In the history of advertising, no ad vehicle has come so far, as search engine marketing. To those of us who have been practicing SEM for years, it’s amazing just how fast this space moves. Everyday there are new challenges, increasing competition and new technological advances that dazzle the mind.
So in this day and age, what does a caveman have to do with search?
As the popularity of Internet advertising grows, it is important to understand what drives consumer search behavior. For example, let’s imagine you have a new product that no one has ever heard of or even fathomed, but this product will change the world! Search alone will not sell your product. Quite possibly, you may not even receive a single impression. How< could this happen? Isn’t search the most profitable form of advertising?
The answer is simple: if no one knows it exists, then they cannot possibly search for it, at least not by name. This is why offline advertising is more important today than ever before to effectively reach consumers. Offline advertising, whether branding or direct response oriented, is having a huge impact on search marketing.
For example, in July, there was an estimated:
* 1,575 searches on the phrase ‘So easy a caveman can do it’
* 1,684 searches on ‘Whats in your wallet’
* 1,845 searches on the phrase ‘Can you hear me now’
Why would anyone type a long phrase like this into Google? Because it is catchy, it is what they remembered from offline advertising and they turned to the Internet to respond to or learn more about something featured a television, print or radio ad.
Do you think anyone typed those phrases into Google before those TV
research confirms this. This clearly demonstrates how search is affected by other media, specifically and most prominently, TV.
As more advertisers are becoming SEM savvy, they are finding that it is critical to integrate their online and offline efforts and pay serious attention to what their competitors are doing in search. Since Google allows any advertiser to bid on any term, it is possible for all car insurance companies to bid on the phrase ‘so easy a caveman can do it,’ all wireless phone companies to bid on ‘can you hear me now’ and all credit card companies to bid on ‘whats in your wallet.’ This creates yet another level of complexity in search, one that must be taken into account when you plan your own search strategy.
Success in search is becoming more about strategy and marketing communications and less about technology.
When planning your pay-per-click campaign, you need to consider the companies bidding on the same keywords as you, both competitors and non-competitors
What types of companies are these? What is their marketing communication? Who might be bidding on your brand name? What is the keyword cost relative to keyword position?
During the past several years, as more and more well-funded companies have entered the search arena, the need for a well-planned strategic approach has taken center stage. You need to carefully consider all of the variables listed above, as they all have a major impact on how successful you will be in your PPC campaign.
Thousands of companies are already bidding on their competitors’ brand names, and recent court rulings have upheld the right to do just that. Bottom line: put on your strategic marketing hat to integrate offline marketing and search marketing and don’t be afraid to think outside the proverbial box.
Janel Landis is director of search at SendTec, a St. Petersburg, FL-based
search engine marketing services provider.