Performance Marketing Tips

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Is Branded SEM Worth It?

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branded searchBack when I was client side our SEM agency looooved branded paid search terms.  They did wonders for the overall CPA of our search campaigns.  But for the very generic phrases (e.g. no specific product mentioned) I questioned if there was any additive lift to the overall leads the site was generating – especially given the expanded search results that Google started to show on the SERPs.

We did a couple of on/off tests with the paid search campaigns’ top 3 phrases and compared leads generated from SEM and leads generated from the organic listings in Google.  What we found is that there was lift – but not much.  We found that only about 5% of the leads were actually incremental.  In other words, for every 20 leads generated we would have landed 19 of them.  So if our original CPA for generic branded search phrases was $7, the true CPA ballooned to $140.  Subsequently we used our funds for terms with under $100 CPA that had little to no SEO traffic – the result was an overall lift in total leads generated by the site.

If you’re spending a lot on generic branded search campaigns, try some on/off testing to try and determine your true ROI – you’re online marketing funds may be better used elsewhere.

To pick up some other search marketing tips try reading Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Web Site (2nd Edition)search engine marketing inc


Written by Greg M

August 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Tips

Tagged with , , ,

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