Search Engine Marketing: Three Big Ideas For Your SEM Campaigns … Now!
Search has revolutionized advertising. For many direct retailers, search has become the leading advertising channel for customer acquisition, and its importance still is growing. Here are three big ideas to help you get more from your paid search marketing (SEM) and your natural search marketing (SEO) going into the fourth quarter of 2007.
SEO & SEM: Your Good Name
Many retailers enjoy significant sales from visitors arriving from searches on their brand name. Monitoring and managing the distinction between brand and nonbrand searches is critical to smart online marketing.
Why does brand vs. nonbrand matter? Consider two different Google searches, one for “J. Crew jean jacket” and another for “women’s jean jacket.” In both cases, the searcher is looking for a jean jacket, but in the first case, the searcher has a particular retailer already in mind. In this case, the query is navigational, and Google’s role is analogous to a telephone White Pages. In the second case, the searcher wants a product but hasn’t yet decided from which online retailer to purchase it. In this case, the query is competitive, and Google’s role is analogous to a telephone Yellow Pages. Even if this searcher has bought from J. Crew previously, she’s shopping the Web to see where to buy the jean jacket. In the second case, the order is “in play,” and the retailer (in this case, J. Crew) must strive to win the click and turn it into an order.
You could argue that we should consider “clickstreams”, not individual searches, when assessing whether a brand search is incremental. For example, if a searcher made these three searches in succession—“fall jackets,” “women’s jean jacket,” then “J. Crew jean jacket”—then you might argue that since the brand search was the last link in a chain of competitive searches, this sequence of three searches is incremental. This argument sounds good, but it isn’t supported by data. In a 2006 study of a sample of 1 million paid clickstreams from a sample of 100 clients, my firm’s research team found that a branded search is preceded by a nonbrand search less than 8 percent of the time.