Lee Odden

Creative Search Engine Marketing

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Moderated by Chris Sherman of Search Engine Watch, this session covered alternative ways to use and measure search engine marketing.

There are many ways to track the effectiveness of your search marketing campaigns. The downside is that you can become “a slave to the numbers”. This panel serves to expand your horizons on using search marketing and measuring effectiveness.

Anne Frisbe – Senior Director, Strategic Alliances Yahoo

Many companies are asking: What can search do for me? One of the primary characteristics of search marketing is that if offers an engaged audience. Through search, consumers pull themselves to you.

Search puts consumers in control – Citing Forrester Consumer Technographics study.

Consumers were asked:
How have you found web sites in the past month? Search #1, Links #2, Email #3

A DoubleClick study reported that company web sites rank substantially higher than TV or print at influencing purchasing decisions. This is a key finding since search is the primary way consumers find web sites

Search can extend passive media buys into active online engagement. Offline media can drive online activity.

Yahoo examples:

Pontiac Solstice
The TV show, The Apprentice included a call to action at the end of the show: “Go to Yahoo and type in ‘apprentice car’ for more information on the car in the show”.
Pontiac engaged in paid search to ensure their visibility for all relevant show and car related terms. People actually did this and there was a dramatic spike in queries for that term driving brand awareness. Result: Pontiac sold 5000 cars before it was actually launched.

Kellogg‚Äôs sponsored the American Idol Tour targeting teens to buy advance tickets. Search was used to advertise on terms related to American Idol which drove significant activity to the Kellogg’s site for taking American Idol ticket orders.

GM & Nissan
Used search to drive brand attributes and brand association. GM & Nissan advertised on terms related to “car safety” to associate those concepts with the GM and Nissan brands.

Paid search was used to attract traffic to Wal-Mart’s side of a lawsuit issue to influence buzz on the issue.

Cadillac advertised its Super Bowl commercial on paid search to extend awareness. Traffic increased 171 percent compared to 94 percent from the previous year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

Next up was James Colborn – Search Marketing Strategist, Inceptor

What opportunities does search have beyond counting clicks?

Brand building
Does search engine marketing actually contribute to the building of a brand? Search is a pull method, not commonly associated with creating brand awareness.

Top positions in search lift brand awareness by 27% – IAB/Nielson Net Ratings.
Brand awareness was the #1 objective for marketers in 2005 as reported in a recent SEMPO study.

Create awareness for an unknown brand.

1. Research audience – represented by the keywords they use as well as forecast click costs.
2. Write appropriate creative emphasizing messaging and focus on call to action
3. Allocate budget and set expectation. Brand building with search is not inexpensive. Define measurable goals
4. Implement aggressive bidding strategies for top placements and syndication.
5. Test and control with ongoing performance monitoring and improvements

Colborn then presented a case study where an awareness building strategy was implemented for the first 3 months and then moved towards a ROI and branding mix. High cost of generic keywords at the start built awareness and then moved to a mix of more specific keywords as the brand gained more visibility.

PPC & Current Affairs
Using current events terms, gained double digit increases in traffic.

Leading News Agency. Inceptor Worked with news editors to find news “before it happened” and placed corresponding PPC ads.

With an investment early on in high volume phrases, you can see the benefit as brand visibility increases. Keep in mind that search is still a pull medium, but it can be effective as an augmentation to building brand.

Next up was Stephen Anderson of RockCoast Media whose presentation focused on the work his company has done with political campaigns and advocacy groups.

Example: Used paid search to respond to natural rankings in the John Kerry presidential campaign.

Take advantage of when interest increases on relevant topics to increase search advertising on those core terms. Make sure to understand different target audiences and tailor search campaigns accordingly. Use appropriate creative and landing pages.

Other metrics other than measuring brand awareness included: clicks by category/keyword, time on site, navigation paths and press exposure.

Buying keywords was noticed by the press which gained coverage for their client.

John Bolton’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador
Focused on variety of related phrases, used geo targeting, strong creative

This was an interesting example of using paid search to attract the attention of media, which resulted in press coverage, effectively using paid search as a public relations tool.

Last up, Cam Balzer, Director Search Strategy, Performics (part of DoubleClick)

What role does search play in the purchase funnel? Provided answers in relation to how Performics addresses those needs for their clients, who normally use direct response.

Buying Funnel:

First hear
Further Learn
Purchase Decision

DoubleClick runs a survey online on touch points that influence buyers’ purchase decisions. Findings presented by Balzer:

– Search is a key influencer of purchase

– Electronics – Store #1, Search #2

– Largest source of traffic to manufacturer sites was search

– Can search drive engagement with a brand? Search drives as much or more brand awareness as websites, TV, PR, print ads, etc

– Electronics – Search was the first place consumers discovered a new brand. Travel category repeated similar numbers.

– Search plays a role in all stages of the funnel.


Build awareness in search for a mass-retailer

Started by testing search as a way to drive awareness in conjunction with an offline promotion.

Positioned client in top paid placements for high volume phrases

Results were increased visibility and gained share from competitors. Increased brand affinity between high volume, general keywords with client’s brand 61% according to Yahoo Buzz. Also led to increased searches on brand and drove direct and offline sales.

Findings were that by using search aggressively, companies can create brand connections with customers while they are receptive to new products and performing research.

Tags: Search Engine Strategies, SES San Jose, search engine marketing

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.