Special Report - Search Engine Marketing
Keep in mind that as you refine your keyword groups, you will have more tail terms—e.g., "Tiffany Elsa Peretti bean necklace"— versus head terms—e.g., "necklaces"—says Stylman. Tail terms produce less data for analysis, and so your sample size will be insignificant. Refinement of a search program requires the creation of taxonomy for search terms that can be rolled up into slightly broader groups for more conclusive analysis.
Besides not capturing online activity related to search, online marketers are missing a few other opportunities to leverage their SEM investments.
One of the biggest search problems Wehr sees is retailers not keeping up with inventory. "They are purchasing PPC ads for products they no longer have in stock or have discontinued. If you're managing hundreds of thousands of keywords and URLs, that's a hard task to keep up with. But for every click that ad's getting, it's dropping your ROI number," she says. For those companies that have SEM firms managing their programs, she says, they need to keep the firm in the loop on discontinued or out-of-stock inventory.
On the natural search side, Rohr finds that less mature online marketers contine to use legacy online systems that are not optimized for search engine spiders. So, they're missing out on a great deal of low-hanging fruit when it comes to driving search traffic.
Stylman would like to see marketers do a better job of determining lifetime value (LTV) for their online campaigns. There are so many ingredients in the search recipe, he notes, that it's hard to get all relevant factors in the LTV model for online marketing.
Wehr agrees: "Most [marketers] focus on CPA or cost per sale. They want to spend 20 cents to make $2, but they're not accounting for the relationship they've now built with the customer and how it impacts future orders. That number is important, because it allows them to stay competitive and increase their spending if it makes sense. Otherwise, they start sliding down the slippery slope … they lose market share to a competitor or they become frustrated because it looks like their competitor is bidding more aggressively, so they may invest money in different channels because they didn't understand search and LTV in the first place."