eView: TV Combined With Paid Search Equals E-commerce Success

The big secret today in Internet marketing is that you don’t have to be a marketing genius to achieve favorable ROI from your online investments. However, like the stock market in boom times, it’s dangerous to be mesmerized by your gains. Many companies today aren’t maximizing their Internet marketing investments, despite high effectiveness levels.

The impact traditional media can have on boosting the effectiveness of digital marketing and the timing of executing traditional and digital media can blur the picture.

In our work with pure-play e-commerce companies and traditional firms from a variety of industries, we’ve found that a failure to understand this synergistic relationship results in inferior returns on digital investments and possibly a misallocation of spend across the mix.

In particular, we’ve discovered that the coordinated execution of paid search and TV — with TV as the original awareness builder — significantly increases campaign effectiveness.

TV and paid search — a natural synergy
When a TV flighting schedule — the nightly order of what’s airing on television — is timed to drive paid search impressions and click rates, we’ve found that it’s responsible for driving as much as 40 percent of the impressions through increased brand awareness. Even with disjointed campaigns, TV is responsible for around 10 percent of paid search-driven sales.

As these statistics reveal, the successful timing of influencing brand awareness can spell the difference between a successful and not so successful paid search campaign. Other important factors include the timing of when TV and paid search are executed (in season vs. out of season), as well as the relevance of the inventory purchased.

The synergistic effect is most powerful with high-consideration purchases (such as cars, jewelry, etc.) and seasonal purchases like travel and holiday gifts. It’s less effective with everyday purchases that don’t involve research, where decisions are made at the physical or virtual store.

A seasonal example
A major online travel brand we work with times TV execution to build awareness in the month prior to the heavy summer travel season, using 30-second TV spots to create initial awareness.

As the “booking season” approaches, there’s greater emphasis on promotions, primarily via e-mail, and paid search inventory is bulked up. TV then is shifted to “reminder mode,” using only 15-second spots. As consumers are doing heavy online research and beginning to book travel, the company maintains an extensive online presence in paid search. Thus, the awareness and promotional efforts help place the brand top-of-mind as consumers search online for vacation deals.

The most effective campaign not only implements the TV/paid search synergy, but also melds various traditional and online components, creating a natural multiplier effect.

We’ve found that when four or more media vehicles are used to support an integrated campaign, it’s significantly more effective than using three or fewer. It’s like surround sound vs. stereo: If consumers only hear the “music” of your message through two channels, brand awareness will be lower come decision time. But with multiple “speakers” or media touchpoints surrounding the consumer, the chances of evoking the right response at the right time increase greatly.

Steve Tobias is senior vice president and client officer at Marketing Management Analytics, a Wilton, Conn.-based marketing effectiveness consultancy. He can be reached at steve.tobias@mma.com.

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