Search marketing DOES build brands

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Leave it to someone who has little to no experience with any real world search marketing to make a ridiculous statement that “search advertising does NOT build brands.” That is what Scott Karp from Publishing 2.0 is saying today.

Google needs to figure out brand advertising or it’s going to hit a wall very soon.

Those us who actually have experience using search marketing for branding knows this couldn’t be further from the truth. Search marketing can and does work as a medium for building brands. I make this statement with first hand experience. Search marketing’s what I do and brand building has been a big part of that for many clients.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that building a brand like Apple or Nike from the ground up is probably not possible through search alone. But it should certainly be used as a serious component in the overall campaign. It would be like me saying that magazine advertising does NOT build brands.
Big brands, or any brand for that matter should still use search engine marketing for branding. Consumers are researching your brand and your competitors’ brands constantly, if you don’t have that presence you’re missing out big time. What does it say about your brand if you can’t be found, or all that shows up in the listings are negative results?
Danny Sullivan makes a good point in the comments…

The traditional ad agencies dis the brand value of search because they fear search will suck up their overpriced dollars. And it will, as search is undervalued.
It’s the model of traditional ad agencies who have yet to realize more and more spend will have to go to search, impacting their higher margin ad campaigns. Search marketers who have been in the game for a long time won’t be weeping about that.

I encourage everyone to read the post, that way you can hear both sides of the argument. At the very least you should read the comments where Danny Sullivan, the ambassador of search, tears Scott a new one. Great job Danny!

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • Scott

    That’s a very objective view I’m sure you have there, given that you have no skin in the game. Danny has engaged in a provocative back and forth on specific examples. Do you have anything to offer besides sales copy for your company’s services?

  • Cameron

    Scott, I can see I’ve touched a soft spot. 🙂 I didn’t mean to make you angry, I was just hoping for a healthy debate

    I do find it funny that you come back at me with a comment saying I’ve got no skin in the game. That might mean something except it’s coming from a guy who just learned about search engine marketing at a festival, then
    decided to follow it up with some half baked research where your final conclusion is that someone searching for designer perfume (one search phrase out of a billion) would rather purchase some knock off perfume from Scentiments than the real deal from Nordstrom. Excuse me if I’m not convinced.

    Danny already did a great job with examples in the comments, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to keep pounding you with example after example. But since you asked for it, I’d be more than happy…

    “Dieringer Resource Group surveyed 3,000 respondents regarding their online purchasing habits. Interestingly, 60% of these respondents’ brand
    opinions were changed or enhanced as a result of online research
    (American Interactive Consumer Survey, June, 2004).”

    “Interactive Advertising Bureau and Nielsen NetRatings suggest that “27 percent (of survey respondents were) more likely to name a specific brand if it was in the top spot of the search results page.” (Sponsored Listings Effectiveness Study, July, 2004).”

    “According to new research conducted by Jupiter Research and sponsored by iProspect… 36% of search engine users believe that the companies whose websites are returned at the top of the search results are the top brands in their field. This still reinforces the increasing importance
    search can have on brand lift.(April 11, 2006)”

    Would you like more?

    By the way Scott, what’s your background? The about page on your website
    tells me nothing.