Paid search continues to be a highly effective channel for retailers, driving traffic and a profitable return on investment (ROI). In fact, retail advertisers invest more in paid search than almost any other industry.
For the most part, search represents an integrated step in the purchase cycle for consumers with selection, price-transparency and convenience as differentiating factors compared to traditional brick-and-mortar retail.
Unfortunately, these factors result in a constant struggle among retailers to compete and gain the increasingly divided attention of shoppers.
With budgets expanding and the paid search landscape becoming more and more saturated with competing retailers, brand equity becomes a critical strategy for influencing the way customers engage and spend their dollars.
Retailers that can not only protect but also build upon their brand equity are in a strategic position to generate more revenue than their competition. To do this, the following challenges must be addressed.
- SERP Competition: The limited real estate on a search engine results page (SERP) leaves brands susceptible to competitors bidding on branded keywords. Consequently, competitors that bid aggressively can secure a share of brand clicks, displace brands from optimal ad positions, and create an unpredictable bidding landscape.
- Customer Expectations: Customers who search using brand keywords anticipate a more intimate retail experience where the language and landing page align with their needs. However, organic links often deprioritize these high-value landing pages or leverage ineffective messaging.
- Customer Engagement: The lack of paid keyword support for the array of branded searches, coupled with generic messaging, results in an unengaged retail experience.
To address these challenges and capitalize on brand equity, successful retailers must satisfy the following requirements.
1. Integrate Ad Extensions To Increase Brand Presence
Enhancing the customer experience and giving prominence to brand creative requires a scaled approach for assigning upgraded sitelinks, call, and location extensions across ad groups and campaigns. The size of these ad extensions enables brands to dominate the SERP real estate while controlling it through highly relevant content.
However, for sitelinks in particular, search marketers need to align differentiated brand messaging with specific, high-value landing pages to minimize the presence of competitors and provide a more intimate retail experience.
2. Bid To Position To Maximize Visibility
Of the 85 percent of clicks that occur in the top ad positions, 59 percent of those are made on the first position.
To maximize brand visibility and maintain control over the auctions for branded keywords, retailers must automatically suppress competitors that displace brand creative from optimal ad positions.
Flexible bidding solutions that can target a preferred position range in real time for brand keywords enable search marketers to increase bids immediately following a competitive shift in ad position.
3. Engage Customers With Expanded Brand Keywords
Supporting a broad spectrum of brand keywords that provide customers with an intimate retail experience requires keywords, landing pages, and creative that align with the needs of the customer. The search experience for a customer looking to purchase from a specific product category should be fundamentally different from a customer searching for coupon codes.
Brands first need visibility into their paid search query reports to isolate these keywords. Then assign each keyword with unique landing pages that provide engaging content. And finally, generate highly relevant creative that align with customer intent.
Building Brand Equity In Online Retail
The integration of search into the online shopping habits of consumers has represented a growing revenue opportunity for retailers. Search marketers must overcome the challenges of protecting and building brand equity, as well as other critical retail strategies, across an evolving digital battlefield. Understanding these requirements and how to satisfy them at scale puts retailers in a position to drive more media and acquire more revenue across the online retail landscape.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.