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IAB Search Integration thoughts – and some practical ways to integrate search marketing

by Nick Beck | 18.07.2011
Last week I attended the IAB Search Integration report launch. It was a great half day session with presentations from agencies, brands and the Search Engines themselves. And I got to speak on a panel with some really smart people – thanks IAB! There were a few key outtakes for me.

First, there is a really feeling that Search is now ‘traditional’ almost old skool. You could tell by the people in the room – they were not dressed colourfully and they listened intently and some took notes! Contrast this to the IAB Social media day I went to two weeks earlier – which was buzzy, colourful, chatty and everyone was competing to tweet that last sound bite (sorry can’t listen tweeting the last point…)

Second, there was lots of talk about tracking and analysing integrated search – attribution models, econometrics. Listen there is value in these – don’t get me wrong – but 90% of the time last click wins and thats just fine. So I was surprised there wasn’t more about how to integrate search with other channels, top ten tips etc. This worries me, because the suggestion is that integrationg search with other channels is just making sure they are ‘on’ at the same time and marketers only real concern is de-duping to see where the ROI comes from. Not true, there are some creative ways to integrate search with other channels to amplify them – to make 1+1=3

So here is some food for thought:

Integrating SEO & PPC: Where you have natural and paid positions for a keyword consider using the meta description for emotive messages while using PPC ads to test price messaging or other changeable benefit messages. If this is across 1000s of keywords get your agency to put a messaging matrix together.

Integrating PPC & PR: There is a definite increase in search volume, CTR and sales on the back of good PR. The day it comes out, make sure you bid on associated keywords and add ‘as seen in’ and ‘as seen on’ in your ad copy. Traditionally in fashion we see a huge 3 day spike. PPC will never get you the huge peak that a good PR piece will, but it will fill the troughs between your peaks.

Integrating SEO & Social: In some ways what we used to call SEO link building is now called Social Media Marketing. However link building on blogs used to be all about just getting the right link juice – now you need to make sure you are speaking in a consistent voice and using blog posts to drive link equity but also to drive real live humans to the site. This makes the SEO link builder less of a machine and more of a traditional marketer (that’s why Tug has never outsourced or automated link-building). Plan a 12 month content strategy for your Social campaign and tie it in with your SEO link building plan for the year – reap the financial rewards of synergy!

Integrating SEM with TV: Make sure you are optimised for any slogans in your TV commercial. ‘Search for’ on your TV can drive huge volume – but don’t forget if you don’t, TV will still drive volume anyway. Make sure your site is robust enough to take the additional traffic, and increase your PPC budgets for brand and non-brand searches. Recently, on an FMCG client of ours with a National TV campaign – PPC spend increased by 65%; Brand conversions from PPC increased 260% and from Natural traffic 204%; but the somewhat surprising stats are that non-brand PPC search went up 70% and non-brand Natural searches were up a whopping 140%; the good news is with the additional volume, integrating PPC and TV reduced CPA cost by 28%

That’s enough for now… gotta get back to work!

Find out more about Tug’s integrated search marketing and creative search marketing