If done creatively, search marketing allows you to tap into hot social events to achieve high returns with low investment.
A hot social event can generate huge interest and search behaviour from Internet users. If leveraged wisely, it can reward enterprises with low investment but high returns in search marketing. However, the most important pre-condition of employing this approach in search marketing is to ensure a positive user experience. That is to say, there must be a high relevance between a hot social event and an enterprise's product or service.
Consumers and Internet users' search behaviour originating from a hot social event is completely spontaneous. An enterprise does not need to invest in any other media to drive such search traffic. The huge volume of search already brings to enterprises a large amount of free impressions. If these impressions can be effectively converted to valid clicks, an enterprise then can achieve high return that is built upon low investment.
None of the other media can be as effective as search due to the advantage of timeliness that search marketing offers. Search engines are the best tools for consumers and Internet users to conduct a timely search for information about any hot social events. Creative copy of a search ad can be developed and improved instantly along with real-time changes of a hot social event. It is hard to imagine traditional media such as TV or radio ads could be used to leverage the mass consumers' attention from a hot social event due to the time needed in ad materials production. Only search marketing presents itself as an effective marketing vehicle to generate low investment but high return opportunity for branding and sales from the value of social attention to a social event.
However, any enterprise can only leverage a social event in search marketing when its product or service is highly relevant to that social event. And this experience needs to be relevant, intuitive, and comfortable for consumers and Internet users because a positive user experience has a direct correlation to positive brand perception and vice versa.
Building upon positive user experience and event relevance, we developed a successful search campaign for LG leveraging a large amount of traffic from the China National Day Parade for China's 60th birthday celebration in October 2009.
LG SL90 borderless LCD TV is the brand's high-end product that was newly launched in mid September 2009, just before China's 60th birthday. The goal of marketing efforts on this product was to build new product awareness and sales.
In September, traffic on keywords such as "National Day Parade" and "National Party" increased dramatically. Because a majority of the Chinese people could not attend the parade in Beijing, they would watch the National Day Parade and National Party on TV.
We spotted a need-based relevancy between high-end TV and the parade. Thus we launched a search campaign for LG capturing keywords to coincide with this hot social event. Examples of keywords were "National Day Parade", "National Celebration", and "National Party".
Traffic for keywords such as 'National Day Parade' (blue line) and 'National Party' (red line) increased dramatically due to the hot social event of China's 60th birthday celebrations.
During this period, there was no competition bidding for these types of keywords and our search ads were always ranked in top positions with extremely low CPC (define).
The paid search ad campaign for LG was aimed at people who searched for 'National Day Parade' on Google.
Less than two months after the search campaign's launch, it proved to be a huge success. We achieved over one million visits to the new product website with a CPC 24 percent lower than the key performance indicator (KPI) and 54 percent lower than the industry benchmark. The National Day related keyword ad group performed even more impressively with CPC 100 percent lower and CTR 92 percent higher than KPI.
Needless to say, being professional search consultants, reading news about social events every day, monitoring dramatically high-rising keywords, and identifying relevance between these keywords and our clients' products and services are an important part of our daily jobs and to creatively leverage these events in search marketing can truly bring value to our clients.
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Sara Ye is MD for GroupM Search/Digital Lab. She heads the strategic and operational development of GroupM's four agencies' (Mindshare, Maxus, MEC, and Mediacom) search marketing organisation in China. Dr. Ye has 14 years of marketing and advertising experience in China and the United States, more than half of which were spent in digital media and search marketing. Prior to joining GroupM, she worked for Google's California headquarters and Google China for four years. Ye started her career with J. Walter Thompson. From 1996 to 2000, she was associate director in Euro RSCG. Her client portfolio includes P&G, Colgate Palmolive, Pepsi Food International, Intel, HP, among many others. Dr. Ye holds a PhD degree in communication and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in the United States.
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