Search University 2013 - Semetis Presentation: Should I stop advertising on SEA when ranking high on SEO?


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If I have a top SEO position I would get the visit for free but if I show also an ad, people may rather finish clicking on the ad. Then, at the end, I would pay for the same visit?!
In order to better understand the role of search in the buying process, we will demonstrate "how to measure the way SEO and SEA are working (against) together". We will draw some conclusions on their roles in the buying process and invite the audience to take the same approach to understand how SEO and SEA play for themselves.

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  • Whoam I? eBusiness consultant.SEA = Google, Bing, Yahoo, … but focused on AdWords as itis more dominant and relevant in BEDouble focus: SEA , and Brand only SEA
  • SEOis freecannibalizationVisitorswillfindmy site without SEARessource intensiveGoogle = Navigation tool
  • Shortenquote
  • 1 - New Trademark limitations in Google AdWords are nowlimitedonly to whatappears in your ad text.In terms of keyword buying, everythingis up for grabs !Starting April 23, Google will allow trademarks as keywords in AdWords campaigns worldwide2 - Even if competitors are not directlybuyingyour brand, theyjustmightstillappear, thanks to the broad match type (some brands use generic keywords)3 – You do not alwaysrank in 1st position, and UniversalSearchismakingit more complexthanever
  • From a business perspective, buyingyourown brand has a lowopportunitycost.SEM platforms are smart enough to recognisethatyou are a brand owner.If qualitative website, no reasonthatyouwon’trank high for cheap.
  • 1 - A New AdWordscampaigncanbeaffected by the performance of othercampaigns in otheraccounts.Use brand campaigns to boostyouraccountquality.2 – The onlinecustomers are likefish in an ocean. One fishing pole may not beenough.MCF funnel.Brand and generic SEA relationship, not only brand and SEO.3 – Google Study March 2012
  • Similar test as eBay
  • All Seasonality Variations Excluded on basis ofPreviouspeformanceLast Year
  • Google nous punit pour ce genre de testCouple of weeks to regzain
  • Sales = Orders
  • Veryharmful impact on accountSeveralmonthsrecoveryCompetitors have seenit and positionnedthemselves
  • 3 - SEO can be very dynamic, and smaller brands may find that the top positions are hard to reach.8 - SEO is not free – SEO specialists, IT, web designers, servers, copywriters, …In most cases, advantages of Brand buyingoutweights the inconvenients
  • There willalwaysbe a certain amount of cannibalization, but ourexperience shows thatitiscovered by the incrementalamount of new visitors.Also, itiscovered by the lowercost of buyingyour brand.
  • Search University 2013 - Semetis Presentation: Should I stop advertising on SEA when ranking high on SEO?

    1. 1. Search UniversityJulien CorneteBusiness Consultant @ Semetis31 May 2013Hotel Crowne Plaza – Brussels
    2. 2. Arguments in favor SEA + SEOArguments against brand buyingOur testing @ SemetisObservations and suggestionsAgendaPremise
    3. 3. « I already rank high in SEO, which is free. Why should Ipay for SEA ?»« SEA will cannibalize my organic traffic »« Visitors looking for my brand are already informedand will find their way to my site without SEA »« Keyword buying (brand & generic) requires moreressources than it is worth »Premise
    4. 4. Arguments against brandbuying: the eBay casePostulateTestFindings
    5. 5. eBay’s postulateConsumers who query such a narrowterm intend to go to that firm’s websiteand are seeking the easiest route there.Paid search links simply interceptconsumers at the last point in theirnavigational process.“„eBay’s premise about “Brand” Keyword advertisingQuote from : Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment (with Tom Blakeand Chris Nosko) February 2013
    6. 6. TestTest in the USA ControlMarch 2012+ Test in EuropeBrandqueriesonhold
    7. 7. FindingsResultsSEO immediately made up for lost SEA traffic & sales
    8. 8. Arguments in favor of SEA + SEOImproved Marketing VisibilityImproved ControlDefensive MarketingLow CostSystemic Effect
    9. 9. Improved Marketing Visibility• Above Organic Results• Yellow background• Ad extentions (Location, Sitelinks, Social, …)
    10. 10. Improved Control• 100% control over USP’s, Geolocalisation, Language, LP• Manually push products/service (Ad text & Sitelinks)• Dynamic bidding
    11. 11. Defensive MarketingBroad match type
    12. 12. Low CostNo need to break the bankHigh CTRHigh QSLow CPCLow CPAHigh ROIBRAND =
    13. 13. Systemic EffectNew AdWords campaignquality historyTraffic acquisition channelsdiversityGoogle: SEA traffic isincremental**From: Impact Of Ranking Of Organic Search Results On The Incrementality Of SearchAds (David X. Chan, Deepak Kumar, Sheng Ma, Jim Koehler) March 2012
    14. 14. Our testing @ SemetisTheoryCase 1 – RetailCase 2 – e-Commerce
    15. 15. • Semetis Experience– SEA Brand strategy = Traffic +10%– SEA Brand strategy = Conversions +20%– Interactions between SEA Brand & Generic campaigns• Marketing, Control & Cost– SEA = Additional Marketing (extentions, Google local,…)– Control of costs & USP– Low cost• Defensive Marketing & systemic effect– Competitor buying/appearing on my Brand– Positive effect on accountWhy should I buy my own Brand?Theory
    16. 16. 1. Brand CampaignsGlobal loss in Search (Natural & Paid) traffic and conversions. TheOrganic does not recover all SEA branded visits and conversions!2. Generic CampaignsPartial recovery of the traffic loss from the Brand Off but not enoughto compensate it. Search (Natural & Paid) traffic and conversions werestill lower than the weeks before.Campaign KPI Search Brand-On Brand-Off Off vs. OnBRANDVisitsSEO 60,000 100,000-15%SEA 58,000 0LeadsSEO 2,100 3,500-20%SEA 2,300 0OrdersSEO 560 900-30%SEA 720 0All Seasonality Variations ExcludedCase 1 – Retail
    17. 17. Historical Data: interrupting a Branded SEA campaign impacts theperformances beyond the date range => Negative CPC impactHigher CPC afterBrand-off testCase 1 – RetailVisitsCPC
    18. 18. Conclusions• Loss of opportunities through the Brand Off test– 18.000 visits– 900 leads– 380 orders• Brand has a limited monthly budget (high QS & low CPC)• Branded historical data’s are partly lost  need to rebuild it!Advice• Buy Brand and use it as a Marketing Tool– Sitelinks / USP / Leverage offline / Strategy for stores/ Defensive / …• Avoid pausing Campaign  Loss of historical data’sCase 1 – Retail
    19. 19. Campagne KPI SearchBrand-OnTotal Brand-Off Total Off vs. OnBRANDVisits (K)SEO 132301199199 -34%SEA 169 -Revenue (k€)SEO 4991,138805805 -29%SEA 639 -SalesSEO 6,12013,95010,27010,270 -26%SEA 7,830 -Generic/OtherVisits (K)SEO 6114279161 +13%SEA 81 82Revenue (k€)SEO 32633161 -3%SEA 31 30SalesSEO 364742366762 +3%SEA 378 396All Seasonality Variations ExcludedGeneric increases – but not enough to compensate brand loss !Case 2 – e-Commerce
    20. 20. Conclusions• Loss of opportunities through the Brand Off test– 83.000 visits– 335.000 €– 3.660 sales• Brand has a limited monthly budget (high QS & low CPC)• Branded historical data’s are partly lost  need to rebuild it!All Account DataCase 2 – e-Commerce
    21. 21. Observations and SuggestionsRecapObservations and Suggestions
    22. 22. RecapArguments against brand buying:Cannibalization, SEO is free, brand = navigational tool.Arguments in favor of SEA + SEO:Marketing visibility, control, defensive marketing, low costfor brand, systemic effect.Case 1 – Retail & Case 2 – eCommerceSlight cannibalization, but SEA has an incremental effect. Overal loss of performance & growth SEA generic not enough to compensate SEA brand
    23. 23. Be careful with testingAppearing in the top position does not guarantee a clickRanking in top organic positions is not a guarantee either.eBay has almost become a generic term. Is your brand as strong?SEA can be a smart agressive strategy for a new site launchSearch Funnel: SEA ≠ SEOSearch Funnel: Generic ≠ BrandSEO is not freeObservations and Suggestions
    24. 24. Thank YouImages from