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Use Cases for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

When you remarket online, you are targeting someone who is already familiar with you because of a previous visit to your website. There are so many opportunities to remarket using Google Analytics and Google AdWords together, with many people taking advantage of this on the Display Network since only 100 visits to your web site are required. RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) can also happen for Google search ads, but at least 1,000 cookies are required before RLSA can be utilized. Google states their required minimum of 1,000 is to protect the privacy of the people on your list. What makes this great for search is the ability to use a remarketing list combined with your keyword search campaigns.

The first step is to ensure remarketing is enabled in Google Analytics. Check your Property Settings, then look for Tracking Info, and then Data Collection.  Simply turn it to “on” once you get there.  If you are brand new to Google Analytics, you will want to enable this immediately even if you are not sure when or if you will remarket. Since your RLSA list does need 1,000 cookies, it may take some time to collect this many cookies on your site, depending on the volume of traffic you normally receive.

If you have been collecting this cookie data and are ready to start using RLSA, here are some use cases to consider in the context of the goals for your site.

  • Exclude customers searching for your company name. In this case, they already know about you, but forgot your exact URL. Assuming you are doing okay with your SEO strategy, you should show up on the first page for your brand name and would want people to click on your organic link rather than your paid listing.
  • Create ads for website visitors that abandoned their shopping carts.  If they start a Google search for what they almost bought from you, here is an opportunity to get in front of them again with an offer that will entice them to complete the conversion process.
  • Target people who have converted but did so a while ago. The maximum window for targeting is 180 days but can be changed. Perhaps your product is one people tend to buy quarterly. In that scenario, you would target every quarter (90 days) and remind them it is time to buy again. (If a site has a low volume and few conversions, this may be a tough strategy for some advertisers.)
  • Although I personally tend to bid low when starting a new Search campaign for clients, using RLSA is when it is time to increase those bids. This remarketing list consists of people interested in your products or services so when it comes time for them to continue researching, or searching again, on, you want to remind them of their past interest in you.
  • A recommended keyword strategy for Search campaigns is to have tight themes in each group that are targeted to the appropriate landing page. However, with RLSA, you may actually want to use broader keywords. This can keep your targeted audience from becoming too narrow.
  • The same remarketing rule of “Don’t Be Creepy” applies to Search just as much as Display. You don’t want to say “Finish buying our ____.” Not only will that feel like an invasion of privacy, it could result in some uncomfortable conversations in a household with multiple people using the same computer. A better strategy would be to make the offer based on assumptions about why the person did not complete a purchase. For example if they abandoned their cart at the time of shipping, a promo code for half off shipping can get their attention without feeling like an invasion of privacy.
  • Focus on engaged users. Perhaps your site is driven by content. The more time people spend on your website, the more likely the will see your affiliate ads. You can create ads for this group if they spent a certain amount of time on the site or visited a number of pages.
  • If you have an ecommerce site, you can engage some of your big spenders. Invite them to come back and spend even more based on their purchasing habits and what they have bought from you previously. You may find a better ROI for your ad spend if you go after this group.

There are some limitations to RLSA. Some dimensions, such as age and gender, are not available because of privacy.  You also unfortunately can not use language, location, operating system, device or browser, but hopefully the above scenarios provide enough justification for giving RLSA a try.

O.M.Gmail – Your “In” to More Google+ Followers

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

Do you use Gmail? If you don’t, then chances are you know a lot of people who do. And every last one of them could be your next Google+ follower.

Let me explain.

Today I received this in my Gmail inbox:






Wait, so what I’m saying is when businesses send emails to Gmail addresses, it connects to their Google+ accounts and displays the most recent post in the sidebar? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Yes, Google has made it even more convenient for your email subscribers to follow you on Google+ whenever they open an email from you.

I mean, c’mon, in terms of getting more followers on Google+, this is downright brilliant. You’ve already gotten your subscriber to open the email (bonus for your email marketing program) and now you can grow your social media audience, too.

What’s even cooler about this is once your email subscriber follows you on Google+, they may even see your posts in their search results if it relates to a term or keyword used in your posts. I know, it just keeps getting better, right.

Not to mention the limitless opportunities to connect them back to your website with updated content, promotions, etc. once they follow you.

So if you’ve already launched an email marketing program but you haven’t developed a Google+ page – or you have one but don’t use it – it’s time to put some effort into Google+.

The Gmail subscribers who are your biggest fans will be more than willing to follow you to Google+, and you don’t want to miss that kind of opportunity to build on those important relationships.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

Image is everything. Literally. Using images as part of a digital marketing strategy is no longer optional and Pinterest is one channel to help you make the most of images in your outreach via social media.  With over 100 million active users and the majority being female, there is a lot of opportunity for businesses who primarily target women. Popular categories that appeal to women on Pinterest include DIY projects, clothing, and home decor. Below are some key strategies to making Pinterest work for your business.

Make your content shareable

Any content on your website should have an option for viewers to easily share it on their social media channels.  If you have strong images that you want people to Pin, you want to have a “Pin it” option so people can share those images with a single click.

Create boards based on themes

When you create boards, do not use a single board for everything your brand offers.  If you sell X, Y, and Z, have a themed board for each of those categories.  The boards should be centered around your X, Y, and Z product lines but not strictly promotional. Include content that is related to those product lines, perhaps by Pinning ways current customers use your products. Pinterest users are more interested in content they can use and connect with rather than simply product images.

Describe your content

Pinterest does allow creative copy for each Pin so take advantage of that to explain what you find interesting about a particular Pin, using relevant keywords to help your SEO.  And remember, people may not (yet) be searching for information about your specific brand, so use copy that refers to the theme of your different boards, not just your brand name or product.

Interact with followers

The same rules apply. Social media is never only about you pushing out self-promotional content. Re-pin and comment on the pins your followers are sharing. Yes, it keeps you top of mind but also indicates you care about the people who care about your brand.

Create a group board for followers

Group boards are boards where anyone who is invited can Pin to it.  Do you have loyal fans out there? Invite them to Pin to your community board. It can also be a great market research tool to learn more about your audience based on what they choose to Pin to the community board.

Seek out influencers

These are the people who you want to like your brand because they have such a strong community.  Influencers will appreciate you Pinning your content and as a result, that may interest them in what you do.

Test Promoted Pins

Use part of your social media budget to target specific audiences by location, language, gender, and device with some of your popular Pins. You can either pay for Pinners to engage with Pins on Pinterest or visit your website.  Whichever method you choose, you need an image that connects with people emotionally so they are more inclined to share it.  As with your organic Pins, your keywords are just as important here. Watch the ad performance in real time and make adjustments as needed depending on what you see in your Pinterest Analytics.


With all your marketing channels, it is crucial to measure, measure, and measure. Those metrics tell you if you are cultivating a following or only speaking to yourself.  You can use Pinterest Analytics to learn how people engage with content on your site and Google Analytics to see if Pinterest is a referral source driving new traffic to your website.

What is interesting about Pinterest is that it is a visually focused platform and one that is also driven by search. Success for businesses who want to use Pinterest will depend on the ability to generate appealing, quality images, as well as using the copy and keyword strategies needed to attract traffic.

Content Marketing is Not a Buzzword – 3 Truths Explained

Some say content marketing is a buzzword. Marketers and industry experts disagree.  It is, however, unarguably all the buzz. Here’s an in-depth look into the subject, but first let’s examine the definitions of the terms.

Merriam Webster defines buzzword as “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen”. Clearly this is not the case with the term content marketing. According to a leading thought leader on the subject of content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute  ( (CMI) defines content marketing as “ a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

TRUTH #1:  Content marketing is anything but new. In fact, it has a long history and has been around for hundreds of years. John Deere launched its customer magazine – The Furrow - in 1895 to educate farmers about new technology and how they could leverage it to be more successful. The magazine is often credited as the first example of corporate storytelling, or content marketing in that the goal of the content was to drive, or change, consumer behavior (i.e. use technology). The Furrow has been so successful; it still exists today and continues to be published in 14 languages.

In the 1990’s, even though content marketing wasn’t known as such, it was a concept most often referred to in the industry as custom publishing, custom content, branded content and customer media. Today, those words can be wrapped into an umbrella term – content marketing.

Originally started in 2007 and known as Junta42, big brands became eager for information about content marketing. Eventually the need for more education and information about content marketing grew and Joe Pulizzi – a well-respected entrepreneur speaker and author – founded the CMI. Pulizzi and CMI remain passionate to this day that there is a better way for brands to market themselves than methods relied on in the past and that way is content marketing.

CMI produced an infographic – which details the timeline of content marketing. It actually indicates the beginning of content marketing began with content publishing in 4200 BC with caveman drawings.  Unarguably, content publishing has come a long way since then and continued to evolve and change with modern day digital technologies.

TRUTH #2: Quality content is critical to all forms of marketing and today, even plays a critical role in public relations. Content – when it is relevant and compelling – moves prospects through the sales pipeline from generating awareness about a specific brand to converting inquiries into qualified leads and turning those opportunities into profitable sales. Content – coupled with things such as excellent customer service – is also largely responsible for retaining and upselling customers because content marketing builds familiarity, likeability and trust for the brands that rely on – implement and execute – a solid content marketing strategy as the cornerstone of their marketing efforts across all channels.

Imagine today’s world without content marketing. CEO of SEOMoz Rand Fishkin points out in the Content Marketing Manifesto ( that social media would not exist. Communities of online brand ambassadors would not exist. Nor would Search Engine Optimization exist.

TRUTH #3: The term content marketing is commonly known and accepted by the industry, by thought-leaders and by marketers throughout the world. Brian Clark also know as the Copyblogger (, buiit his business starting in January 2006 on the sole concept of content marketing. Today, he and his firm continue to expand other businesses – by showing people how to create valuable content that attracts attention, drives traffic, and builds your business.

Entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker and one of the world’s most popular bloggers, Seth Godin, ( also knows first hand about the concept of content marketing. Not only has he been inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, but he turned the book publishing world upside down by introducing a series of four books through a Kickstarter campaign that reached its goal in only three hours to became the most successful book project since Kickstarter began in April of 2009.

The term is also solidifying the content marketing industry much like the terms similar to what happened in the past with email marketing, social media and word-of-mouth marketing.

Known content marketing agencies such as McMurry  ( - which produces publications for Ritz-Carlton and other big brands -  as well as market research firms such as Altimeter (, have  adopted the term content marketing without question and use it widely.

Furthermore, content marketing titles and jobs are also starting to rapidly emerge in the market place. For example, David Beebe serves as VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing for Marriott International’s portfolio of 18 brands. A quick search in Indeed delivers nearly 800 results for content marketing jobs in North Carolina alone.

Content marketing is also an extremely hot topic at industry and marketing-related conferences held by such organizations as the American Marketing Association. Not surprisingly,  CMI puts on its own worldwide conference, Content Marketing World ( each year, which will take place September 6-9.

TRUTH #4: Content marketing is at a tipping point. That is to say, if content marketing isn’t a clear focus or prioritized strategy for businesses today, it likely will be in 2016.

According to a Google Trends graph, interest in the subject has increased steadily since 2011, but jumped 20% in the fourth quarter of 2015, growing as much in two months as it did over the past two years.

“Content marketing has reached a tipping point, making this year’s report our most important one yet,” writes Contently in its State of Content Marketing 2016 report (

Contently, ( which started about a year before the 2011 industry growth spurt, reports each year on the state of the industry based on research and interviews with top Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) coupled with feedback from their own customers.  They agree content marketing is at a tipping point.

“Our research and pipelines both tell us that the late 2015 spike is an indicator of what’s to come in 2016: more investment in content marketing and more mature content strategies.”

Others agree and say it is surprising that content marketing is still catching on for some.

“It’s amazing how many executives still don’t know about content marketing,” says Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures. “This year, I predict there will be a tipping point and it will become a main part of the conversation.”  Kuenn will lead a content marketing workshop at LeadsCon – an annual conference for networking, education and  content – March 15. The workshop will cover an eight-step formula — from strategy development and ideation through lead nurturing and measurement—marketers can use to create and distribute content that connects with prospects.

Still a skeptic? You won’t be for long.

3 Pro Tips to Improve Google Mobile Search Rankings

This post was originally published on

Mobile Search – Rankings on Google

Do you remember when Google updated its mobile algorithm earlier this year? This was the wake up call businesses needed to finally implement mobile-friendly websites.

Yet some companies are not seeing the Google mobile search rankings they want, despite their best efforts to align with the new demands of digital behavior.

Here are three suggestions we have for improving your page rankings in Google mobile search:

Optimize for Local

Joint research by Google and Ipsos MediaCT shows that 56 percent of searches done on smartphones have local intent. This means more than half of smartphone users are looking for a business or service near to them. Can your business be found easily by local users?

To make sure, update your Google+ business page with your current address, phone number, and hours of operation. Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google+, as they are factored into mobile search rankings.

Note: Since Google reduced the amount of local business listings it shows in mobile search results, it is even more critical that all parts of your Google+ page are updated.

The “3-pack” shows just three local business listings in Google mobile search rankings.

The “3-pack” shows just three local business listings in Google mobile search rankings.

Eliminate Sneaky Mobile Redirects

Are you redirecting mobile users to different pages than those who click-through on desktop? If so, Google says “redirecting mobile users sneakily to a different content is bad for user experience and is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.” So not only is this likely annoying mobile users; it is also a violation of best practices in mobile search.

The exception is if you are redirecting mobile users to a page that offers a better user experience, such as redirecting from to

Avoid Interstitials

If you are trying to promote a mobile app, then it can be tempting to use interstitial ads – those that pop up when someone clicks your link and arrives at your webpage – to force users to see your ad about downloading your app. However, many interstitials cover the majority of the screen, making it impossible for the user to see any of the actual page content. This approach has been shown to increase bounce rates on mobile pages and have little to no impact on app downloads.

Interstitial ads are determined to be so disruptive to users that on November 2, 2015, Google confirmed “pages with app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search results page won’t be considered mobile-friendly.”

If you are currently using interstitial ads to encourage app downloads, then we recommend using a smaller, less intrusive ad format to improve mobile search rankings on Google.

What changes have you noticed in your Google search rankings on mobile, since updating your web pages or local listings?

Why SEO Needs Good Storytelling

This content was originally posted on

Your story directly impacts SEO. If your business wants to engage in search marketing, storytelling is one area where you may not want to compromise.


There is no denying a solid SEO campaign is built on extensive strategy, well-researched keywords, quality links, and intelligent analytics reporting.

But beyond the roadmap and the data that work to improve your online influence is the story – what you are trying to communicate to your audience.

All the right keywords in the universe are not going to matter if you are unable to tell visitors exactly what they need to know, in order for them to take the desired action.

So if you want to use SEO to sell more products, get more subscribers or increase attendance, then you need a good storyteller who can draw in your audience with influential messaging…without compromising SEO best practices.

Clear Writing = Clear Thinking


Have Your Tissues Ready, WestJet Just Released Their Annual Christmas Video

Canadian commercial airliner, WestJet, is known for their spectacular marketing through social media and viral video. Some of their most popular videos include their April Fools videos such as WestJet #SmartSeats: the best way to board a plane and Introducing WestJet’s #FurryFamily program.

How does WestJet manage to produce videos that receive up to fifty millions views? By using a combination of humor, philanthropy and finding that one-to-one connection. WestJet knows their customers, knows how to reach them, touch them, and make a personal connection.

They do it every year when they bring us all to tears with their Christmas miracle videos, and they definitely didn’t let us down this year.

Think your tear ducts can handle more? Check out previous years’ videos:

How to Increase Your Conversions with Remarketing


Yes, remarketing can be creepy.  Once you visit a site, ads for that site may follow you around the rest of the internet.  You check the weather, there’s an ad. You go to your favorite news site; there’s the same ad again.  But if remarketing didn’t work, businesses wouldn’t use it.  It is possible to increase your conversions with remarketing.

Identify a valuable conversion

I realize that sounds pretty obvious!  But some use remarketing to bring people back to the site without necessarily thinking through the “why”.  Most sites have multiple options for macro and micro conversion, such as signing up for something or making a purchase.  If both of those are important conversions, you’ll run two campaigns with each of these goals in mind.

Get specific

The people coming to your site through remarketing already know who you are and what you are about from earlier visits. Now is the time to get specific and provide some detail about your offer.  A general message is not as engaging because it tells people what they already know. B Providing additional information that wasn’t shown in the initial ad gives them a reason to come back.

Base it on URL

Although you can market to those who visited your site in general, instead look at your site based on types of services and products you offer. You can then build lists based on people who visited the URLs for those specific sections. However, you don’t want to get too specific at first because your list may be very small, especially with a newer site.

Visitors who did not complete an action

People who did not complete a purchase are a clear use case for remarketing. If they added items to their cart and then left the site, that’s a great use case for remarketing. There can also be visitors that stopped somewhere in the lead generation process. If they filled out part one of your lead generation form, but never made it to part two on a second page, you can remarket to them.  (This is also a good reminder to review the usability of your site. Why do people leave after part one?)

Cookies = Buying cycle

You can set cookies with a default setting of anywhere between 30-90 days, and should set your cookies based on the buying cycle of your products.  Higher end, luxury items will have a longer buying cycle and 90 days may be the right setting for them.  Other less expensive purchases or items that often fall into an impulse buy category could be 30 days.

Change out the images

Have you ever seen something so many times that you no longer “see” it – or maybe even find it annoying? Change the images or colors of image ads in remarketing so viewers eyes are drawn to it as something new.  When you constantly show the same ad on the same sites, people can tune it out.  I can also get a little boring to see the same thing all the time. The advantage to you as the advertiser is the opportunity to test images in order to see which ones worked best.

Link the ad to what’s advertised

Such a simple suggestion, but one that’s often overlooked.  I’ll give an example without giving the company name. I saw a visually appealing ad on a weather site, displaying an item of clothing I would consider buying.  When I went to the site, I landed on a general page with that particular item nowhere to be found.  Needless to say, I was frustrated and left the site.  So whatever your ad is promoting (whether it’s remarketing or not), link the ad to the specific page for what is being advertised.


Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) let you customize your campaigns in the search results for people who have previously visited your site.  Since you know someone is searching for you, this is an opportunity to get your specific ad in front of them. This option may not yet be available for those of you with new sites, because the remarketing list needs to have 1,000 visitors before RLSA can be used.  As mentioned above, with the Display Network, you may want to get specific with your lists by targeting people who visit a specific page of your site.  But with RLSA, you may want to be broader as you build your initial list and base it initially on visitors to your home page. Either method you use, you want to start early in creating your list so it has time to build.

Remarketing is a great tool for advertisers when it’s done well.  Like with any marketing effort, know your goals and your audience and decide what it is you want visitors to do when they return to your site.

Is Google Really the Only Game in Town?

Online Marketing Game – RSO Consulting

The online advertising and marketing universe may be larger than we realize.

Ask anyone which search engine rules the world and the answer you’re likely to receive is “Google.” And, to a large degree, that answer would be correct. But, while much evidence and general common wisdom suggests that Google is the big elephant in the room, there are different ways of looking at online marketing data that can reveal some surprising insights.

Search Engine Market Share

Google-related search domains have a global market share of about 67 percent according to However, other search engines dominate the market share in several countries (ex. China-Baidu, Japan-Yahoo, Czech Republic-Senzam) and each search engine has its own set of ranking factors and best practices.

So, for companies doing business in other countries, Google may not always be the go-to search engine for online advertising. In fact, because of the sheer volume of others using Google, some of the smaller, more geographically focused options may hold greater value. Depending on the type of audience you’re attempting to connect with, even in the United States, some of the lower trafficked, but potentially better niche-focused web sites (like Yahoo, Bing, etc.) might also be worth experimenting with. After all, volume isn’t the only outcome marketers are looking for; ultimately they need results!

Global Approach to Online Advertising

RSO Consulting is an online advertising and marketing firm that specializes in paid search management. We’re Google AdWords and Google Analytics Certified, and certainly turn to Google as an advertising outlet when we work with many clients. However, because we work with a number of global clients, we’ve also found great results with search engines that resonate in their markets. Our team of dedicated client managers and online marketing professionals speak many languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, Thai, Farsi, German and Korean.

For example, one of RSO Consulting’s clients is an international manufacturer of outdoor supplies and other consumer goods. They needed to increase sales and revenue online through both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising. For them, Google wasn’t the automatic, or only, search engine choice. “They helped us in driving traffic to the website,” the company’s Global Director of Innovation said of RSO. “Traffic has increased and they contributed to conversions as well.” In fact, mobile represents almost half of all traffic and has played an integral part in the company’s growth.

Mobile another Change Agent

Geography isn’t the only competitive impact facing Google these days. The mobile environment may be equally challenging and, in fact, new players are emerging to help mobile users find the information they need. Think about it—user activity is quite different on mobile that it has traditionally been in a laptop or desktop environment. Much of the information and data used and access doesn’t exist in the traditional “web” environment. Instead, it’s housed or accessed through various apps; information shared via mobile devices tend to be in the form of photos and videos, as well as interaction via various social media sites.

These changing behaviors puts Google in a somewhat awkward position as new players emerge with new technologies and new algorithms to challenge the behemoth. For instance, Relcy is an American firm that specializes in mobile search. They recently announced the introduction of a new mobile search engine that they proclaim is “the fastest way to find” the kind of information that mobile users tend to be looking for: movies, restaurants in your area, special offers and deals, songs, images, etc. As Jess Bolluyt wrote in an article for Gear & Style CheatSheet: “When you search for a movie on Relcy, the search engine returns a synopsis, a listing of cast members, and then links to movie apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, populated with pricing and subscription information. Depending on what you search for, the search engine could return results across several different apps, some which you might have forgotten you downloaded, or surface new, relevant apps that you haven’t downloaded yet.”

Will these upstarts upend Google? Only time will tell but Google is a big player in the market with their brand strength, money and technology resources. So, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be ignoring the same use trends that other organizations, like Relcy, are attempting to leverage.

At RSO Consulting we stay on top of the trends that impact SEO and online marketing for clients around the globe. It’s a quickly changing, technology-enabled environment; as trends and use patterns change, so do we.

There are other players in this field with different takes on mobile search such as Quixey, Expect Labs and Taptu.   This is an area ripe for innovation so we should expect more development and players in the near future.


Web Seminar Recap: You Can’t Ignore Email Marketing: It Still Works!

We’re inundated with too much email! From past purchases to new promotions, we receive a steady stream in our in-box which is not always desirable. Yet, if people still do email marketing, it must work. This web seminar  explored successful email marketing campaigns, reviewed the components of a good campaign, and talked about what to measure.

This 1-hour web seminar was presented by Tina Arnoldi on November 3, 2015. Some topics covered in this presentation include:

  • Click/Open Rate
  • Customer Retention Methods
  • Types of Successful Emails
  • Components of a Good Message
  • And Much More!

Missed it? Catch up by downloading the presentation slides and recording.