Posted December 20, 2007 2:18 pm by with 1 comment

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Is there such thing as a pure search engine marketing agency anymore? Increasingly, search marketers are following the engines’ lead by planning banners, rich media, video, gadget and widget ads, blog and RSS ads, behavioral targeting, and sometimes even traditional media buys such as radio, print, and television. What expertise do search marketers bring to the table when expanding their offerings? Are there pitfalls of stretching themselves too thin? How can the various channels be measured together?

Moderator: Maura Lewis, Director, Measurement Planning & Analytics, Grey San Francisco

  • Kelly Graziadei, Sr. Agency Development Director, Yahoo
  • Dave Honig, VP of Media Services, Didit
  • Mike Jarvinen, Director, Search Marketing, The Search Agency

Increasingly search is expanding into other channels. Search overlaps more and more things.

Maura Lewis
Integration. For many of the marketers here today and many agencies, we find ourselves in almost an intractable situation. We seem to have at least some level of integration on the strategic level. People are beginning to understand that search is a great medium that can provide us with unique information. The knowledge that you gain from search can serve to drive some of the other channels—wording, the message to the audience, etc.

Still on tactical level, it’s almost impossible to integrate search and display and emerging media and offline media, whatever that may be.

I think that we’re still getting there, but we’ll still always face this challenge. Hopefully this panel will shed some light on how we as an industry can come together better to grow the pie in a holistic way, and how we can work toward that on a day-to-day level.

David Honig
What I’m seeing: I’m a media guy for the past 10 years—DoubleClick, Conducive Ad marketplace, Didit. Didit was previously purely search; clients wanted to integrate media campaigns. We saw the silos begin to break down about two years ago.

What I’ve been seeing. Last 6 months—to clients: you need to do other things to grow your company outside of search. You can’t be so one-dimensional. The fact of the matter is that Google is investing a lot of money in platforms outside of search. Because they see that there’s not so much growth outside of the queries. Google sees that image ads manufacture queries.

8 months ago we really started to push media buying with my team. One of the things we’re doing effectively is buying specific content: looking for what the advertisers are looking at. You have to bite the bullet and take a risk. We’re seeing an ROI, but not nearly as much as search. The click rates are abysmal on the search side.

But we’ve started tracking the users with cookies. With some of our campaigns, we’ve seen up to 70 (30?) % lift while running media campaigns; up to 24 hour latency pd.

We have to really find these users outside of search and drive them back. We’ve been tracking feverishly when our advertisers have bought MSN or Yahoo front page—seeing extreme growth of queries when that happens. We look at the competitive landscape and we track very carefully to be prepared.

Looking at DNA of the users. So many different algorithms for behavior—we just don’t understand behavior. The one thing I see for value for search marketers—observe platform data within their network and see that they’re doing and understand what they’re doing online. Look at their DNA, subset DNA and comp. DNA of people not going to our clients’ sites.

Retargeting has always been successful—50% of our clients are retargeting. WEelook at 8-10 segments of our clients’ sites and using exchanges to buy media. Clients were initially against not knowing what sites they’d be targeted to.

Advertisers know the importance of following their users. We’ve been seeing a lot of adaption within the retargeting.

Segmentation, retargeting.

Kelly Graziadei
Part of what I see driving the importance of search—consumer behavior. People used to engage with a brand by worshipping TV. Today people are still engaging with brands, but we’re in a multichannel (at a time) consumption world. We need to embrace that and not jump around, but not focus on just one medium.

With that, it becomes our responsibility to understand that. As search practitioners we can lead the way to communicating that. We can help drive the conversations understanding that interplay with search and other media on and offline.

Magazine ads—47%; articles—44%; TV ads 43%; newspaper ads 42%—motivated to conduct a search after seeing that (BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Survey)

We need to think about this as we plan—break down silos. We need to understand what else is going on on our media campaigns.

Yahoo—close the loop study to quantify impact of search and display. In 5 verticals, saw lifts on search and display

lift in share of pages view 68%
lift in share of time spent 66%
lift in offline sale 89%
life in online sales 249%

Retail space—offline revenue lift vs. control group
90% life in search & display. (43 + 15 isn’t 90) $511M
15% display only. Delta $157M
43% search only delta $108M
Reach of display + relevance(?) of search = power

As search practitioners, I think we also need to look at the value of a searcher as the target audience, and what happens as they engage with the site. We’ve really begun to understand that they’re not only looking to be influenced, but they’re more likely to influence others. We need to enable that activity, give them a platform—post online reviews, join a group, post comments—social media. The whole consumer experience is incredibly powerful.

One example: Hellman’s (and bring out the best!)
Hellman’s wanted to change the dialogue around “real food” and elevate their own brand perception. Put CTA on jar lids, TV spots, print ads: go to Yahoo! And search for REAL FOOD.

Searches on [Real Food] inc. 8223% vs. 6 months before campaign. Had a unique branded experience with Hellman’s Real Food logo (also, a yahoo shortcut).
Also saw Hellman’s searches increase ~50%. Think about other terms when doing that type of campaign.

Also created some unique content—Dave Lieberman of Food Network traveled the country filming Real Food Spots

Social Media: Y! Social Media tools—904 people joined group in the first month.

Users could submit their own Real Food stories online.

Mike Jarvinen
Are we getting pushed into display as an SEM? Yes by our clients—because we have a performance basis for it.

What are our goals when we present display:
Increase the nonbrand (unknown brands) content side where we can get more interaction where people are going in their daily lives in the Internet to drive them back through queries.
Own brand space

What could happen with display? What if we could just do something small? Such as moving just 4% of cost in a nonbrand contextual buy; couple pctg pts in brand content (just rebalancing the search budget). This decreases the CPA, increase conversions—20-25% increase in conversions; 16 to 20% decrease in CPA.

Understanding of the search engines on brand side. Understanding momentum and quality score. In the content network, it takes longer for us to gain momentum. On the performance side there are some of those same challenges. We’re doing full time ad testing, and they want to see that in display. But there’s a lot of other challenges in display—takes longer to work up creative, etc.

Change from brand creative to performance creative.

Display creative metrics—3 month campaign
2006: CTR 0.37%, Conversion rate 0.12%, CPA $77.40
2007: CTR 0.23%, Conversion rate 0.90%, CPA $36.10—prequalified clicks.

Strategic focuses for TSA in 2008:
Further content campaign optimization
gadget/widget ads
feed-based ad opps
Aggressively grow display: more clients, more distribution, more best practices.

LPs: get the person what they want ASAP so they can interact with it, get what they want.
Yahoo SmartAds or the next product.

For Dave & Kelly—one of the things we’ve come across: clients being hesitant to allocate pure display dollars because they say our company is purely an SEM.
Kelly: I don’t see a macro trend; it’s hit-or-miss. We do see those pureplay SEMS broadening their skill set and offerings. The challenges seem to be around creative development. But I think that SEMs are very well positioned for a performance-based world. Where you’ll need to make your clients feel more comfortable is around that creative development: outsourcing?
Dave: Last year, I would have said as a whole, yes. This past year, we’ve started to see a lot more allocated to display for us without affecting clients’ search budgets. If everybody just really can see the value to media, and driving to the search and the value of search queries increasing, it’s just natural. One-dimensional SEM companies won’t be around in a couple years. All of us follow the lead of Yahoo and Microsoft of offering these image ads. We’re hiring really good people to compliment our search teams in creative.
Followup from Maura: do you think that there will be a mass consolidation or do you think that there will be a coexistence of traditional SEM agencies who have morphed into something new? Or will they start blending together without differentiation?
Dave: You have to understand your core competency. But we understand that they’re asking for more. We might contract out, but we’re going to specialize in what our clients feel is important. We’re never gonna forget that our core competency is search.
Kelly: I think we’ve already seen some consolidation. Now we’re trying to find our way to find the best model—specialist SEM arm, further integration for better planning, individuals devoted to planning. From a nuance perspective, you do still need a specialty.

Last night we were talking about how display can lift search performance. Kelly, have you provided some case studies on this before?
Kelly: Yes. And we’ve looked at it on the macro level. I’m hoping what we can drive is that as an industry we can have and need to have a better measurement model.
Mike: It’s a challenge, measuring interaction between different media. But we’re trying to measure and adjust to measure lift. The more we can measure that as an industry, the more value we can show we provide in the long term.

A lot of discussion on how to get everything together, sharing budgets. We get a lot of “We don’t want to do our search with a big agency because it’s expensive.” What we’ve found is that because we have all these other groups consolidated, we can bring the data together and model it and package up for the client to show them. Sometimes Yahoo and Google don’t get conversion data—hard to close that loop. How does someone from Yahoo work on capturing conversion data and look at other media?
Kelly: Partnerships with agencies and clients to get comfortable in sharing conversion data for modeling and data insight.

  • Shane Vaughan here, I was previously the WW PPC Manager for HP.

    Interestingly, I’m actually with a media buying/planning software company now. We build software that helps address many of the issues you call out in this article including: media fragmentation, finding the right audience and managing cross-medium campaigns. We’re seeing the exact same things, clients want (and need) to expand beyond pure DR activities to grow their business.

    Check us out: