When it comes to your efforts as a marketer, hopefully you have a clear understanding of your audiences and who you're trying to reach, have been able to devise a detailed and cohesive strategy in the different areas you want to focus, and have identified the top tactics that will help you succeed. Not everyone does – in fact, many brands usually don't have full clarity when it comes to understanding each of those areas.
The Bringing Together Paid, Owned, Earned Media session at SES New York 2013, presented by Andrew Beckman (@Andrew_Beckman), CEO of Location3 Media, gave attendees a high-level overview of the online media landscape and then dove into some of the most common tactics that every marketer should know.
Defining Paid, Owned, and Earned Media
Beckman was recently talking to the CMO of a Fortune 500 company, and during an assessment of their online efforts found their strategies were all separated: they had one agency that ran PPC, another agency that ran SEO, a third agency that ran PR/Social, and yet another agency that ran creative design and display.
For anyone who's experienced a similar situation, you'd know that often those agencies aren't working together to provide insights to each other and passing them back to the client – which is what Beckman found with this company.
Without clear strategies internally, and some type of centralized tracking, it's really hard for any brand to know what's actually working and what's not across all areas of paid, earned, and owned media.
So when we're talking about paid, it's all about paid search through AdWords or Bing, advertising in Twitter or other social channels, banner advertising through display channels, or traditional advertising efforts, etc.
And then with earned media, which a what a lot of brands strive for, it includes viral marketing and gaining traction – whether it's a press release or some type of content strategy that drives a lot of traffic that you don't have to pay for out of pocket.
And then owned media, it has a lot to do with your brand's website, blog, etc. So one of the first things you want to do, Beckman said, is to make sure that your brand has a profile on all the social networks, whether it's Google+, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on. Building out enhanced profiles is a critical first step to claiming your owned assets.
Path to Purchase – Targeting
One of the reasons you want to have everything tracked when it comes to analytics is that there's a buyer's journey. And you can pick up on their intent while they're looking for specific information and researching for products or services.
Additionally, during their journey they're looking to see if their friends have been involved with your brand through their social networks, and if they're advocates, are they saying nice things about it?
When it comes to the data you have around tracking conversions, you know that these consumers are seeing all the owned, paid, and earned media through their path to purchase. So understanding those optimal paths and being able to make decisions based on the data is critical to success.
Beckman then made a few recommendations: as a brand (whether you're an agency or you're a national brand that's managing a program), you want to be getting more people to the top of the funnel with your non-branded paid and organic search terms, (i.e., as long as pieces of the bottom of your funnel aren't broken). So you want to try and figure out a strategy related to how you're going to increase acquisition to the top. Search is often the catalyst of performance.
After you start getting consumers into your funnel, and for the ones who aren't converting, you want to be able to retarget them, which is cookie tracking, where you'll be able to send those consumers marketing messages afterwards. And once you convince more consumers to become buyers, you want them to ultimately become advocates and talk about your brand, and comment and share with their friends in social channels.
Like Beckman mentioned, search is a catalyst – and it has to do with push vs. pull marketing.
When consumers express that they're interested in a particular product or service in search, they're pulling in information – search is the only vehicle online or offline that does that for us, and it can help you drive those measurable sales or leads. Whereas, Beckman said social media should be used often as a great assist‐mechanism.
Beckman then went on to give us some interesting stats:
- 20 percent of daily queries have never been seen on Google. So look at that as new opportunities to apply your paid and earned media strategy.
- 70 percent of queries in the U.S. have no exact match keywords. So that means there are a lot of brands using broad-match strategies. Beckman recommended adding to and building up your keyword list from an exact match perspective so you can rank high enough and pay less on the cost-per-click since you'll be helping to increase your quality score. You're also creating that one‐to‐one relationship where the ad copy, the keyword, and the landing page are all in alignment.
- 54 percent of queries in the U.S. have 3 or more words and that number is rising. So that's all about chasing the long tail of search. And with the right content strategy against exact phrases you'll be able to better connect with users.
Facebook Graph Search and EdgeRank
Facebook Graph Search is also becoming increasingly important, since Facebook is one of the top ranked and indexed sites on the web. So with Facebook Graph Search the results are based on both users' and brands' profiles, as well as content made by third parties.
Beckman went on to say, just as Google has PageRank, which is based off of about 200 different ranking factors, Facebook has EdgeRank, which is an algorithm used by Facebook to determine what is displayed in a user's News Feed based on three main factors:
- Affinity: The level of existing relationship between a user and a brand page, based upon the number of times a user interacts with the brand page.
- Weight: The way in which certain actions are valued; a Comment requires more effort so it is deemed more valuable than a Like.
- Time Decay: The longer a piece of content is up, the less valuable it becomes, so fresh content that drives new and repeated interaction is important.
Beckman said that EdgeRank factors will continue growing and getting more sophisticated over time – given the fact that you can login through Facebook on other websites, Facebook is building more and more data that they can implement into their algorithm, which is something that you should look forward to learning more about as you progress with your digital strategies.
So the backbone of search engine marketing is obviously keyword development and it's an ongoing practice that you should be constantly working on. To find keyword ideas, one tactic Beckman recommended is going to Google and typing in words in the search box to see what Google provides as Autocomplete results and also related searches. Beckman also recommended running query reports in AdWords that you can potentially use for your SEO efforts.
Beckman went on to mention some keyword development tools you can use:
You should also take a look at the relatively new Google Keyword Planner, where you can get combined computer and mobile search volume results, as well as drill down beyond country levels.
Beckman also briefly touched on HootSuite, Radian6, and Raven Tools as a few of the many reputation monitoring tools you can use to see what's being mentioned about your brand and even find out potential keyword ideas you can incorporate into your efforts.
Analytics – The Foundation of Every Program
Beckman then switched gears and started talking about analytics a bit and how it's the foundation for every program you have going. He went on to say that a startling 50 percent of his new clients don't have their analytics tracking properly, which might include double-counting sales, have pages that are missing the script, etc. So making sure your analytics is tracking correctly is the first thing you need to check and fix.
Once you start building data in your analytics accounts, analyzing it and getting to actual insights as to how your campaigns are performing, you can start to understand how you're paid and your earned strategies are working. For example, you can start asking questions, such as, "What keywords are converting and how can I use that to enhance my programs?"
URL tagging is very important, especially when it comes to Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) you find in Google Analytics. Beckman recommended that always need to be tagging and tracking the campaigns you create, so you can have a clear picture on what's happening.
Without the data you're not able to make adjustments to your efforts to get the best ROI. So with MCF, you'll be able to find out if that non-branded insurance query assisted a consumer during the purchase when you start looking at the path in the reports; or you'll be able to see if your promoted tweets contributed to part of a consumer's purchase journey.
Beckman went on to mention that 50 percent of Internet users perform a search in response to a display ad; however, advertisers typically separate display and search efforts since they use them for entirely different purposes (i.e., for branding and performance marketing, respectively). But there's an actual relationship between the two which can lead to an increase in performance. Beckman offered these stats when you have a combination of display and search ads:
- 155 percent increase in search activity.
- Speeds up the purchase funnel 5x.
- 27 percent of users perform a search query instead of clicking on a banner ad.
There was a research study by Google about a year and a half ago called the "Impact of Organic Rank on Ad Click Incrementality." And Google found that when asking the question, "How does the incrementality of the ad clicks vary with the rank of the advertiser's organic results?" if you're ranking in position 1, the study shows that 50 percent of paid ad clicks are incremental; if you're between positions 2 and 4, 82 percent of paid ad clicks are incremental; finally if you're in position 5 or down, 96 percent of paid ad clicks are incremental. Beckman got a few laughs when he said, "So what should you do? Buy more Google advertising."
Search retargeting is another tactic you can easily implement. Even if the consumer doesn't come to your website initially you can retarget them.
For example, if a consumer searches for "business voip providers" in Google and lands on a random telecom page (i.e., not your brand page), you can serve them with an ad on that page based on their query. So as a marketer you would hope that they click on your ad on the telecom page to get to your site where you can provide them with a form to fill out.
Data Collection and Behavioral Targeting
You're already collecting cookies from consumers who are coming from paid and organic search, and also from social and display. So as you experience people falling out of your funnel and not converting, which will always happen to some extent, you can look at your analytics and start figuring out what those consumers are searching to get to your site.
You can also look at where they are navigating through the site as part of your analysis. So when you learn more about those consumers, you can start to craft messages used to retarget to them afterwards. And in the message you can say, "Hey, come back and finish up your purchase" and perhaps with an incentive, for example, "Get 10% off in your shopping cart," etc.
Beckman continued his session by touching on other topics as well, including: keyword saturation, knowing your ad and organic positions, optimizing onpage attributes on your site, Authorship, Penguin, external backlink portfolios, Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, a few tools of the trade, video optimization, etc. You can download Beckman's helpful presentation on Bringing Together Paid, Owned, Earned Media on the ClickZ Intel site.