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Corporate advertisers are allocating search engine marketing budgets mostly for direct sales rather than building brand awareness, according to preliminary findings from a Radar Research survey for the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.
Early data from the sample of corporate advertisers shows 59 percent see direct sales as their primary objective in SEM programs, the 2006 SEMPO market survey said.
Brand awareness as an objective has lost its top spot from last year, with only 53 percent of respondents seeing that as their prime reason to use SEM. Forty-eight percent cited lead generation.
The report also states that organic search SEO is still the preferred way to spend marketing budget dollars, with 9 out of 10 senior managers either moderately or heavily involved in SEM.
After all - pay for sales means you keep paying to keep having sales. Pay for branding means once you're well branded you can stop or just keep the brand 'topped up'. I know which I'd like if I was selling advertising...
Radio was similar, with "come and get it right now" ads for local retailers.
TV, meanwhile, was about building brand: Singing about Coke, laughing at the hamburger clown, looking at the girls with the beer, or feeling good about your stock broker.
Still, some use newspapers to build brand and others use TV to drive immediate sales. But, I think this report is right. Search ads are about sales mostly.
The big question is whether advertisers want sales rather than branding... or if it's actually the publishers/providers who are pushing them into the sales model
This is most likely the correct answer. I've seen it happen first hand and there are the traditional hurdles to overcome in the branding world.
The Internet has been so hyped up as a direct response vehicle over the years that the folks in charge of the advertising budgets for branding really don't understand it well and the ad networks certainly don't have a clue as to how to brand effectively. They haven't had to so I can understand why but if effective branding within an ad network were done then I think you would see brand dollars being spent more and more every day.
But the novelty of having the hard data will wear off, and the importance of branding will become clear. Big internet firms like Amazon and eBay clearly are already using SEM for branding effectively.
Seems online, there is also branding within a certain ROI. Lots of times there will be different buckets of keywords. Brand terms will show a really "high ROI", then you'll have some good generic converters and then there will be others that generate some sales, maybe $0.25 - $1.00 for every dollar spent in click costs. They are clearly not "profitable" but companies bid to be in the top 5 or so spots because they need to be there for "branding" purposes and may see an overall lift in sales (branding effect) even if they cannot track it directly back to the ads.
They are clearly not "profitable" but companies bid to be in the top 5 or so spots because they need to be there for "branding" purposes and may see an overall lift in sales (branding effect) even if they cannot track it directly back to the ads
This is the part where the networks don't have a clue as to how to brand effectively. Being in the top spot to 'brand' may be how it is viewed and even sold today but it is just wrong.
Search for 'Chevrolet' on Google and you will indeed see a Chevrolet ad first but it is for a red tag sale. What is the branding message there? See some red, save some green? What happened to 'built like a rock'? That is a branding message not save some green :-/
So does the actual search ad do the branding or is it the interaction with the site that enforces the "built like a rock" in whihc case the text search ad really just serves to get someone to interact with the brand?
It is the ad itself that does the branding. Branding is normally a very short interaction time wise so the branding message itself is short and to the point and through repetition to the same person it is easily remembered. Visiting the site will no doubt add to it but the message itself is the key. I'm guessing that most people will forget all about the message you see for Chevrolet now but they'll remember the 4 words 'built like a rock' for a long time :-)
But it also goes much deeper than that. Better branding for Chevrolet is to also know who is most likely to buy an SUV versus a Corvette since those buyers are normally different types of people. This is where print, radio and television can segment certain profiles and while the branding message certainly overlaps into households that are not in the profile it works reasonably well.
A user who is actively searching for something (anything) is a very different user than someone vegging out on the couch in front of the TV, or even flipping through a magazine. There are a lot of ways to compare them, but in other ways you've got apples and oranges
Nope...if you talking about the same person then they are the same person. The actions they are doing are absolutely different but I for one am the same person with the same mindset whether I'm in front of the computer or driving or sitting on the couch.
This is exactly why direct response has been pushed through the years. It's the same old line...a searcher on the Internet is more likely to buy now...without regard to who the person really is. It's the action that everyone has been worried about and actions alone cannot be used for branding.
Fact is, corporate advertisers are spending plenty of cash on Internet brand advertising, and one of the big research companies (it may have been Forrester) published a report a few months back that forecast greater growth for display ads than for search ads between now and the end of the decade.
SEM is the online equivalent of direct mail: It's a valuable tool, but for mainstream corporate advertisers, it's just one item in the toolkit.
Now my thinking is that if someone is searching for you by name then you are much more likely to get a sale, so if you can build a brand as well as a site then you are twice as likely to succeed.
I'm certainly looking at the 'brandabilty' of new sites much more these days than I ever use to, even if I'm not spending raw $ trying to build a brand.
Branding never paid no bills. Sure, it will help with corporate ego or is of some help when pushing up to an IPO or similar, but the value of a brand is always it's ability to produce revenue.
The relationship between building a brand and making more sales is tricky to define. The relationship between online marketing spend and bottom line impact is just maths.
Ask any CEO which they would prefer and I reckon the answer would depend on the position of their business in its corporate growth cycle:-
New business, building sales = more sales
Established business, building shareholder value = brand value, but even then, not at the expense of sales volume.
You can sell a business with good profits and no brand recognition, but not vice versa.
Gotta say I read the title of this thread and it made me laugh.
You can safely ignore the thread title--this thread isn't about whether Internet advertisers are interested in sales instead of branding; it's about whether SEM advertisers are more interested in sales than in branding. (Which is like asking if businesses are looking to achieve sales or branding when they use direct-mail offers.)
Many Internet advertisers spend fortunes on branding, but they do it with display ads--not AdWords/AdSense, YPN, Kanoodle, and other text ads.
The exception being the ubiquitous Ebay et al ads ..and spam is branding however inelegantly it's done
[edited by: Leosghost at 6:09 pm (utc) on Dec. 3, 2006]