360i, a search-focused agency, teamed up with SearchIgnite, a search management technology provider, to track the click path from initial click to conversion, spanning more than 3.9 million users, and 5.1 million clicks during the first quarter of 2006. The companies jointly published a white paper entitled "Giving Clicks Credit Where They're Due: What You Need to Know When Allocating Your Search Budget," revealing some key findings:
The "Assist" Value of Non-Branded Searches
The report examines how consumers use branded and non-branded terms when they click more than one of a marketer's paid search ads. While branded terms (such as "Joe's Electronics Store") are especially prevalent as the searcher gets closer to purchasing, non-branded, or generic, terms (such as "DVD player") are often entered earlier in the search process, shepherding the consumer into the 'realm of consideration.' As most marketers tend to only look at the last click, the earlier terms consequently don't get any "credit" for leading to the conversion that the brand term locks in. Integrating a mix of both branded and non-branded terms into a search engine marketing campaigns allows marketers to (a) expand reach and (b) extend market share beyond the consumers that already associate the brand with the product being sold.
The highest conversion rate (9.30%) came from when the user's first click and last click on a marketer's paid search ads were both brand terms. Yet, when the first click is on a non-brand term and the last click is on a brand term, the conversion rate is almost as high (8.73%). Marketers can leverage this by driving non-brand searchers to brand terms, such as by highlighting branding elements on non-brand term landing pages. Marketers who only focus on branded terms run the risk of never growing their market share beyond those who recognize their brand.
"Marketers today cannot simply give credit to the last click. Some metrics we recommend using include: unique users clicking on brand and non-brand terms, the number of ads consumers click on before converting, whether the first and last ads clicked are brand or non-brand terms, and the conversion rates. In order to fully optimize the campaign around profitability, marketers need to review findings at the keyword level and adjust spending accordingly," advises Dave Williams, Chief Strategist at 360i.
The Purchasing Path
The more times a consumer clicks on a marketer's ad, the more likely that consumer is to convert. When marketers run paid search campaigns, 25% of conversions from the campaign occur from consumers who click more than one of the marketer's ads. Purchasers click an average of 15% more of the marketer's ads than consumers who don't complete a transaction. In fact, consumers who click a marketer's ads ten times are three times as likely to convert as consumers who click an ad only once. This further shows how purchasers are more deeply involved in the process.
Conversions also rise as consumers enter more unique keywords. Consumers entering multiple unique keywords accounted for 8.39% of the sample studied, but they accounted for 19.2% of transactions, supporting the 'long tail' concept - the highly targeted queries that individually have a low volume of searches.
"Bid on the entire breadth and range of keywords related to your brand and products. Reach and frequency are important determinates of consumer's buying decisions, not unlike traditional offline media," recommends Roger Barnette, President of SearchIgnite, who provides robust search management software for the country's largest advertising agencies to manage and optimize campaigns across millions of keywords in aggregate.
The report includes a six-step action plan for marketers. For a free copy of the report, visit http://360i.com/brandwhitepaper/register-to-download.php
Using Search Informed Marketing(sm), 360i delivers customers online, leveraging insights on how users search online to produce comprehensive integrated digital marketing campaigns spanning both Search Engine Marketing and Search Informed Media(SM). Understanding and analyzing search behavior provides the insights to engage and attract 360i's clients' target audience, and then create and implement the most effective campaigns across paid search and natural search optimization. 360i also gleans insights from consumer search behavior to deliver Search Informed Media(SM) solutions, including display media and emerging media such as mobile search and RSS. 360i maintains a select group of premier clients such as Office Depot, Food Network and H&R Block, employing the most progressive and robust technology to manage, optimize and track campaigns across a broad spectrum of online media to ensure return on media investment. For more information, please visit www.360i.com.
SearchIgnite is a leading search bid management and portfolio optimization technology that uses complex algorithms to help marketers and advertising agencies achieve their ROI metrics across all the major engines. With comprehensive proprietary campaign measurement and optimization tools, SearchIgnite delivers a single dashboard to manage multiple simultaneous campaigns in real time. Clients include advertising agencies, online marketing firms and sophisticated marketers. For more information on SearchIgnite, please visit www.searchignite.com.
Innovation Interactive is the parent company of both 360i and SearchIgnite.