Search Marketing Handbook (part 2)


This is the second part of the Search Marketing Handbook by IAB UK.

5. Behavioral Targeting

  • The concept of behavioural targeting in search is to observe a user’s online search

behaviour anonymously and then serve the most relevant ads based on their behaviour.

  • As a consumer or internet user, you may not like the idea that every time you go online, visit websites, your information is tracked in an anonymous manner by cookies. Together with IP address, by using cookies advertiser will possibly know the location of surfer, what they are searching for, what they are reading, viewing, when they visit which website etc…
  • One step further is the use of CRM (Customer relationship Management). With CRM, companies would be able to know what you like, you dislike, your purchasing histories etc… and ultimately will be able to present to you the most relevant ads
  • So far, in terms of big Search Engines, only MSN and Google offer behavioural targeting. For MSN i guess that they can gather a lot of information about internet surfer since Live Messenger is quite popular, together with hotmail, MySpace where you keep your profile.
  • Google is collecting information about user’s behaviour by using iGoogle home page or

when you are logging in using your Google account and do searches.

6. Bid Management Strategies

  • Bid management is the fancy word for the process of automatically change the bid price of a Paid Search Campaign to achieve predefined objectives.
  • Bid Management can be very handy when you manage thousands of keywords across hundreds of products. Imagine you are responsible for managing eBay PPC campaign 😀
  • There are generally 3 bid management strategies or rules: Position, ROI and Click Target.
  • While bid management can help you to manage large amount of keywords, the bid price etc… the more important aspect is actually not the tool but the person who is using the tool.

The reason is because any tool can only work based on human predefined criteria, logic so it can only be as good as the person who uses it. The tool is simply to help to implement laborious strategies, which are designed by human.

7. 24-7 PPC management

  • This basically means managing a Paid Search campaign 24/7 using a combination of analytics and bid management.
  • The information gathered by analytics tool about the number of Clicks, average CPC, CTR, Avg position, Onsite conversion rate, ROI will be used as criteria to optimize bid price/position.
  • This approach is much more effective when used properly for large campaigns compared to manually optimize campaigns Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm only.
  • “The ability to have full control of the PPC activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week provides greater control over the market and the target audience.” David White, Weboptimiser

8. Measuring success using advanced analytics

Well i am a big big fan of analytics. To me, most business objectives can be and should be quantified.
Certainly a lot can be talked about web analytics.
For a simplified picture of web analytics in Singapore, please refer to “Web Analytics in Singapore: Overview
I plan to write another article about the status of web analytics in 2007 so i will come back to this topic later.
For those who are new to web analytics, you can measure:

  • How many people visit your sites?
  • Where are visitor coming from?
  • The full journey from the time they visit your site to the time they purchase/leave the site
  • etc…


  • Before investing in web analytics, estimate the value that it can bring to your business.
  • The key thing is not to spend too much money on web analytics tool but rather spending time and effort/money to understand the numbers, take actions based on those number and optimize your marketing campaigns.

9. Copy writing for Paid Search

One advantage of Paid Search is that you can know whether your copy writing works or not very very fast.
If the new ad sucks, you will know it right the way with low CTR, low conversion rate, high Cost per conversion etc…
Some ideas for copy writing

  • Use/incorporate offline message
  • Ad copy should reflect seasonality, promotion, time sensitive
  • Get under the skin your your potential customer
  • Try Dynamic Keyword Insertion: well a lot of people are using this already so you will need to be more creative to use this technique effectively.
  • Ask a question
  • Be emotive
  • Choose the right call to action
  • Use the right message to the right audience

10. Cross Media Integration

Again i am a big evangelist of a holistic approach to Online. In fact, i wrote two articles about it.

  • Holistic Approach to Online Marketing (in SG and SEA)
  • Where is Search Engine Marketing in the Marketing Mix
  • “When viewed together, campaigns that take advantage of both search and display advertising are far more engaging and effective than those viewed individually.” Grant Thomas, Yahoo!
  • What is the best way to bridge the gap between offline and online? The answer lies in search. Hitwise Media Impact report shows that searches for Sky brand terms increased 20% when combining offline and online advertising compared to when Sky runs offline campaign alone.
  • Search and Display: comScore study “Close the Loop: Understanding Search and
    Display Synergy” shows that Online users who were exposed to both the search and
    display advertising campaigns increased their share of page views relative to competitive sites by 68 percent, and time spent by 66 percent. More importantly, among those exposed to both the search and display ads, purchases of the advertiser’s products and services increased by 244 percent online and 89 percent offline compared to online users with similar behaviour who were not exposed to these ads.
  • The study also found that exposure to a display advertisement increased the related trademark term searches (brand, company or product names) by an average of 26 percent during the campaign flight.

11. Multi Channel Search

Well, as you may know Search Engines nowadays not only return text links for search queries but also images, videos, mp3, pdf files etc…
Google’s started Universal Search sometimes ago. has Ask3D before they gave up recently.
MSN, Yahoo offer the relatively the same deal.

Personally discussing the implications of Multi Channel Search is a bit out of reach. Unfortunately!
I take on board what Latitude rightly mentions, Advertisers had some concerns about the
new concept as it may be pushing relevant SEO listings further down the results page.
On top of this, common sense (as well as eye-tracking studies) pointed out that potentially
user attention was drawn towards the graphic rich results rather than the text paid ads on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

So far only Google offers the easiest, single platform to manage new media streams such as flash, video, mobile etc.. together with Adwords.

12. Global Search Culture and Conversion

Well, i guess this goes without saying that people from different countries not only speak different languages but their search behaviors are different as well.

  • Use of search engine: Google is not God everywhere. Baidu is strong in China. People in Vietnam go to or Zing to search for mp3, not Google.
  • Construction of keyphrases: we all know that word by word translation from English to local language do not normally work.
  • Ability to access the web
  • The type of content that increases conversion

13. Additional Techniques

  • Combining affiliate marketing and SEM
  • Multivariate testing
  • Quality score improvements
  • Integrating search with stock availability

14. Conclusion

The power of search marking is its ability to deliver the three R’s – the right message to the right user at the right time. Such ‘pull’ dissemination of information puts the consumer at the focal point of marketing efforts – rather than the product, as has traditionally been the case.

However, advertisers shouldn’t run Search campaign in isolation. A holistic approach not only to Online Marketing but the combination of online and offline marketing bring the best results.

So what’s next for search marketing?

Social Network is very hot in 2007 with Facebook, Friendster, MySpace etc… In addition to the social aspect of this medium, discussed “conversations” often include product reviews, retailer and supplier experiences, brand image, price comparison, after sales support service etc. Moving forward, it will become increasing important that any business conducting search marketing also considers social networks as part of the mix.

Okay, i just realize it’s another long post. Well, at least it’s shorter than the original 64-page report.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!


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