Moneyball of Marketing - BloomReach Inc.go. 2020-04-30آ Moneyball of Marketing If over 60% of...
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Moneyball of Marketing If over 60% of your search traffic is branded, you’re leaving revenue stranded on base.
16% of searches are net new. 70% of searches are long tail. 40% of natural search traffic should be from non-branded queries.*
*SEO expert and RKG President Adam Audette
Your brand is a household name.
Millions “Like” it on Facebook.
Competitors are jealous that customers use your brand name as a verb.
Your brand is global, like Brad Pitt.
Taking your brand to this level was no small feat. It took years of great products, advertising, some very happy customers, and a little luck.
The vast majority of visitors to your web site seek you out by your well-known brand.
Many strong brands approach search engine marketing by leveraging their hard-earned brand recognition. Investments in branded search terms – whether through SEM or SEO – have relatively high payoffs since the likelihood of conversion from a branded search visit is quite high. After all, these are your customers who knowingly sought you out; it makes sense that there was some intent that drove their search. And when your marketing team or search agency sorts their data for visits, conversions, or spend on keywords, the top spots are likely occupied by branded terms. So it is intuitive to focus energy and spend on those branded keywords. The problem is that the only way to increase demand for your brand is with awareness campaigns (social, TV, print, display, etc.) whose cost should be factored into the return on advertising for brand terms.
Branded Versus Non-Branded Branded (also called navigational) and non-branded (also called non-navigational) traffic are two very different things – sort of like a curveball versus a changeup.
Before we continue, it is important we give an overview of the factors that drive branded versus non-branded traffic:
Non-branded Traffic Non-branded traffic does not contain your brand.
Paid means that the traffic came through a paid search link – using bids for specific keywords.
Organic are links from the natural search results.
Another way that marketers buckets the types of traffic is head terms (branded), torso terms (non-branded paid) and tail terms (non-branded organic).
Branded Traffic Branded traffic contains your site’s name. If you’re Amazon, that includes
“Amazon,” “amazon.com” and “amazon cameras.”
You are already getting those customers. It’s reasonable to pay a small amount to give your branded visitors the convenience to find you in a click, but not at the cost of investing in non-branded search. The marginal return on your ad spend for branded
customers is much lower than the return on non-branded customers who not only may buy, but also are much more likely to be net new customers for your brand with high lifetime value. A business’ growth is going to be limited if they don’t capture new customers. And your new customers are not going to come from branded search – they will come from non-branded search.
There are key differences in the behavior of visitors from branded and non-branded traffic driven by:
1. Intent. The intent of a branded versus non-branded user is very different. Branded users want to find you. They’ve already heard about you and believe you have what they want. If they were not using a search engine, a very high proportion of these users would devise another way to find you – such as typing your URL. The search engine just happens to be the easiest way to do so. The non-branded user does not know who has the information, products or services they are looking for. So if you don’t appear on a search result page for this user’s intent then a low proportion of these users are going to find you.
Brand. Because the branded user already knows your site, your previous marketing efforts, including both online (non- branded paid search, non- branded organic search, display, social, affiliate, etc.) and offline (tv, print, radio, etc.) likely had more to do with driving the user to your site than what actually shows up on the search result page for a navigational query. Branded traffic thus is actually very similar to direct site traffic. It’s just that the branded users are using the search engine instead of typing the address directly into the browser.
2. 3. Rank. Non-branded traffic, on the other hand, is driven mostly by how well you are doing in your organic and/or your paid search marketing. If you get a visit, for “compact digital cameras”, then it’s because you were likely ranking for this term either on the organic or paid listings.
Knowing these differences, it would make sense why lots of data out there shows that branded traffic tends to convert at a higher rate than non- branded traffic which means that you should invest a lot more of your marketing efforts in capturing branded traffic at the expense of non-branded traffic,
Non-branded Traffic Throws a Curveball
If you aren’t attracting a significant number of visitors who are not seeking you out using your brand, you are not harnessing your full potential. For strong brands, you should be attracting up to 40% non-branded visitors to your website, according to SEO expert and RKG President Adam Audette. And while that percentage may vary by industry, if you don’t have a substantive volume of non-branded traffic, you are missing a potential grand slam.
Jupiter Research found that 36% of users search for information about a product during the consideration phase of the purchase funnel, before performing a branded search and converting on a website.* In contrast, searches that include the site’s name indicate that the visitor already has a specific seller in mind and is close to conversion. So this means that with less than 40% non-branded organic traffic, you’re giving up many potential new customers – with potentially high customer lifetime value. Increasing your search traffic from non-branded terms from 10% to 40% of your total search traffic is not a zero sum game that harms your branded terms. Non-branded traffic grows the size of the pie rather than changing how you slice it. In that case, going from 10% to 40% is actually a 50% increase in total search traffic.
*JupiterResearch, Search and Attribution, November 2008
Heads Or Tails? Think of how you search for something you need. Your research typically starts with a series of searches, often traveling further and further into the long-tail of search engine results, particularly if you are looking for something obscure like cheetah print twin sheet set or red ruffle chiffon shirt. You cast a wide net and then narrow in on the best results refining your search with brand names, color, style, size, etc., until ultimately you find the webpage containing that perfect product, which you proceed to buy.
Shouldn’t the search marketing strategy that you employ use this same logic? After all, branded searches show a strong intent to buy your product, but, as we’ve said, growing the size of your market requires attracting new customers. And those new customers’ searches are likely non-branded. This is precisely why we are seeing marketers from strong brands pursue the 60/40 branded/non-branded ratio. They recognize the value of these long tail visitors, whose net-new traffic spikes traffic by 50% or more.
Given that opportunity, how long can your big brand ignore the long-tail? As sophisticated and savvy as an in-house or agency search marketing team may be, there are still only so many hours in a day. The work of a search marketing team should focus on what they do best: producing great creative, optimizing “head” and “torso” search terms, and identifying gaps & tools that can fill those terms. The team also has the data, focus, and capability to optimize for those “head” and “torso” search terms. If they’ve been driving traffic and conversion, while continuously improving, why stop now?
It is clear that non-branded search can increase sales and bring new customers into the funnel. However, optimizing for the long-tail is a resource intensive thing to do at the scale and speed required to yield meaningful ROI. Non-branded searches are often semantic in nature and while their collective volume is massive, the individual terms may only come in ones and twos. No wonder it’s not cost-effective for SEO experts to continuously iterate to capture the long tail.
BloomReach works with a major retailer of home furnishings and furniture whose name has tremendous cache. Foodies, decorators and gourmets covet their beautiful, high quality merchandise. Yet, they knew there was opportunity to do even better with non-branded search traffic, especially when it came to finding new customers…or more accurately…helping new customers find them.
Although their branded/non-branded search ratio started at a very respectable 75%/25%, four months after implementing the BloomSearch platform as part of their long-tail strategy they had increased non-branded traffic by 36%. Of those visitors, many became net-new custom