But is it cost effective as a branding vehicle?This is an interesting question, and hinges on the answer to another question: in paid search, what constitutes a true marketing impression? Is it:
- Seeing a ~95 character text ad that users may or may not actually read, and may or may not even be visible above the fold? If so, the Cost per Thousand Impression might be: $5 - $50 CPM. In the same ball park with print ads, a bit less expensive than TV. Or,
- Visiting your site on landing page targeted to their search. If a real impression is actually getting to tour your website, then the costs look more daunting. A CPC of $0.50 translates to a $500 CPM. A $5 click yields a $5,000 CPM. Very targeted audience, high quality interaction, but not cheap.
Once you’ve decided that search is the right channel for you to spend these extra marketing dollars, how do your organize the effort? Here are a few pointers on how to get the most bang for your buck.Choose high volume, relevant keywords – but don't choose the most general terms. Talbots shouldn't go after "apparel", but maybe "classic apparel". The keywords you pick should really define how you want your brand to be perceived. Be careful with match types – broad match We see general terms with aggressive bids on broad being served in place of more targeted ads, resulting in overspending on those user searches, lower CTR and worse conversion rates because the landing page is ill targeted. For example the keyword "classic apparel" being served on a search for "pleated skirts". Refine your ad copy and landing pages – your ads are about to be seen a lot more frequently, make sure you're putting your best foot forward. Wade in slowly - Start by simply loosening your efficiency targets on a specific set of Keywords. You can loosen those targets more as you gain comfort with the branding value of the non-converting traffic and non-visit impressions. Monitor spend carefully - We don’t recommend bidding to position, but if you must for branding purposes be sure to watch your spend carefully. Fighting for the top spot can be ruinously expensive. It’s possible one of your competitors may want to be in a top position as well, and the only one who benefits from a bidding war is Google. Be sure to check phrase level spend daily. Use campaign budgets - In general practice, we believe campaign budgets are a bad idea; however they might turn out to be life savers -- or job savers -- when you launch a branding campaign. Put your branding terms in a separate campaign, away from the direct marketing stuff, and set the spend cap at what you want to spend. You'll want to adjust bids so that the cap isn't controlling the ad service, and that you're getting the best value for the spend available. Brand advertising does not make sense for every advertiser; there's a reason you don't see LL Bean ads on TV. We hope these tips are helpful for those who want to try it. We'd love to get your feedback on paid search as a branding channel. Is it an ideal channel, or is it cost-prohibitive?