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Blueglass LA Session: Marketing Strategy: Don’t forget search

Moderator: Loren Baker


Melanie Mitchell, SVP/Search Marketing Strategy at Digitas

Dave Roth, Director of Search Marketing at Yahoo

David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing

First up is David

I’m not on the search side of Yahoo – I’m a search marketer like you.

Search Marketing at Yahoo

We do search marketing the way everyone does – there’s no better way to get new users.  We look at data on a week by week basis.  At any given time there are a lot of properties involved.  All have different business models.  Hosting, Fantasy Football, Yahoo Shopping, Toolbar, Messenger, Travel, Media… all these different businesses.  We need a common language and how to think about tradeoffs, where to spend the next dollar. We do that through valuation.

Valuation –

The cornerstone for everything we do – SEO, SEM, Affiliate… Net Present Value – how much value am I going to get from a customer over a lifetime and what is that value today?

Today a hosting customer may be worth $200.  Look at the costs of acquisition.  You get the current value. What is an acceptable profit margin?

Support brand campaigns with search marketing (SEM for Branding)

Global Campaigns

(global mans local x 12) (I guess that’s their internal formula, but he doesn’t say).

As much as its nice to have money to spend on Brand, don’t think for every dollar you spend, you’ll get X return – remember – this is search so you need analytics to evaluate the return on your investment.  Our goal was to drive engagement with our brand.

We can measure when they engage – when they click for different products, set up a home page… These don’t have revenue attached to them, so we assigned a point value system to each of them.  By setting up that point value system, you can optimize your search efforts based on that.

By setting up a spreadsheet to look at the different locations around the world showing campaign metrics (media cost, clicks, impressions, CPC, CTR, points (from the point value system set up), we can see where we’re successful.

Paid Vs. Organic

I was asked – if we already rank #1 for a phrase, why do we want to spend money to promote that in PPC?  We measured the total clicks to query volume for the organic link and looked at how that changes when we also do PPC.  Is there cannibalism from organic clicks, is there synergy…

We found an increase in overall organic clicks as we bought more inventory on the paid side.  We increased the organic clicks.  There are caveats in all of this depending on keywords and markets, but we found it worked well.  Don’t settle on that – do the tests.

(Alan’s Note – I found this to be true for our biggest clients as well – my thinking is it builds brand awareness to see both organic and PPC)

Yahoo Bing Search Alliance

Unified Marketplace – Any attention you gave to YSM, you’ll give to Microsoft Ad Center.

The algo and paid testing is going on right now.  If they can do the integration well, you’ll see algo switch in September, followed by paid.

Depending on how big or small you are as an advertiser, you may continue to use YSM interface for a time, but your invoice will go to Bing.

I have a post coming out on Search Engine Land later today with lots of resources about this transition.

Up Next – Melanie

I agree with Dave Roth – we’ve done several tests – we definitely see a lift when we do both organic and paid.

It’s amazing how many companies forget search, or they have a silo and not connecting it with the rest of their business – all that content.  Search helps connects those dots and helps you build more.

The Power of Search

Search is the holy grail for marketers

Search is one part of the mix.  We’re all being hit with all these areas – offline, online, phone, banners, social… We need to look at what is that customer journey – how are they getting to you?

To this day, only about 55% of search marketers coordinate or integrate offline channels with search marketing.

67% of people are triggered to do search after seeing something offline.

Example – Twilight Eclipse

I looked at how is Twilight is building community – you can download things from the Eclipse site, you can go to Facebook, Twitter….

9.5mm Facebook fans, 355k Twitter followers, youtube… lots of offline – billboards, print ads, TV…

I looked at their search marketing – Couldn’t find them for any of the important phrases.  Fans are, other companies are (like Volvo).

So where are you Summit Entertainment?  Why aren’t you using search to get even more?

Example -Apple iPhone 4 issue

Lots of search but Apple chose not to.  Lots of competitors took advantage, playing on the fear.  They waited to respond.  So they’ve now created this reputation problem.

To this day they’re still not doing much.  How come they’re not buying keywords “iPhone antennae” or “iPhone problem”?  Blackberry now has ads embedded in Steve’s most recent announcement.

Case Study 1

We were able to coordinate search volume with TV commercials.  We saw a 9% overall reduction in CPA (Cost Per Action) and a 300% increase in sales from search. and looking at more than just TV, we saw an 800% increase in sales.

Case Study 2

Users exposed to clients display campaign on Yahoo were more likely to search Brand and Campaign specific terms more than users not exposed to other advertising.

We have to be mindful of these people – how are they consuming information?  It continues to change over time but it’s not impossible to look at.  Even when you’re talking off line – you know when you’re doing a TV commercial, a radio commercial…

Are you listening to your customers? Tying in those critical keywords to those offline campaigns?

David’s up now

– he warns us he’s going to tell us 3 things he doesn’t want to blog about and he’s serious.   So I’m not taking notes on anything he’s saying.  But then he just said he hasn’t gotten to those three things.  So I just missed a bunch of stuff.  Oh well.  Hopefully Loren won’t uninvite me from liveblogging in the future.  🙂


Q – With the Yahoo Bing transition will we be able to choose which marketplace to participate in?

Dave Roth – it’s a unified marketplace so you can’t opt in or opt out from one or the other.

Q – How will the 2 display networks work?

Dave Roth – Yahoo Display isn’t changing right now – your display buys will probably not change.  Yahoo will search for managed advertisers in the unified marketplace.

Q – What does the future hold for companies like Marin Software – bid management?

David S – I use bid management, they’re my friends, but I think they’re toast.  Google’s saying they’re going to do everything they can to get as close to the customer as possible.   Bid management built into AdWords, and within display they have the data to do it better than any 3rd party company can.  They have the data for all areas across all advertisers.

I think it should be relegated to something an algorithm does.  They better work harder and faster beyond managing keyword bids.

Melanie – We’re not using Google Analytics for everything – it’s not just realistic for everyone.  You place your bets on what you’re going after and it changes as you go into different platforms like Facebook.  We automate as much as possible but we also do other reports that we create ourselves.  I think we’re all going to have to get smart.

Dave  – my experience is SEM / PPC is different for different businesses.  In a normal program where you can tag something with a tracking tag, Google has a pretty good offering but there’s situations where that can’t work.

Loren – What amazes me is couch searching – if I see a TV commercial, I’m not going to go to my PC, or my laptop – I’ll either use my smart phone or my iPad – when I do that search on those, the search result is different.  If I’m searching on an iPad the assumption shouldn’t be that I’m looking for something 3 miles away as it would be on my phone.  And that’s just going to be more of a factor.

Q – Agencies – Google has a huge amount of power in the agency – publisher relationship.  What do you see as the role of the agency?

Melanie – it depends on the agency.  We have a very good relationship with the search engines.  We’re figuring out what people want, how they want it so we partner with Google.  We’re saying  – let’s work together – we understand the client – we work with the client directly – so Google, let’s work together where we do show more value, here’s how we contribute to the bottom line…

David – I think Google will always recognize agencies play an important role.  Many companies realize the cost of keeping a team as well as an agency is much higher than they pay the agency.

Melanie – we own the client relationship  – Google sells things not really understanding the client, and we go in and fix that – I think they’re starting to get that they’re not able to do what we do.


Category Careers
Alan Bleiweiss Forensic SEO Consultant at Alan Bleiweiss Consulting

Alan Bleiweiss is a Forensic SEO audit consultant with audit client sites from medium scale to world class enterprise. He ...

Blueglass LA Session: Marketing Strategy: Don’t forget search

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