Too often marketers can look down their noses at Search Engine Marketing and underestimate the importance of search in their strategies and budgets.
Deb O’Sullivan (pictured below), Head of Strategic Sales at Microsoft Search Advertising, agrees that most Aussie marketers have a competent enough search strategy for their brands, however, it can be overlooked for more “glamorous” (and costlier) initiatives such as insistent TVCs or print advertising.
O’Sullivan tells B&T that, from her experience, marketers aren’t “putting enough thought leadership into getting the most out of their search marketing”.
She adds: “With the advent of data marketing and the rise of data management platforms and technology stacks galore, SEM just got a whole lot more interesting.
“Marketers should be thinking about how they can drive digital consumers through the decision-making cycle across the web, then closing the sale with highly relevant search advertising to invoke the purchase. For example, plugging in first- and third-party data lists to get the right messages in front of the right user at any given time,” O’Sullivan says.
Search is not a simple case of “spend your way to a better ROI”. When brands do see their ROI improve, then “the majority of advertisers are happy to increase their search spend, because it works. For them, search still remains to be a cost effective form of driving online purchases.”
O’Sullivan cites research that shows the Microsoft search engine is gaining momentum, with Bing delivering double the ROI than Google for many clients. This encourages marketers to put their money where it works harder for them, and as such, Bing is attracting more and more advocates in the marketing community.
“It makes sense for marketers to ‘max out’ on Bing first, before spending the rest of their search advertising dollars across Google. Bing Australia has 11.5 per cent share of all search queries, which sounds small, but that’s 137 million searches per month, nine million unique users per month – double the query share we enjoyed 12 months ago. It’s a decent sized and cost effective audience base that cannot be ignored.”
O’Sullivan acknowledges that people use different search engines to search in different ways, adding that studies have shown the Bing audience are proven to be more educated and are bigger online spenders than its Google counterparts.
She concludes: “A recent comScore study (comScore qSearch, June 2015) found that the worldwide Bing audience spends 44 per cent more online than the average Google searcher. Nielsen (Nielsen Consumer & Media view) discovered that 21.7 per cent of Bing users in Australia went to university, versus only 18 per cent of Google’s Australian users.”