The Evolving Search Landscape
We all know that digital marketing is fast paced, exciting and often crazy – that’s why we love it, right? Search in particular has many a marketer cursing Google for its latest algorithm update or scrambling to deploy a game-changing strategy based on new functionality or an industry trend.
2014 was an interesting year for search marketers; less so for any major upheaval and more for how marketers embraced some of 2013’s major updates – and adjusted their strategies and tactics accordingly.
Top of the list of ‘coping strategy’ inducers, was the loss of organic search query data in Google Analytics.
In 2014, marketers needed to find new ways to plan for search engine optimisation. This included paying close attention to social signals and more focus on conversion data and performance metrics.
Google rolled out numerous updates to continue its quest to eradicate spam, and those of us who love Googling ourselves were heartbroken to see our authorship bylines and photos dropped from SERPs.
On the paid side, 2014 marked the 1st year anniversary of Google Enhanced Campaigns, the biggest modification to its platform in 10 years. Digital marketers feared for the worst, but a year on, we’ve seen the change in campaign performance has actually been positive.
Product-specific advertising also gained momentum as Google Shopping campaigns became the standard, and Bing began to roll out it’s own Product Ads format.
As the customer becomes more central, sophisticated marketers are realizing that the entire customer lifecycle must be mapped. The notion that digital marketing is a singular, transactional relationship is obsolete. Today’s search marketers are poised to take on a more crosschannel outlook.
Search + Social Intersection
While most of us knew there was some intrinsic synergy between search and social, there was not much existing evidence to quantify the impact. After exploring this hypothesis in 2013, Kenshoo was commissioned by
Facebook to deliver additional proof of the added value that social ads bring to search campaigns. The results of this second study showed a 19 per cent increase in conversion volume and a 10 per cent drop in CPA when strategically pairing Facebook advertising with paid search, as opposed to running paid search alone.
Not only this, but we found that the cross-channel impact increases as the investment ratio of Facebook to paid search spending rises.
Leveraging Search Intent
Cross-channel coordination plays a larger role as we look at how to leverage search data. In an ideal world, a consumer searches, clicks an ad, visits a brand’s website, and successfully converts. In reality, the process is much more complex.
Oftentimes, consumers migrate across the web and devices, prompting various interactions before converting. Today’s technology offers the power to connect with key audiences throughout this lifecycle.
So, when the person who clicked on your search ad but didn’t take action later arrives on Facebook, he or she can be targeted with relevant messaging based on search intent.
2014 saw this innovation in the form of Kenshoo Intent-Driven Audiences (IDA). The opportunity for marketers is that, for the first time, we can harness the intent signals from search across channels into Facebook to target audiences – not just keywords – and then expand reach even further with Lookalike targeting.
Is this just cool tech? A leading global retailer saw 110 per cent uplift in ROI, 66 per cent drop in CPC and 30 per cent drop in CPA after implementing IDA as part of its cross-channel strategy.
2015 will be the year of the proactive marketer. Proactive marketing is about having the right data to make the right decisions not just now, but in the future.
To stay ahead in the evolving landscape, marketers should consider the following components:
• Audience Management – reaching your highest value customers across all channels and all devices
• Campaign Automation – streamlining functionality to simplify workflow and save time
• Universal integration – optimising your ecosystem or marketing stack
• Bid Optimisation – meeting your goals at the right price
• Data Visualisation – finding actionable insights on key business metrics
• Dynamic Attribution – understanding the entire customer journey and how each channel impacts the path to conversion
• Predictive Marketing – using accurate forecasting and scenario planning to make the best use of every penny in every budget
Innovations such as those discussed above are allowing marketers to make informed predictions about forecasting, audiences, and optimisations and take those insights and make them actionable.
Justin Thorne, marketing director EMEA, Kenshoo
Tel: 020 7079 2460