Anna Crowe wrote this sponsored post for Search Engine Journal on behalf of Bing Network, and I found it to be a good summary of the current marketplace with useful suggestions.
The Effectiveness of Search
SEM is considered one of the most powerful marketing channels. But does SEM really help drive traffic to your site?
It’s a question many search marketers have heard from clients 🙋, especially since SEM is taking up a large chunk of marketing budgets.
With so much of our time being spent optimizing for user experience and so much of our work measured on conversions, SEM has become a major part of our marketing roadmap — a new way to optimize your brand without leaving your desk.
Understanding the success of your search campaigns is a must for any business looking to drive traffic to their website. To better understand the effectiveness of SEM, let’s look at the research.
In An Overcrowded Space, SEM Finds Your Niche
SEM’s effectiveness is dependent on how strategic you are in your roadmap.
When your tasks and goals are clearly defined, and you have a little wiggle room for experimentation, SEM will be a consistent lead generation for your business.
“Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.” — Marc Ostrofsky, Author of Get Rich Quick
Take a look at these case studies to investigate how SEM can be a lead generator.
Teri Merrit discusses how Marriott International used SEM and SEO to drive demand and customer engagement to book group meetings. By setting growth metrics and tracking the analytics, they exceeded their total booking revenue, received a high conversion rate of 14%, and increased online submissions by 84%.
In 2015, Seer Interactive had 76,587 incremental conversions on Bing Ads for all their clients. One of their clients generated $461,159 in revenue from just Bing Ads! I’m not surprised because Bing has seen a massive 35% click growth year over year.
No, this isn’t magic. It’s the work of a great SEM strategy. Some industry experts would argue that it isn’t SEM itself, but rather improvements from the business as a whole. As you can see from above, the proof is in the numbers.
Search Ads Drive In-Store Sales
For businesses who want to see in-store sales, search ads seem to work the best.
Consider case studies like this one from Century Novelty. Utilizing Bing Shopping Campaigns Century, Novelty saw an increase in revenue by 1237% and return on investment grew by 20%. This isn’t shocking, as 25% of clicks on Bing Network are queried only through Bing.
Or, look at this study from Pinterest and Oracle Data Cloud. Together, they measured in-store sales of 26 different Promoted Pin categories. The results? Promoted Pins drove five times more incremental in-store sales per impression.
And, of course, Facebook recently launched several new local advertising options. French retailer E.Leclerc tested a Local Awareness campaign, and they saw 12% of clicks on their Facebook ads were then followed by an in-store visit within a week.
Chobani even saw a 9% increase in sales by utilizing SEM and SEO on multiple search engines.
As you can see above, research has proven that a strategic approach to search ads can not only build awareness but improve your bottom line.
SEO + PPC Create SEM Harmony
It is beneficial for a business to combine the powerful forces of SEO and PPC together if you need to produce results at a faster rate.
The reason is that new SEO tactics take time; since you don’t know what to expect from your competitors or the SERPs, you are inclined to create an SEO strategy for long-term growth.
With a PPC strategy, you know what lies ahead. Growth and lead generation require less time.
The combined efforts of SEM creates benefits in other ways too; it’s best to start with an idea and experiment to see what works best in your niche.
Let’s take a look at a few case studies:
- Maryland Tub & Tile partnered with G3 Group to restructure their PPC campaigns and overhaul their SEO strategy. The combination of paid search and organic resulted in 325% increase in traffic.
- Hedges & Company saw a 30% increase in sales from organic traffic and a 68% increase in PPC traffic with an automotive client.
- Through targeting more relevant keyword terms, A/B testing, and creating content that attracts links, Digital Third Coast increased organic conversions by 49.4% and gained 851 view-through remarketing conversions for Olivet Nazarene University.
The SEM strategy you create impacts the overall goals of the business. When deciding what tactics will fill your marketing calendar, be specific; test until you discover what is most effective for your brand.
See the original SEJ article