Articles: Google Adwords

Online Travel Agents – OTA’s

For those of you in the accommodation business, the changing shape of online bookings has been a concern for some time.

Last year when we visited clients and other people there was great concern about the amount of commissions paid to sites like Booking.com. A bit of a sense of panic!

We have recently also had a number of meetings and sense a change in the mood from last year. Yes, people are still concerned that they are paying large amounts of commission to OTAs. But there seems to have been a maturing of attitudes to this and acceptance that this is just the way the market is now.

Now people are more accepting that if they are paying commissions it actually means confirmed business and that online bookings are often easier than walk-ins who want to look around first.

Also, many are coming up with creative ways to encourage direct bookings without violating price parity rules that some of the OTA’s have.

Some have dropped their Google AdWords campaigns – why bid to compete with the large OTA’s like booking.com for top spot if your property is coming up in their Adwords anyhow? Let them spend the money to promote you. They have much deeper pockets than you.

And we know of one site that has a “price ticker” showing the OTA prices versus the direct booking price which encourages direct booking because it shows clearly that the direct booking rate is the best price (or equal to it).

At the end of the day many of the bookers look at the OTA listing as well as visit your site – you then just need to convince them to book direct. Value added offers can help achieve that. If you are clever, you can do that without breaking price parity rules.

But check out our article about Google becoming an OTA to see what shakeup is coming soon.

Adwords Return on Investment

We recently met with a motelier who was happy that it cost him $100 in Adwords cost for every booking – he got 7 bookings from $700 in Adwords campaign for the month. His room rate is around $120 per night ($104 excl gst). He seemed very happy that his occupancy had increased by 100% and that is what counted to him.

I admit I don’t know everything (I don’t know what I don’t know either) but when most of the industry is complaining about 15% commissions they are paying to Booking.com and other OTAs, how is paying 96% commission equivalent to Google for Adwords a good deal and return on investment? And that is without considering cleaning costs etc!! Continue reading

Google Adwords Return on Investment

If you are running an Adwords campaign, do you really know if it is worthwhile for you? How much is it costing you per booking from your Adwords campaigns? What percentage of a booking is that really? Is it more than the 15% you are paying to Booking.com and others? Would you be happy with that?

We can look at this for you and ask some searching questions to give you a handle on whether it is worthwhile for you or is losing you money. Ask us.

Great News re Rules for Google Adwords companies!!

We have been concerned for some time about the huge push to use Google Adwords and the lack of transparency of reporting from some companies running Adwords campaigns for clients along with highly aggressive sales techniques.

We have always said that any 3rd party company running an Adwords campaign should fully disclose both the management cost of running the campaign and the cost per click that you are paying to Google.

So great news that Google have updated their third party policy. Continue reading

More Ads on your devices?

There is huge revenue being made from ads on your search results and devices. These are geographically and demographically targeted to you based on what Google and others know about you and your friends.

As mentioned above Facebook is also releasing its own advertising network. And Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia and use of Windows 8 on Nokia products should boost their ability to deliver their own Bing Ads.

So I predict that we are at the beginning of a Pay per Click battle between Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook, with each trying to make as much revenue as they can from these.

If you think there are a lot of ads now, I think you ain’t seen nothing yet. It is just the beginning as these companies try to maximise returns for shareholders!

It may just bring the cost per click of ads down though – Google Adwords have been getting way too expensive for many businesses to get a decent Return on Investment from them.

New Google Ad symbol

You may have noticed that Google has added a yellow “Ad” icon next to Google Ads at the top of search results (may not be in all regional versions of Google but is in google.co.nz)

Until now, many people have been unaware that the first few listings on a search results page were actually Google Adwords ads – ie paid advertising.

So we think it is great that Google is now identifying them clearly as such.

We don’t have a problem with them displaying ads but have always thought that users have a right to know whether they are clicking on ads or real search results. Now, at last it is clear. Good move Mr (or Mrs) Google!

Top Google Position – Misleading Adwords Calls

Yes they are at it again (or still) The companies from UK and elsewhere including New Zealand who call you and tell you that they can guarantee you the top position in Google. They are very plausible and persistent and can be quite aggressive.

What they often don’t make clear, is that they are just selling you a Google AdWords campaign. You can already do that yourself (or we can for you). It is not “rocket science”. With AdWords, achieving top position is just a case of paying enough money per click. No problem with that as long as you get a decent return on your investment. We can get you a top position if you want to pay enough for Adwords too! But we prefer to use other “real” methods.

So don’t be talked into these expensive Adwords campaigns that probably won’t give you the required return or any sufficiently transparent information and reporting. The actual “cost per click” can be very high.

And certainly don’t get locked into contracts with them. There are too many stories about people who got locked into long contracts for very little return.

Google Profits

Google’s push with Adwords advertising seems to be working. They have reported revenues of $14.11 billion that’s right BILLION for the second quarter (yes QUARTER) of 2013. Up 19% over last quarter and advertising revenue is up 23% on the same quarter of 2012.

Google has 8 million Adwords campaigns running.

In the report they say “the potential to improve people’s lives even more is immense”

Mmm..I would be interested to know if you think that even more ads closely targetted for you will improve your life immensely?

http://investor.google.com/earnings/2013/Q2_google_earnings.html

Google Adwords

Google is being increasingly proactive about suggesting to people that they MUST do an Adwords campaign. Free set-up, $100 vouchers and aggressive advertising and emailing… Plus numerous cold calls from overseas Adwords companies.

Remember that Google makes their money from advertising. The more people they get using Adwords, the more money they make. And the higher the cost per click will be for everyone. Even more for them! That is how they survive.

We are not saying don’t do it but just be aware of what you are doing and the costs.

Things to watch for Continue reading

Bully Sales Tactics

Following on from our “not quite scams” article last month…(see http://www.netaction.co.nz/newsletter.php?id=301)

We recently heard of several interactions with companies trying to sell AdWords campaigns or some sort of SEO or Internet Marketing work.

We can only describe their sales tactics as “extremely hard sell”, “heavy handed pressure selling” and “Bullying”.

We think they are often very unethical and totally overstep the mark of what is reasonable. Often their call involves seriously bad mouthing anyone else you might be dealing with. Sadly, this is from both overseas companies and theoretically reputable NZ companies. The rep seems to just want the sales commission and not care about the results. Often they want you to lock in to a long contract.

The other sad thing is that we know some of you will have been subjected to these calls and will have given in to them, thus paying for something you probably don’t need (or could get cheaper).

Our advice:

If you get a cold call like this (and there are many) tell them you are not interested and hang up on them.

If it is from a company you are already dealing with (locally or overseas), talk to the Sales Rep’s manager and ask for a new rep or account manager to be assigned to you. Tell them why.

It is your money you are spending. Spend it with someone you can have a good long term trusting relationship with who doesn’t give you an apoplexy every time you need to deal with them.