Ad Agencies & Search

Mar 1, 2006 - 10:23 am 1 by

Session description:

"As search continues to get hot, are ad agencies missing out on one of the most important online advertising venues going? Some ad agencies are now acquiring SEM firms to enlarge their portfolio of services. Others continue to outsource. Some may still not tap into search at all. This session explores what agencies may need to consider as the search space grows and how to ensure they aren't falling behind."

The session is moderated by Chris Sherman, executive editor of Search Engine Watch.

First up is Rohit Bhargava from Ogilvy Public Relations.

7 rules for smart agencies: - Identify owners - then train and support them - Create your own method - Focus on client industies you know - Prove the value, sell the category - Get experienced direct mail copywriters - Find the right SEM software - Forget the low flying clients

Trends and the Future of Search Keep up to date on the industry - conferences, blogs

Key trends to track: - Role of experts are adding a filter to search - Mindset searches move beyond keywords - Search goes local, small and offline - Automation and mega advertisers - Advertising

Next up is Rob Griffin from Media Contacts.

"Keep it simple stupid" Search is complex, there are a lot of variables incluiding landing pages, keywords, copy, price, etc. AS search becomes more complex, it is important to remember that there are some basic marketing fundamentals to keep in mind. Lots of firms sell technology, but technology does not replace people skills.

Don't forget SEO, it's an important part of SEM.

Remember to start with the basics. A lot of companies find it easy to just throw money at search. Remember your goals. Don't just chase your competition.

Search marketing is a balance of art and science. Art - writing creative and compelling ad copy. If you agency has copywriters and creative people, be sure to tap into that. Science - makes it easy to create rules and it's trackable.

It's also important to have people dedicated to search. You can paralyze yourself if you don't structure the campaign correctly. Good campaign structure is logical.

Managing PPC Bid management is just one small part. Don't forget you need smart people. Tools are great, but you still need someone to drive it. Also remember that every rule has an exception. Technology can't handle that so there is always a need for people to make adjustments.

People and technology make search marketing within an agency work. Leverage technology to set rules and track results and use people to interpret results and make recommendations.

Next up is Alan Osetek from Isobar which owns Carat Fusion and iProspect.

For agencies considering adding search marketing to their mix, Alan discusses considerations for a SEM service development strategy and the factors to consider.

Look at organic, ppc and paid inclusion as separate offerings.

- First look at the current size of your agency. Based on resources you can decide whether to offer something like SEO, you might decide to outsource that component to a pure play SEO agency. - Consider your exit strategy. - Growth rate. Will search add to your growth in line with objectives? - Brand perception is important. If you clients don't see you as a search shop, it can take a while to develop that. If search is not ofen requested in RFPs you receive, then it may not make sense to take search on as an offering. - Does search fit within the culture of your organization? - Who are your client contacts? Consider how much business can you get from your current clients.

Isobar decided to have two search marketing agencies (Carat Fusion and iProspect). Why? It allows them to work with multiple clients in the same industry, spread between the two agencies. Client preferences vary. Some clients want an integrated agency, and some want a pure play expert.

Last up is David Roth from Carat Fusion.

Integrating search in the ad agency - how search fits in with agencies and how sometimes they don't.

Different approaches advertising agencies take on search marketing - some don't do it all - outsource - build into their offering

Who doesn't do search? Offline, traditional and creative agencies. Even some online agencies. (Shows image of dinosaurs).

Outsourcing SEM is pretty common since they don't specialize in search and resources are already thin.

Models: 1. Preferred vendor 2. White label

In a media buy model, the agency dictates what the SEM is to implement. In a SEM model, the agency gives the SEM agency the access to perform search.

Benefits: Short time to market and initial cost savings. COns: Budeting, integration, communication, multiple partners.

3. Integrate

To build a practice, start with one person. This is a practice in the same way as Media, Creative, Web Development and Account Services.

If you have a national practice, you need a national search marketing practice and have people in different locations like you do with media people.

Strengths of this model is a better product and integration with the overall agency. Also better support for other online and traditional media. Better communication and more accurate budgeting.

Challenges include time to implement and the initial cost.

Best practices:

- Offer paid search, organic and affiliate marketing - Status with the search engines. This is pretty much based on your ad spend. More budget, more perks. - Take advantage of training from vendors - Employ knowledge transfer within your organization - Standardization of deliverables - Decide on a preferred platform or - Competitive clients - will your SEM group offer services to your agencies competitors?

Audience: What are the clients saying about adding search? Panel: Clients are all over the board. Some want it as part of an integrated campain. Some want a specialist.

Audience: If a client wants a specialist, how do you handle integrated reporting? Panel: It's a manual process. Some agencies have developed tools for cross agency reporting, but it's an area that will see more development.

Audience: What are agencies doing with mobile search? Panel: Mobile has had the promise of being the next big thing, but it just hasn't happened in the U.s. That is not the case in Europe and Asia where mobile is hot. Some agencies have European clients spending 10-15% of their budget on mobile search.



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