Note: Some liberties were taken with the statistics to simplify the diagram.
Summary: Up Your Analytics, Strengthen Your Content, Smarten Your SEM
A recent study by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association has found that traditional offline media – such as Magazines, TV and Newspapers – were a high factor (>~42%) in leading to consumers conducting online research on the product/service advertised.
This completes the conversion loop when comparing to the Google’s number showing that of the “25% purchased an item relating to their query, and of that number, the majority â€“ 63% — completed that purchase offline.”
What does this mean:
- Analytics Integration: Reinforces the Need for Marketing and Sales Analytics that can take offline and online consumer activities and behavior, since consumers freely move from offline and online worlds.
- Multi-Stage SEM Strategy: The SEM Strategy (SEO and PPC) must properly target both research phrase consumers, as well as, purchasing phase consumers.
- Content Funneling: Good Content is key to help funneling consumers in “research mode” to become consumers in “purchase mode”.
Offline Awareness, Online Research, Offline Conversion
MediaPost has recently reported on a “Retail Advertising and Marketing Association” done by “BIGresearchâ€™s Simultaneous Media Survey”, which found the following numbers that consumers were most likely to search online after viewing:
- Advertisements in magazines (47.2%)
- Newspapers (42.3%)
- Ads on TV (42.8%)
- From reading articles (43.7%)
Combine this with Google’s 2006 ComScore data which pointed to:
“Of 83 million Americans tracked by comScore who searched at one of the 24 top search engines in November and December, 25% purchased an item relating to their query, and of that number, the majority â€“ 63% — completed that purchase offline.”
Tracking Offline and Online Marketing/Sales Analytics
At the moment, many companies house their online marketing/sales data completely segregated away from their offline marketing/sales data. Indeed, most website analytics tools are packaged this way, with the exception of the enterprise models that integrate with the company’s CRM datawarehouse. But that’s a major effort and still mostly focuses one way traffic flow: Online Visitor > Offline Purchaser.
Off the top of my head, hear are some straightforward suggestions I’ve offered.
- Getting the ZIP code (from the online registration) and geographic area (of those that visit online) and mapping that to where your stores are (or should be)
- Website-Only Coupons
- Ask your customers! Do a survey as part of loyalty program
e-Storm International, my employer, does have an interesting partner that has a powerful tool that can actually estimate how offline media can shift people’s behavior online and vice-versa. Time for Emergence-Media to conduct interviews?
Multi-Stage SEM Strategy and Content Funneling
Keeping in mind that the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association data shows that online search is a major research tool for consumers, this reinforces the need for 1) “content funneling” (see below); and 2) also translates to need a smart SEM strategy to push that content to consumers who are researching those that are looking to by.
Note this applies to both consumers who convert offline and online; what ties these two together is both use the web as a research tool.
Content Funneling is an issue that Emergence-Media has dicussed before in “Building Content for Branded and Non-Branded Search“:
â€œContent is Kingâ€ is the old Maxim. And for â€œSEOingâ€ e-commerce websites, it is about ensuring that the e-commerce website has the type of content the user is looking for for each step of the buying process: 1) General Research (â€Why are HD DVD Players different?â€ Page); 2) Targeted Research (â€HD DVD Player Review & Guideâ€ Page); and 3) Purchasers (Product Page for the Specific Item).
It comes down to this: around 40% of consumers will be motivated to do an online search after seeing your ad on TV, Print etc, so when they do their research online will they find buying/product guides (for those not ready to buy) or maybe your product page (if they are ready to buy online)?
Multi-Stage SEM Strategy
Avinash Kaushik has just done an incredible insightful posting on this in “How Thick is Your Head and How Long is Your Tail?“, so I’ll show a teaser here, but I highly recommended reading the whole thing.
Avinash’s “Killer Search Marketing strategy recommendation”:
- Focus your SEM budgets deliberately to leverage the Long Tail (/Category key terms).
- Focus all your SEO efforts on SEOâ€™ing the heck out of your website / web pages for your Brand key terms (those that are in your Head).