any brand and business.  

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Reason #3: Dynamic 

It’s not just any content that’s being created from influencers, it’s dynamic! Ideally, working with an influencer they are coming to the table with ideas for videos, social media, and ad content that will seamlessly incorporate the brand into their audience. Since they know their audience best let them lead this conversation and find a common working ground to let them move forward on their ideas. This type of content is the win-win-win for the brand, the audience, and the influencer’s media channels. 

Reason #4: Consistency 

Consistent content with any media channel is key to creating brand awareness for a business. When you have an influencer who’s outside of the organization not distracted by the day to day operations of a company, leaving them to create consistent dynamic content is something most brands didn’t even know they needed. 

Reason #5: Strategic 

It’s a strategic move for an organization to outsource content creation to an influencer who’s put in the creative work to build an audience. It’s an immediate traffic source to tap into and create brand awareness. There’s an opportunity to put paid marketing dollars behind the content and boost it’s engagement creating more opportunity for a brand. 

On average it takes a person 5-7 impressions to link a brand’s logo to the company. Add in another 7 impressions for them to remember it in the abyss of brands that are being marketed to them daily. When you work with an influencer to create dynamic consistent content you’re increasing your odds of your brand being recognized faster and identified by a trusted source. Good luck on your road to content creation with influencers!   

Valerie Viramontes

Valerie Viramontes is a purpose-driven entrepreneur, women’s and girls empowerment leader, conscious marketing expert, media strategist, and founder of V2 Solutions & Girl Hacks.

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Valerie created her boutique agency specializing in product launches and sponsorships for health conscious podcasters, influencers, and wellness companies. She uses her experience to create win-win-win deals for her clients, brands, and audiences. This has put her behind launches of companies and products with sales into the millions working with brands like Spartan Races, Barbell Shurgged, The Strong Coach, Complete Human and so many more! 

In Valerie’s free time she is a catalyst to remind young women of their inherent wisdom, intuition and power, and guide them to access the confidence within to make healthy choices in their lives. Add in hiking, dancing, reading, exploring new places to eat and she’s in her happy place!



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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers

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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers


Consumers are showing greater concern over how data is gathered online and in apps and smart devices, according to a new study by GroupM, the media investment arm of WPP. The research was conducted in December by GroupM’s Audience Origin (formerly LivePanel) and included 1,000 U.S. consumers.

The findings indicated a decline in the number of consumers who feel comfortable sharing their data on health tracker apps or to allow smart home devices to automatically order refills for household items.

Sharing info. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “I worry about how companies use my personal data online.” This was up from 72% in last year’s report.

Also, only a small percentage of consumers believe that the company who makes a device in the home, or its software, should have access to the data. That number is 5.4% in the current study, down from 6.9% in the previous one.

Read more: Predictions 2022: Data strategy and privacy

New tech. Consumers are less enamored with new technology in their house. Only 51% of respondents in the survey agreed with the statement: “It’s important my household is equipped with the latest technology.” The survey the previous year had 54% agree.

Also, 32% somewhat or completely agreed that new tech “confuses me,” up from 28% the year before.

Why we care. In this study, the numbers appear to be consistently in the 5% range for drop in consumer sentiment around privacy, data and new technology.

It’s not a massive drop, but it’s not nothing either. Individual brands can overcome this barrier by managing a better conversation with their customers about their privacy and data practices.

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Take, for instance, the wide disparity in the way email subscriptions are managed. Some brands offer a one-click unsubscribe, while others hide the option behind a number of additional screens and questions. Marketers can cut through with transparency, and the ones that do will be ahead of the game as privacy law catches up in the states.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Trending in Marketing: Content Marketing Trends to Carry You Through 2022

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Trending in Marketing: What Trends Are Coming in 2022


  1. We all know that women stereotypically shop more, but what about men? 75% of men are planning to spend more in 2022, Pinterest explains their study on why.
  2. Vertical scrolling is a feature on almost every social media platform, it’s what the common consumer is most familiar with. Instagram plans on taking their story feed vertical as well, giving the app a more “TikTok feel.”
  3. The graphic design niche isn’t for everyone, it’s hard to keep up with what’s what in the field. Here are 12 upcoming graphic design trends to keep you at the top of your game all 2022.
  4. The rules of SEO seem to change more than the Instagram algorithm, making it feel more like there are no rules at all. Could there be a “Best Word Count for SEO?”



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