I've seen a 180-degree change in marketers' attitudes toward search marketing in the past 12 months. Last year, marketers we spoke to in nearly every industry were busy expanding their search campaigns from hundreds to thousands and even tens of thousands of keyterms. The long tail was very much in fashion.
However, as 2006 has worn on, I'm more often hearing a new refrain. In part driven by excesses of 2005 as well as rising click costs, many marketers now tell me their revised SEM focus is about tightening focus.
If you're cutting your search budget to target only keywords with immediately obvious ROI (i.e. where clicks convert on the first visit), first consider this real-life story that Michael DeHaven, Ecommerce Marketing Manager at CareerBuilder.com told me:
"We were beginning to cut the majority of our paid search budget, because we were struggling to get any ROI at all. Too many employers who clicked didn't buy on their first visit."
But, before the final SEM budget decision was made, DeHaven asked the tech team to create a new longer-term tracking system that combined multiple databases -- initial search tracking cookies, ecommerce activities, the site's registered user database and the business development and call center's CRM systems.
Measured results were beyond dramatic.
"For one paid search team, there was maybe $10K in immediate revenues. When we evaluated it after 15 days, it was $120K. When we looked at the delayed impact 30 days out, there was about $1.2 million. Going further out to 45 days, it was over $3 million. It blew me away when I saw this."
That one revelation not only changed CareerBuilder.com's SEM plans, but it also propelled the marketing team to re-vamp the home page and email tactics they had in place to convert those delaying employers. Look below for Sherpa exclusive Case Studies on both of these revamp projects.
I hope you find this data as inspirational as I do.
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