Using Search Advertising in an Integrated Media Plan

Search marketing does not stand alone any more. It works together with other aspects of media planning and marketing communication such as traditional media, display ads, social media, offline promotion, public relations, and direct marketing, and they all become a united force to build brand awareness and drive sales.

At our agency, we’ve always encouraged media integration. All the various elements of media planning can be used to inform, persuade, and induce action from target audiences.

The core essence of integrated media planning and marketing communication is to wrap communications around each customer’s purchasing process and then develop a sequence of communication activities and media touch points to help her to move easily through each of these stages. One learning we have today is that customers are exposed to other media and at the same time or soon after, they are likely to conduct keyword searches aiming to know more about a product or service. Internal research from our agency reveals on average, 37 percent of consumers search after they watch TV commercials, 30 percent search after they read a newspaper ad, 20 percent search after they are exposed to outdoor ads, and 17 percent search after they listen to a radio ad.

Integrating search in every stage of media planning will enable advertisers and marketers to capitalise on the proactive search queries intentionally generated by target audience. By doing so, we’ve seen the incremental advertising effect with high return on investment amplified by search. Below is an example that best illustrates such effect.

Our agency’s search team integrated search in overall media planning for one of our IT clients, which emphasised sales as its main marketing key performance indicator. The advertising objective of this campaign is a new product launch. This new product had low brand awareness and priced very high compared to its competitive products. The sales target set by clients was extremely challenging.

We strategically focused on different keyword groups during different stages along the media planning and product launch. In the first stage, when PR led the marketing communication, we launched brand and product keywords with low investment but met the exact needs of the audience who showed interest in this new product.

During the product launch’s second stage, massive display ads were shown on major portals and industry vertical websites, print ads appeared on major newspapers, TV commercials played on all office building LCDs, and offline promotion was executed in main retailers. At that point, we shifted the main search budget from brand and product keywords to generic keywords. Given the special product feature of this new product, we also strategically covered all gaming related keywords. Baidu Brandzone was also up during this stage to ensure we better captured the value of brand and product keywords. Traffic generated from brand and product awareness was always lagging behind traditional media effect, thus we extended Brandzone and brand and product keyword coverage on search engines a month after traditional media advertisement ended.

Media planning timeline for IT client product launch

We mapped the traffic trend on Baidu against our overall media planning after the campaign. It was interesting to see the huge amount of traffic increase generated from PR news, portal, print, outdoor, and offline promotions.

The advertising effect amplified by integrating search into traditional media planning was proven to be extremely effective: sales unit increased 43 percent while CPC decreased 68 percent.

Today’s consumers are multichannel consumers. We believe in relevant cross platform media planning as none of the media can stand alone nowadays. Allocating your advertising budget to one media vehicle always involves sacrificing budget spent on other media. How to effectively mix the communications mix is becoming more challenging, but it is also becoming more strategically important. Search enables advertisers and marketers to best utilise their advertising budget with potentially the highest ROI. It is a must-use new media vehicle in any integrated media planning to amplify overall advertising effect.

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