Doug Platts, Head of Natural Search, Integrated Marketing Search
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Doug Platts, Head of Natural Search, Integrated Marketing Search

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  • What will I cover today? I want to discuss how the current digital landscape poses both some unique challenge and opportunities for today’s online markFollowing this I will run through some key tactics to develop your brand online by integrating Search into your digital marketing
  • iCrossing is a digital marketing agency committed to people’s desire to find and engage.Previously known as Spannerworks in the UK, our history was based in Search Engine OptimisationWe develop online campaigns, programs and experiences designed to help people find and engage with what they are looking for. Through a proven combination of talent and technology, iCrossing helps its global client base – including 40 Fortune 500 companies such as The Coca-Cola Company– find solutions for complex digital marketing challenges. Our team is delivering new techniques in search, user experience, engagement metrics and social media optimisation. We have been working with Bauer (Emap) Consumer Division since November 2007 on Natural Search Optimisation.
  • Challenge 1: SCALE, COMPLEXITY AND FLUXSo where are we now?This is the World Wide Web; our online universe. The dots in this complex looking picture represent websites, blogs, widgets, forums, portals and the size and brightness their influence. The lines show connections and flows of traffic – customer journeys through an electronic eco system, if you will.And in this environment we meet a number of challenges. Firstly the medium itself – it is huge!, it is always changing and it is very complex. The Internet is a super connected network and far from channelled.
  • The advertising laden streets of Tokyo are a great analogy for the second challenge faced by digital marketers . Digital is a world where advertising is everywhere and literally thousands of companies are competing for the limited attention of consumers. We are in a world where targeted adverts are embedded in your online email client, where text ads are next to every search performed, where banner ads are present on virtually every site visited from the FT to Facebook where advertiser can tout their wares while a consumer is listening to Spotify or playing a game on their iphone In response, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, cynical, and sophisticated. Consumer standards and expectations are higher than ever before.There is a flip side for consumers - the internet’s advertising overload affords unprecedented choice and the ability to source alternatives.Consumers are in a position of empowered decision making a recent LexisNexis study showed that over 60% of people have chosen not to buy a product or service after reading negative comments online. The internet has also torn down geographical barriers and traditional preconceptions of ‘distance’. Today’s digital marketers are as likely to face the prospect of competing not only with online vendors in Birmingham, UK, but with merchants in Birmingham, Alabama. But of course all these challenges represent a double-edged sword of opportunity...... the opportunity for brands to reach, connect and engage with greater numbers of their target consumers than ever before...the opportunity to reduce their reliance on wasteful mass media advertising...the opportunity to reach consumers in Birmingham Alabama without leaving Solihul...the opportunities to achieve growth on a scale unthinkable even 10 years ago before the advent of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The page of digital innovation and technological change is the third challenge for digital marketers. We’ve seen how search has been consolidated to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, but people’s time online is split between an ever increasing number of sites and uses: Whether it’s: Email, Clothes Shopping, Skype calls with Australia, finding new RSS feeds, blogging about SEO, Browsing social networks, Looking for a job, Researching your family tree People use the internet to fulfil a literally endless number of needs – with these needs being fuelled and satiated by an endless stream of innovation.Digital marketing is a paradigm shift from traditional marketing, characterised by:  Interrelatedness and interdependencies of different digital channels – where everything is in a connected network The tension and paradox of more data and measurability of activity than ever before this data raising as many questions and answers and creating uncertaintyTo cop with this scenario: Planning has to be become iterative, Approaches must be more flexible and adaptive And success requires reinvention, and adoption of new technologyOur challenge as a digital agency is to help you navigate this complexity and translate into meaningful action. 
  • To tackle these challenges, at iCrossing, we believe that brands should take a holistic approach when marketing to their target audience.When people are online they do not view the Internet as a series of marketing channels that they navigate through – rather it is seen as a seamless journey through a network of sites. Starting with the original desire and culminating with a response in the form of a purchase or required information.Now I understand that there is a necessity to divide different departments for certain functions.However when developing your marketing strategy, thinking in marketing silos is not the answer.When marketing channels are silo’d you can end up in a situation where the different channels are being separated in their execution and measurement.And you also have different stakeholders each with their own agendas – and agendas which may not necessarily even be aligned to the correct goals Such a scenario can create: Additional complexity for organising of campaigns Barriers to knowledge sharing Difficulties in combining multiple cultures Duplication of effortEven if we put all these aside – one still has to consider the fact that your customers do not think in nor see the web in channels and – so the unavoidable question beckons: “is this really the right way to organise your digital efforts?”
  • One of the easiest ways to cross-market to your target audience is to use the flexibility of PS to test creatives to inform NS meta descriptionsThe Meta description is the piece of creative copy that appears beneath the Natural search link of the web listing.The Benefit testing and integrating this creative is that with unified marketing messages you will see an increase clickthrough rates for both listings Here is an example of Diesel with top natural rankings and high paid listing. The Diesel meta description does not give the searcher much information of what the website is about or the fact that there is free delivery and returns – as mentioned in the paid listing. Diesel could fill out it’s meta description with more detail of what the search can expect when they visit their site and encourage a higher click-through rate.
  • Now those were some key PPC & SEO synergy tactics, but what about other ways to gain that valuable 1st page real estate within search engines?
  • With update such as Google’s Caffeine update and the integration of twitter into search engines. Brands will be able to communicate with their target audience or identify opportunities for new/better products at a much faster pace
  • - Born out of Heathrow terminal changes with the opening of Terminal 5 and customer confusion travel arrangements- Users began searching for information, to ascertain which heathrow terminal they are flying from- Google Insights spotted the breakout in traffic for the term “heathrow which terminal” which informed paid search strategy- Terms introduced into campaign with conversion focused Ad Copy to test impact on traffic and conversion- Due to success in PPC, results used to inform SEO campaign- Ad copy informs SEO Meta description, utilising the same PPC creative & title to give consistant messaging - On site optimisation revised to mirror PPC target terms and learnings to ensure same landing page ranking for relevant terms- These combined tactics have resulted in increased SEO & PPC conversion rates for these terms
  • Having an integrated view across all channels helps you identify gaps within each channel.And so by combining you different tactics you can maximise your coverage and traffic levels.Let me explain a little further:You can’t optimise for every term, but you can buy coverage.As I’m sure you’re all well aware, paid search is great at giving you reach – and more appropriately – giving it you quickly. If you’ve got the budget you can immediately rank in position 1 for any term you deem appropriate. Natural search can of course give you this reach – but it takes time. One way in which paid and natural search can work together effectively is to use paid search to give you coverage and reach on long-tail and misspell terms while your natural search strategy builds. As your natural rankings grow you can then evaluate and test whether it’s worth keeping the paid search running in conjunction with your natural search listings.
  • Having an integrated view across all channels helps you identify gaps within each channel.And so by combining you different tactics you can maximise your coverage and traffic levels.Let me explain a little further:You can’t optimise for every term, but you can buy coverage.As I’m sure you’re all well aware, paid search is great at giving you reach – and more appropriately – giving it you quickly. If you’ve got the budget you can immediately rank in position 1 for any term you deem appropriate. Natural search can of course give you this reach – but it takes time. One way in which paid and natural search can work together effectively is to use paid search to give you coverage and reach on long-tail and misspell terms while your natural search strategy builds. As your natural rankings grow you can then evaluate and test whether it’s worth keeping the paid search running in conjunction with your natural search listings.
  • As we’ve seen with some of the real-time marketing examples, changing and challenging circumstances present an opportunity for those ready to take advantage ahead of the competition. A great example of this earlier in the year was, when London was faced with the prospect of days of tube strikes, Evans Cycles capitalised on this by running a campaign to promote greener, less delay prone alternative!To compliment their offline strategy, Paid search was rolled out on terms consumers were using to find alternative transport options, and this proved a cost effective way to not only sell some bikes but get a lot of good value exposure which was later picked up on twitter.A second cheeky example of getting first mover advantage on a topical issue was when we ran Ann Summers’ paid adverts next to “Gordon Brown” during the 2009 budget and this was then picked up by the Independent
  • When we talk about attribution – we are referencing the decision making process by which an online sale is allocated to a specific channel, in the case of a sale which has had multiple touch points from various sources such as paid search, seo, display and affiliate. “Attribution” is subject which has garnered a lot of attention of late – and will undoubtedly continue to rumble on into 2010.This is a problem which has never been fully resolved in the industry, as traditionally each channel has chosen an independent ‘last click’ view of conversions. That is to say, each specialism has tended to attribute a sale based on the last click within that channel with no reference to whether another channel had been subsequently involved.Now, in it’s defence, the last click view generally works well enough – to a point. Certainly well enough to delver profitable campaigns across different channels – however for digital marketers running multiple online activities and looking to drive incremental efficiencies – it’s going to be well worth tackling this issue in 2010. The good news is that there are now, more than ever, decent enabling technologies on the market which will help provide answers in this respect. It’s also worth noting that using these new technologies will greatly assist in developing a unified dataset – one of the foundations we discussed earlier.

Doug Platts, Head of Natural Search, Integrated Marketing Search Doug Platts, Head of Natural Search, Integrated Marketing Search Presentation Transcript

  • Developing your search strategies through an integrated, holistic approach
  • PRESENTATION GOALS
    • Introduction to iCrossing
    • The challenges of the digital marketplace
    • Key tactics to integrate your digital marketing with Search
  • SCALE, FLUX AND COMPLEXITY
  • HELLO, I’M HERE!
    ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER
    CONSUMERS:
    Increasingly sophisticated
    +
    Informed decision-making
    +
    Empowered to choose
    +
  • TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE & FRAGMENTATION
    • Increasing pace of technological change
    • Everything is connected
    • Data is incomplete, change is continuous
    • Paradox of information overload creating uncertainty
  • TAKE THE HOLISTIC APPROACH
  • THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF SUCCESS
    SHARED OBJECTIVES
    UNIFIED REPORTING
  • CROSS-POLLINATE YOUR CREATIVE
  • COORDINATE LANDING PAGE DEVELOPMENT
  • BLENDED SEARCH TACTICS
  • LOCAL BRAND AWARENESS
  • Existing content
    ON SITE
    DEVELOP AN ENGAGING CONTENT STRATEGY
    Features Feed
    OFF SITE
    Editorial content
  • GENERATE LINK GROWTH
  • UNDERSTANDING SEARCH & SOCIAL
  • DEMOGRAPHICS
  • REAL TIME MARKETING
  • TREND ANALYSIS
  • COMBINE SEO AND PPC TO MAXIMISE VISIBILITY
    COMBINE TACTICS TO PLUG VISIBILITY GAPS
  • FULL SEARCH ENGINE COVERAGE
  • FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE
  • MOBILE BRAND ENGAGMENT
  • HAVE A SAFETY NET FOR THE UNEXPECTED…
  • HARNESS NEW DEVELOPMENTS
  • RE-ASSEMBLE YOUR (ATTRIBUTION) MODEL
  • YOUR NEXT MARKETING MEETING
  • THANK YOU
    Doug Platts, Head of Natural Search
    +44 (0) 1273 827 770
    doug.platts@icrossing.co.uk
    www.iCrossing.co.uk
    http://connect.icrossing.co.uk
    http://twitter.com/icrossing_uk
    Some images in this presentation were kindly supplied courtesy of Flickr and its users