• Ginny Marvin

    Great stuff, George. Question about new customers coming from brand search (paid & organic): Clearly there are other marketing/media efforts driving the brand recognition, or users wouldn’t know to perform a brand search in the first place. So, I’m wondering how that factors into the statistical modeling and how marketers should be looking at/unpacking what’s behind the brand search results?

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Such a great question, Ginny. The distinction between a direct load navigation to a site and a brand search for that site is pretty small for most brands. The presumption is and should be that most of those folks would find your site without the ad, for sure and probably without the organic link. There are exceptions though for companies like Adidas which sell directly and through distribution. Brand traffic is much more likely to be incremental for them.

    Applying hold-out tests for brand ads and folding the results into the statistical modeling is helpful. An easier “hack” is to simply ignore brand touches when a paid marketing engagement preceded it or followed the brand visit. That simple approach leads to remarkably similar results to more sophisticated data modeling. Unfortunately our “not provided” friend in SEO has made that a tougher distinction, forcing extrapolation from known sources, etc.

    In the great scheme of things what marketers need to understand is how other marketing (online and off) drives brand search. We’ve done interesting matchback studies on this for catalogers, and some DMA hold out studies for TV ads as well. Both showing strong influence of offline media driving folks to search for a brand.

    Did that get to your question? If not please fire away :-)

  • Ginny Marvin

    It did, thanks, George.
    And very interesting to hear that you’ve seen that “hack” have “remarkably similar results to more sophisticated data modeling.”

  • Lingtong Li

    Thanks for the sharing, George. I agree with you that non-brand paid search is the best choice to leverage after maximizing SEO and brand search. But the percentage of new visitors’ revenue depends on how much you put into the PPC, meaning a higher investment in non-brand paid search can generate a higher % of new customer revenue, right?

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Yes, absolutely. Obviously there are limits on how much a company can afford to spend to attract new buyers. We encourage our clients to think in terms of cost per new customer when determining advertising efficiency objectives. Many are willing to lose money on the initial order from a new customer and make that back through lifetime value and much lower cost customer retention efforts.

  • http://www.ryankey.me/ Ryan Key

    I have the same ? as Ginny, what is contributing to the branded paid search that makes it the highest contributor to new customer acquisition. Could this be an offline campaign running alongside it.

  • http://www.alanmitchell.com.au/ alanmitchell

    Hi George,

    Interesting analysis. I’ve always been a firm believer that brand should be separated from non-brand, although I think it can be quite challenging to accurately separate new from existing customer acquisition without having to implement a custom conversion attribution model (such RKG’s attribution model), which can lose much of the simplicity that Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking offers.

    Now that Universal Analytics has come out of beta, allowing us to track User IDs in Google Analytics, do you think this will get easier? I imagine that the type of analysis that you’ve carried out above will become more mainsteam and accepted now that we can better understand visitors, rather than visits?


  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Yes, that could certainly help. We actually get the new v existing information directly from our client’s CRM data tied back through the order number and then back-populate that info. That allows us to leverage the client’s knowledge of offline transactions as well in the case of brick and mortar businesses.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Absolutely Ryan. TV advertising, print, direct mail, and word-of-mouth through friends (either social media or just old-school social conversation) drive people to search for a brand rather than a product. We’d argue that the brand search ad or brand organic link really shouldn’t be thought of as “driving” those new customers but rather simply pointing them the way to your site as a navigational aid. Geo-targeted tests of print and TV ads can actually be studied through the lens of brand search traffic to show direct connection between media buys and consumer response.

  • http://www.niroshan-samuel.com/ Niroshan Samuel

    Great article Michie and btw we have adword CPC too it clearly calculate the actual conversions vs spend. What is the attribution mode that you used? can you direct us to link or to tool?