With the year already in full swing, global consumer marketers are poised to take advantage of the $5 trillion in global ecommerce spend projected to happen by 2021. And while leading companies will continue to leverage multiple channels across the digital marketing funnel to build their brands, search marketing will still play one of the most critical roles.
But what exactly does the interplay between search engines and brand look like? And how will this impact the strategies marketers should implement to drive even more value (read: revenue) from their brands in 2020?
BrandVerity recently released the “Online Consumer Search Trends Report 2020,” which surveyed more than 1,000 US consumers on how search experiences can impact brand perception. While the full report contains multiple insights that digital marketers should consider as they shape their marketing plans for this year, there are three key takeaways that rise above the rest.
- Invest in a consistent brand experience on search engines.
According to the report, 51% percent of consumers say that when searching for information on a product, they sometimes feel misled by one of the websites in the search results. An additional 1-in-4 (25%) report feeling misled “often” or “always.” Even further, 1-in-4 also say they often end up somewhere unexpected that does not provide them with what they were looking for when clicking on a search result. Given that the majority of consumers are feeling misled when searching for products, the onus is on brands to take control of their brand perception, ensuring that their mission, values, and customer experience are consistent whether on their own websites or in their affiliate or partner programs. Work closely with your partners to ensure your brand and products are being represented accurately and appropriately.
- Understand how brand bidding works–when it comes to search, consumers are only a click away from purchasing from your top competitors.
When asked “Have you ever searched for a specific brand of product (e.g. Nike) but ultimately purchased a competing product (e.g. Adidas) because it also appeared in the search results you received?” the majority of consumers said that they sometimes, often, or always do. It’s understandable why brands choose to bid on their own branded keywords–clicks are inexpensive, you can occupy paid results with your own ads, and you can align your ads to be consistent with your overall brand messaging. But your competitors are likely to bid on your branded terms too. When this happens, you risk decreased revenue, increased cost-per-click (CPC) for your ads, and a poor customer experience resulting from partners or affiliates not adhering to your brand standards. If you’re not already familiar with the ins and outs of brand bidding, this is a great time to start learning more about how to use it to your advantage this year.
- Use search marketing efforts as a way to build trust with consumers.
Fifty-four percent of consumers said that when they search for a product online, they have more trust in the websites shown at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) versus at the bottom of the page. As marketers, we’ve always strived to be at the top of the SERP to drive clicks, but knowing this also impacts consumer trust will undoubtedly add a new layer to our efforts. Because of this, investing in your search strategies is well worth it, not only to drive clicks and revenue, but to also establish the highly sought after trust that so many brands need today to stay competitive and build ongoing loyalty.One best practice is to closely monitor the top positions on the SERP to ensure that ads using your branded keywords are driving incremental traffic and are not infringing on your trademark. For example, if your competitors are brand bidding in a way that violates the search engines’ trademark rules, you can submit those ads for takedown. Similarly, if an affiliate breaks the brand bidding rules stipulated in the partnership agreement, you can contact that affiliate directly to remove the ad.
According to research firm Gartner, Inc., “marketing leaders are expanding the role of a brand beyond traditional associations with a product to encompass ideas or values that customers care about.” As you dive into 2020, your brand will continue to convey a lot about your company–including its story, mission, and values–and putting your best foot forward in every digital channel, particularly search, can pay dividends.