Search -- Where Supply Meets Demand

Without demand, there can be no supply. When it comes to search engine marketing, demand must occur on one of your keywords in order for your ad to serve. As advertisers seek more volume in their search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, typical tactics to accomplish this are to bid on more keywords or to improve click rates and conversion rates through ad copy and landing page testing. While these are essential tactics to employ, they usually only provide incremental lifts in volume.

As a part of an agency that specializes in both SEM and direct response television (DRTV), I have seen firsthand the tremendous impact that television can have on driving a search campaign. As exemplified in a Google Trends graph, steam mop and Shark steam mop did not generate any search queries, or demand, prior to the DRTV campaign that began in the early summer of 2007. However, after the DRTV campaign was launched, searches for related keywords dramatically increased, telling us that the infomercial created online demand for the relatively new product. We search for what we want or what we want to know more about and without another stimulus driving that demand, we cannot and will not seek it out.



Television may be too expensive for many advertisers, but other online and offline channels can drive demand as well. Display, radio and print can also be effective to drive demand in search. Too often the success of a channel is measured solely on the performance within that particular channel. As more advertisers seek out an integrated multichannel approach, it is imperative not only to look at performance in isolation, but also collectively -- and to understand the lift one channel provides to another. A successful display campaign may drive very few visitors and conversions, yet a tremendous lift in branded search impressions, clicks and conversions; however, if the display campaign is only analyzed in isolation, the demand created in search may be missed.

Search will supply the demand for your product or offering and in some cases can be leveraged to generate demand by implementing outside of the box thinking. At the time this article was written, three of the top 10 keyword searches on Google were April 30, April 30th and what holiday is today. What holiday is April 30th -- and why would so many people be searching for that? Google is notorious for themed Google logos on the home page, which typically relate to that day's holiday and link to search results for it. The April 30th logo links to a page about a new iGoogle feature that enables you to incorporate the work of word-class artists on your personalized homepage.

The logo created search demand, but Google themselves failed to capture this demand in search. Thousands, possibly millions of people were searching for an answer, but it was not found within Google search results! Google should have integrated their strategy with a pay-per-click ad that said "April 30 is Not a Holiday - Get artist themes for your iGoogle homepage like the one we used today." This would have further promoted the new feature, while providing a quality user experience. While the people searching for the answer did not click thru the homepage logo, it did capture their attention and their response was conveyed through the search channel.

This type of consumer response cannot always be predicted, but multichannel collaboration can anticipate and explore possible response channels or at least watch it closely and react to unanticipated consumer response behavior.

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