Unleash the power of search and analytics

Share this article:

Web site visitor footprints, real-time analytics, geographic micro-targeting and search engine strategies can optimize your marketing efforts. Four experts share how to use these technologies to drive sales.

Michael Mendenhall

SVP and CMO, HP

Given the economic climate and consumers' reluctance to spend, one of the most important things you can do to drive e-commerce is integrate search with other marketing initiatives. Search is a great capture tool that can help boost the performance of other channels and net the created demand. Too often, marketing programs ignore the search component and end up creating a significant amount of demand which then is not captured.

To successfully integrate search with other marketing efforts, consider three key things: First, collaborate with your counterparts in other marketing channels. Ideally, you want to keep them informed about upcoming search initiatives and share appropriate performance data. Conversely, these other channels should do the same for search in order to capture the campaign's resulting demand. Ultimately, it's a CMO's responsibility to foster this collaborative environment and ensure integration.

Next, take your best performing keywords, messages and calls to action from these search campaigns and integrate those into other marketing initiatives. Should you get any pushback, sharing the performance data will help facilitate integration and realize a faster buy-in.

Lastly, establish integrated campaign metrics. Doing so will ensure that everyone is speaking the same language so you can truly measure the success of integrated efforts versus simply isolated campaign elements.

Bottom line: in applying these three principles to programs, remember the following: Ensure there's alignment within marketing channels. Everyone needs to be on the same page with a collective plan for the various promotions, including budget allocation, programs to use and messaging. Look at key data to set messaging for search programs, including historical metrics to determine the appropriate keywords and calls to action. Also, look at competitors messaging for new trends and nuances in the industry. Finally, look at measurement. Defining metrics for success is an essential element that needs to be defined by business leaders.

The Takeaway

Using SEM in tandem with other DM efforts can help drive sales

John McAteer

Managing director retail industry team, Google

'Tis the season to analyze data. According to a survey by Google and Compete, consumers spent an increasing amount of time on retail sites as last year's holiday season progressed, with the most intense engagement occurring around Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post-Christmas weekends. During these weekends, consumers took time to research and take advantage of seasonal sales.

This seasonal uptick in research and interest makes it more important than ever for retailers to know how visitors interact with their Web site throughout the season, so they can track ROI and optimize for better user experience and conversion rates. Information such as where visitors came from, what they did on the site and whether they reached any of a retailer's conversion goals is incredibly useful — and is easy to learn, with the help of analytics.

So during the holiday season, and always, we remind our customers to think. Here are some ideas: Take a look at the footprints of Web site visitors, noting how they arrived, where they clicked and how they departed. Harness the power of analytics data, in order to make the Web site and user experience more user-friendly. Integrate analytics information into other data sources, in order to conduct offline or other cross-functional analysis. Noodle over the effectiveness of various approaches, by comparing how metrics interact over time. Finally, carefully scrutinize what is working and what is not.

Customers are flying blind if they aren't tracking their Web site's performance with Web analytics, which doesn't make for a happy holiday season. In the world of e-commerce, ignorance is not bliss, so those who don't take advantage of analytics this year may be making it their New Year's resolution for next year.

The Takeaway

For a 360-degree view of customers, track everything from search to conversion

David Selinger

CEO, RichRelevance

Online marketers have invested heavily into sophisticated SEM and SEO techniques to drive traffic to their sites, and most are adept at creating and optimizing landing pages for a good percent of our audience. But there's not enough time in the day to create a custom landing page for every paid search term, and no one can control where a customer lands via organic search. Surges in new search behavior, called "micro-trends," can appear in a matter of hours or even minutes — for example, the impact of Michael Jackson's tragic death on music sales or searches for snow blowers during a blizzard. Marketers that want to maximize their search ROI must do more to capture the analytics opportunity of this dynamic search behavior. This requires moving to a real-time analytics model — analyzing individuals' immediate behavior when searching, browsing and clicking to deliver highly-relevant content at every minute.

Real-time analytics technologies allow retail sites to capture visitors' immediate behavior to deliver in-the-minute personalized product suggestions on any page — responding to the individual search terms and reducing the number of custom landing pages needed. What's more, real-time analytics help marketers capitalize on search microtrends by dynamically adapting the products presented throughout the shopping cycle to the surging interest.

Here's an example of real-time analytics in action. When a searcher looks for "Ryobi drill" and clicks a paid or organic search link to get to your site, he should see results for the five leading drills you sell — not just land on a generalized category page for drills, hardware or tools. If the landing page is direct-to-product, which can be as much as 40% of some site-traffic, the consumer should be presented with recommendations related to his search term.

Traditional analytics packages are fundamental and necessary for developing a SEO and SEM budget. But to maximize your investment in SEO and SEM, show your customers exactly the products they want in real-time.

If you give consumers what they want, sales move only in one direction: up.

The Takeaway

To decrease wasted ROI, real-time analytics can help

Michael Kahn

SVP of marketing, Performics

Marketers have long segmented their consumer base through geo-targeting at the country, state, city and ZIP code levels. In search, a retailer with a strong regional presence, like Modell's, can use geo-targeting to optimize campaigns in states where it is a strong brand separately from states where consumers are not as familiar with it. Now, a more "micro" type lets marketers fine-tune campaigns beyond simply selecting the states in which to serve ads. This focused method of geo-targeting can be used to target shoppers with different offers by locale, almost like an online FSI. This eliminates targeting shoppers in another locale where the branch isn't offering the same promotion.

Google's custom targeting features give marketers the ability to move beyond traditional geographic segmentation by defining complex targeting by longitude and latitude. Marketers are starting to leverage these tightly defined areas to serve different offers based on the likelihood to visit a bricks-and -mortar location. This concept beats radius targeting, because it factors in overall drive time, taking into consideration obstacles like lakes, mountains traffic and more.

Once consumers are further identified, different strategies can be used to capture different consumers. This includes discrimination in bid strategies for different types of consumers, as well as versioned paid search ad copy, landing pages and user experience. This enables a marketer to prioritize marketing investment. For instance, we have found that if a consumer lives close to a store, they are more likely to buy there. The retailer would thus bid more aggressively for mission-critical keywords where this multichannel consumer lives.

"Micro-targeting" provides marketers the ability to geographically segment audiences based on psychographic, demographic and other buying patterns based on data. Layering these data uncovers actionable behavioral information about searchers in given locations.

The Takeaway

Get locale-specific with geo-targeting to drive online consumers to the store

Share this article:

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Digital Marketing

Microsoft Set to Overtake Yahoo in Ad Revenues

Microsoft Set to Overtake Yahoo in Ad Revenues

Marissa Mayer can take credit for reversing ad declines. Still, her company will fall out of digital's Top 3 by year's end, according to eMarketer.

Oracle Announces Enhancements to its Marketing Cloud

Oracle Announces Enhancements to its Marketing Cloud

It continues to integrate functionalities from BlueKai, Responsys, and Eloqua.

In the Age of Storytelling, Is the CTA Still Viable?

In the Age of Storytelling, Is the CTA ...

Marketers have always put calls-to-action in messaging, but research suggests that sequenced ads may be more effective.