At this point most automotive marketers know that search marketing is an incredible vehicle for reaching their target customers. It’s highly relevant, highly targetable and is generally one of the most efficient and effective channels in a marketer’s ad mix. The problem with search marketing, though, is that it doesn’t scale beyond the level of user-initiated searchers. For most businesses, this is a problem, especially when their search-marketing campaigns are mature as are most campaigns of OEMs who have been active in the search space for many years.
So how can these marketers get the efficiencies of search when their search campaigns are tapped out? What are the next most efficient opportunities they can explore? Here’s what we’re recommending:
- Contextual targeting
If this seems obvious to you, good. You are taking advantage of a search extension tactic that drives returns near or equal to that of search. A fully scaled contextual targeting campaign through Google can add 10 to 15 percent incremental volume to your overall campaign results; that’s like adding another Yahoo to your search buy.
While remarketing is a display media tactic, it’s one that often drives returns equal to or greater than search marketing. (Yes, there is a display media tactic that can actually outperform Search). While scale can be limited, remarketing is a highly effective way to target the 98 percent, on average, of customers who interact with your website but do not convert. Remarketing campaigns are also an effective way to push out promotions, offers and targeted messages to existing customers when you encounter them offsite; think of it as a CRM channel extension. You can buy remarketing impressions through most ad networks, through major portals like Yahoo and the Microsoft Network, and through agency trading desks like Cadreon, Varick Media Management and Razorfish’s own ATOM Systems.
- Intent Targeting
There is no better indicator of consumer intent than the active entering of a keyword query. Several companies, including Yahoo and a niche targeting player, AlmondNet, allow advertisers to tap into query data and re-target searchers with display ads outside of the search environment. As with search itself, scale can be limited with search retargeting but quality is assured. Beyond search retargeting, data marketplaces like BlueKai and Exelate allow advertisers to target customers who are “in-market” for specific products and services. For example, an auto advertiser could use data from these providers to target consumers who are in-market for a specific vehicle, down to the exact make and model. Where this level of ad targeting was previously available only on a highly specific auto site, OEMs can now target in-market auto buyers anywhere across the web with considerable price efficiencies.
The three tactics described above are effective as stand-alone opportunities, or in combination. Either way they can help extend a search-marketing program and get more out of one’s current investment.
A version of this article originally appeared as Search Extension and was published in MediaPost. It has been rewritten in parts to make it more relevant to the Headlightblog.com audience.
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