Display and Search Together: 'Never Say Never'

  |  May 10, 2011   |  Comments

Boost your campaign's ROI by integrating display and search.

As the mother of a young girl, I've tried very hard to steer clear of a certain teen idol. However, there's a certain wisdom that can be found in the lyrics of Justin Bieber. Let's embrace our inner 13 year old and shamelessly use them to make a case for boosting your campaigns' ROI by integrating display and search. Display planners and search marketers have been at loggerheads over budget and efficacy for ages, but we can't fight 'till forever anymore.

"I Never Had the Strength to Take It Higher"

Display is a natural partner to search, but a lot of search marketers have been put off by the perceived complexity of executing a display buy. So let's start with the basic affirmation of search engine marketing. It's a highly effective channel. Search facilitates interaction between what people are already actively looking for. Somewhere along the way though, we forgot about a crucial part of the funnel – the connection between initiating the conversation instead of waiting for the conversation to come to us.

When you move beyond search, you create additional opportunities in the funnel to acquire customers and generate buzz. Consideration is a small part of the search funnel – and when you get to the purchase intent phase, customers are usually fixated on the brand they most want to interact with.

Let's then move to a basic display fact: there's further impact that can be had to push our brand's messaging out by extending to display. Display planners are hard-wired to create impact. They catch potential customers and push product out to them in an interruptive way. It's a different kind of relationship; pulling customers in rather than having them initiate the conversation and then at that point engaging them. Display can convey tone and manner and it's suited for when you need to execute high-impact campaigns. As search marketers, we need to be open to learning, start small, and start integrating our search campaigns.

"This Is My Destiny"

There's no better time than now to start testing an integrated display and search model. The tools are out there to really push the envelope with your campaigns, and it's in a format that is already very familiar to you.

We're used to metrics and making them meaningful – it's one of the things SEMs are brilliant at. We get ROI. Now, we're seeing advanced CPA models and demo-targeted CPC display buys on Canadian vendors like MSN. Display can be treated like paid search – sure, we have different benchmarks for good performance, but we can apply those same KPIs and compare and contrast the relationship display has to search.

"Pick It Up, Pick It Up"

Display can pick up a search campaign's game (and vice versa) from siloed approach to cost-effective and far-reaching integration. Some of the fantastic ways you can integrate display learnings to search or search to display are:

  • Targeting: Demographic and behavioral targeting options to make a targeting bulls eye and understand the language and tone of your audience when sourcing additional keywords or testing new copy.
  • Structure: You are masters of structuring your campaigns for maximum efficiency and granular targeting, so apply those same techniques to how you structure for display. Put different creatives on different sites. Test those creatives against control groups.
  • Connection: Home page takeovers + search buys = additional results. The users might not click on the display component, but they might search for the product you're advertising. Make sure you back your campaigns up.
  • Retargeting: Run a query retargeting campaign and it's like competitive bidding without the bad QS and high CPCs. Bucket your competitors' keywords, then serve up display ads while they browse through the network after searching for your competitors. Targeting on steroids.

"Are We an Item?"

So you've put your search and display strategy together, but you need to track this integration. And make sure you do your homework; certain tools are better than others to ensure that you're using your budget effectively across your media buy. Make sure whatever tracking solution you choose de-dupes against search and display, and are experts at giving you the KPI factors and the power to go back to the C-level and talk about increasing your digital budget.

"We're Big Enough to Never Say Never"

If you're new to display, make sure you start small. Test, test, test, and make sure you're connecting the dots between your campaigns to find the right mix. If you've got questions or want to find out more, come and hear me speak about why you should never say never to integrating your search and display campaigns to boost your ROI at SES Toronto on June 14, 2011.

I'll try to keep the Bieber references to a minimum…


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Kerstin  Baker-Ash

Kerstin Baker-Ash is the head of Performics, Canada and is a frequent speaker on search and display integration at search marketing conferences is North America and Europe. An industry veteran, Kerstin has spent over nine years developing search marketing strategy and leading integrated performance display systems for clients in travel, finance, CPG, and government.

When she's not putting together the latest in integrated planning on search and display, Kerstin can be found cheering on the Boston Celtics and looking for excuses to listen to her daughter's tween pop albums. Kerstin is @bakerash on Twitter and blogs at kerstinbakerash.com

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