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Intelligent Performance Marketing

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Gifts!

Every December, NetX sends a special holiday present to our closest friends and colleagues to express our gratitude for the past year, and how excited we are for the (even better) year ahead. Last year we gave Amazon Kindles stocked with our team’s favorite recipes; the year before it was decadent gift baskets. We’re doing things a bit differently this year: our gift won’t fit in a box, and it can’t be delivered by mail. We believe our resources and desire to give back would be more beneficial if used for a present we know each recipient truly needs, and after thoughtful consideration, we decided against using the traditional “one size fits all” gift-giving approach to the holidays.

Earlier this year Hurricane Sandy caused severe and unprecedented devastation to the tri-state area. It’s difficult to fully grasp the terror and fear these victims have experienced without seeing the damage yourself, but almost two months later, many families’ homes are still without heat, electricity, and clean running water – most are grateful to even have a house at all. We are humbled and extremely blessed at NetX for all we have, while too many of our neighbors and friends have nothing. Entire communities were ravaged beyond repair, causing thousands of people (just like us) to become homeless overnight.

There was a silver lining, though, that came when – in true New York form – members of the community selflessly sprang into action wherever help was needed, with no regard for their own potential losses and difficulties. It’s the continued support from these (extra)ordinary people that has made the greatest impact to those most affected by the hurricane. Their sole focus is helping people in need and everything they do is in the name of the greater good, without bureaucratic red tape holding them back.

So this year, instead of gifting company branded knick-knacks or cookies in fancy tins, we made a donation in the name of our clients and friends to help support “Occupy Sandy”, a grassroots hurricane relief effort. We wouldn’t be able to make such a donation without our wonderful clients and partners, and we’re extremely grateful to them for that. This year’s holiday gift will undoubtedly have a major impact on the lives of those who truly need it, and we are wholeheartedly thankful for the opportunity. That’s much better than a wine and cheese basket, don’t you agree?

You can view donation details here:

Occupy Sandy Relief: NY

Occupy Sandy Relief: NJ

To see more of NetX’s contribution, check out these photographs we took while volunteering with Occupy Sandy:

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Best Wishes from our Family to Yours,

Bottom Ad Placement Vs. Side Ad Placement: What It Means to Advertisers

By Julianne Bohl

When Google first started testing “bottom vs. side” ads, it struck me as suspicious. For the five years I’ve been in Search advertising, an ad position of three was pretty solid – you could still get plenty of eyeballs on your ad for high-cost terms without breaking the bank. With “side” ads now “bottom” ads, I wonder how advertisers who don’t have bottomless pockets are staying competitive and maintaining positive ROAS on non-brand terms.

Why would Google do this? To me it seems simple: They see an opportunity to bring in more ad dollars. There were several weeks when the team would chat to clients about this change in ad position and performance and we’d say, we don’t know what Google’s going to use that valuable real estate for, but they’re thinking up something!

Well, we’ve seen a few things happening in that upper right hand corner of the Google SERPs lately, most interestingly Google+ page results and the ever-expanding PLAs. Google seems to be having a tough time getting Google+ to take hold. I know a lot of people – friends and coworkers alike – who have created accounts but have done nothing with them since. It seems advertisers are behaving the same way, and Google has been trying like heck to encourage more engagement from its advertisers. When we first noticed a Google+ result in that top right corner and inquired with reps about how to get that result for our clients, we were told that the organic result simply requires updating your Google+ page every 24-48 hours. I’m surprised more advertisers didn’t capitalize on this opportunity for some free inventory. I’m guessing if they had, we’d be seeing these results become a more prominent and permanent fixture. In fact, I think it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen one of these results at all.

PLA results make more sense (more opinions on this coming soon!). Google has revamped its Google Products search and we now have Google Shopping, where a current mix of partially paid and free results will ultimately transition to all paid results. It makes sense then, that PLAs are being tested at the top right (a former ad spot) as opposed to between the top paid and organic listings. They now look more like paid ads. If I had to make a guess, PLAs in ad spots are here to stay and will probably continue to take up more and more placement on the SERPs.

While the top right corner is going through some growing pains, what’s going on in the traditional top middle? Something else to think about: Will desktop CPC start to look more like tablet, where the top position is critical to getting volume? If an advertiser can no longer simply depend on a first-page result for some decent impression, click and conversion volume, but rather must bid for positions 1 and 2, I predict two outcomes: an overall rise in CPCs and a decline in small-budget advertisers who just can’t keep up with the CPCs.

To Test or Not to Test? That Should Never Be the Question

By Erin Snowden

Because the answer is “Always test!” We live in a world where almost everything can be tracked, so forget about your focus groups and turn to analytics. The answers are already there; you just have to dig through the data to hear what your customers are already telling you. From there, run tests to answer questions and ease trepidations.

I know, it sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Where do you even begin? Here are a few useful tips to help you get started:

Stop being a marketer and start being a normal person. Our websites are part of our everyday lives so we know what it takes to navigate them, but does the rest of the world? Start looking through your data and pinpoint where people are dropping off or not doing what you want them to. Are they clicking on the “Try Now” button like you think you told them to or do they keep clicking on top products? Maybe they leave right away. If they’re not doing what you want them to, something’s wrong with your site or page. Maybe it’s the messaging, maybe it’s the color, maybe it’s the font, or maybe people don’t know what you are selling.

If it’s too hard to be normal, seek outside help. A website therapist so to speak. This can take the form of feedback from a friend outside of the industry, your agency, or uber-optimizers like our friends at Site Tuners.

Make it easy for people to give you money. Error and drop-off reports tell a lot. If you receive a lot of errors when people are asked to enter their credit card name, there may be something confusing about how you are asking for the information, or where the fields are placed.

Don’t forget about how your customer got to your site. Testing in marketing channels is just as important as testing elements of your site. Test different messaging or creative images to increase traffic, but also test to be more inline with the landing page and product. The ad is the first touch point in convincing a customer to purchase from you, so make sure you are clearly explaining what it is that you want them to do. Also, make sure that all marketing channels are consistent, because no one only interacts with just one.

And remember: it’s not where you start, it’s when you start.