Search marketing – both paid search ads and search engine optimization (SEO) – are tried and true performance marketing tactics to convert customers. As such, retailers have invested heavily for years in paid search – we are forecasting that retailers in the US will spend a whopping $7.8 billion in paid search this year. And a good chunk of that will come in the final quarter of the year. With the holiday season gearing up, we must talk about some things to keep in mind regarding your search marketing strategy this year.
- Allocate at least 10% of your paid search budget for “risks”. Many retailers we speak with are very cautious with how they allocate their paid search dollars. It’s common for us to speak with retail companies that spend anywhere from 40% to 90% of their paid search budget on “branded terms” (i.e., words like “Old Navy sweater” or “Dell laptop”). The problem with doing that? You are often capturing customers that already know about or are loyal to your brand. Our advice: take 10% of your budget and take some risks on those consumers that aren’t already your customers. Invest in non-branded terms further up in the customer lifecycle that you haven’t been willing to invest in – it will help increase ROI on your branded terms and increase awareness with customers you don’t already have a relationship with.
- Sync up your paid search campaigns with paid social campaigns. Retailers are planning to increase spend on social marketing more than any other channel this year. But search is right behind social – 51% of retailers said they will spend more on paid search in 2019 than 2018. Your opportunity: coordinate your paid search and paid social campaigns. Facebook and Google dominate the discover and explore stages of the customer lifecycle and should not be looked at as separate strategies this holiday season. Look to social campaigns to generate awareness and customer demand in the discovery phase and use search campaigns to convert those customers on your website when they are intentionally looking to buy. Your search and social teams will be the best of friends at your company holiday party.
- Do not forget about SEO. Good ol’ SEO is still alive and well! Most retailers with ecommerce websites get most of their site traffic from people searching on Google and then clicking on their organic links in the search results. This means you have to be on top of your SEO process and ensure that SEO best practices are being met by web developers, content writers, and anyone else that touches your website. Most importantly: make sure you are optimizing your mobile website since more than 50% of searches on Google occur on mobile devices.
This post was written by Analyst Collin Colburn, and originally appeared here.