The search marketing landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Gone are the days of a walled garden between a company’s organic and paid search programs and the rest of its online marketing strategy. Now, there is a recognition by marketers that search, like any form of marketing, must be engaged in a holistic, interconnected manner. It must create measurable results that tie into the whole of a company’s marketing campaign, rather than being off in its own universe.
With that being said, here are five trends from the modern search landscape that will help enhance your brand’s search strategy.
Search is not just for online retailers; it’s for everyone. Online searches influence offline purchases. Forrester Research estimates that more than $1.1 trillion of retail sales in 2011 were “Web influenced” versus $173 billion of actual online sales. This is especially true for considered purchases such as autos, financial services, education, furniture, etc. For example, JD Power estimates 90 percent of potential car purchasers research their purchase online before going to a dealer.
Search means more than Google. It is important to diversify your company’s paid search (PPC) efforts. Google attracts the majority of paid search but Bing and Yahoo are gaining share. Similarly, Facebook appears intent on charging into the search market. But search audiences at Bing and Yahoo differ from Google. In 2012, click-through rates for small and medium sized businesses grew 109 percent for Bing, 123 percent for Yahoo, but only 32 percent for Google. As Facebook emerges, targeting and response rates will likely vary from the other providers. Search success will require the ability to manage all four platforms successfully. (more…)
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Of all the hot marketing trends that have emerged in the past year, perhaps none has garnered more attention — and scorn — than Quick Response Codes (QR Codes). Alternately viewed by brands and marketers as the “next big thing” or a silly and unnecessary gimmick meant to demonstrate brands’ coolness in the digital age, QR Codes have plenty of fans and detractors.
Stepping away from the debate for a moment, it’s worth asking: Are QR Codes undervalued?
That is the question Digiday posed to brand marketers last week in an informative analysis of the state of QR Codes. After laying the groundwork with some interesting stats on QR Codes’ use by brands and their ROI (see below for details), reporter Giselle Abramovich offers examples from three well-known global brands — Coca-Cola, Taco Bell and HP — that have seen success from using QR Codes.
Before diving into those case studies, let’s look at the stats.
According to Digiday, and based data from Scanbuy, a company that provides QR Codes to brands and reports back-end analytics on their use, more than 13 million QR Codes were processed in the first quarter of 2012, a 157-percent increase from 2011. Of the QR Codes it delivers, Scanbuy reports that the most popular QR Code marketing campaigns are delivering video, app downloads and product details. And, not surprisingly, marketers are going gaga over QR Codes; 96 percent plan to use them in 2012.
With stats that strong, what’s not to love about QR Codes? Quite a lot, actually.
Part of the consternation stems from the technology behind QR Codes. Long used in Europe and Asia, where consumers are highly adept at using their mobile phones for regular Internet use and mobile purchases, U.S. marketers are faced with a multitude of providers, none of which use the same platform. The possibilities that QR Codes offer marketers are numerous, but in order to reap those benefits, the U.S. market will have to develop some sort of consensus platform for 2D barcodes. At the moment, the lack of one consistent platform is confusing to consumers, which muddles the overall value of QR Codes. (more…)
By: Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media
Social by Design … not a new buzz phrase but, rather, a fresh business imperative.
For years I have been professing that social media is not a tactic but, rather, has to be a way of life for brands. It is not about putting up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed and posting away. Social media must be at the core of a marketing strategy. Yeah, I know … you’ll think someone named “SocialSteve” is likely to say that … how self-serving of me. But wait a minute and hear me out.
The most powerful call to action a marketer could hope for is to have one friend, one colleague, one family member refer to another a suggested product or service. The recommendation comes from an objective source, a trusted source. Let’s face it: an ad is a recommendation from a most subjective source.
Social by Design means putting a brand in the hands of your target audience to produce organic sharing and word of mouth. Social by Design yields brand amplification. Maybe the one brand that understands this most of all is Coca Cola. As Coke has an objective to double their business it looks at programs that are Social by Design. As Coke states it, it is moving from creative excellence to content excellence. Coke calls its content strategy “liquid content,” and looks for its target audience to be the source of brand proliferation.
This video is a must see as it crystallizes what is meant by having a strategy that is Social by Design.