Advertising Options for Pet Business Beyond AdWords & Facebook
By Phillip Barnhart
AdWords and Facebook. Sometimes it seems these are the only places to advertise successfully. While AdWords and Facebook often take up the bulk of your advertising dollars, you should consider testing other channels to get your business noticed.
Google AdWords can get complex and expensive if you aren’t careful, and Facebook’s recent changes make taking advantage of those millions of users more challenging.
Smaller investments in other advertising areas can pay off. New customers can be found on many web platforms and apps. Often, these options have simpler functionality and fewer competitors.
Bing Ads: More Than an Also–Ran
While Microsoft’s Bing may not be on your radar, you may be surprised how many users turn to Bing rather than Google. The Bing Network includes Bing, Yahoo, AOL and a number of smaller search tools like Duck Duck Go. In March 2018, comScore estimated that the Bing Network made up 33.8% of the U.S. desktop search market.
Some other important statistics:
- 6 billion monthly searches on Bing Network
- Over one-third of the Bing Network audience has a household income of $100,000 or more
- 24 million travel searchers not reached on Google
- 40% of all travel paid clicks are on the Bing Network.
- Can You Reach New Pet Parent Clients On Bing?
You bet! You will find that several national pet services companies are already there. What can a typical pet business with a quality website and a competitive advertising budget expect on Bing? While click traffic usually runs about 20% of Google AdWords, the click–through rate (CTR) is usually higher and the cost-per-click (CPC) can be considerably lower. The visitors Bing Ads send tend to convert at a higher rate as well.
Getting Started on Bing
Many of the features found in Google AdWords have a parallel in Bing Ads. In fact, Bing makes it relatively simple to connect to a current Google AdWords account. The Bing import tools allow you to select specific campaigns, bids and budgets. You can even have Bing import Google campaigns on a recurring basis.
To be successful, we’ve found that you should plan on creating Bing–specific AdWords extensions. You should also review Bing’s own recommendations once you’ve imported your campaign. You may find that different keywords, ads, extensions and bidding strategies work better in Bing.
Microsoft provides an extensive range of tutorials and examples to help you get started (see https://help.bingads.microsoft.com/).
YouTube Director Onsite
YouTube continues to dominate the online video segment of the web. Technically, YouTube video ads do run through AdWords. However, video is very different than the search and display campaigns you may be familiar with. Creating an ad-quality video can be expensive and launching a YouTube video ad campaign can be challenging.
To encourage small businesses to explore video ads, Google has created the YouTube Director Onsite program. This provides you with a free video shoot and expert help, directly from Google. The result is a video ad you can promote through YouTube and use on your website. You simply need to commit to spend at least $350 advertising it on YouTube.
Once you book a shoot, a YouTube–approved filmmaker will talk to you about your business. They help write an ad–centric video script and will then visit your business and film your ad.
After you approve your ad, Google will help add it to your YouTube channel and help set up your video campaign. So far, the ads we’ve reviewed for our clients have been well-targeted and professional.
You can get started by going to https://director.youtube.com. Read up on how it works, review the FAQs and book your YouTube ad shoot. There is a waiting list for this service in many cities, so it’s important to get started now.
Get a Digital Billboard with Waze
If you commute or travel, you may already be familiar with the travel app, Waze. This Google product has 100 million monthly active users—primarily in congested urban centers. But we’ve seen significant user impressions in suburbs and small towns as well.
Waze recently launched local business ads—a self–service ad platform. For as little as $2 a day, you get a branded pin —think “mini-billboard”—that points to your location as drivers pass by. You also get a “click pop” (which is the main page for your ad) and location page that users see when they click your pin.
These ads are primarily for drive-by businesses. They are targeted to restaurants, gas stations and similar locations. But these ads also offer an excellent branding opportunity for pet-related services such as doggy daycare and grooming. Your potential clients may not realize how conveniently-located you are. And traditional searches may show pet businesses near their home or near their work, but not along their way.
We’ve found pet-related businesses get a lot of brand exposure for very little cost using Waze. This app provides a wonderful way to introduce your business to people who didn’t even know to look for you!
Local and Native Ads
If you haven’t been approached by local online publications or news outlets for advertising, you will be. New, local digital publications are launched all the time and existing media outlets are always looking for new revenue sources. Native ads and local ad placement can be an inexpensive option for local business, so can paid placement in local email newsletters. But you do have to measure the success of your local paid content or banner, and sometimes you must do some of the work yourself.
If you use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics, you can measure this kind of advertising by adding a little bit of extra information. Make sure the URLs in your ads include “UTM parameters”, a standard set of values added to your URL that tells web analytics platforms about your ad.
Some advertising software create these automatically or you can use a tool that Google provides at https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/.
In fact, it’s a good idea to use these parameters wherever you can place your link for marketing purposes. By adding these to every external URL, you can determine which paid placements deliver visitors to your website. You can see who fills out your forms and you can even target these visitors with your other paid search efforts. And of course, you can determine your return-on-investment.
Google Posts: It Doesn’t Get Better Than Free
The last option we recommend is also the cheapest. Through your Google My Business panel, you can now add posts directly to your business’s Google Knowledge Panel. Creating these posts allows you to publish events, services and discounts directly to Google Search and Maps. You can even add video as well as text and photo content.
You can link to events and websites other than your own, as long as these are relevant to your business and follow Google’s content policy. This means you can have a Google Post link to a partner event website, your Facebook event or an Instagram post.
Each post can have a button as a call-to-action and will appear on Knowledge Panel for seven days (or until the event has passed.) On clients we’ve worked with, simply presenting Google posts increases traffic even when the post itself isn’t clicked.
Learn more about this underutilized marketing tool at https://support.google.com/business/answer/7662907
Phillip Barnhart is Director of Marketing Strategy and Technology at Nehmedia and PetResortMarketing.com. Nehmedia is a Google Premier Partner and Bing Ads Partner with over 60 pet resort clients. Phil is certified in Google AdWords Search, Mobile, Display, and Video, and is a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.