Is Your Search Creative Working For You?

"Search creative? That's just textlinks." This is a direct quote from a creative director at a major interactive agency.

"We can have a campaign set up within two days, including development of all search creative for several major search engines." That's a quote from a leading search marketing firm.

"I took the creative messaging from our offline campaign and put it to every keyword to create the textlinks," stated a director of marketing for a global pharmaceutical brand.

These quotes reinforce the fact that search creative has been regarded traditionally as a purely tactical technique. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • The lack of effort from engines to provide strong creative testing platforms aside from Google.
  • Little research conducted showing various search creative results. This lack of research is most evident when determining branding effectiveness via search.
  • The focus of agencies/search firms on getting creative completed quickly, as opposed to spending additional hours to ensure effectiveness



    I recently read a great article suggesting that search is inherently changing our content consumption habits--that we are simultaneously becoming more succinct and sophisticated, not just in how we search, but how we converse as well. This trend is seen in the emergence of "texting language," in e-mail, and yes, in search as well.

    So doesn't this suggest that marketers must become more succinct and sophisticated in how a message is tailored to an ever-changing audience? Within the search world, character restrictions force marketers to shorten messages. Yet, effort to take advantage of the textlink space falls far short from that of other mediums. It's the age-old argument that it's harder to write a 3-minute pop song than a 10-part symphony.

    Finding success with a search campaign does not rely only on identifying the right keyword mix or on determining the best overall positioning related to CPC/CPA. Success also relies heavily on capturing an audience with the right message, one that ultimately spurs them to take the desired action.

    So how do you develop a dynamic, compelling and concise creative search campaign to reach an audience already "in the mindset," or researching what you have to offer?

    Be strategic; know the competition. A competitive analysis is key. Each campaign creative should present differentiators between offerings to be most successful. This should ensure that all ad units are on brand strategy.

    Storyboards are not just for offline. Storyboards are great for developing a creative theme. These themes should be focused on the brand differentiators determined in the competitive analysis. Once search creative storyboards are developed, then each ad unit can be tailored for character spec limits and even demographic differences from engine to engine.

    Demand action. Users need to be told what action to take and the benefit of taking that next step. In terms of placement, this "action-oriented" approach should be foremost in each ad unit.

    Focus on relevance and be straightforward. If you bid on the term 'iPod', talk about iPods in a concise manner.

    Take a chance. Prepare multiple creatives prior to launch to test and refine during the campaign. The opportunity exists within search marketing to take out underperforming units and expand upon those that work rather quickly.

    The likelihood after implementing such a campaign is that creative will not only be on strategy and competitively relevant, but will also work harder than any other ad unit put into play.

    And maybe it will also be a chart-topping hit single, as well

  • Next story loading loading..