Author: Dean Batson

Dean has over 10 years experience leading marketing, communications, promotions/events and sponsorship teams, ranging in size from just a few to over 50. These efforts had budgets spanning small business sizes to annual spend greater than $15M. Aside from speaking and writing about marketing and technology, Dean has created and managed myriad cross industry marketing and communication campaigns, projects and events.

Is SEO Dead? Danny Sullivan Reports on the State of Search

Danny Sullivan- AZIMA SEMPOAZ event Scottsdale

Once upon a time search engine optimization (SEO) wasn’t even a term and the main search-related challenge for a web developer to reach the top spot was simply wording websites with the desired keyword phrases and maybe sneaking some colored text on a matching colored background. However, as internet growth surged and new search engines flooded the landscape, being search savvy became a thing and discussions about being at the top of the search results became a brass-ring challenge.

The Harmonious Collision of Search Engine Marketing and Targeted Display

Targeted Display vs Search Engine Marketing

Although not quite as contentious a rivalry as Android vs. iOS or as entertaining as Bear vs. Shark, there are many heated battles taking place in marketing forums and conference rooms all over the country regarding the statistics, user privacy and budgets for this latest rivalry: Search Engine Marketing vs. Targeted Display.

Since they often compete for marketing dollars and are both victims of subjective statistics that favor one or the other depending on the mindset of the analyst, SEM and targeted display efforts are commonly bantered as marketers continuously try and refine their campaigns for the golden goal of higher conversions.

Last Thursday, November 20, the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) hosted the witty and sharp David McBee, director of training at, who presented his experiences, anecdotes and thoughts on the SEM vs. Targeted Display rivalry.

David started his presentation with statistical, sidebyside comparisons that highlighted these marketing tasks as separate, standalone campaigns. These comparisons solidified the notion of SEM and Targeted Display being competitors, but David’s presentation of a rivalry quickly rebranded itself as the stories and metrics illustrated that the two worked better in tandem.

Most of us have been involved in the bashing of display ads because CTRs are practically nonexistent as hardly anyone clicks on them. “Only 8 percent of internet users account for 85% of display ad clicks,” David pointed out. Most of those clicks are not from the targeted audience, but rather the very young and old. The 2065 age group simply doesn’t click on ads. Display ad CTRs average a dismal 0.08%. Furthermore, according to GoldSpot Media, 50% of those clicks are accidental.

On the other hand, SEM, specifically PPC, often have CTRs averaging 4%.

There are a few reasons for this difference. First, a display ad is a passive visual thrown out to a wide audience. Even though display has some great targeting abilities, for the most part it relies much more on volume visibility than PPC. The web surfer is usually doing something completely different than what the topic of the display ad represents. PPC ads are the result of a specific search and the likelihood of that ad engaging the user is obviously much higher. “SEM is actionbased. Display is visual,” David said.

Although it’s easy to see the differences and it’s mostly common knowledge that these two have different goals, it’s not common enough to combine the efforts. For truly better PPC, it’s critical to consider incorporating display. “Display impacts search. A good targeted display blends tactics and a display can increase brand searches by 38%,” David said. Since the best kind of search is a brand search, blending these tactics significantly improves the campaign.

On the surface, poor display ad metrics seems to be enough to deter the allocation of marketing dollars. However, David pointed out that the metrics are not representative of their effectiveness: “Compared to SEM, CTR can be a deceptive measure.”

According to ComScore, the average person only does 4 searches per day, spending about 10 seconds per search. “How much opportunity do you have when a person only spends 10 seconds?” David asked. This represents a limited window of opportunity and is clearly a better medium for a calltoaction campaign. Now consider that the average person spends 4 hours online. This chunk of time offers more opportunity for branding via display ads.

This greater awareness opportunity of display ads increases the effectiveness of PPC campaigns. Although David and represent team Display, he offers a compelling marriage of the two as a tandem effort that seems to appeal to team SEM.

Mindy Weinstein, SEO Manager at Bruce Clay, Inc. offered her thoughts on the event and the rivalry. “I am very focused on the SEO side of digital marketing, so I learned quite a bit of new information from David about targeted display. What stood out the most to me about David’s presentation is that doing targeted display doesn’t have to be in lieu of search engine marketing. You can and should still do SEO and PPC. Targeted display should be an addition—that’s how you maximize your results.”

While the Android vs iOS fans will never find peace and the Bear vs. Shark battles will forever live on, David’s concept of SEM and Targeted Display as “better together” clearly makes the most sense.

View entire presentation

Online Video – Engaging Ads Are Paying Off

As our lives get more entwined with digital and related games, and services and apps come out at a rate greater than anyone could possibly keep up, the ability to reach audiences is becoming increasingly fractured. In order to engage mass audiences and compensate for this fracture, marketers seek many slices of many pies to meet their numbers.

However, there is one channel that is massive and growing at a phenomenal rate: online video. In the U.S. alone, there are 190,000,000 unique people who watch online video each month. The key word there is ‘unique’. That represents 77{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of the adults in the U.S. These 244,860,000 (that’s million) people watch 35,000,000,000 (that’s billion) video ads.

This poses a critical question: how do marketers capitalize on this massive, engaged and growing audience?

Recap of August Program: Second Screen Experience

AZIMA Second Screen Panel Event

It’s probably quick to recall countless moments of friends, family and colleagues swiping away on their phones as a meeting drags on or a TV show plays. Our adoption of smartphones and tablets continues to surge and as we integrate their use deeper into everyday activities such as watching TV, we inadvertently created a phenomena and marketing opportunity referred to as the second screen.

July’s Guest Speaker Joe Griffin Says The Future of Content Marketing is Bright

As content marketing rapidly evolves, the key to businesses successfully adopting it into their strategy is to know where it’s heading. Joe Griffin, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix-based iAcquire and ClearVoice,shared his knowledge and vision of the future of content marketing with a presentation to more than 120 guests on July 17th at Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s (AZIMA) monthly program.

While highlighting the fall of traditional content channels and sharing the ingredients of the “brave new world” of content marketing, Joe started his presentation by clarifying the shift from the old to new.

“The future of content marketing is here,” he said. “The general collapse of big journalism, the shift in consumerism over the last four years, adoption and usage of smartphones and smart tvs, and big data is changing the marketing landscape forever.”

Joe outlined the future with interesting statistics by illustrating some of the trends that determine the future of content. First he shared these startling mobile, social and search figures:

  • Smartphone ownership skyrocketed from 63 million in 2010 to 166 million in 2014
  • Smartphone usage followed the same path with an average use time/day of 24 minutes in 2010 to 2 hours and 51 minutes in 2014
  • The number of daily searches went from 3.6 billion/day in 2010 to almost 6 billion in 2014
  • In 2010, 62{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of the population was on social media and in 2014 the number still climbed to 72{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903}

“The mobile revolution is the most fundamental change in the way we work,” Joe said.“The process of the purchase funnel is at the core of any content strategy.” He further explained this point with a graph that showed how mobile, search and social create myriad influences a buyer now considers on the path to purchase.

The presentation then highlighted the dramatic fall of traditional content producers and the shift to new publishers of content.

  • Newspapers newsroom workforce dropped from about 56,000 employees in 2006 to 38,000 in 2012
  • Native digital news organizations grow their staff
    • Vice: 1,100 employees
    • Huffington Post: 575 employees
    • Politico: 185 employees

Joe continued with what he calls the “Content Conundrum” by sharing a slide labeled “The Deluge of Crap.” As brands and many others become publishers of content the amount of quality content lessens. As search engines like Google and its Panda update attempt to battle this deluge, strategic content marketers have an opportunity to shine. “The winners in the post-deluge era will be the companies that build something precious,” Joe said, coining a quote from Velocity Partners.

After explaining the past and current content atmosphere, Joe shared the future of content marketing. “Big data, content targeting, native advertising, retargeting, off-line convergence and influencers are changing the game,” he said.

His presentation continued to explain in greater detail these future content marketing elements culminating with iAcquire’s unique ClearVoice tool to help find and connect with targeted influencers.

To learn more about what caused these fundamental changes to content and elements of the future of content marketing, check out Joe’s presentation here:

Be sure to join us on Thurs., Aug. 21 for our next program, “Is the Second Screen Experience Overrated?” Hosted in conjunction with Ad2 Phoenix, this unique program takes place at Macayo’s Restaurant in Phoenix and features a panel of experts who will discuss this popular topic.

We encourage you to learn more about AZIMA and contact one of our board members with any questions!