SEO News

Search Engine Marketing and Branding Challenges

by , Comments

Search engines are recognized as one of the best ways to generate qualified leads online. What about branding aspects? Should search engine marketing be considered as part of a brand-building campaign?

A special report from the Search Engine Strategies 2004 Conference, March 1-4, New York City.

A longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members provides a case study detailing how a diversified manufacturer of consumer and business products successfully used a search marketing campaign to increase brand awareness for both the company itself and its products. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

What is branding?

According to the American Marketing Association, brand image is the perception of a brand in the minds of persons The brand image is a mirror reflection (though perhaps inaccurate) of the brand personality or product being. It is what people believe about a brand-their thoughts, feelings, expectations.

"One of the things you can do with your brand, if you have a very well established brand with search, is you can take control of how your brand is interpreted, "said Kevin Ryan, Director of Market Development at Wahlstrom Interactive. "One of the key elements of brand presence is controlling search results."

Tony Wright, Vice President of Media/Interactive Marketing at Zunch Communications, presented the following tips:

  • Use all of your real estate - both natural search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) search engine advertising.
  • Make sure your keywords are what people are searching for.
  • Make sure your company name appears in all descriptions and creatives.

"I have some clients that ask why, if they have great organic listings, should they buy a PPC listing," Wright explained. "The reason is the more times your brand is displayed, the more frequency you'll receive and you can increase your brand image."

Search engines can also hurt brand image. Contextual ads can appear in inappropriate places, such as an incorrect geographic location. Descriptions in search engine results (SERPs) should be fine tuned so that your company appears to be the most relevant result. Additionally, search engine advertisers should stay on top of the ad game.

"If you are not appearing under your major keywords, potential consumers might not consider you a leader in your space," said Wright.

"The bigger your brand, more you have to protect it," Ryan continued. "At first you may think, why should I have to pay for my own branding? But if you're in a competitive category, it's a must."

Leslie Marable, Senior Analyst of eCommerce at Nielsen//NetRatings, breaks online ad campaign strategies in 4 different buckets: driving sales, driving traffic, positioning, awareness. Positioning campaigns position a brand in a market, change consumer perceptions of a brand, or to create an emotional response. Awareness campaigns work to communicate knowledge of a brand.

In 2002, awareness branding comprised 33% of all ad impressions. In 2003, it dropped to 25%. "Awareness branding has not played as large a factor as earlier, said Marable.

Even with this drop in ad impressions, awareness branding through PPC search engine advertising can still be an effective means of marketing a site. Marable cited as an example, which did multiple, large awareness campaigns.

"There is a positive correlation between ad impressions and traffic to the site, including a 50% jump in traffic over a three-month period," Marable explained. "As increased their ad impressions online, there was more activity specific to the Web Fares campaign."


Since the release of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Search Engine Effectiveness Committee's study on the brand lift of textual paid search results, branding through the search engines has suddenly become a hot topic. Through both search engine advertising and SEO, companies can increase the branding effectiveness of their Web sites.

Related articles:

IAB Issues New Research From Nielsen//Netratings On Branding Value Of Sponsored Text Advertising

Search Engine Marketing and Branding

Big Sites + Big Brands = Big Search Engine Marketing Challenges

Branding Metrics for Search Engine Marketing

Yes, Virginia, There Is SEM Brand Lift, Part 1

Yes, Virginia, There Is SEM Brand Lift, Part 2

Grant Crowell is the CEO and Creative Director at Grantastic Designs, Inc.. He has 15 combined years of experience in the fields of print and online design, newspaper journalism, public relations, and publications.

A longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members provides a case study detailing how a diversified manufacturer of consumer and business products successfully used a search marketing campaign to increase brand awareness for both the company itself and its products. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Featured Discussions In Our Forums
Overture Announces New Bid Management Tool
MSNBC Lauches Demo Version of Newsbot
New Web Search History Timeline
Affiliate Marketing and SEM

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Terra finds buyer for Lycos...
CNET Jul 28 2004 2:01PM GMT
Overture tool broadens ad analysis...
CNET Jul 28 2004 1:20PM GMT
Pop-up goes the commission...
The Register Jul 28 2004 1:19PM GMT
Google's Drummond hit with SEC action... Jul 28 2004 1:04PM GMT
Google founders take IPO on the road... Jul 28 2004 12:56PM GMT
Yahoo wants more of Google...
Evening Standard Jul 28 2004 9:29AM GMT
Online Advertising Continues to Evolve...
eMarketer Jul 28 2004 6:14AM GMT
Google IPO May Hasten Staff Turnover...
AP (via Forbes) Jul 28 2004 2:19AM GMT
A Multifaceted Online News and Blog Search Tool...
ClickZ Today Jul 28 2004 0:20AM GMT
Jupiter: Online Ad Market to Reach $16.1B...
ClickZ Today Jul 27 2004 9:29PM GMT
Another List of 'Recently Registered' Google-Based Domain Names...
ResourceShelf Jul 27 2004 7:28PM GMT
Findory's Founder Comments on MSN Newsbot Beta...
Geeking with Greg Jul 27 2004 7:24PM GMT
Why not to bid on Google IPO... Jul 27 2004 3:20PM GMT
The Big Question for Jeeves: Can It Stand Out?...
Business 2.0 Jul 27 2004 1:20PM GMT
Giving the IPO a first-person test... Jul 27 2004 11:04AM GMT

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

Recommend this story

comments powered by Disqus