We co-hosted a presentation with Google at their Chicago office and the focus for our material was on search engine marketing and how a PPC campaign can enhance an existing SEO campaign.
We called the event our “digital breakfast”, mostly because it was early in the morning but we did put out a spread of food and some of the best coffee that money can buy! Last year’s inaugural event was a happy hour and it was a tremendous success, so we figured we would try breakfast and see if we could entice folks to come. Google’s office also made it high-tech and really comfortable.
Our material was around the knowledge you gain about your customer’s buying behavior and the control you have with where and how you display your content when running a paid search campaign.
There is a bit of a stigma out there that when you have good SEO, that paying for search advertising is either pointless or can even potentially take away from your organic traffic by cannibalizing some of your organic visitors by having them come through paid search.
We are going to share with you some research data and techniques for growing your overall traffic with PPC while preserving your existing organic traffic.
As a quick aside, I recently found out that this product is not new but in point of fact, is old. It was invented a while back, filed in the U.S. Patent office and never taken to market. The patent recently expired and somebody took it to market and it has exploded.
I think my household alone accounts for 15 percent of the global revenue for this product!
My last buyer journey started here:
My son Jack broke his fidget spinner, so what did I do? That’s right, grabbed my phone and did a Google Search:
It’s great to see that Google is already dialed in on such a new to market product as the fidget spinner, because they were already prompted me with very targeted type ahead suggestions.
I clicked on one of the selections and it loaded the search results which populated 100 percent with paid ads above the fold. I selected one of the ads, made a purchase and within a very short time and, viola! We’ve got happy Jack back!
If there is one takeaway that I would like for any of our readers to walk away with after reading this blog, it is the following fact:
Mobile Search Has Surpassed Desktop Search
For the first time in the history of the internet, mobile search has surpassed desktop. Don’t get me wrong, desktop search is growing but there are still more searches being done on mobile devices than on desktop, and the gap between them is increasing daily.
We no longer “go online”, we “live online.” I am sure if you cogitate on it long enough, you will realize the same is likely true for your journey. If there is one takeaway that I would like for our readers to walk away with after reading this blog, it’s that mobile has surpassed desktop in the volume of searches done on Google’s search engine.
Do you know how long it is for a missing phone? Seconds usually, minutes at most!
If I arrived at work and left my wallet at home, I would finish my day without my wallet. However, if I left my phone at home, I would do an about face and go get it; and If I did not have enough time for that, I would likely call my wife (who works from home remotely) and ask her if should could help me put it in an Uber to send to me. As a quick aside, have you ever Uber’d anything other than yourself?
A fear of being without a mobile device, service area, or power source.
We no longer “go online”, we “live online.”
The Problem Opportunity: The Fragmented Customer Journey
Your job as marketers is to reach customers. You’re supposed to understand them, know what they do every day, know what they want, and then use that information to market to them.
However, it’s getting harder and harder to do that every day. Why? Because the customer journey to buying something is no longer linear. It’s fragmented, and only become more so every day.
So, let’s talk about that fragmentation:
To illustrate how fragmented your audience is, let’s take a look at television for a second. Not too long ago, in the late 80s, during prime time you could reach over 25 percent of the people which is a huge percentage of the population.
Fast forward 10 years into the late 90’s and that reach does not change too much, still over 22 percent of the population.
Step on the gas another decade to 15 years and that number drops significantly to almost 5 percent of the population.
The reason for this is that your target audience is no longer required to watch their shows at prime time (in the house). They can be anywhere in the world and stream them, “on demand”, from their mobile devise.
The market within these streaming platforms is also segmented and there are more than just the few networks you would choose from. Today, people are unplugging and getting their content from Netflix, Hulu, and of course YouTube.
In addition to that, there are also a multitude of unconventional content platforms.
I like to call this the next shiny object syndrome.
These three platforms do not produce content in the typical way you are used to, however they are absolutely another place for you to reach your customer.
By the way, can anyone name all three of these? Snapchat you likely have, but what about the paper airplane and our rock and roll teddy bear?!?
Each one of these – Snapchat, Telegram and Bear, is a contemporary messaging application and has a tremendous amount of users within its network. The population inside these platforms far surpasses anything a TV network’s viewership numbers ever produced.
And now you are probably thinking that you have to worry about these too? Yes, you do.
To add a layer of complexity to the situation, factor in all of the different platforms and then try and count the different combinations of platform and device.
Buyer Journey Digital Ecosystem
Below illustrates how vast the digital ecosystem really is and how complicated it can get when you think about the combination of devices and platforms
More and more of your buyer’s journey are happening online these days, inside this fragmented ecosystem of digital platforms and devices.
You as brands have to market to your prospective buyers and do that by developing content and getting it in front of you customers WHERE they are in this ecosystem, and not only WHERE they are on their purchase journey but WHEN they are and most importantly, WHY they are (buying Jack a fidget spinner).
Finding your customer with search:
To maximize your return on investment with digital marketing, when it comes to search, it is critical that you understand commercial intent. Both your organic and paid search marketing department must work together to reach and convert your prospective customers when they are on their journey inside the digital ecosystem.
In the context of search engine marketing, intent comes from the keywords the user is searching on.
Search intent will be defined by one of the following three categories:
This is looking for a physical location. I read the wall street journal but I can never remember the website, so I always search for it.
“where can I read the wall street journal”
This is the discovery phase of the buyer’s journey and conversion funnel.
“who started the wall street journal?”
“what is the wall street journal’s market share relative to other papers?”
“what is the wall street journal’s political bias if any?”
This is the purchase phase of the buyer’s journey and conversion funnel. This user has money in hand, and is ready to buy.
“where can I buy the wall street journal?”
It is this list of keywords that will enable you as brands and marketers with one of the most important pieces of information that you can uncover about your prospective customer and that is the understanding of their purchase behavior online.
Knowing this will equip you with the knowledge to create and produce content that is optimized, tailored and customized to give you the highest probability to convert.
To be honest with you, I don’t really like marketing. I am not a fan of being suggestively advertised to. I don’t want someone to tell me to come to their restaurant to eat their burger because it’s delicious. I want to wake up in the morning and say “you know what, I want a delicious burger today” and then have this restaurant know that about me and reach me when I’m in market. That is the power of digital marketing. It is not about suggestive control, it is about bringing two people together that are already looking for each other. And if you know your customers intent, when it comes to their buyer behavior at the moment they pass from discover to purchase in the conversion funnel, you can be there with your piece of content, ready to welcome them with open arms! Here I am, and your delicious burger awaits.