SES roundtable: Search shouldn't take all the credit

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Search marketing often gets credit for the final sale or conversion, even when it shouldn't, according to a roundtable discussion today at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose.

“Search [often] gets credit for everything,” admitted Mikel Chertudi, senior director of online and demand marketing at Omniture.

Chertudi explained that companies typically credit the last source of a sale, which is often paid search. However, a user may see a banner ad, receive an e-mail and then click on a paid search ad before making a purchase, and he stressed that all three of these contributing channels should be measured.

Chertudi added that it's important not to ignore the other channels in the marketing mix, whether they are offline or online. He also cautioned that, without measuring correctly, marketers are in danger of underspending or overspending in different channels.

Randy Peterson, search marketing innovation manager for Procter & Gamble, added that it's also important for marketers to keep the branding value and sales value of search and other forms of marketing in mind.

Determining credit is not a perfect science, added Sharon Gallacher, West Coast managing director at Neo@Ogilvy. “It's going to be complicated and messy,” she said. Different media channels are doing different jobs, so companies should work not “get distracted by the easy numbers,” she advised.

For example, when measuring display advertising, Chertudi urged conference attendees to be aware of cookie expiration settings. In addition, marketers shouldn't ignore the impact of ads that users may see but not click on, he said.

Peterson added that it is important to remember that many people delete their cookies once a month.

Above all, Bill Hunt, CEO of Global Strategies International said that marketers must “get comfortable with not having the perfect answer.”

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