Paid Media Won't Buy Brands Love

Conductor has created a business framework and platform supporting Web Presence Management, a model that Seth Besmertnik, CEO and founder, calls the next generation of search engine optimization and digital marketing to support unpaid media.

The model -- Web Presence Management -- means reaching consumers in places where brands can't buy them, such as organic search and social sites. Early tests suggest that consumers have a strong preference to click on organic content and query results vs. paid-search advertisements.

Conductor analyzed nearly 250,000 businesses across the Web. The research suggests that paid media produces just 6% of traffic. Brands invest less than 5% of budgets in unpaid media, but Besmertnik estimates that number will easily double in the next year.

"Most Web site traffic come from unpaid media channels," he says. Citing Forrester Research data, he said "brands this year will spend more than $100 million on paid media channels, such as search, social, content, and other media."

Web Presence Management combines content marketing, SEO, and social -- enabling marketers to connect with customers off their Web sites and without paid media and ads.

In this business model, the WPM team takes responsibility for creating best practices, educating others and reporting to groups across the enterprise that create content or determine what to name products based on consumer searches. Logitech and 3M Latin America are two companies that recently named or renamed products based on the words consumers use to search the Web for the respective company's products.

The WPM concept matches with estimates from Borrell Associates that suggests brands will invest $1 of every $10 spent this year on digital services in SEO, which the analyst firm lumps into a group called Online Media Services. By 2018, the firm expects OMS to become a $708 billion business, with the majority of spend invested in unpaid media.

AutoNation said its Web sites generate more than the business from all its third-party providers combined, and plans to invest $100 million during the next several years to boost its digital offerings further, per Reuters. The goal is to reduce its dependency of online lead generation services and third-party shopping sites.

Companies like Alaska Air, EDMC and REI have already begun to change parts of their corporate structure to follow this model, per Besmertnik.

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2 comments about "Paid Media Won't Buy Brands Love ".
  1. Harry Hawk from Bread Depo, Inc , May 13, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.
    Why is he saying "unpaid" media.. there is earned, owned and paid..
  2. Stephanie Lynch from H&L Partners , May 13, 2014 at 5:29 p.m.
    Unpaid could be a new category...but agree with Harry Hawk, it makes more sense as earned. That said, this may be a solution to multichannel conversion attribution models that have typically relied on a weighted scorecard to factor first click, last click, time decay, etc. Many times the middle stuff (that gooey center of earned media) is nigh near impossible to track.