Search Marketing Platform, Conundrum and the Road Ahead
Seamless Search Marketing Platform
What if there was a platform that utilised machine learning to calculate the correlation between organic and paid search marketing ? What if there was a platform that ‘ingested’ information across millions of data points to accurately project how organic coverage is impacting paid performance and visa versa? What if the insight provided by the platform was made actionable by making bid recommendations at a keyword level based on current organic coverage? What if there was a platform to help marketers maximize performance of SEO and PPC channels?
We have built a platform that will help search advertisers finally understand how much of their paid search activity is incremental. We have built a solution that will empower search teams to manage expectations of senior budget holders. We have built a tool that will give budget holders themselves peace-of-mind that their search budget is being used effectively and efficiently. We have built machine learning software that will enable “seamless search” bid management on keywords where there is strong correlation between organic results and paid results. We have built a service that is not offered by any other platform on the market.
Paid vs Organic
Even many of the most advanced search advertisers can’t answer with confidence the question of how their paid strategy impacts their organic strategy and visa versa. The reason for this is that understanding the correlation between paid and organic is no simple task. For starters search engines don’t make it easy, encrypting keyword-level performance data from organic results. The question is made even more challenging to answer by the sheer number of combinations that exist, from an advertiser’s respective positions in organic and paid through to the device a customer is searching on, when they search and the location they search from. Despite these complexities we felt their had to be a better way to answer this question than on/off incrementality tests. We tested numerous machine learning methodologies including Ridge and Lasso regression models, decision trees, MLP and RNN neural network methods and evolution algorithms to try and find an accurate answer, and after 12 months of testing we believe we have an approach which can finally answer, with confidence the question of how organic and paid interplay with one another.
Our Seamless Search platform drives game-changing, transformational results. On average clients see a 25% true search revenue uplift, at an average increase in effciency of 20%. This is especially poignant when we acknowledged the depth of data available for each keyword varied significantly, which affected the confidence of the predictions made by the machine learning platform. We had to produce a confidence forecast for each prediction. This was created in the Seamless Search platform itself to aid decision making. Automated changes would only be applied when the forecasted confidence level was above 90%.
The Search Marketing Conundrum
Search marketing is fundamental to all advertiser’s digital strategies. Paid search advertising is by far the largest digital marketing channel, accounting for 42% of all spending. The most common consumer behaviour for product or content discovery is searching. The dominance of search marketing is expected to continue, with ad spending on paid search set to rise by 48% by 2023. As we know, there are two types of search marketing: The first is “Organic” search marketing or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). In this form of search marketing marketers look to amend and adjust the content of their websites to improve their unpaid coverage on search engines. The second is “Paid” search marketing, also known as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or PPC (Pay Per C|ick) where advertisers bid and pay to appear for specific keywords in the form of text ads, which resemble the organic listing or shopping ads that feature a specific product. The conundrum of how to allocate your budget and resources to these channels has been a challenge to decipher, until now.
The challenge search advertisers face. Since the dawn of search marketing, advertisers have asked the question, “Should we be paying to appear for search terms when we already have organic coverage?”. Whilst there have been attempts to study the connection between paid and organic coverage to date there is no concrete guidance on how organic search coverage impacts paid search performance and vice versa. The reason for this is that to prove correlation between organic and paid search numerous factors must be considered, including, but not limited to: Organic position, paid position, organic competitor depth, paid competitor depth, time, geography, device, audience, promotional periods, seasonality, other marketing activity, competitor activity. Furthermore, these factors must be considered at a search term level, with most large advertisers having search strategies that cover listings on millions of different search term variants. The complexity of understanding the correlation between paid and organic search, combined with the requirement to make any insights actionable at a search term level have left the age-old question unanswered.
A common issue for most advertisers is that they do not know the true value of their paid search marketing. Some scenarios may sound familiar: Should we pay to bid for keywords we already have high organic coverage for? How much does our current paid strategy cannibalise our organic plan? Should we pay to appear for our brand and brand generic terms? What paid position should we take based on my current organic coverage? Seamless Search is the only platform to enable holistic search management. Seamless Search shows you the true value of your search channels. Seamless Search is the only true search bid management platform. Seamless Search is True Search Reporting and True Search Bid Optimisation.
75% of people start their customer journey on a search engines Paid search advertising expenditure accounts for 42% of total digital media spending globally. Search advertising expenditure is projected to increase by 48% to $206bn by 2023. Paid search has become highly competitive resulting in rising costs. Many of us have experienced doubt about our PPC campaign results. Questioned whether we should be bidding on certain terms. We have felt incredulous at eye watering cost per click prices. We have felt the pressure of staying within our cost per acqusition ceilings. Seamless Search seeks to alleviate that doubt, answer the right questions, and transform your keyword bidding strategy.
Seamless Search takes in data from a multitude of sources and outputs key performance indicators. See Total Revenue, Paid Revenue, Organic Revenue and Revenue Uplift which are the real performance indicators we all need. The Seamless Search dashboard gives you a birds eye view of current campaign state showing you the true value of your search channels.
Awards, Road Ahead and the Seamless Process
Seamless Search, has already won awards! We were winners of the Drum Search Awards 2020 in the ‘SEO & PPC – Most Effective Use of Technology in a Search Campaign’ category.
Since we won the Drum Search Awards we have been focusing on: Development Refine, Increase, Create Seamlessly. Refining the algorithm Machine learning approach has been revisited and refined, with testing covering grouping procedure, modelling approach, search terms, keywords and continued reduction in edge cases. Increasing automation Reducing the need for developer involvement at point of keyword onboarding and ongoing support is vital to enable the best service possible for our clients. Creating interface There has been a lot of working going into designing and building an interface that will reflect the tools work behind the scenes. The Platform Seamlessly Connect Adding new accounts, or revenue target can be done by the client account teams with a click of a button. Seamlessly Add We will be able to automatically recommend new keywords that should be added to the seamless search engine. Client account teams will be able to push these keywords into the tool with no interference from developers. Once keywords are pushed into the “learning phase” the platform starts to make bid alterations based on total search performance.
With a testing sample of 2000+ keywords we went from 150 bid adjustments per day in a ‘normal’ environment to a ‘learning’ algorithm that executed 1200 bid adjustments per day. Then we switched on Seamless Search and achieved a whopping 5550 bid adjustments PER DAY. No human team could cope with that level of data in such a short space of time. Statistically Seamless Search will make 8X more changes to your keywords then any agency would 2000 keywords is a relatively small amount in the context of larger advertisers and how many keywords are in their keyword bank. As time progresses our algorithms will learn even more. Interesting information from a search marketing perspective.
- A typical Seamless Search timeline and process clients could expect when onboarding new keywords would look something like this:
- Week One Keywords enter learning phase.Week Nine Keywords enter into the automation stage.
- Week Thirteen Keyword performance assessment.
- Week Sixteen Ongoing assessment of keyword performance.
- Keywords are sent through a range of 30-99% impression share in order to enable creation.
- Once volatility target is reach keywords will be earmarked for Seamless automation.
- Everyday, keyword bids and modifiers are changed.
- Changes are made to drive the highest possible revenue.
- Limits are drawn where the incremental ROAS hits 1.
- Connect to new revenue targets. Add new keywords into the tool. Reporting dashboards available through interface.
- A typical Seamless Search timeline and process clients could expect when onboarding new keywords would look something like this:
One year in
Seamless Search is just over a year old now and some key metrics to emerge from the work done by Seamless Search so far:
- On keywords with <80% impression share we have seen an +400% increase in revenue.
- Keywords with <80% Impression share had a AOV of +75% the account average.
- On Keywords with <95% impression share we have observed a -250% drop in cost.
Search will always be a consistent traffic source. Search adverts work because they are practical and its the quickest way to be first. Organic search can of course get you to first position also. Well, sometimes depending on Google’s latest updates. When organic results come up short then what would be better than your paid results filling the gap. On average, most people go past the top 3, or even top 5 search results when they are searching no more than 4% of the time! Seamless Search is designed to be a self service platform to become part of your search engine marketing toolkit and to help you fine tune your presence on search.
Consumer Behaviour will ever be the driver of your search engine optimisation strategy. The complexity of course is not all consumers will search in the same way, at the same time, with the same keywords. Google is still the number one search engine and how your content is served and listed in search results is constantly variable. Therefore managing PPC bids and which keywords to prioritise optimisation for organic is also variable and moving. The internet is full of sometimes contradictory statistics which makes it even harder to predict consumer behaviour. For Example in the PPC corner we have: The top 3 paid advertising spots get 46% of the clicks on the page. PPC Ads can boost awareness by 80%. 75% say it’s easier to find what they’re looking for from paid ads. And in the organic corner: Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results! SEO drives 30% of traffic, and 20% of revenue. Organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads. The only way to deal with such contradictions is to ensure we only serve PPC ads when they are actually needed and drive incremental revenue to an organic click.
Heritage & Team
NMPi’s heritage is in performance marketing, and for over a decade we have been delivering successful campaigns for our clients. At NMPi we provide comprehensive, integrated strategies to ensure SEO success and maximise the power of organic search for your brand. Paid Search as we know is intelligent advertising; an efficient, measurable and profitable method to get the best ROI for your brand We have consolidated our experience and knowledge and created machine learning technology, Seamless Search, that will enable total search and performance management. Please get in touch or join our wait list if you would like a demo.
We have assembled a world class team of machine learning experts, developers and coders, front end designers and product managers to produce Seamless Search. Seamless Search will join our stable of proprietary technology and 21 service tools that go beyond default toolboxes. Our technology team is fully integrated into our company culture, enabling them to respond quickly to issues, and deliver timely solutions. With the current Covid related trends of more moving online from business offerings to customer activity, there is no better time to re-evaluate your Search Engine Marketing strategy.
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