If you’ve been around me you’ve probably heard me say this, but it bears repeating: As soon as you, the marketer, pay for a search click, someone will want to know what you got for it.
This means that you will need effective ways to both optimize and report out results on your campaign. This is yet another example of how search marketers can excel in otherwise uncharted territory (e.g. brand campaigns), and ultimately how you can end up looking like a hero to your upper management.
I mentioned last month that to optimize to engagement we decided to place tracking pixels on a number of “expressions of interest” that were relevant to the brand campaign. The challenge with this approach is in the design. Since the events in question do not drive direct revenue we had to use an approach that would value expressions of interest in an accurate way, relatively speaking.
As I mentioned we opted for a points system and grouped conversion events into strata so that we could create a more traditional “funnel” for reporting and optimization purposes. By seeing how users were engaging with the brand we were not only able to optimize to deeper engagement at a keyword level, but we also learned how to refine our “funnel” to better reflect the engagement process.
Furthermore, because as search marketers we are accustomed to optimizing on fresh data, we used daily conversion data to quickly optimize the campaigns and make landing page and user path recommendations. This put us way ahead of other channels, which do not lend themselves as readily to rapid optimization.
Once the design is in place and the data is flowing, sit back and pretend you’re running a direct response campaign. Optimize to conversion volume or cost per conversion, whichever will support the goals of the brand campaign. Identify strong performing ads and place new ads in rotation as often as possible. Believe me, this is the easy part. Now it’s time to show everyone what a brilliant marketer you are.
Be ready to report out on your results in a concise and telling way. Remember, you have different components to your campaign and likely a number of countries or markets in which you’re advertising, so you’ll need a neat way to wrap up all that activity into a one-page report. This is where the direct marketer in you can truly shine.
If you have the luxury of reporting on revenue, congratulations. If not, then use a system like we’ve chosen where you can show value expressed in points or some equivalent measure, and then just use the same types of metrics you normally would for SEM reporting. Impressions, clicks, CPC, value (points), cost per point, etc. Organize your reporting in such a way that higher-ups can quickly get high-level data and then drill down into markets or campaigns to assess the drivers of success or failure. Here’s an example of what it might look like:
In addition to metrics-heavy reporting like this, you’ll also want to include some graphs that speak to trends over time. This way you’ll be able to tell a story of how you launched and then optimized your campaigns. That report will look something like this:
Once your reporting is ironed out and being delivered on a regular basis to your internal stakeholders, now it”s time once to show how search marketing performance can run circles around other marketing channels. You may already know this as well as some of your counterparts in other marketing channels, but chances are your head of brand marketing needs a reminder. If your SEM results can be rolled up into larger buckets of “digital media” or total media, the comparisons will be inevitable. Show your SEM results along side those same metrics for display ads and other channels.
Then, when it comes time to plan the next quarter or the next campaign, you can point to your outstanding results and ask for a healthy budget increase. I just did.
That’s all for SEM and branding, for now. There is, of course, abundant detail I haven’t the space to include here, so if you want more, feel free to contact me. I love talking about this stuff.
Note: The first two installments in this series are Supporting A Global Brand Campaign With SEM and Supporting A Global Brand Campaign With SEM, Part 2.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.