Dual Paid Search Strategy (ROI & Branding) is the Way to Go for Retailers

Posted by Lauren Woiteshek, Account Manager

Retailers should have a ROI-focused search strategy, but during important promotions and seasonal events, they should also invest in high funnel generic keywords to drive brand awareness.  This branding strategy can vary depending on the particular promotion and budget, but should be used to reach consumers who are in the research phase of the purchase cycle.  Branding via paid search is particularly important given the current state of the economy, as consumers are spending more time researching and looking for the best product or deal before they buy.  The effect of a branding strategy is that you’re targeting customers new to your brand, or even new products to existing customers.  This strategy should also be used when you’re launching a new brand or expanding into a new market.

A branding campaign should be managed differently than an ROI program.  The main focus of the strategy is volume.  Main success KPIs should be impressions, clicks and impression share.  Keywords should be managed by position; you should aim for the top of the page (positions 1-5).  You need to be seen on the first page of the SERP in order to achieve sufficient visibility for your brand.  Copy in a branding strategy needs to be creative and catchy.  Brand messaging and the value proposition must be highlighted.

A paid search branding strategy will aid in creating a strong and consistent brand message that will resonate with your target consumer.  The main goal of the campaign is to get the consumer to remember your brand when they go to make a purchase.  The branding strategy pays off indirectly- it encourages people to search and convert through brand terms when they have a need for your product.  It can also influence offline sales.  Click attribution models are useful in tracking the effectiveness of a branding campaign.  For instance, a consumer may search on a generic term early in the purchase cycle and click on your ad.  That consumer may not purchase right then, but may be influenced by your branding ad and convert later through a brand term search.

If you’re a retailer thinking of testing a paid search branding strategy, a good way to start is to put a small budget to a specific test market.  For instance, create a campaign for a specific city or state.  Then measure the results by seeing if overall conversions and searches on your brand rise.  If this strategy works, roll it out at a national level.

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