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Direct Response Marketing

Net Gains: When TV Makes Search Smarter, Better and More Cost-Effective

1 Sep, 2012 By: Robert B. Yallen Response

Search has become the common denominator in advertising and marketing — the Yellow Pages of the 21st century.

Few marketers are going to argue the efficiencies of search. Undisputed research indicates that 75 percent of people intend to purchase when searching and that 90 percent of Internet users do not go past the top 30 results. However, search — like all things in our vast universe — has its place in a marketer’s media strategy.

But what you are experiencing today is much like the heyday of Yellow Pages advertising, where many marketers overspent by running less-than-optimal campaigns utilizing too large of an ad, using color when it wasn’t necessary, buying every heading they could think of, and — oftentimes — in books that nobody ever used.

Today, a lot of advertisers waste money in search. The biggest inefficiency that we see is in highly competitive niche verticals, where paid search gets very expensive and, thus, much less efficient. With so many advertisers striving for top placement with just a few high-traffic keywords, it’s common to see cost-per-clicks skyrocket into the stratosphere. In the DR space, paying high click costs diminishes the effectiveness that the search channel is known to deliver.

It’s best not to waste time and money in a “bidding war” for traffic over a few keywords. Rather, it’s much wiser to take a comprehensive strategic media mix approach where the synergistic results of a multichannel media campaign improves your reach, while, at the same time, builds frequency and consistency that — in turn — improves overall performance.

Many search companies love to tout the high click-through rates they can produce with their search campaigns. However, those with roots in the direct response space know that the key to success is the quality of the leads — not just more clicks.

Offline media — specifically television — increases search traffic. Therefore, through a properly executed approach, marketers can actually influence what terms people are searching for. With targeted television and creative messaging, a campaign can move people away from the few expensive keywords and into more branded or long-tail terms that perform better at lower costs. Not only does advertising on TV allow you to shift the conversation, but its unparalleled reach will generate traffic you would not have received through a search-only campaign.

For example, in the highly competitive insurance vertical, you can spend $54.91 per click on the general high-traffic keyword “insurance.” However, if you were to focus your search to something more specific to your target audience, such as “term life insurance,” the cost-per-click is about $1.80. The targeted keyword is much more cost efficient and will have a better click-through rate, producing more qualified traffic to your site. Adding a targeted TV campaign to your media mix will more than compensate for any loss of search volume when using long-tail keywords.

The formula for success is to marry the efficiencies of search with the reach, added credibility and branding of television advertising. In a recent campaign for a client within a very niche vertical, this strategy increased lead production by 40 percent, while lowering the cost-per-lead by more than 70 percent — a pattern that has remained consistent.

No other medium has ever matched the automatic trust, credibility and reach of television. Often the excuse for not investing in TV is budgetary. Many think it’s too expensive and often spend more on search than what they would have on a more efficient TV-with-search-support campaign. I can’t tell you how many times we have seen marketers — who were previously running search-only campaigns — kick themselves after seeing the results in a hybrid TV-and-search campaign. Of course, the superior rates that come with knowledgeable DRTV media buying don’t hurt either.

The reality is that no one advertising medium is the solution to any marketer’s needs. Every medium has some level of saturation that causes overspending and underperformance. In a tough economy, people are doing more research before making purchase decisions. They have to hear about a product through multiple media channels before they trust the brand with their business. Diversification across media platforms helps increase brand trust and is essential to superior ROI and the overall success of your marketing efforts.

About the Author: Robert B. Yallen

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