Problem Solver: How can I optimize search during tough economic times?

Share this content:
Problem Solver: How can I optimize search during tough economic times?
Problem Solver: How can I optimize search during tough economic times?

With the US economy in a decline of historic proportions, a slew of recessionary experts have emerged with suggestions for how to advertise in a recession. Take search advertising. The last time a recession hit, Google was still a noun, not a verb, and its stake in the game was actually strengthened as Yahoo lost share due to display markets dropping. It also didn't hurt that it was still a growing private company. So, those professing a playbook for search advertising in a recession can only do so based on a quick study or by having a portfolio large enough to gather quick trending in the space.

There are strategic solutions we have utilized in normal times — when firms have faced market conditions outside the norm — that are worthy of our consideration:

Squeeze the most from all media As times become tight, a natural reaction many have is to cut media. Usually, 
TV is first. Yet in every case we've 
measured, when a cut is made in over-
all TV advertising, the impact is felt in search. One study we conducted in the retail space found that more than one-third of query volume is directly correlated to other media, with two-thirds of that coming from TV. 

When advertisers want to start hacking out of a given channel, we advise them to understand the implications. Likewise, when we spend a dollar in another channel, we need for it to pay off 
in search. This means the alignment of search buys with TV, local radio or print and our geo-targeted messaging in given designated market areas — as well as alignment with in-store offers and online messaging. Delivery needs to be precise and aligned to ensure maximum return across all channels.

King for a day, or a lifetime? Rap group Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar before Martin Scorsese. Ricky Martin had more No. 1 hits than the Grateful Dead. But if we measured achievement by a career view vs. a short-term view of who's on top, we'd see who won the marathon vs. the sprint. The application to search is similar. Advertisers are obsessed with being on top. A No. 1 paid search listing puts them into consideration before all others. However, if a trade-off between return and revenue is an option, then a solution exists for most advertisers. Advertisers have seen a 40% decrease in costs by vacating the top position to move down into the No. 3 to No. 5 positions, while actually creating an improved ROI.

Stay relevant Searches for coupons 
and discounts have surged as the economy weakens. For large advertisers, there's a waiting goldmine surrounding their brand terms. For those less fortunate, the best option is to look for differentiators in products and offerings that can be translated into long-tail keywords and less competitive terms. The more spend that's invested in keywords that are cheaper and more targeted, the better your performance. Likewise, if you are going to invest up the funnel into awareness and consideration keywords, do so with an eye to their assisting nature. 

Success is possible regardless of economic influences. The key is to take intelligence you gain during good times and focus it during weak environments. With a bit of luck and the application of stringent behavior, you'll find not only a means to survive, but opportunities to prosper.

You can reach Chris Copeland at


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above