Search Engine Marketing and Branding – Insights from Elite SEM’s CEO

A recent eMarketer report titled ‘Search for Branding: Tools for Better Campaigns by David Hallerman, cited our CEO, Ben Kirshner,  to explain why search engine marketing should be considered a branding tactic for all search engine marketers.  Digital executives sometimes still find it tough to prove that search is a critical ingredient in branding and that its direct results, and the data derived from it, can positively influence and color their campaigns (eMarketer, 2012). The report provides evidence to illustrate that search is a critical piece in branding strategies for all advertising campaigns, and why marketers should invest in search as part of their planning.

Ben points out that marketers should take advantage of search because it is affordable, “Search costs you next to nothing to show up. It’s probably the least expensive way for companies to brand.” Additionally, if your competitors are online, chances are you need to be more aggressive with your online presence and keyword bidding. He states, “A brand doesn’t really have to worry about their trademark or their company name. They’re going to probably be No.1 ranked organically anyway. However, for brand trademarks, if you don’t buy your name, your competitors or distributors are going to show up there.”

David Hallerman explains in his study that there are six ways brands can improve their overall strategy by incorporating search marketing: (1) to lift brand-health metrics, especially awareness and purchase intent; (2) to drive traffic to brand sites for further engagement; (3) to gain insight to the audience’s intent and perceptions of both the brand and its category, as well as a deeper understanding of a brand’s competition; (4) to support other advertising, both online and offline; (5) to make the most of branded content, and (6) to attract customers indirectly.

SEM goes beyond showing up when people search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, it is a targeted strategy and the best part about search engine marketing is that it works for branding too. While a majority of online retailers are investing heavily in their paid search marketing efforts, there are some who are on the fence. This study shows that marketers of these online businesses can no longer afford to hesitate. Google itself is a $200 billion dollar industry, if you are not integrating your marketing efforts with these search engines, you’re already losing.

A June 2012 study by eMarketer found that the vast majority of US internet users used search engines either daily (63.5%) or fairly often (21.0%).

frequency with which US internet users use search engines, June 2012
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