Study: Why do marketers still struggle with innovative search tactics?

By Rebecca Sentance

Many marketers who are seeing flagging returns from their search marketing campaigns might wonder what they’re doing wrong – especially if they’ve already got best practices like accurate site descriptions and keyword optimization covered.

But a new study commissioned by Microsoft’s Bing and search agency Catalyst, and carried out by Forrester Consulting, may have some light to shed onto why marketers aren’t realizing the full potential of search.

The study, whose findings are written up in a whitepaper, ‘Prioritize Search to Maximize ROI of Marketing‘, found that more advanced search marketing tactics like local inventory ads, voice search optimization, sitelinks and schema markup have low adoption by marketers, who may not even know about them.

In addition, marketers struggle to properly integrate search with other channels in order to take advantage of the demand which they themselves have created.

“We too often see advertisers spending significant dollars in, let’s say, TV, and then failing to fully fund their search campaigns,” says Rob Wilk, Vice President of North America Search Sales at Microsoft.

“So if a consumer hears a message somewhere and then decides to search on Bing to get more information, many times the advertiser isn’t present, and that consumer ends up taking a different path than what the advertiser would have desired.

“In a worst case scenario, consumers come to search and end up clicking on a competitor ad. Think about that for a moment – clients are spending their dollars to line the pockets of competitors.”

So what do Bing and Catalyst think is keeping search marketers from tapping into the full potential of their campaigns, and how can they go about addressing the problem?

Challenges in allocation and attribution

The study’s findings drew on online surveys of 300 US-based marketing agencies and B2C advertisers, together with Forrester’s Consumer Technographics data.

Wilk explained that Bing and Catalyst commissioned the study to “better inform the market about the importance of looking at search not just as an individual, effective marketing channel, but to clearly articulate the benefits of closely aligning all media spend in concert with search advertising investments.”

Overall, respondents to the survey gave a high rating to the ROI they receive from search marketing, with 74% of respondents who were investing in search giving its ROI a rating of “excellent” or “good”.

However, 53% of marketers cited cross-media attribution as one of their top three challenges in budget allocation, with another 53% citing a lack of data to inform strategy; 44% also cited measurement as one of their top challenges.

“Competing business demands force marketers to rely on hard attribution data to develop and support their cross-channel investment strategies,” notes the study.

“Unfortunately, their attribution models today do not necessarily paint an accurate reflection of the consumer engagement with cross-channel touchpoints, which inhibits them from moving budget fluidly from channel to channel.”

Kerry Curran, Senior Partner and Managing Director of Marketing Integration at Catalyst, adds:

“The majority of the data supports that consumers consistently use and value paid search, and marketers find it to be Go to the full article.

Source:: Search Engine Watch