As the end of the year approaches and a new one is about to start, it is the perfect time to package all of the year’s search insights to maximize performance in the year to come. The goal for the New Year is an Always on Search approach!
We all know how effective and efficient search marketing is, so why is it that some Advertisers are limiting and/or not always running paid search ads?
Due to the state of the economy this year, many Advertisers experienced budget cuts throughout the year. This creates an opportunity to show the impact budget changes have (gains and losses) and arm Advertisers with information to build a case for more stable search budgets and ideally an Always on Search approach.
How do we do this? It’s all about the numbers, measuring the results and changes in the key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as what happens when they are not running search ads. This is what search is all about.
YTD performance and when possible YOY comparisons are always a good way to start:
- Impression and click volume shows how search helps build awareness and consideration by targeting consumers actively seeking for their products and services
- Cost (CPA), ROI (ROAS) and site engagement (time on site, page views, etc.) metrics show how search drives qualified and efficient traffic to the site
- CTR, CPC, Conversion % improvements are the icing on the cake to showcase the effective campaign management throughout the year(s)
Even though paid search is a very effective and efficient medium, we often found ourselves trying to explain why Advertisers should run search ads, especially when they are already ranking organically. Gaining control of your message, paid + organic traffic synergies/lifts and holding more real estate on the search engine results page have been some of our supporting strategies. The Google “Search Ads Pause Studies” can now help truly answer the question, do organic results increase and make up for the loss in traffic when paid search ads are paused?
The study results show clicks on paid ads are incremental and do not cannibalize organic traffic.
- If paid search ads are paused on average 89% of paid clicks are lost and not recovered by organic
- When spend increased, the paid search clicks gained are truly incremental and thus were not cannibalized via organic traffic
The full study results can be found here.
Competitors have been another important reason to show why Advertisers need to run paid search ads. Consumers are looking for their products and services; if their search ad is not there the click might go to a competitor or affiliate/agent. We can provide a competitor snapshot by using tools such as ComScore and AdGooroo. Lost share of voice (SOV) is the best way to quantify it. Another idea to explore is to quantify what others could be gaining.
When Advertisers go dark, competitors
- Pay less for their existing traffic and gain more traffic at the same cost*
If the Advertisers have affiliates or fee based resellers/agents (e.g. Online Travel Agents such as Expedia for Travel Advertisers), the Advertiser could end up
- Paying more for orders they could be getting directly from their own search ads
- Spending part of their advertising budget savings on affiliates/agent fees as their orders can spike when there isn’t a search ad to drive traffic to their advertiser site**
In summary, why do you want to have an Always on Search Approach in 2012?
Search is the most effective and efficient medium to:
- Keep your brand top of mind in front of the right audience
- Drive qualified traffic to your site, resulting in better site engagement and actions (orders)
- Stay competitive and maintain a strong share of voice
*The Advertiser Goes Dark table is just a mockup example. Competitive tools and engine benchmarks can help you quantify this for your business case
**For the affiliate fees analysis, look into the affiliate/agents order volume and cost changes when the Advertiser search ads are paused