Marketers' Guide on Search Engine Marketing


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Marketers' Guide on Search Engine Marketing

  1. 1. MARKETERS’ GUIDE ON SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING 2009 By Rocky Fu Note: this guide covers only pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENT Introduction to SEM Marketing Goals, KPIs, and Targeting Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy SEM Measurement with Web Analytics SEM Budgeting & ROI Branding & Brand Keywords In-house SEM Management SEM Outsourcing Guide Benefits of Content Network 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION TO SEM MARKETING Marketers’ SEM Guide 1/8
  4. 4. SEM INTRODUCTION Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Search Engine Marketing is about keywords; it’s keyword driven marketing. Marketers can target their potential customers by targeting those relevant search terms (keywords) with relevant ads. You pay whenever your ads are 4 clicked.
  5. 5. BENEFITS OF SEM Cost effective advertising. Pay only when the ads are clicked on. Theoretically, people click on an ad only Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy when they are interested. Targeted marketing. People search for what they are interested; unlike push marketing with medias like TV, SEM is more targeted, permission based. Broad reach. With SEM, even SME can target worldwide with limited budget. 5
  6. 6. BENEFITS OF SEM Flexible budgeting. You can spend as much as millions per month or as little as a few hundreds per month; it’s Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy up to you. ROI driven marketing. With proper tracking, your SEM marketing can be measured against ROI. Timing. You can engage potential customers at precisely the right moment. 6
  7. 7. GOAL, KPI, AND TARGETING Marketers’ SEM Guide 2/8
  8. 8. COMMON GOALS OF SEM CAMPAIGN To generate online sales. If you have an e-commerce store with online transaction capabilities, you want to Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy generate sales online via SEM. Choices of KPI are: Cost Per Conversion or Cost Per Sale (CPS): SEM cost divided by number of sales Return On Advertising Spending (ROAS): a measure of the effectiveness of your SEM marketing program. ROAS is computed by dividing revenue resulting from SEM campaigns by the search engine spend. There's a handy tool at SEO Book you can use to calculate ROAS. 8
  9. 9. COMMON GOALS OF SEM CAMPAIGN To generate online leads. Drive your potential buyers to the site and get them to leave their contact. Cost Per Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Lead (CPL) is widely used KPI for B2B SEM campaigns. To drive online registrations. Registrations are essential to online community sites. You want to understand the cost per registration value and keep reducing it. 9
  10. 10. COMMON GOALS OF SEM CAMPAIGN Others. ALWAYS define a goal for your SEM campaigns; there must be more than visits you expect from online Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy users. Here's a list of more goals you can define: Leave a comment Subscribe via RSS or Email Submit contact form Download a document Click on a link or a button Visit a specific page 10
  11. 11. SEM TARGETING Keywords Targeting. SEM is keywords driven marketing, enabling you a better targeted campaign. Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Geographic targeting. Either targeting a country or several cities, you can do so with all search engines. Language. 11
  12. 12. SEM TARGETING Related Websites. For finance products, you may want to targets finance websites visitors like those on Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy,,. You can do so with: Placement targeting Contextual targeting Ad scheduling. Control the days and times your SEM campaigns target. 12
  14. 14. TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING V.S. SEM Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don't know which half. Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Luckily, what John Wanamaker said is not true in SEM marketing, which is measurable with web analytics. 14
  15. 15. WEB ANALYTICS Visitors. From your search engine reports, you can tell how many clicks are generated, which roughly equals to Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy the number of visits. Not really true! Bounced visits. Normal visitors landed on your site after clicking on your PPC listing; but he was not interested after a glimpse of your site, and he simply exit. This (bounce rate) is something you can get from most web analytics report. 15
  16. 16. WEB ANALYTICS Content. Is your site design ok? Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy If you run an online store, you want to find out on which step of the checking out process do most exits occur. Can people find what you expect them to? Which are the top visited pages? Which pages have the highest bounce rates or exit rates? 16
  17. 17. WEB ANALYTICS Traffic. Where are your visitors from? Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Search engine? Natural search traffic or paid search? Email campaign? Direct access? Referred by some other websites? Which websites referred traffic with high conversions? What search terms do people use to find your site in search engines? 17
  18. 18. WEB ANALYTICS FOR SEM Conversions. Conversion is your goal of online marketing campaigns; different business may have different goals, Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy but most goals can be tracked with web analytics. Which SEM campaign drives most conversions or sales? What are the top converting keywords? CPA value (cost per conversion or cost per acquisition). 18
  19. 19. WEB ANALYTICS FOR SEM Search queries V.S. SEM Keywords Search queries are different from PPC keywords. They are Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy the exact terms people use in search engines to search. SEM Keywords are what you use in SEM campaigns along with different matching options to target your potential customers. You need web analytics to quot;catchquot; all converting queries from SEM campaigns so that you can update your SEM with more quality keywords. In addition, the search queries are helpful to your search engine optimization. 19
  20. 20. FREE WEB ANALYTICS TOOLS Google Analytics Woopra (real time web tracking) Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Statcounter Piwik (open source web analytics) 20
  21. 21. SEM BUDGETING & ROI Marketers’ SEM Guide 4/8
  22. 22. SEM BUDGETING What’s important to include in the presentation to the management? Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Total budget Clicks / Visits Conversions (such as downloads, registrations, clicks, number of sales and etc.) Revenue generated online ROI (return on investment) 22
  23. 23. ESTIMATE SEM SPEND ON GOOGLE Generate a list of keywords with search engine 1. keywords tools like these: Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Use Google traffic estimator to estimate the cost and 2. clicks. Take seasonality and promotions into consideration to 3. adjust the estimate. 23
  24. 24. ESTIMATE SEM SPEND ON OTHER SE Referring to search engine market share in different market, relatively estimate the spend and clicks on Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy other search engines. Refer to user demographic data in each search engine as well for more accurate estimate; but this sometimes requires experience. 24
  25. 25. ESTIMATE CONVERSIONS & ROI • Equals clicks (roughly) Visits Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy • Conversions = Visits X CR • Get conversion rate (CR) estimate from history performance Conversions • Return = Total online revenue - SEM spend (possibly including agency account management fee) • No revenue directly generated online: assign a money value to each conversion Return • ROI = Return / SEM Spend ROI 25
  26. 26. BRANDING & BRAND KEYWORDS IN SEM Marketers’ SEM Guide 5/8
  27. 27. IMPACT OF BRANDING ON SEARCH AD EFFECTIVENESS Microsoft and Sony conducted a research study to evaluate the impact of branding on Sony’s search ad Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy effectiveness. The results illustrate that exposure to search ad considerably lifted purchase intent and drove likelihood of recommendation. 27
  28. 28. IMPACT OF BRANDING ON SEARCH AD EFFECTIVENESS Branded search terms proved to further enhance the value of search advertising. This study demonstrated: Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Exposure of search ad lifted purchase intent and drove likelihood of recommendation. Search ads with branded terms were more effective in driving brand lift than generic terms. Audiences exposed to Sony search ads had less positive attitudes towards competitors’ brands. 28
  29. 29. THE BRAND LIFT OF SEARCH In a whitepaper released by Enquiro showed a significant correlation between companies in the top organic (natural search) and paid search (PPC) placements and consumer Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy brand affinity, brand recall and purchase intent. A 16% point increase in brand association when brand is in top ad and top organic listings A 2.2x lift in aided brand recall when brand is in top ad and top organic listings When brand is in top ad and top organic listings, purchase consideration increases 8% points Consumers are less likely to consider purchasing a brand that doesn’t appear on the search results page Even for branded queries, presence in top ad and top organic 29 listings boosts purchase intent
  30. 30. THE BRAND LIFT OF SEARCH The eye tracking study reveals consumer insights: Brand fixations occurred in the URL and title of the listing; Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy not in the description Best practice: Place your brand in the title, URL, and as close to the start of the description as possible in your ad and organic listings Subjects with established affinity for the brand spent 25% less time on the top ad listing, jumping down to the organic listings 73% faster than the non-affinity group Best practice: Ad listings appear to have a greater opportunity to lift brand affinity among new customers; write and target them as such – especially for upper funnel queries 30
  31. 31. THE BRAND LIFT OF SEARCH Lessons: Your investment in brand advertising increases with search Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Advertise on unbranded and branded keywords Tailor your ad to prospects, those with no established 3 brand affinity 31
  32. 32. IDENTIFY THE TREND OF BRAND SEARCHES Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Find more online trend tools here: 32
  33. 33. HOW SEARCH BRANDING WORKS Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy SERPs basically include sponsored and organic listings, each of which consists of title, description, and display URL. 33
  34. 34. SHOULD YOU BID ON YOUR BRAND NAME? Your website probably comes first in natural result on brand name search; but what happens when your Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy competitors or affiliates bid on that brand name too? Without bidding on your own brand name, your natural listing could show in the 2nd or even 4th position. 34
  35. 35. SHOULD YOU BID ON YOUR BRAND NAME? At Chinese search engine Baidu, without bidding on your brand name could be a disaster as the whole listings on Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy the first page could be sponsored listing. Bidding on your brand name allows you to control the ad copy that appears in the sponsored search and control the landing page. Appearing in both the organic and sponsored search engine results can increase click-through rates significantly. 35
  36. 36. SEARCH BRANDING MEASUREMENT Search branding can be measured through engagement. The following metrics can be helpful to you to get Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy started: Average Time on Site Page Views per Visit Form submissions Downloads RSS / Email subscriptions 36
  37. 37. IN-HOUSE SEM MANAGEMENT Marketers’ SEM Guide 6/8
  38. 38. SHOULD YOU HIRE A PPC STAFF? How much have you been constantly spending on paid search campaigns every month? More importantly, how Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy much extra do you need to pay if you outsource to an agency or third party to do it? How many markets do you target? How many search engines do you use? 38
  39. 39. SEM QUALIFICATION Web Analytics. Be familiar with the basics of web analytics; not necessarily the exact web analytics Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy software your company uses. If your company uses Google Analytics , sponsor him/her to take the IQ test. Search Engines. Depending on your target markets, it's important the search marketer has got experience in top search engines of each market. However, if a person is very familiar with one search engine (especially Google), it won't be a problem to get used to the others. Language Abilities. This is a must. The person you are to hire must be capable of reading and writing in all local languages in your MAIN markets. 39
  40. 40. SEM QUALIFICATION Experience. Related industry experience Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Optimization. What have been done to optimize the campaign? Past campaign objectives and outcome. Is it just driving traffic or ROI driven campaigns? Monthly budget one has handled independently (and, you may want to ask how your candidate did budgeting). Business Acumen. SEM is not technical work; someone without business acumen can hardly work out a proper SEM strategy. 40
  41. 41. SET KPIS FOR SEM TEAM Total Conversions from PPC PPC ROAS Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy PPC Cost Per Conversions Reward the team Conversion Rate accordingly. 41
  42. 42. SEM / PPC OUTSOURCING Marketers’ SEM Guide 7/8
  43. 43. WHEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO OUTSOURCE No experience dealing with SEM Lack of capabilities in certain markets (especially Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy language abilities) 43
  44. 44. ALTERNATIVE TO SEM OUTSOURCING In-house SEM Ask for help from Search Engines Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy This might be difficult when you have to deal with multiple search engines in several markets Not all search engine account managers are concerned about your business performance from search 44
  45. 45. WHAT TO ASK FOR IN SEM REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) Company registration certificate Years of experience Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Past accounts handled Past accounts managed in the same industry and the produced results Number of staff (more importantly, for your SEM campaign) Bio and qualifications of the staff who will manage your SEM campaign; roles and responsibilities; and, how many accounts each person manages. 45
  46. 46. WHAT TO ASK FOR IN SEM REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) Who builds and maintains the keyword list (and how) What bidding system the agency uses. If they have their Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy own system, it's a good sign. But you want to know more details of the bidding system. You don't want to pay an agency tens of thousands every month who rely entirely on machine's input. How the agency handles seasonal effects and promotions How frequent a report will be submitted and the content of the report Who will analyze the campaign performance 46
  47. 47. WHAT TO ASK FOR IN SEM REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) Make sure you tie the campaign to your business goals and keep improving the ROI. Move slowly to a performance Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy based model. 47
  48. 48. IDENTIFY GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCIES Previous clients and testimonials. Ask for a list of their previous clients If the agency had clients in similar industries, you could benefit Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy from their past experience. If you know a friend or two in those listed companies, you can talk to them and about for their opinions about the company. Case studies. If the agency shows some case studies how they solved a similar problem you are facing now for other companies, they probably can help you too. Industry awards. Such as: 2006 OMMA Awards ad:tech Awards MIXX Awards 48 DMA ECHO Awards
  49. 49. IDENTIFY GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCIES Word of mouth. Do a blog search and forum search to find out what other people say about them. The buzz sometimes tells something you can’t find Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy elsewhere. Websites & Blogs. Visit their websites and read their blogs (both company one and personal ones on digital marketing), which usually tells a lot about them. Ask them. Listen to what they have to say and do a comparison; ignore the fancy words. Meet them in person. Invite the one who is going to manage your campaigns for a face-to- face meeting instead of the “director” who could be just good at 49 talking.
  50. 50. BENEFITS OF CONTENT NETWORK Marketers’ SEM Guide 8/8
  51. 51. SEARCH NETWORK V.S. CONTENT NETWORK Keyword Search Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy Contextual Driven Engine Matching Placement Search Content Network Network Own Search Search Websites Products Property Partners 51
  52. 52. BENEFITS OF CONTENT NETWORK Reach. If you want to reach broader audience, content network helps. Just Google AdWords content network reaches over 70% of unique Internet users around the Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy world. Awareness. The content network has the advantage of reaching potential customers at different points of the buying cycle. If you are to launch products of a new category, search can hardly help (unless you run off-line campaigns) without content network driving awareness. Branding. Most search networks (one exception is Baidu) only allows text ads, which makes content network more valuable for online branding campaigns. You can run text ads, image ads, and video ads on content network pages. 52
  53. 53. GOOGLE CONTENT NETWORK WHITEPAPER Ads on the Google Content Network can be an effective way to gain additional conversion beyond those you get Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy via search. When used in combination with Search, the median advertiser has a content CPA that's within approximately 2% of their Search CPA. The Content Network drives nearly 20% of total conversions for the median advertisers Conversion rates are higher for advertisers who used either of two AdWords campaign management controls: the Conversion Optimizer and site exclusion. 53
  54. 54. CONTENT NETWORK RECOMMENDATION Consider complementing your search campaigns with campaigns on the Content Network, if you haven't done Digital Consultancy Digital Consultancy so already. Use tools for content optimization such as the Conversion Optimizer, Placement Performance Reports, and the Site and Category Exclusion tool. They can help you further tailor your Content Network performance to meet your advertising goals. 54
  55. 55. THE END Marketers’ SEM Guide 2009 By Rocky Fu