Tag Archives: yahoo

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Much has been written (and rightly so) about the value of paid-search advertising and its ability to deliver potential customers actively seeking information about a product or service. And advertisers have bought into the paid-search model in a big way, with a 2010 estimate of a cool $30 billion — just under half of all online ad spending.  But what advertisers haven’t been aware of is that paid search has been benefiting them in other ways, as well. This is a phenomenon known as the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” (Unintended consequences are those unplanned things that occur as a result of some action.) While most unintended consequences have a negative connotation associated with them, the opposite is true for paid search. Specifically, there are two areas where companies with paid-search programs have benefited: branding and improving organic-search results.

Studies done by both Google and Yahoo indicate that paid search helps improve branding, brand perception, and purchase intent. The key findings of the 2008 Google study reveal “…when the test brand appears in paid search positions, unaided awareness and purchase intent increase for that brand.” The survey also took into consideration the impact on competitive brands. It concluded that “… when the test brand appears in paid search positions, unaided and aided awareness decrease for other brands.”

The 2008 Yahoo study “…found that brands generated an average 160% increase in unaided awareness by being present in standard sponsored-text search results compared with when consumers weren’t exposed to their search ads.” It also found that consumers were 20 percent more likely to have positive perceptions of brands in the top paid-search position than those in second or third positions, and 30 percent more likely to consider purchasing a product when the brand was at the top of paid-search results.

While both these studies were done for the consumer package goods category, I believe that the same holds true for other categories. I’m not proposing that paid search will help unaided awareness by 160 percent in all categories. However, a paid-search impression helps create recognition in a potential customer’s mind. And that’s what an advertiser is seeking.

Additionally, a good paid-search campaign will also help boost a brand’s organic-search listing by increasing site traffic. Increased site traffic helps a brand’s relevancy scores in the paid-search algorithms. So, even when a brand might not be served as a paid listing, it may show at the top of the organic listings. Either way, it’s a win/win for an advertiser.

While the unintended consequences may often be negative, it’s not the case in paid search. Clients who make an investment in paid search will see a positive effect on their brand’s marketing efforts, and that’s an “intended” consequence.

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Media Services

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Filed under advertising, Paid Search

They’re Talking about You. The Importance of Monitoring Social Media

Your customers are talking about you.  Are you listening?

With the explosion of social media outlets and people talking about your brand as well as your competitors, it has become more important to monitor this space for several reasons.  You should monitor this space to: manage your reputation, protect your brand, track a product launch or acquisition, measure the response of a campaign, listen to thoughts and opinions, analyze buzz, track your competitors, inform strategy, and determine ROI.

You should definitely be checking your brand’s Facebook and Twitter stats on a regular basis.  In addition to this, there are numerous tools to help you monitor your brand and the conversations that are occurring.  Some are as simple (and free) as alerts from Google or Yahoo!, where you can subscribe to keywords or URLs.  Google even has a blog search alert to help you wade through blogs that don’t always appear on the main Google search engine.

If you don’t want to do it yourself, your agency or a third-party company can help in this area.  Kilgannon provides three levels of social media monitoring for our clients:

  1. Basic reporting
  2. Basic reporting + analysis/interpretation of the data
  3. Basic reporting + analysis/interpretation of the data + brand dashboard

The basic reporting includes measurement of:

  1. Posts by day (including summaries of each one)
  2. Key discussion topics (word clouds – a visual representation of frequency of key words associated with the brand)
  3. Sentiment (positive, mixed, negative)
  4. Word and category analysis (adjectives, positives, negatives)
  5. Topic trends
  6. Where the content is coming from (e.g., blogs, microblogs, forums, etc.)
  7. Key sources of mentions (including relevance, number of posts, and influence)
  8. How top sources may link to each other

It also includes flagging of any unusual spikes as well as anything that requires an appropriate response.

Of course, listening is only step one.  Once you’ve mastered this, then it’s time to engage your agency to help you participate in the conversation by creating a brand presence and content (e.g., fan pages, Wikipedia pages, Twitter feeds, blog posts, YouTube channel, etc.).  But that’s a topic for a different blog!

– Stephen Weinstein – Director of Account Management

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Just because it’s social media, it doesn’t mean you can ignore search

When we begin assisting our clients in their social media efforts, one of the most common mistakes we find is a lack of consideration for search. Many times we even have difficulty finding their Web pages ourselves. The assumption is that because it’s social, it will live on its own without the need to worry about search. That it will go viral like a YouTube video of a kid acting silly.

Unfortunately, brands can’t count on that happening – no matter how important, funny or engaging your content is. Let’s say you are the Acme Cookie Company and you have a cookie called the Acme Wafer. It would not be uncommon to see a company set up a FaceBook or Twitter account as WaferLover.

So what’s the problem with that? There’s no reference to Acme or cookies. So when a customer searches for Acme cookies on Google, Facebook or Twitter, they won’t be able to find the page. The effort to create a fun, engaging brand experience ends up for naught.

Even worse, the product name isn’t even searchable because the name runs together.  And since the page isn’t promoted with advertising, the business is relying on sheer luck for customers to find their page. This doesn’t have to be the case. Just make sure you follow a little common sense.

Make sure your username and your information contain your brand name and/or company name. “Acme” or “Acme_Cookies” as usernames will most likely be found by search engines. Using Acme Wafers, written as two separate words, works better as the name of the page. Also, make sure your profile description or bio has relevant keyword information. That way, both your brand and your customers will have a much easier time engaging.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer

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Filed under Social Media, Uncategorized