In my work managing digital media for tourism and attraction clients across the United States such as Silver Dollar City Attractions, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, and Utah Office of Tourism, we have often discussed the value of investing in paid search marketing for brand search vs. non-brand search keywords. Here’s what we mean:
Brand Search Keywords:
These are keyword phrases that include the brand name, such as buy silver dollar city tickets or tour elvis presley’s home. Your brand name search keywords will probably generate the highest ROI, because these people are already familiar with your offerings and might be ready to make a purchase now. You definitely want to show up in search for these terms to close the sale, and you don’t want to leave an opening for your competitors to steal your customers. But how much do you invest in marketing to this audience who is already familiar with your brand, and how much do you reserve for reaching new audiences?
Non-Brand Search Keywords:
These are more general keyword phrases that are used by people earlier in the consideration process, such as things to do in salt lake city. Non-brand search is generally a much more crowded space with higher competition, higher cost-per-click averages, lower click-through-rates, and much lower ROI. However, there is also great opportunity to reach new customers if you can only move the needle. But, how can you do that effectively?
Whether you’re a new brand entering a market or an established brand in a crowded space, it can be challenging to determine the best use of marketing dollars in paid search. You believe in the philosophy of long-term investment to grow your share of voice for more general non-brand keywords, but you need to understand how long it will take to make a difference.
How does a newcomer enter a market and grow brand awareness? I came across a short presentation from our dedicated Google rep Eduardo Vieira that shows us the proven 3-step process for newcomers to succeed with paid search in a market. Here are your steps to success:
Step #1: Focus on Share of Voice:
Invest heavily in establishing brand recognition and growing your share of voice to at least 10% for non-brand search terms and at least 30% for brand search terms. In Google AdWords, add your Search Impression Share column in the Competitive Metrics section to keep an eye on your share of voice. If your search impression share is less than 10%, you need to increase your daily spend to have any sizeable impact. You can also consider narrowing your targeting to a smaller geographical area or focusing on the keywords are most important to your brand.
Step #2: Maintain Long-Term Investment:
It takes a full year for newcomers in a market to reach performance benchmarks in Google AdWords, but results can improve during the second year with continued investment. In addition, you will get better results from maintaining the same Google AdWords campaigns continuously over time rather than setting up new campaigns every month, because your campaign performance history by keyword can provide you with higher quality scores and improved rankings. You can still update the landing page URLs and test new text ad creatives, but maintaining them within the same campaign structure can give you a competitive edge rather than continually resetting your campaign history.
Step #3: Begin to Optimize for ROI:
With continued investment and steady growth, paid search campaigns will show improved results in the second year with increased brand recognition, higher click-through-rates and lower cost-per-click averages. At this point, you can begin to optimize your campaigns for ROI and reap the benefits of increased search volume for your brand name search terms, but be careful not to lose ground to competitors. Be prepared to continue maintaining your presence and increasing your investment over time to maintain your larger share of voice in both brand search and non-brand search keywords. The good news is that all of your investments will result in higher ROI, once you have established yourself in this market.
With this proven 3-step process, Google has tracked successes for OTAs, hoteliers, and airlines entering new markets in Latin America, Germany and other locations around the world. If you’re interested in learning the secrets to new market entry with a proven paid search advertising strategy from Google and Aristotle, please contact us to schedule your free consultation!