Benchmarking An SEM Campaign

Aug 20, 2007 - 6:24 pm 0 by

How can you tell if your search marketing campaign is working? This session looks at technique and ideas for establishing benchmarks in the rapidly evolving space. Sara Holoubek of Free Agent Consultant is moderating along with panelists Martin Laetsch from SEMDirector, Matt Miller from DoubleClick Performics Search and Michael Sack from Idearc Media Corp.

Matt is up first. He points out that in benchmarking a SEM campaign, clients want to know how visible they are, how effective they are in reaching searchers and how is their return on their investment. Part of benchmarking is knowing who your competitors are. As far as measuring visibility, Matt's company uses AdGooRoo to compare the visibility of their clients against the competition. Advertisers are interested to know how much market share they are capturing for specific keywords and phrases. They are also curious to know how reliant they are on paid search.

Matt showed several case studies of how they are benchmarking client campaigns but to be quite honest, I didn't get much out of "what" they are measuring and "why" at this point. Maybe it was the way the PowerPoint was laid out or the fact that he was speaking waay too fast.

Next up is Michael. He talks about the purpose of benchmarking. Three main reasons were given -

- To establish your position relative to your industry
- To rank you company among peers
- To establish a baseline set of metrics from which to measure performance

Matt talked about several types of benchmarking which included -

- External benchmarking
- Internal benchmarking
- Intramural benchmarking
- Intrasite benchmarking

External benchmarking involves looking at the competition and industry averages. Internal benchmarking looks at clicks, impressions, conversions, etc. Intramural benchmarking can take thins like an SEM campaign and measure it against other marketing initiates such as an email marketing campign. Intrasite benchmarks measure what happens after a visitor lands on the site.

Next he talks about post click retention which indicates the quality of the site content. It is also a predictor of conversions. This is a metric that can be improved over time.

A couple of additional examples he talks about are benchmarking landing pages which will help to identify which pages are experiencing post click retention. It also determines how much it is costing to get a user to the page. Also benchmarking exit pages will allow you to compare the ration of exits to actual visits.

Finally Martin is up. He starts out by asking the audience who are primarily marketers and who are primarily involved in analysis. He then asks how many do both in which many raised their hands.

He then went on to so eloquently build a case that with all the tools we have to benchmark a campaign, they are completely useless if people making the marketing decisions cannot see the whole picture. He used his experience with a very large company to demonstrate that everything has to be coordinated between the various departments, so they are not competing against one another and so the campaign has the surest possibility of success. This requires centralization which is extremely difficult large companies where so many people are involved. He showed a study that revealed itit is  is easier to get info on competitors than to get info on the health of your campaigns.

Other things I got out of his presentation -

- Some problems big companies have in centralizing - working with IT, answering to stakeholders, etc.

- A lot of standardization needs to be put in place in order to centralize.

- Learn what client goals are and then use metric to measure those.

The bottom line is that if you can centralize information so that everyone knows what is going on and works together, you can the effectively benchmark a campaign. All the data and fancy reports that tools can provide for us needs to be organized in a way that allows marketing managers to make informed decisions.

David Wallace - CEO and Founder SearchRank


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