The Bleeding Obvious File: Advertising Leads to Increased Search Volumes

Holy crap, it’s official! There is a link between advertising and the volume of searches. We now have research to prove it. A recent analysis for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association found a direct link between consumers exposure to advertising and their likelihood to begin an online search.

Consumers said they were most motivated to begin an online search after viewing:

  • Advertising in magazines (47.2%)
  • Newspapers (42.3%)
  • Ads on TV (42.8%)
  • From reading articles (43.7%)

In a particularly insightful quote, Mike Gatti, Executive Director of RAMA, said, “… while search engine marketing continues to be a popular strategy, retailers should not lose sight of traditional advertising channels to promote products and services.”

Huh? We’re now worried about search taking too much of the advertising budget away from TV, magazines and newspaper? Has Mr. Gatti seen how that particular pie is sliced up lately? If anything, we should flip this and tell all those advertisers dumping millions on television that they should back up those campaigns with a few bucks spent on relevant search terms. Here’s just one example. In 2006, Ford spent mega bucks to promote their new Green line of Hybrid Ford Escapes on the Super Bowl in television ads. They had Kermit the Frog as their…spokesfrog. But what Ford didn’t remember is that all that media attention would probably drive a resulting spike in search activity. And sure enough, as we can see from the Google trends graph below, there was a spike:

ford campaign

Unfortunately, Ford forgot to bolster their keyword buy by including all related phrases, leaving the door open for General Motors to bid higher for a number of generic relevant phrases, including Ford’s own spokesperson, Kermit the Frog, and intercept search users with pinpointed messaging. The total cost for Ford to close the loop on this particular campaign? Probably less than the cost of Kermit’s personal assistant during the filming of the ad.

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