A Sideways Look At Search
Many advertisers aren’t using search engine marketing effectively, focusing on the wrong keywords and getting overly distracted by click-through rates.
That’s the opinion of Fionn Hyndman, CEO of search marketing specialist DGM. “A lot of agencies are just concentrating on numbers and keywords, and end up losing money for many of their customers,” he says. “Often the consumers that come through on keywords aren’t the ones you want.”
A generic and much sought-after term such as ‘credit card’ is expensive but consumers who use it to search are unlikely to be at an advanced stage of the buying process, or know what they really want. A search term like ‘credit card with reward program’ however may get fewer conversions for advertisers, but consumers that do convert will be of higher value, Hyndman explains.
DGM, a wholly owned subsidiary of online marketing firm Deal Group Media, recently announced a tie-up with Omnicom Media Group to form OMG Search, a search spender focused on Asian markets.
Advertisers in Asia are set ramp up their search spend, particularly as economic woes prompt marketers to look at cost-effective ways to acquire and retain customers. The discipline should also benefit from a trickle-down effect, as increased investment in digital marketing from multinationals feeds through to local offices.
“Often it comes from a global edict from above, where someone like Procter & Gamble will say that 10% of their global marketing budget must be online – that brings on local players to compete with multinationals,” Hyndman adds. “That tipping point gets shorter and shorter each time, because of the groundswell behind it.”
A growth in search advertising will in turn drive the use of search by Asian consumers. “It’s like the chicken and the egg,” Hyndman says. “A lot of consumers won’t do search because the advertisers aren’t there.”
Without a visual element, search is currently the net essence of direct marketing, points out Andrew Tu, regional digital director for OMD International, though the channel can also contribute to brand awareness. “It’s purely text, purely headline, and you only have 150 characters to do it in,” Tu says. “On the other hand, you’ll find research that there is also brand uplift in terms of awareness, not just search and direct response.”