PPC in a Web 2.0 world

The growth of user-generated content is changing the way brands interact and engage with customers. Successful communications in today’s Web 2.0 world are increasingly based on establishing and maintaining a two-way dialog. Building UGC elements into an online strategy is only one piece of the jigsaw, however. The key is to drive people to those pages to kickstart the dialog.

Forward-thinking marketers are increasingly using pay-per-click as a tool for achieving this, and it is one of the many ways that marketers are using pay-per-click beyond pure customer acquisition.

So what are the tips marketers should consider when using PPC to help underpin Web 2.0 strategies?

Use keywords and ad creative to highlight the Web 2.0 features on your site. If you are a travel site, for example, bid on terms such as “travel blog” or “travel reviews” to capture consumer interest. Build those same elements into your ad creative as well with phrases such as “read vacation reviews” or “reviews from other travelers.” This will help not only drive traffic but also increase consumer engagement, a key component of Web 2.0.

Monitor topics that are being raised through reviews or forums on your site. As themes emerge, start to tactically develop PPC ads that relate directly to those themes. The aim is to leverage the hot-button topics that users themselves are defining to capture the interest of other like-minded people. Your customers, in essence, help drive your communications strategy.

Ensure ads are deep-linked, just as with any campaign. This is particularly important for UGC areas of sites that will quickly become content rich and be hard to navigate as a result. Taking the travel example again, if you are highlighting reviews of a particular hotel in your pay-per-click ads, ensure you deep-link to the page that includes reviews for that specific hotel rather than just your review landing page.

Consider ad placement by remembering that with Web 2.0 it is all about tapping into consumers’ desire to share their experiences.

Reaching people when they are in that mind-set is often more effectively achieved on content sites when people are reading related articles and are therefore more likely to click through to your site to read more and to comment. As a result, the contextual networks should be at the heart of Web 2.0 PPC strategies.

Bryan Brickley is general manager of Searchfeed.com in Bridgewater, NJ. Reach him at [email protected].

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