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SES Toronto Pre-Show Interview: Janice Hatch, Google

janice-hatch-photoContinuing my pre-show coverage of Search Engine Strategies Toronto, I have the privilege of introducing Janice Hatch of Google Canada.  Janice is scheduled to speak on Day 2 of the conference in a session called “Campaign Performance Tracking” and was nice enough to spare some time to answer a few questions that relate to Google Adwords and the future of search marketing.

GP:  It’s no secret; Google is the leader in the search marketing industry.  By my calculations on campaigns I’ve managed over the years, the margin seems to be 8:1 in terms of search traffic, but others have offered more conservative estimates.  What do you think sets Google apart from other first tier engines, and how do you differentiate Google’s value proposition to clients?

JH:  The latest numbers from ComScore show that Google has 80% market share in Canada.  What sets Google apart is that we are always focused on the user.  We’re always working to improve search, making it more relevant, more comprehensive, and faster.  Many of the changes we make, including regular updates to our algorithms, are focused on improving the experience for users.  Our goal is to quickly deliver the right answer for each search every time.  Whether you click on an organic listing or a paid link, chances are you will get the information you want in the language you want it.

GP:  I’ve always been impressed by the level of intimacy Adwords Account and Relationship Managers strive to maintain with advertisers of all sizes.  For those that don’t know, what are some of the value-added services an account manager can provide an advertiser?

JH:  Google’s philosophy has always been to focus on our customers and we strive to maintain strong partnerships with our advertisers by sharing information and working together.

There are are a variety of options for advertisers utilizing the Google platform, and from a service level we try to align ourselves with our customers and advertisers based on their goals.  Whether we are offering those support services to SMBs, SEMs or other G.A.P. partners, advertising agencies or some of our larger Canadian national brand advertisers.

In my role as an account  manager, I help set up accounts, optimize performance and track ROI through analytics and conversion tracking.  One of the value-adds for our customers is that we set up our team based on industries.  So, not only are we Google product and search specialists, but we are also vertical specialists who really understand our advertisers’ business and can help to increase their ROI and grow their business.

GP:  Having that resource or helping hand is really important, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize Google Adwords as one of the few truly intuitive advertising platforms available for businesses to jump right in and get campaigns started right away.  For those of us that never liked reading the manual, what are your top recommendations for self-starters with ads on Google?

JH:  The most important step before you set up an Adwords campaign is to identify your goals. You’ll need to know your ultimate goal – be it increased traffic, conversions, or brand awareness; so you can measure success.  Then you can effectively structure your campaigns in order to meet these goals.

The next step is to pick the right keywords.  I often find that advertisers are afraid to expand their keyword list because they think it will cost them more money.  With CPC pricing, you only pay when someone actually clicks through to your site so you don’t want to miss out on any potential new leads by reducing your keyword list.  Start testing by expanding your list broadly, and then narrow your focus to ensure you’re reaching the most targeted audience possible.  There are a lot of Google tools that can help you find new keywords variations to help you think like your users; for example the keyword tool, and search query performance reports.  Then you can increase your bid on the keywords that work best for you to maximize your return.

And finally, start write great ads – you have a limited amount of space in order to grab your potential customers’ attention so use it wisely!

GP:  Speaking of writing great ads, I’m sure you’ve seen your share of both good and bad creative.  What would be a few tips in writing click-worthy ads?

JH:  Some of my recommendations include,

  • Make sure you convey key product benefits and get to the point quickly
  • Include your keywords in your title and description of the ad
  • Write copy that includes a strong call to action such as “buy now” or “sign up today”
  • Direct users to the landing page that most relates to your ad
  • Now that you got them to click on your site, make sure they can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for

GP:  Before starting my own campaigns in paid search, I had often wondered, do people actually click those ads along the top and side of Google?  I was pleasantly surprised to find out, not only do they click, but they also can be influenced to buy.  What do you think are the top 3 reasons advertisers should consider paid search campaigns in Adwords?

JH:

  • The greatest benefit is the targeted reach of Google Adwords. You can target your ads to the entire country or down to a 10 mile radius around your store.
  • Flexibility of the system: Within minutes you can update your messaging on Google whether you’re having a last minute sale or if you want to respond to press release.
  • Measurement: With the cost-per-click option, you’re only charged if people click your ads. This means every dollar of your budget goes toward bringing in new prospects. Google Analytics helps you find out which keywords and campaigns drive the most conversions so you can focus your advertising dollars on the most profitable.

GP:  I’ve posed this question before, but it’s something the industry’s talking about.  Mobile: relatively few companies have been able to monetize mobile internet effectively.  With the challenges of a recession, fragmented broadband adoption, and shrinking advertising budgets, where do you see the mobile search going?

JH:  I’ve definitely seen a lot of interest from the advertisers I work with, but so far growth in mobile search has been slow so advertising opportunities are limited.  However with the introduction of new competitors in the Canadian market later this year, I would expect to
see lower data costs and an increased adoption of smartphones over the next year and a half.

Mobile advertising is a great way for advertisers to extend the reach of their current online search campaigns and complement what they are already doing online. We think it is important that as an industry we develop tools that provide ads that are relevant and useful to users and give advertisers the ability to effectively manage their cross platform campaigns and provide measurable results. We are still in the early days, which means this is a great time to test and learn!

GP:  And as they say, early birds often do get the worms.

And that draws my interview to a close, I want to thank Janice Hatch once again for taking the time to sit down and answer my questions.  If you’re interested in learning more about paid search and you’re in the Toronto area, you should certainly attend Search Engine Strategies Toronto and sit in on Janice’s session.

About Search Engine Strategies

Search Engine Strategies is the definitive digital event for marketers, corporate decision makers, webmasters and search engine marketers (SEMs), including pay per click (PPC) advertisers and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. Attend SES Toronto, network with your peers, and learn the tips, tactics and strategies that will grow your business online.

About Janice Hatch

Janice Hatch is an account manager based in Toronto.  She joined Google in 2004 and helps Canadian marketers implement advertising campaigns, optimize results and track ROI through analytics and conversion tracking.  Prior to joining Google, Janice worked in technology sales.  She holds a degree in history and languages from McGill University.

Note:  This post was sponsored by Search Engine Strategies Toronto.  As such, it’s important to note that the opinions expressed in the preceding interview were not those of the organizers, Incisive Interactive Marketing.

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