Search Marketing Enhances CPG Food Brands

Search marketing is a tool that is still too often ignored by CPG food marketers. Their slow adoption of search can be attributed to a difficulty in defining success and traditional ROI metrics that are a challenge to determine. As a result, CPG food marketers have been slow to incorporate paid search into their overall marketing mix and strategy, unlike e-retail and other lead-generation industries where the benefits are measurable in real-time. In addition to paid search, CPG food brands often forget to think about organic search as part of any website development efforts. Some of the most neglected websites for basic SEO practices are CPG food websites; both brand and promotional sites.

In the past year, however, new information on search's positive effects on CPG food brands has helped these marketers better understand why search should be included into their overall media mix. As a result, more CPG food marketers, including Kraft Foods, Betty Crocker and others, have launched search marketing campaigns. But there is still a long way to go before the industry fully and enthusiastically embraces the opportunity.



As more consumers use search to find information about CPG food brands and their products, there has been an increase in organic search traffic. Spikes in CPG food websites driven by paid and organic search activity typically can be seen in the Q4 holiday timeframe, when consumers are actively seeking entertainment ideas and recipe-related information. Over the past several years, there has been a steady rise in the search traffic for recipe information. This was further heightened by the recent recession that shifted consumer behavior to be more value-centric.

During this time, CPG food brand websites have focused a large part of their digital efforts on recipe dissemination to help drive interest in their brand products and to mirror consumer interest in recipes. To support their efforts, more CPG brands have leveraged paid search to help disseminate recipe content by bidding on recipe-related terms to drive consumers to the content. From December 2009 to May 2010, the top searched and clicked paid keywords across a panel of 16 CPG food brand websites found that 58% of the top 100 keywords were recipe specific, 20% were brand and 18% were food-specific (i.e. pasta salad). Interestingly, only 2% of the keywords related to coupons.

All CPG food marketers should have a strong search marketing component that fits within their overall digital marketing strategy. For CPG food marketers who are just starting to think about search marketing or who are just testing out the waters, consider the following recommendations:

1. Don't forget about SEO Many marketers forget about the importance of organic search when developing their brand or promotional websites. If you aren't sure about how your website is performing from an SEO perspective, ask your digital agency to provide you with a performance overview.

2. Understand consumer search behavior for your industry and products Better understanding how and what consumers are searching for in your industry can help you learn what drives their interest. This information can help form your search strategy.

3. Search efforts should mirror digital strategy Any search marketing campaigns should support a larger digital effort. If recipe dissemination or couponing is a core component of your digital strategy, your search strategy should also incorporate these elements.

4. Evergreen approach If budgets permit, search marketing should be on at all times throughout the year. The longer your campaign runs, the stronger its performance will be. As your campaign is optimized over time and consumers are able to see the ads multiple times, you will likely see improved metrics and better visibility compared to your competitors.

5. Corporate Communications/PR/Crisis Management Search marketing should play an important role for any corporate communications, PR or crisis management initiative. Search can help to drive consumers to the right information. There is no greater recent example than BP's paid search campaign relating to the oil spill.

1 comment about "Search Marketing Enhances CPG Food Brands ".
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  1. Jimmy Bogroff from Yahoo!, August 25, 2010 at 11:27 a.m.


    Great stuff here. I'm a big proponent of the Evergreen approach. Especially with the role that relevance / quality plays in ranking paid results across all engines. The best CPG search campaigns have a consistent presence, and heavy up during peak seasonal times (based off of learnings).

    With the complexity of reporting these days in paid search you can gain extremely valuable insight into point of sale activity within core demographic groups. This can help to synch with your overall digital strategy, or even help to cohesively tie in multiple channels.

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