Orion Keynote Panel - How Much Search is Enough?

Aug 18, 2008 - 5:39 pm 0 by

Where does search really fit within a marketer's total digital advertising effort? Big businesses and small businesses alike struggle with how to allocate search marketing, and other online advertising or marketing efforts. This Orion panel will evaluate strategic thought processes and then grind down to tactical execution with thought leaders from the search engine marketing, advertising agency, and advertiser perspectives. We will explore how search can be "carved out" from an overall budget and how it will lead the white whale of online marketing — a truly holistic marketing strategy.

Moderators: Kevin Ryan, VP, Global Content Director, Search Engine Strategies & Search Engine Watch Anne Kennedy, Managing Partner & Founder, Beyond Ink

Speakers: Robert Murray, President, iProspect Aaron Goldman, VP, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group Company Steven Kaufman, SVP, Media Director, Digitas Bob Tripathi, Search Marketing Strategist, Discover Financial Services

Kevin Ryan welcomes us. Announces winners of the SES awards. Yahoo! takes the win for most relevant search results. Chuckles from the audience. Looksmart wins best ad platform.

Why does search get credit for everything is the big question tackling today. Constantly gets asked this question, and we still don't have an answer.

KR: What are the key take aways to gain from this session? What are the best plans for executing holistic strategies. Lots of crap about agency integration - digital arm working with search - clients feel dissatisfied with this model. And at the end of the day - brand integration and where the money's coming from. From a MarketingSherpa - it's amazing to me how little measurement is occurring.

Panel: The bright part for us search marketers that its grown 200% in two years.

An integrated brand campaign - such as with one of our clients - Discover - we the focus is integrating search in our online branding campaign. Our strategy is to tie it with TV to maximize our mileage from the campaign. If someone watches a TV spot and goes to the web, and has brand recall. We also use ad copy and landing pages and microsites revolving around the TV spot. That is another way search is integrated.

KR: Poll of marketers - how many are integrating search with marketing. Less than half admitted to integrating search with marketing. Where the money comes from - a hypothetical scenario - Budweiser campaign had a $16 million budget that went $16 million over budget. What's going in that case.

Panel: It varies by brand, client. Google is aggressive now about pushing Youtube - putting the creatives and building a channel around it to drive more impressions. The brand clients are becoming more and more savvy, recognizing that the creatives need to live online.

KR: So where is the money coming from? Are you borrowing from Google to pay Google?

Panel: It varies. On the digital side, we need to make sure we have enough money. Broad based TV branding campaigns, if there's an online component - search is a part of it.

One thing to clarify when hunting the money trail. It's different when talking about paid vs. organic. On the natural side, the budget is usually not from the ad side - usually from IT, or something else such as web development.

KR: What do you attribute the changes to? Overall awareness?

The efficiency has driven this more than anything. The returns effective campaigns generate. More exposure of what search can do for the overall budget.

Everyone is starting to realize online is a better channel, more cost efficient, measurable. Having these internal champions for search. Also, conferences like this are a good example - more people are engaging in search marketing.

KR: A lot of people are interested in where the money comes from how it comes together - show us the consensus. Where does it start?

Panel: Where does it start... We've long known that search is truly accountable and comes down to measurement. We can track what's happening.

CPCs are going up and not down. Increased competition. It's getting harder to yield the same dollar for every dollar spend.

There's the acquisition side, and the brand side. Clients are pretty good at forecasting - and it's a finite world. There's frustration on how to scale this great channel. The engines need to do a better job at selling a branded search product. A recent study by Google showed the value of being on the page - but the problem is that we are being charged on a CPC basis on and not a CPM basis.

Search is being used to justify traditional media budget. We're looking at query volume against TV schedule and looking for spikes. TV lacks that measurably that search has. Google is trying to change things, but the scale is not there yet. We're using search data to make decisions about TV advertising.

KR: Search engines need to do a better job at showing how it can be used as a branding tool. What do you mean?

Panel: If you search Yahoo! for "Special K". They have a branded image with info on "Special K". So they do a good job there. Google is not going to do this but other engines are . It's not just about your listing, but multiple links and logos and dropping brand equity here.

It's nice to get the logo in there if you can make a deal with the engine, but Yahoo just recently showed quantifiable lifts among brand recall and likelihood to purchase just by exposure and not clicks. They need to do a better job at merchandising that little text ad. In a recent study, 40% of people polled assume that the top results are the top brands. So there is that brand equity. The challenge is how do I buy it? They need to sell us a branding search package.

KR: Poll. How was lunch? Audience chuckles. We're working on it. Anyway, the numbers are going up. Click costs, is there a number increase? What do you tell the clients? How do you ask for more dollars?

Panel : We forecast and have to be prepared to adjust budget over time. Have to set range parameters. As you yield through, make adjustments. The most advance marketers budget the best.

KR: Correct me if I'm wrong, budgets are category specific for both natural and paid - different proportions than something that is directly transactional like package goods?

Panel: It really depends on where you product is in a category lifespan.

KR: Do you buy that its really happening in mass - the holistic model?

Panel : An example - a study showed that the baby boomer demographic is much more likely to buy online - and do business online when exposed to the message offline.

Part of the migration to digital marketing is that its not like traditional where you set the budget at the beginning of the year. It has to be made flexible - and ability to move money around as you need to.

KR: Is it ongoing, once a year?

Always advise clients to set separate budgets aside for landing page testing, and other abilities. TV is still a good way to build a brand, and it's often a challenge to move money away into search, but for the most part we have a budget, track, and see if we need more.

KR: What about resources. Hanging out in NY with the agency community, seeing that the traditional agencies are fat, obese - with staff, and more staff. Then move to interactive department with 5-7 people managing the money that 200 people do in traditional. A recent agency laid off 200 people and no one noticed. Are traditional agencies becoming more leaner because they have to be and are you getting more because of it?

Panel: If you look at reports coming into '09, traditional media is being scrutinized much more than digital. Clients are asking for more for less. Times are tight. They want more and don't want to cut ad spend, so it's all those pieces together.

It's harder to spend $1,000,000 on search than on TV. The profit margins are a lot higher on TV. The fat is being trimmed, but it's more streamlined. Some large agencies have merged the traditional and digital groups and the plans are more holistic.

KR: Have they really come together, or they just saying that?

Were not done yet. The last 5 years have had leaps and bounds. Progress not perfection. Getting there.

KR: Traditional people think they are better than us and it pisses me off. I never saw the parody. Are you guys seeing it now.

Panel : Clients want more and more. They need the money to be more justified. We show clients how TV fuels search.

AK: Does that mean when we see sites being built we can expect them to be optimized and crawler friendly?

Panel: Much more today than ever before. Now SEO is making a come back with CPC going up. It can be a more upfront investment for a longer term yield.

KR: Comscore reports yesterday that organic search is up 20% year over year. Its a proven trend. The frequency of clicking is increasing. Is that causing a renewed interest in SEO?

A big part of the driver is the increasing costs of all of the media is driving the interest in search. 6-7/10 people click on the organic results. If you look at search as more blended, the results are more positive.

KR: What are some key take aways - three tips for sound budgeting and holistic planning?

Panel: Recognize the outcome your hoping to achieve. Some terms will drive immediate action. Others will drive awareness. Measure everything you're doing. Definitely understand the difference between demand capture and acquisition and hold them to different standards. Don't forget to build a test budget. Need to see whats effective change. Be nimble and flexible and fluid with budgets. Larger organizations need to think like small business and tear down the walls, and have everything fluid across channels. Must be nimble.


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