Manu Malhotra – AssociateDelivery Manager, Advertising Cloud
With multiple businesses catering to a common set of audience and constantly attempting to grab eyeballs to their products and services, driving growth in performance through Search Engine marketing has become all the more imperative these days. Utilizing SEM in the most effective manner is the key to growing your business in an increasingly competitive and ever-evolving business environment. There are numerous factors, both intrinsic as well as extrinsic to the business, that need to be taken into consideration while devising SEM strategies to propel significant growth in performance. Seasonality, Competition, incorporating the true value of traffic across different devices, audience segments and geographies are just to name a few!
Budget Management using forecasting
One of the key aspects in driving performance in Search Engine Marketing is how efficiently you manage budget through the different business cyclicity, seasons, special holidays, days of the week and special sales promotions. The lift or the drop in budget directly influences the impressions, traffic, click through rates, conversions and eventually cost per lead/cost per order.
Sometimes, you wonder if you had a lamp to rub and out came the genie who advised through the thick and thin of managing budgets and pacing them with precision to achieve key business results. One would wish if you had a forecasting tool to predict how the key performance indicators will pan out with changes in budget.
For instance, you are spending $5000 a day, would you not want to know how many incremental leads can you drive if you increased the budget by another $500?
What if you had a business directive to reduce the budget by $1000 for next couple of days on a category of brands and you want to know how will my conversions drop with the new budget at hand?
A tool that can learn from the historical models and predict how performance will pan out with changed budgets is any search marketer’s delight. It helps you control and efficiently manage mullah and drive performance in search engine marketing.
Automation – Bulk creation / editing
Search engine marketing accounts especially in retail, travel and ecommerce industries tend to be humongous. New launches, bulk edits and sale promotions occur every now and then. And that’s when you need marketing automation to quickly create and update the search engine account structures, automate keyword creation & ad copy changes, build new campaigns and automatically pause or remove ad groups, keywords and ads. In addition, shopping campaigns are growing in importance. Using automation to create campaign builds using shopping feeds helps in not only managing the scale of campaigns but it also frees up bandwidth to focus on more strategic aspects.
Optimization – Audience, Device & location
Dynamically optimizing bids based on historical models helps a great deal in driving performance. Today, it’s not only the customer match that we use for optimization, but also shared audiences from other customer experience management solutions such as analytics, CRM and email marketing tools.
Optimizing the bid placed on a keyword based on historical models for an audience segment in a location on a specific device to drive a precise business objective (or a combination of business objectives) can help lift the performance significantly. For instance, we may want to account for customers that initiate on Mobile, but convert via Desktop or other device in which case we may want to allocate customized weights across small screens to guide optimizations accordingly.
Leveraging integration with Analytics
Looking at entire customer journey requires search engine marketers to look at the complete conversion funnel. Integrating Analytics with search marketing helps in driving both micro and macro conversions on the website such as registrations, subscriptions and orders.
Traditionally, ad management and website analytics platforms resided in their respective silos, limiting information sharing between the platforms. However, if you look at the scenario today, it is mission critical to share the information between platforms. Why? Because, details about metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on site, page views, cart abandonment at the individual click level helps in further optimization. Today consumers are engaging with interesting content on the web property. Much is happening between the initial impressions/clicks and final conversion, right? Engagements around researching product on the website, viewing product videos, checking out product reviews, searching the product on search engines and signing up for the newsletter help drive ultimate conversions. Leveraging integration with analytics drives search engine marketing performance.
Monitoring performance on a constant basis is highly indispensable to drive key results. Businesses spend hours in aligning engine data with their internal data and preparing reports and analysis to derive performance insights every day. Automated feeds can help streamline performance reporting and analysis, thereby bringing the overall operational efficiency. In addition, the capability to prepare pre-curated analysis in seconds can save team numerous hours per week, helping them to focus on more strategic initiatives and drive action based on key findings.
In a nutshell, once we have established a good understanding of business objectives and performance goals, we can capitalize on SEM and manage campaigns at scale to drive growth in performance and bring efficiency gains by tracking all steps in the conversion process via analytics integration, using forecasting models based on the complete conversion story, streamlining performance analysis through automated reporting and increasing value via optimization by focusing on users’ intent and action.