Giving Organic Search Credit
For many marketers, the end of the year marks the end of their budget cycle. It is certainly not revealed scripture that marketing budgets are limited and that any new expenditure must be carefully justified. In this process, it is very important not to under or overvalue the contribution of any marketing initiative. Organic search is particularly difficult to evaluate, because the point at which the user connects with your marketing message can be almost anywhere in the purchase cycle—from initial research to post purchase satisfaction and loyalty.
Just a few years ago, the entire conversion process was easier to model, because the system was simpler. As we have gone to a multiscreen, omnichannel, integrated marketing system, the number of marketing touchpoints has exploded. Each is a variable, and with each variable there is often an entire marketing program—email, affiliate, paid search, display, organic search—that must be evaluated during the budgeting process. As marketing programs are more tightly integrated, it is increasingly difficult to understand the marketing system dynamics and accurately tease out the impact of each specific marketing activities and initiatives.
It is essential that you build and use an attribution model if you plan to optimize the results of your marketing spend—get the most bang for your buck. Sure, e-commerce sites can identify and track an individual's path from first encounter to purchase, but the proverbial rubber hits the road, when it comes to attaching a specific value, a valence, to each action along the path, thus building an attribution model. Today, building such models is an essential part of the marketing and budgeting process. Marketers develop and use such models to provide frameworks for evaluating and interpreting the importance of each digitally recorded action as the consumer moves through the purchase process.
There are a number of basic types of attribution models, but each online business is so unique in how it specifically goes to market that one size does not fit all. An individual model should be built that reflects the company or brand's specific marketing philosophy and activities.
The purpose of this blog is to provide insights and tips for how to use search profitably. It will cut through the volumes of information that threaten to overwhelm the busy marketer and will focus on what is truly important for making search work.