Magazine article Marketing

Search Marketing: Creative That Makes Consumers Click

Magazine article Marketing

Search Marketing: Creative That Makes Consumers Click

Article excerpt

Brands that invest in search must work harder to integrate it with their broader communications, writes Robert Gray.

Love it or loathe it, when Vauxhall's TV campaign featuring the 'C'mon' puppets (pictured) broke last autumn, it raised awareness of the Corsa Before the DLKW-created spots aired, online search queries for the model were 20% below the category average; by mid-campaign they had risen to 11% above the average.

First, this shows that the ads were effective at driving consideration in the small-car category, overturning a jaded product image in the eyes of its young target audience by focusing on the brand proposition that the Corsa puts the fun back into driving. It also illustrates the link between offline media and online search.

'The key is understanding that offline media, notably TV, generates consumer behavioural change,' argues Google UK country director Mark Howe. 'When the 'C'mon' campaign hit, query volumes went up 31%. We can put that differential down to offline media driving a change in search behaviour.'

Strong creative clearly helped. According to Google, the cloth characters were a top-50 driver of search traffic, which Howe thinks other clients can learn from. He believes marketers and agencies should be thinking about search earlier in the development of TV, press and poster advertising, and can achieve better results by taking into account the 'brand peripheries and territories' explored in offline advertising when developing a paid-search keyword strategy.

Are marketers missing a trick with search? Although the discipline has enjoyed explosive growth, with spending on paid search topping pounds 1.1bn in the UK in 2006, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), many complain that it all too often is confined to a silo rather than integrated into a broader brand-building strategy. 'Search is a very big medium now - twice the size of radio,' says IAB chief executive Guy Phillipson. 'Most of that is direct-response pay-per-click, but there is a fantastic opportunity for advertisers to do more. Major traditional advertising agencies aren't sitting down with clients and saying 'We have this great idea for a campaign, but which search terms should we include so you can maximise online?'' If brands and agencies make advertising that in itself is social currency, he adds, people will look for it online.

Research by television marketing body Thinkbox shows that a growing number of people are indulging in other activities, such as surfing the internet, while watching TV. Thinkbox has carried out both qualitative and quantitative engagement studies regarding concurrent laptop use. Its ethnographic study of 74 individuals in 22 households, which observed viewers as they watched commercials over four weeks, noted laptop use during 7% of viewing - 5% for women and 9% for men. From its quantitative study of 3000 people, meanwhile, 43% of the total sample claimed to sometimes use a laptop while watching TV. Concurrent use is at its highest during late peak-time programming.

Indeed, laptop use - web-surfing or emailing - is the third most regular activity carried out while watching TV, after eating meals and chatting to other people present. In addition, the IAB and Radio Advertising Bureau's 'Using radio with online' research showed that 75% of broadband users surf the internet while listening to the radio. Consumers are clearly happy to multi-task.

Consumption habits of this kind present potential opportunities. Audiences, skilled at such multi-tasking, will pay attention to the ads that interest them. Once drawn in, they have the opportunity to respond immediately via the computer on their lap rather than a handset red button - for example by typing a brand or product name into a search engine. Moreover, brand-related search is less expensive for marketers than broader product-based search.

Last year in the US, car maker Pontiac ran a TV campaign for its G6 sedan that urged viewers to 'Google Pontiac' to find out more. …

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