Demand for search marketing pros extends beyond search

Paid search experts manage microtargeted, highly dynamic campaigns and understand the art and science of optimizing performance media. They know how to work the levers and dials of pay-per-click marketing, including keyword selection, ad copy, landing pages, bid and budget management, to generate strong ROI on every media dollar.

Other media channels are increasingly beginning to utilize this same approach and skill set. Players ranging from Google to eBay to newspaper consortia to smaller comers like Spot Runner are seeking to make TV, radio and print media work more like search marketing.

Online, more and more ad impressions are becoming available in bidded, dynamic and optimizable channels. The recent proliferation of advertising exchanges is a response to marketers’ desire for more transparency than ad networks with the direct control of the levers and performance metrics they have come to expect from search.

Social networks offer yet another channel well suited for the search skill set. Many have criticized marketing in social networks, with recent press coverage citing that the channel is not performing. The industry must understand that, to date, these campaigns have consisted of large budget committed buys at a fixed CPM, investments focused primarily on achieving brand impressions.

Starting with a search marketer’s skill set, marketing within social networks can work much better, be far more accountable and embody the performance-based attributes search marketers have come to appreciate.

During a recent holiday, for example, a marketer of gifts with long-running and successful search and contextual advertising programs executed a performance-based social media campaign, running cost-per-click ads on a popular social network and targeting ad copy to users based on profile data. It ended up generating substantial orders at an ROI that outperformed search and ranked on par with the contextual program. In fact, compared to contextual targeting, the program generated more than double the impressions, 1.5 times the clicks and just slightly fewer orders per media dollar.

The search marketing skill set will only continue to gain value as more media embrace the performance-based approach. Naturally, every channel has its nuances, but buying with an eye to optimizing across thousands of placements with creative testing, placement testing, budget allocations, bid changes, landing page testing and offer testing on a daily basis can drive positive ROI in seemingly unlikely places. Fortunately, search pros are among the few players in online marketing who live and breathe this methodology every day.

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