Search Marketing 101: the Basics For Beginners


This SES New York 2009 session, “Search Advertising 101,”  was especially geared toward the SEO novice, with details on programs from major providers and advice on how to succeed.

The assembled audience was comprised of small business owners, agency representatives and in-house advertising representatives. The panelists provided a well rounded program chock full of sound basic approaches to what can be a very daunting road to travel.

The Moderator was: Mark Jackson, SEW Expert & President/CEO, VIZION Interactive. Speakers/Panelists: Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster, Mona Elesseily, Director of Marketing Strategy, Page Zero Media, Jay Sears, EVP, Strategic Products & Business Development, ContextWeb, Inc. / ADSDAQ Exchange

Matt Van Wagner entered from stage left and provided the group with a view of Search Advertising from 30,000′ (not literally, he was standing on the stage). His “back to basics” marketing 101 approach provides a solid base from which to work. He covered everything from ad structure to ad copy to quality score metrics with very strong clarity. Here is a snapshot of his approach.

Why He loves PPC
• New business friendly. Cost effective and quick to implement.
• Simple  and targeted ads are effective
• Targeted geographic approaches
• Investment in PPC is measurable and readily accountable to ROI models
PPC and SEO work well in concert.  They complement each other.
• Quick to implement and work well in conjunction.
• Strong model to manage risk and algorithm changes
• Predictable, dependable flow of traffic. Constant maintenance and activity can ensure a steady long term flow.
PPC allows you more control over your messaging
• You control the messaging through the use of text
• You determine what pages visitors see first
PPC is not “Said it and forget it”. It is a constant process. Remain active.
• You must create sustainable advantages. It’s not just about keywords, ads and bids. There are many more factors to creating strong PPC campaigns and they change every day.
• Develop a disciplined plan and use it. Create a system of constant testing and constant personal and client education…..and more testing.
Matt’s advice is simple.
“Get it right on google first…and then kick it around to the others.” And “If you don’t define success, you will not know how to get there”.

Next at the controls was Mona Elesseily and her top 10 list for Ad copy. Drumroll please………

1. Include Keywords in ad copy
• Be specific
• Keywords in ad copy are proven to increase conversion rates
• Acts as reinforcement for the consumer
2. Use Appropriate ad tone
• Gear ad copy to your industry category
3. Filter clicks
• Use the right ad copy to get the right people to click on your ads
4. Gear Ads to different buyers needs
• Price conscious (or unconscious), reassurance, Deals (buy it now!)
5. Consider the buy cycle
• People go through several stages before they purchase.
6. Include a direct Call to action (CTA)
• Be efficient. Limited space.
• Encourage action
• Helps in the tracking. Focuses the process.
• Spell it out. Be specific/literal.
7. Testing Yields results
• The way you will get conclusive results is through testing.
8. Use Multivariate testing
• Test multiple variables at the same time.
• Here is a great link to an awesome free tool to use for Mutivariate testing.
9. Get statistically significant data…and use it
• Provides you with the information backbone to fuel your message and placement
10. Ad copy takes time. Brainstorm!
• Segments (offers, CTA’s, USP’s, headlines ect.)
• String together in various combinations.
• Dynamics are evolving constantly. Language should be topical and relevant.
• Go for a walk, come back refreshed and then revisit the copy.
If there was a main theme running through this presentation it was “support all of your online marketing efforts with regimen of constant testing”.  (mine)
• Testing over time is key
• You will find that you will test in more detail as you acquire more experience. It will be less broad and more specific. This will come with time. Be patient.
Mona spoke of a couple of common test mistakes to avoid.
• Use more than one ad. Many “Newbies” do not use enough.
• Too many ads in play. Relax. The remainder of the “Newbies” go to the other extreme.
• Mutivariate testing is better served on high traffic volume sites than on low traffic volume sites.
She then made the unpopular move of sticking the group with homework. Let’s just say I have a dog and it has homework eating disorder.
Jay Sears took center stage (more to the far left behind a podium) and helped the audience navigate the issue of content based advertising.
• If you only by search you are missing 95% of the time consumers spend online.  Only 5% of a consumer’s time is spent searching. If you only buy search you are missing the boat.
• Search is not advertising it is demand fulfillment. Search is for closure.
• Content advertising will grow considerably in the next 12-24 months. Inventory is not an issue.  Over 1 million websites currently offer opportunities for Content ad placement. Search is at a saturation point.

Demand Generation versus Demand Fulfillment
• Search is about the “Last Click”.
• Content advertising is about “Demand Generation”.
• Separate your content and search ad groups.  Content drives scale, Search is efficient direct to conversion.
• Content advertising is more of a portfolio approach to marketing. Implicit interest. Cast a wide net.
• Search is Narrow and targeted.
• Keywords do not work as well in content advertising. They can appear out of context. Keywords assume explicit interest by the user.
• Content advertising ad copy needs to go wide. You are “Implying” interest.

Make sure you build your Content ad message to fit the model
• Scream! Grab their attention
• Bribe. Make it worth their while.
• Be emotional. Fear and Curiosity are strong drivers

Content Advertising plays well with others
• Highly effective when used in conjunction with Search advertising methods. It has proven time and again to provide significant and measurable”lift” to overall campaigns. Paid search conversion increases an average of 22% when used in concert with Content methods.
• Brand specific keywords searches increase.
• Reinforcement is a powerful tool

Don’t wait for the last click. With the application of Content advertising into existing Search campaigns you will get into the purchase continuum earlier, allow your brands to spend more time with the consumers and ultimately improve your conversion rates.
There is a constant evolution with new opportunities emerging every day.

Incredible innovation at all price levels.  Most tools available to the big boys are readily available to the smaller businesses and can provide the same success (to scale). Explore new options, implement new ideas and remember, there will always be a test afterwards.

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