New research by Marin Software suggests that companies which use integrated search and social advertising get better results than those that use the channels separately. The study, the results of which can be found in Marin’s white paper The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search and Social Advertising, found that customers which clicked on ads in both search and social were more than twice as likely to convert as those that clicked on search ads alone.
“The impact of a cross-channel touch was even greater when examining social clicks. Users who clicked on both the search and social ads had a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only clicked on social ads,” Marin said in its paper.
It was also found that Google+ and Facebook are the most important advertising platforms when it comes to driving return on investment. When search ad campaigns are managed alongside social advertising, it was found that they generated 26% more revenue per click than those managed alone too. Putting both channels together yielded 68% higher revenue per conversion, Marin said, most likely due to the more strategic approach adopted by advertisers.
The research said that when using search advertising alone, the focus was often put purely on metrics such as keywords. However, social media is much more people focused and this means that brand messages can be more easily targeted to the buyer, at a time when they have an intention to buy.
The path to conversion is one that takes days, rather than hours, with 47% of revenue coming from purchases made in more than a day. This means that the consumer has several “touch points” from any one brand and these are generally across several channels. Both search and social have highly engaged audiences and are the two most important channels when it comes to buyer research and purchasing decisions.
This means that successful marketers will be the ones who think beyond one channel and realise that they are increasingly fragmented and adjust to suit. This can be done by integrating advertising strategies for social and search around the buying journey. Essentially, the best way for marketers to understand the customer is to focus on them and their habits – in essence to think like a consumer, which no matter what job we’re in, we all are at the end of the day.
How to Integrate Search and Social
So how do you go about integrating your search and social marketing? Marin not only provide the research but helpfully came up with numerous tips designed to help you to act. Many marketers find it difficult to integrate, despite the numerous benefits that it has and the first thing to do is to have a close look at your organisation’s (or client’s) cross-channel capabilities.
- Aligning search and social business goals – if you have different goals set up, such as lead generation for search and increased followers for social, then it will be all but impossible to integrate these channels. This means that it’s essential that you revaluate goals in order to maximise the potential of your cross-channel marketing
- Maintaining a clear brand message across platforms – this is something that is essential to any brand as well as to cross-channel advertising. Brands should aim to keep all messages consistent through the use of language, colour and images. This also means that you should keep promotions aligned across channels too, or it will become very difficult to track and is likely to confuse and frustrate the customer
- Managing business intelligence reporting so that you have access to information that is aligned as if you use different tracking sources you will essentially receive duplicate conversions. This is because social media is an assisting channel, rather than a direct one
- Social retargeting by creating Facebook Custom Audiences based on website data such as which pages have been visited. This involves placing a small script on the pages you want to track and target specific audiences based on the intelligence gleaned.
All of this and more can be done to ensure successful integration of search and social which is likely to be used increasingly by savvy marketers. The idea is to reach high value lifetime customers through these channels and not operate in silos, in order to get the most out of valuable data.
This in turn should drive better ROI and increase efficiency but it’s worth reinforcing the idea that it’s about making sure that all campaigns are customer centric. Get it right and put yourself in the shoes of your customers and you’re much more likely to be able to get them to recognise your brand message, come to trust it and eventually, become a loyal customer.
“As customers, we are generally more likely to buy a brand when we believe its message, trust the company and see value in the product. When these purchase criteria are positively reinforced through multiple channels, we are typically more comfortable buying from the brand,” Marin points out.
So if you’re marketing through channels separately, it’s time to change your strategy if you want to reach and engage high value customers and since that’s something that we all want, it’s time to get your thinking cap on.