Best Search: Covario Inc.

Smart strategy and nimble numbers power Covario’s tech edge

2011 was a breakout year for Covario Inc.

Founded in 2006, the San Diego search agency’s growth dramatically accelerated in 2011 due to advancements in its agency services and analytical technologies across paid search, seo search, social media and offline advertising. Covario also significantly expanded its services team in London, Singapore and Beijing to better support client programs worldwide.

Because of these initiatives, its Fortune 500 client roster added Wells Fargo & co. Urban Outfitters Inc., Epicor Software Corp and a major u.s.-based computer manufacturer. High returns on investment in sem and seo campaigns for clients like Lenovo Group and Nikon Corp., have earned industry awards.
“It’s a virtuous cycle: attract the best talent, which in turn helps expand our globally branded client list,” says ceo Russ Mann. “This year it’s all come together,” Mann added, as Covario was expected to achieve a 25 percent increase from 2010’s $22.5 million. They initially launched two products on a software-as-a-service platform: Paid Search Insight and Organic Search Insight, with subsequent upgrades. Both enable clients to view the totality of their respective searches across multiple product lines and countries, and both make recommendations to improve results.

In 2010, Covario launched its “Cross Media Optimization” (cmo) solution, integrating data from paid search, seo search, social media, display advertising and offline media, including radio, television, print, and out-of-home ads.

“This [solution] helps chief marketing officers optimize cross-media advertising expenditures,” Mann says, adding that it helps them determine which channels to spend more or less on.

And it works. Client Nikon now captures top Google organic rankings at a rate 26 times higher than its primary competitor, which they also displace by 36 percent on Google’s high-traffic keywords. And 37 percent of all keywords tracked for Nikon now rank on Google’s first page. When Covario updated and measured the tactics used in Lenovo’s branding campaign, “For Those Who Do,” its share of impressions, according to Google, increased by 833 percent from the beginning of 2011.
Gary Milner, Lenovo’s director of global digital marketing in North Carolina, says that Covario also helped train his team on how to better conduct seo searches. “This is critical, as it can be as much as 20 percent of a Web site’s traffic and is likely to rise further as mobile and tablet increase search volumes,” Milner says.

Covario was also one of only nine firms that made the 2011 Forrester Research Wave of the top u.s. search marketing agencies, from more than 100 firms considered.

“We have an intense focus on the customer,” Mann says, “and use the Net Promoter Score system to evaluate our client satisfaction. Over the past year, we have scored in the high 30s and low 40s.

“Many elements of social media overlap and interact with search, even more than other media disciplines such as display and email,” Mann adds. “This integration of search marketing and social media strategies is helping our clients maximize their message, their customer acquisition and their ROI.”

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