Now that the world is back to business as usual, we have lots of PPC developments to discuss. Among them, the growth of video marketing and advertising – and what Google is doing to help advertisers get the most of it.

So if you’re hunkered down in a pathetic attempt to shield yourself from the Polar Vortex (No hate, I’m totally hunkered down myself), I have plenty of useful reading material you can snuggle up with in front of the fireplace. And if you’re not game for snuggling with PPC reading, you might want to think about all the other people who will be snuggling up to each other on Valentine’s Day. Oh yeah, that’s right, another big money holiday is right around the corner. And today’s roundup has some useful insights on Valentine’s Day spending, and an article from Bing with helpful tips for maximizing your impact for the most popular touchy-feely holiday.

Ready to roll? Let’s get on with it…

 

Google brings in the New Year with some announcements…

As we’ve discussed previously, video plays a huge role in the buying process and in the increasingly multi-screen/multi-device experience. At CES, Google made two announcements related to the evolution of video:

  • More than 30 “mainstays of digital advertising,” including broadcasters, premium publishers, and major brands, have joined Google’s premium video marketplace, Google Partner Select.
  • Viewability reporting is rolling out across ad platforms. What does this mean? “This will, for the first time, inform brands whether their video ads on digital channels were actually seen or not (as opposed to, for example, appearing off-screen, going unwatched or being swiped past).”

Who’s in on Google Partner Select?

Among the more than 30 “mainstays” who have jumped in on the Google Partner Select opportunity are CBS Interactive, Fox News, Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Hearst Television, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, Men’s Fitness, and PGA Tour. These major brands are offering a wide range of content, including full-length shows, live sports, news, and short-form content across a variety of audiences and content categories. But the real appeal is that all of this content is exclusive to Google Partner Select.

On the flip side of the coin, more than 20 major advertisers have embraced Google Partner Select, including Allstate, BMW, Netflix, and the agencies representing major enterprises and brands across the globe.

What are they getting out of it? Early results are quite promising, with significant audience engagement and 74% video completion rates.

Now, what’s the deal with this viewability roll-out? Advertisers (marketers and publishers) using DoubleClick platforms, as well as DoubleClick Ad Exchange, will be able to take advantage of viewability reporting for video campaigns. Soon, this same capability will be available for reserved inventory on YouTube as well, including all of Google Preferred, across desktop and app views. Google points out that this is a big deal given that such a large portion of viewership happens on mobile these days.

In the coming months, it will be possible to target viewable impressions in DoubleClick and advertisers will be able to buy only viewable video impressions in the Google Display Network. Google is defining viewability by the industry-recognized standard: that 50% of the video is on-screen for two seconds or more.

Check out the full story on the AdWords Blog.

Think with Google is reflecting on the way technology has changed our daily lives. In this post, Google talks wearable devices, connected platforms, and the smartphone as an attached-to-our-hips appendage, as well as how all this impacts brands. Check it out here.

What tech trends should you be watching for in 2015? Think with Google reveals in this infographic, but let me give you a little sneak peek:

  • The emergence of Connected Life Platforms.
  • Mobile shapes “The Internet of Me.”
  • The speed of life gets even faster. (You know how you blinked and 2014 was over, and come to think of it, you’re not sure where the past decade of your life went? Yeah, that. Only faster.)

Speaking of the multi-screen/multi-device world, people now want to watch their favorite TV shows wherever they want, whenever they want, and on any device they want. This demand is dramatically reshaping the culture of TV viewership, and Think with Google has some insights on that, too. Read it here.

 

Bing is moving on to Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Day produced $17.3 billion in searches and sales last year, so we can expect this year to be equally as prosperous. According to Bing, half of all purchases occur the week before Valentine’s Day and the average spend is $134. Ninety percent of gifts are purchased within the three weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, but more than half (51 percent) are purchased within the few days prior to Valentine’s Day. Come on guys, what’s the holdup? Get with the program.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day searches begin ramping up on the Bing Ads Network in the first week of February, so if you have some Valentine’s Day promotions up your sleeve, it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Candy, cards, and flowers continue to be popular gifts, and 75% of the $1 billion spent on candy is spent on chocolate. But some couples splurge on experiences, such as the 53% who will go out for dinner and the 32% who will prepare a special meal at home.

And how are these amorous lovers deciding what to purchase?

  • 24% research products and compare prices on smartphones.
  • 32% research products and compare prices on tablets.
  • 15-20% look up the locations of physical stores, their hours, and the best routes.

With over half of shoppers making a purchase the week of Valentine’s Day, many of these shoppers will likely be on the move while they search and shop for deals. For more tips on maximizing your Valentine’s Day profits with Bing Ads, check out this post.

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only upcoming major event, but the other isn’t something most of us are looking forward to: tax season. Bing Ads offers some tips for preparing for better returns on your search investment.

But for those in financial services markets, this spells opportunity. Businesses and individuals are going to be looking for accounting services, tips and advice for maximizing their tax refunds (or minimizing their tax bills), financial planning, insurance, loans, and pretty much anything having to do with the mighty dollar and how to keep more of your hard-earned cash. Find out what Bing has to say about capitalizing on the tax season search frenzy here.

There’s an editorial policy change coming to Bing Ads in February, requiring updates to ads with phone numbers. Starting in 2015, for the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Taiwan, phone numbers will no longer be permitted in the ad, title, body, URL. Phone numbers moving forward will only be permitted through Call Extensions or Location Extensions, but no other extensions such as Sitelink Extensions. This is for new campaigns only; existing campaigns won’t be affected. More on this here.

 

What’s shaking with the PPC thought leaders this fine and freezing January?

Are you game for taking the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam? PPCHero has the ultimate guide to help you invest your study time precisely where it counts. Check it out.

You should also check out PPCHero’s The State of Paid Search survey.

Are you using Bing’s exclusive search ad extensions? You should be. 3QDigital explains why – and how.

Ready to take your website global and expand your international reach? This video from RKG outlines the pros and cons, tips and tricks.

WordStream takes a thorough look at the recent changes in PPC and SEO, noting some major PPC gains in light of the difficulties brands face with SEO thanks to ever-fluctuating algorithms. Read it here.

 

Alright folks, another week in the books, and hopefully we’ll all feel like back-to-normal human beings by next week. (Because I know the first week back after a break like the holiday break is usually a killer for those of us in the biz. And probably every other biz on the planet, too.) Rest up, warm up, and read up. I leave you with this assignment for the week.