My newest Enterprise SEM post from SEL in case you missed it there: Enterprise SEM practices apply not just to direct response advertisers, but to brand advertisers as well. We’ll dive into that logic after a brief stroll down memory lane. The earliest adopters of sophisticated paid search practices were those companies with deep roots in direct response marketing.
How Should Value Be Determined For A Branded Campaign?For a brand building program, careful consideration should be given to how value is determined. I’ve heard people compare the CPMs available in search or display to print or TV and thought: huh? Talk about comparing apples to oranges!!! The cost of the impressions may be similar, but what about the value of the impression to the brand? Certainly watching a 30 second TV spot has a different impact on a person than does a text ad that appears on a webpage along with 20 other text blocks. The human user searching for something relevant to your brand is far more valuable than the regionally/demographically targeted TV viewer (who may be getting a snack during your spot), but the impression itself conveys much less about your brand. Paid search is managed well when the cost of advertising is married to the value of the advertising. We must first consider carefully the value associated with different types of brand interactions. A paid search ad may have a very well understood and easily measured cost, let’s say $50 for a day, but what you get for that cost may be a complex set of brand interactions that look like this: How do we make sense of that value? The best approach is to create some sort of common value metric hopefully based on data, but minimally based on good intuitive reasoning. It might look like this: Now, this is a bit idealized, but you get the notion. In this case, the value appears to be worth the costs and that ad can bear a CPC of $0.63. Text ads with similar numbers of impressions may have dramatically more or less value based on the quality of interaction after the exposure. Evaluating by CPM is the wrong way to think about this. The complexities don’t stop there. For State Farm, Century 21, or Talbots, shouldn’t the brand advertising be more valuable in close proximity to the brick and mortar presence, where dropping by the store or office may become more top of mind and more likely? Shouldn’t we place even more branding value on traffic coming from mobile devices near the physical locations? Maybe smart phones > tablets > desktop? If there is more valuable brand advertising available than you’ve budgeted for, how should we prioritize? We may find that we can spend the whole branding budget on very tightly aligned keywords. Is it better in this case to spend the whole budget on the highly targeted tail, or on a handful of head terms that are less well targeted to your brand? If you’re the Romney campaign, for example – which type of keyword would you spend the most money on: “Obamacare”, “Health Insurance Reform Act”, or “Health care policy debate”? During the primary, you may want to appeal to the base more than others and focus on people searching for Obamacare. During the presidential campaign, maybe you don’t need to advertise as much to them, but really want to hammer the “Health care policy debate” searchers on Google, Bing, and YouTube. The point is simply this: driving brand advertising dollars ‘by the numbers’ pays dividends just as it does with direct response. The complexities of brand value measurement make applying this rigor more challenging, but every bit as worthwhile.
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