As a mature digital marketing channel, search doesn’t get as much attention as the new kids on the blogs (er, block — digital, video, social, and mobile, we’re looking at you). And we agree: Search isn’t exactly the sexiest weapon in the digital marketing arsenal. But in the battle to win at results-driven campaigns, search continues to lead. Here’s why, plus how to convince your boss to spend more on it.
When people are looking for a product, the first place they go to is a search engine, so companies need to be quickly and easily discoverable right off the bat. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. By targeting people based on what they search for, businesses generate awareness and drive traffic to their websites. More importantly, this is the kind of traffic most likely to convert. In fact, paid search was the leading digital marketing budget item for marketers in our study because of its effectiveness at increasing the bottom line*. Nearly a third of companies said they drive 25% or more of their eCommerce revenue through search marketing. When it comes to hitting targets, 9 in 10 marketers said that paid search was effective at increasing online conversions. TLDR: the easier you make it for people to find you, the more stuff you can sell.
As paid search has matured, so too have its capabilities. New facets of paid search programs, including mobile-specific campaigns, product listing ads, dynamic search ad creative, and location-based capabilities, require competent execution. Half or more of retail marketers in our study named algorithmic bid management (55%), rich or specialized media in search (51%), and deep-linked in-app landing pages (50%) as among most difficult to keep up with. A majority of retail marketers said new search capabilities require daily management, and the innovations are nearly impossible to keep up with internally. This is where investing in a great search partner can make a big, positive impact.
Search marketing has evolved far beyond mastering the particulars of one or two search engines. Today, it’s an important way to reach customers across their digital touchpoints. Nearly three quarters of retail marketers in our study said their search strategies have expanded to cover channels that weren’t included two years ago, including paid social, display and video, and content marketing. Twenty-eight percent said that integrating paid search strategies with other marketing channels was a challenge. In fact, a full 42% of retail marketers cited budget limitations as the top challenge preventing them from taking full advantage of new search technologies. Add to that the numerous devices where you can reach users, and you have the perfect argument for why you need more resources allocated to your search marketing efforts.
So while search marketing may seem a little old-school today, it’s actually becoming more complex and requires greater investment — in time, staff, and budget — to execute effectively.
*Based on 186 retailers focused on eCommerce from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Criteo, November 2016.< Back to blog