The FINANCIAL -- Search helps build strong
brands by bettering brand-health metrics. But creating long-term
relationships is usually foremost for brands, and, according to
eMarketer, in a new report, “Search for Branding: Tools for Better
Campaigns,” “even though a majority of business-to-consumer
marketers now believe that search affects brand-building, digital
executives sometimes still find it tough to prove that search is a
critical ingredient in branding.”
As emarketer reported, search is not just for direct-response marketing anymore, and its use for branding tends to be far more subtle than when used simply to drive a sale.
Search, as emarketer defines it, includes not just paid ads on search engines but also search engine optimization (SEO) to boost organic rankings; mining data from search ads or SEO to discover more about a brand’s customers or prospects; and using general search data—not necessarily from a brand’s own efforts—to get a sense of the target audience and the brand’s competition.
“When considering whether or not to weave search into a brand’s total campaign, there is one simple, inarguable reason why brands should use it,” said emarketer . “Search is where the audience can be found.”
AYTM Market Research found that as of June 2012, the vast majority of US internet users used search engines either daily (63.5%) or fairly often (21.0%).Because consumers use search so regularly, brands really don’t have much choice but to connect with consumers there.
Moreover, search results influence consumers’ perceptions about a company, according to 81% of the respondents worldwide in a November 2011 study from PR agency Weber Shandwick. “Even the absence of a brand from search results could influence consumers by subliminally implying the brand is not important in the context of whatever the search query involved,” said emarketer .
And to get consumers to see branded content, search is key. Once companies invest in content marketing, nearly 78% of brand and agency marketers used paid search and almost 69% used organic search optimization to increase the target audience’s awareness of branded content, according to a January 2012 study from content discovery platform Outbrain.
“Brands need search—and not just paid ads and higher organic rankings—to help them achieve their overall marketing goals,” said emarketer . “And they need to connect all their search activities to their overall branding campaigns.”