Anna Chan | November 29, 2010
Many marketers consider search a great channel for acquiring new customers and building brand awareness. To this I would like to add: search is an invaluable business intelligence tool. Search gives us access to the Internet, the largest research database in the world. By implementing proper tracking and reviewing analytics data, we can gather valuable insights that can be applied to marketing planning.
Message Testing Prior to TV Commercial Production
TV commercials can cost millions to create and produce. However, by first running a low-cost pay-per-click campaign, clients can test the efficacy of different messages and choose the one that is the most effective, realising significant savings and minimising the risk of improper messaging.
Insights on Promotional Offers
In some cases, clients approach us wanting to run the same promotions in multiple regions. But promotions don’t work uniformly – what might work well in one region or country might not work at all elsewhere. For example, a travel client’s “weekend special” or “early bird offer” may work extremely well for a hotel in LA but not for a similar hotel in Boston. By running promotions concurrently on the Web, marketers can gauge the likely success of each promotion and amend their marketing plans accordingly. Such data can also be shared with the marketing team to inform annual planning.
With the introduction of Google Sitelinks, advertisers can include up to four additional links to content on their sites beyond the main page. For example, a telecommunications company can use its first link to feature a “brand message”, its second link to promote “mobile broadband service”, its third link to promote “IDD calls”, and fourth link to promote a “data plan”. Yahoo also offers “brand search”, where in addition to the title and description, three additional links can be added as well as one video or one image. With these new formats, we can determine what message or product users are most receptive to and use these findings to enhance a client’s website and marketing plan.
Understanding User Behaviors to Allocate Budgets
Search integrates all media. Many users access search engines to look for more information or research a product or service. This is especially apparent before holiday seasons. As Christmas is approaching, we have found that in the past year, depending on the product or industry, users begin looking into Christmas gifts one to two months ahead of Christmas Day. This also correlates with offline promotions that marketers typically run.
We also generally see spikes in search volume during massive offline promotions. Hence, it is crucial that marketers synchronise online and offline promotions. For instance, in the travel sector we found users researching travel packages at least two months prior to Christmas.
Thus, marketers in the travel industry should begin running pay-per-click campaigns at least two months prior to the holiday seasons. After all, pay-per-click is a performance-based pay structure, so marketers don’t need to pay anything if no one clicks on their ad.
So next time you run a search campaign, make sure proper tracking is in place. Take things a step further by reviewing analytics data. You will likely be surprised by what you find.