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Sunday, January 31, 2010

SEM Campaigns - Do You Always Want To Be On Top?

         Search marketing allows business owners to have control over their messaging via paid ads on the search engine. Ideally, the best positions are the top positions, but as search marketers, you probably know that is not entirely true. Have you ever dealt with clients who literally sit all day stalking for the ad positions and make a point to complain when the ad is not on top? Not any of my clients in particular, but I know there are many business owners out there who expect number 1 position because they think since they are paying for the ads, such thing needs to happen. Managing campaigns for these clients can be tough sometimes because good results don’t seem to be enough. It is the search marketer’s job to educate his or her clients about how it works, but for business owners, here are reasons why top positions don’t mean everything:

First positions do not guarantee conversions, regardless of whether it is lead or sale campaign. For many campaigns, you might even notice that conversions happen more likely at position 3 or 4. It is more important to find out what positions are the optimal positions rather than trying to reach the first.

Top positions cost more. In addition, by focusing your attention on whether or not the ad is on top, the time inventory is reduced for the effort to increase success in sales and leads. Especially if your campaign is managed by an agency, focusing on top positions and not goal conversions is not a way to go.

Search behaviors are different depending on the product or service, seasonality, targeted internet users and other market factors. I once talked to a guy who said he never clicks on an ad at the top positions because he knows they are ads. Of course, he is an extreme case since not every internet user chooses to not click on the paid search ads, but such search behaviors need to be taken in consideration. Search behaviors for a campaign need to be watched carefully so if there is a shift, marketers are responsive enough to the changes.

There are obvious benefits for having top positions. It might be similar to having your product displayed on the middle shelf in the super market or on the front page of a magazine. The point is not to ignore the benefits that top positions bring but to value them as much as they are worth.

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