ScanSoft Bolsters Search Throughout E-Commerce Chain

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When executives with ScanSoft, a major speech and imaging technology supplier, set out to improve response from search keywords, they quickly found they needed to improve search throughout their entire e-commerce chain.


The Peabody, MA, software provider worked with Minneapolis-based Digital River, an e-commerce technology provider, on an overall search strategy that included sending prospective customers from Google to the correct landing pages on ScanSoft's site and using the most effective ad creatives to get search customers to the site.


ScanSoft needed to examine the entire e-commerce process after improving its search keyword purchasing four months into its foray into the business more than a year ago, said Ed McGuiggan, director of e-commerce at ScanSoft.


"We looked at the whole process, from the person landing on Google, then going to the shopping page, then testing each phase of that to see what performs best," he said. "The back-end tie-in allows us to see not only who clicked on [the ad], but what happened when they go to the shopping cart and how much they spend."


When ScanSoft started the program, it was purchasing 400 terms on Google, the terms the company thought would drive sales, McGuiggan said.


"When we looked at the click-throughs, some of the ones we thought would do well didn't, and vice versa," he said.


After testing with Digital River, ScanSoft selected keywords that were producing positive return on investment, tested them more and whittled its Google keywords from 400 terms to 200.


Four months later, ScanSoft saw a direct improvement in profit. It went from spending $21,000 in its first month for search keywords on Google producing $20,000 in sales for the company, to spending $6,000 on keywords that currently produce $50,000 monthly in sales.


To round out the e-commerce process, ScanSoft tested its landing pages for Google searchers and altered them. It was sending prospects directly to a shopping cart page, but they would have to find information on the product elsewhere on the site, so they would leave the shopping cart page and possibly not buy the product.


ScanSoft executives added more product information on the shopping cart page and used that as the landing page.


"We gave them enough information to purchase it on the shopping page," McGuiggan said.


Digital River created a custom landing page "that speaks to new customers and is a more aggressive direct sell," said Jim Wehman, vice president of global marketing at Digital River.


The software supplier also tested ad creative it uses alongside search terms for some of its major lines. In one test of ScanSoft's OmniPage document conversion product, it first said "OmniPage: the best way to turn paper documents into electronic documents." Though that one performed well, an ad that began by saying, "Direct from the publisher" drew a 15 percent lift in response.


ScanSoft plans to expand the search optimization and landing page testing to Yahoo and other search engines.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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