Kiosk at SMX West: Search Marketing Expo Day 3


Day three of SMX West, and the Kiosk team’s gulping down coffee to keep pace with the amount of information being exchanged during sessions, in presentations and peer-to-peer on the conference room floor. Often, it’s presentations that remind you to step back and take a look at what you’re doing that stick with you. Here are a couple that delivered some useful advice to SEM marketers.

Purna Virji, a senior trainer and development manager for Bing at Microsoft, challenged paid search managers to “step away from all the crazy tools for a minute” and try to take in the big picture, in order to conduct a true competitive analysis for clients.

In order to do that, ask yourself questions like, are your sales goals still reasonable? What is the actual opportunity in front of you today? Are there limitations on your ability to sell, from geographical restrictions to inventory availability? Are you considering competitors from other categories, and would bidding against them make sense?

On the subject of competitors, she recommends regularly visiting their landing pages, noting any changes they make over time, and using SEM tools to determine the keywords they’re bidding on. Once you understand how strong your competition is, you’ll have a better understanding of how to beat them.

While it’s important to keep an eye on how your how your competition looks, it’s equally important to keep an eye on how your clients look on the SERP. There’s a large and ever-changing number of ad formats to keep track of. And in the age of SERP image extensions and social posts, there’s no avoiding images, even in search. John Lee of Clix Marketing gave a quick overview on ways to manage your ad images while retaining your sanity.

He helpfully keeps an updated list of all crucial image sizes across all platforms online, and recommends having the most popular ones on hand whenever possible (that would be 728 x 90, 300 x 250 and 160 x 600). Among various image options out there, Bing’s Image Extensions are always worth consideration, with a recommended dimension of 1200 x 628.