Not all search engine traffic is created equal

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It’s really easy for a newcomer to the world of search engine marketing to assume that search engines (e.g. Google, Microsoft) are all the same and the resulting clicks all behave the same. . In the words of Lee Corso, ESPN analyst on College Game Day. . . “not so fast my friends” !! In this article, we’re going to learn the differences between Google and Microsoft, their search engines and shopping engines, mobile vs desktop, and much more to help you better optimize your efforts here. As you will read, there are probably a lot of things you are doing today that you shouldn’t be doing. And, vice versa, a lot of the things you don’t do today you should.

Google vs. Microsoft

Well, first of all, the biggest difference between Google and Microsoft is reach: Google is materially bigger than Microsoft (which includes Bing, Yahoo, and AOL traffic in their network). According to Statistical, this difference is about 63% market share for Google and 25% market share for Microsoft in the United States, so Google is about 2.5 times larger. You would think that suggests that you should focus your efforts on Google first, to put yourself in front of more users, right? Maybe, but everyone thinks so too. There is actually less competition on Microsoft, and you may be able to gain the same number of clicks at a significantly lower cost per click and improve your ROI in the process.

And there is a significant difference in the demographics between the two networks. Google tends to attract people who are younger, more educated, higher earners, and generally more tech savvy. And Microsoft tends to attract an older, less educated, lower income audience that is more likely to have children. It might not matter to your business, depending on your product offering (for example, either audience watches movies). But maybe this demographic difference could be a big issue for you (for example, selling a product targeting older baby boomers may outperform on Microsoft).

There is also a big difference if you are trying to attract users from outside of the United States. Google’s international reach is significantly greater than Microsoft’s, in case you are targeting international customers, as well as customers based in the United States.

Research vs Shopping

Just to be clear, search ads are sponsored ads that appear at the top of search engine results when you enter a keyword (mostly text links). Shopping ads are the listings of products that appear in the “shopping” sections of these same search engines (eg, predominantly visual product images), typically loaded into search engines with a direct feed of your products from of your website with feed management tools such as Feedonomics or DataFeedWatch. If you are in an eCommerce business selling products, your natural instinct is to advertise in both sections: get your link to “chairs” in search results and get your picture of the specific chair references that you sell in the buy results.

It may or may not work well for you, as we learned with the Restaurant furniture More Business. For this business, the shopping section primarily attracted consumers, not commercial buyers. So there was a significant difference in the average order size between the two sections, say $ 500 for purchases and $ 5,000 for research. And based on the differences in customer acquisition cost, say $ 100 for purchases and $ 200 for research, it was materially easier to maximize revenue, profitability, and return on ad spend by focusing on research, and not to struggle to just break even on purchases. spend. The correct answer here for any business will be different depending on your goal. Determine what is best for your business.

B2C vs B2B

The implications for businesses facing B2C and B2B relate to this research topic versus shopping. Continuing with the Restaurant Furniture Plus example, let’s say they were advertising “chairs”. Yes, chairs are needed for restaurants. But they are also needed by consumers in their homes. When they were simply advertising ‘chairs’ they were faced with many big consumer brands selling chairs (eg Pottery Barn, Wayfair) trying to exploit those same ‘chairs’ keywords. And these big brands have a lot more marketing strength and repeat buying potential, as these consumers will most likely purchase other products for their home over time. Which meant that the big brands were willing to pay a lot more for these leads. It wasn’t until they closed their shopping flow and changed all of the generic keywords “chairs” to “restaurant chairs”, “commercial chairs”, “catering chairs” that they started to really optimize for B2B needs. Someone really needs to build the “B2B search engine only” because you usually can’t get that level of keyword targeting with current search engine tools.

Desktop or mobile computer

When I started digital marketing in 2000, there was no smartphone. So all the traffic came from the desktops. But, over the past 20 years, and thanks to innovations from Apple, Android, Samsung and others, for many companies, searches from mobile phones have actually gone beyond searches from desktop computers. The problem with this: Most companies have optimized their user experience for desktop, not mobile. And, search engine algorithms actually produce different search results, depending on the perceived user experience and site speed of those different desktop channels versus mobile channels.

For example, look at this Google tool that allows you to check the speed of your site on computer versus mobile. If Google thinks that your mobile site (compared to your desktop site) is too slow and you are providing a poor mobile user experience, it won’t post your mobile ad at the same frequency as it pushes your desktop ad, or at the same frequency of your advertising rankings or search engine optimization competitors who are best optimized for mobile. Today, you really need to take a ‘mobile first’ approach to get the lion’s share of the searches that reach you.

Text (Prospecting) vs Display (Retargeting)

In addition to the text ads that you buy from search engines, they also allow you to buy display ads, which are published to the same retargeted users who visit other websites belonging to those same ad networks. There are several differences here: what you can say and show in a few lines of text is very different from what you can say and show in a beautiful picture. Not to mention the fact that this image is now displayed to a user who has seen your brand once before, so they’ll be much more likely to engage with that second impression image ad than that first impression text ad. So if you’re going to run a search campaign, you’re leaving a lot of potential success out if you don’t run the display retargeting ads simultaneously.

With opinion vs without

Over the years, Google has put a lot of emphasis on social media data, dictating how it publishes ads and how it ranks sites for organic traffic. One of the main drivers of this is customer review data. But the criticism must come from their list of trusted review providers to give the review credibility and make sure you just didn’t make it up.

The advantage of working with one of these trusted third-party review providers is that if you have more than 100 reviews, Google will add those reviews (for example, your five-star summary), next to each of your paid search ads and your organic search result. connections. This does two things: (i) it gives you more credibility compared to other links on the page, increasing the chances that the customer will click on your links; and (ii) more importantly, it can reduce your cost of acquiring new customers by up to 15%, on average, with a higher likelihood of converting to sales. So make sure you have a good customer review strategy that will make search engines more likely to promote you to really maximize your ROI.

General or custom audiences

By now, you have mostly relied on search engines to identify the target audience, and hope they got it right. In the latest iterations of search marketing, the search engines are giving you more information about who is being targeted. For example, if you are a “whitelisted” email marketer, you can give them your email target list, they will match it to their users, and target advertising only to those users. This is great if you’re targeting old customer email accounts or a list of prospect emails you’ve created. Or, as another example, you can give them a list of competitive or industry websites that your potential customers are looking for, and they will target advertising to all users who visit those sites. It’s pretty awesome !! This is the first thing I saw aside from customizing keywords from “chairs” to “restaurant chairs” that will help B2B marketers find really targeted traffic for their business. So be sure to set up your custom audiences in your campaigns.

Closing thoughts

So as you can see a lot has changed in the world of search marketing since I first wrote about this in 2011. And, I guess there will be plenty of other changes to come in the years to come. So please don’t set up your campaigns once and forget about them. You have to constantly relearn new best practices and reset your campaigns to truly get the maximum return on your search engine marketing investment.

George Deeb is a partner at Red Rocket Ventures and author of 101 Getting Started Lessons – Entrepreneur’s Handbook. For future posts from George, please follow him here or on Twitter at @georgedeeb Where @redrocketvc.



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