Retailers Searching for Ways to Drive Traffic

Discussion
Jan 25, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Paying for the privilege of being the first can pay big dividends for retailers.


According to a Cox News Service report, search engine marketing played a significant role in directing consumers to e-tail sites this past holiday season and will continue to grow as part of company’s advertising mix moving forward.


Chuck Davis, chairman of the shopping comparison service Shopzilla, told an audience at the Shop.org conference that the dollars spent on search engine marketing this past holiday season were “very significant.”


Interestingly, the number of companies paying to be on the top of search pages continues to grow despite research showing that most consumers do not use the links to go directly to e-tail sites.


Moderator’s Comment: Why does search engine marketing continue to grow in importance despite research that shows most consumers not clicking on sponsored
links? What is the key to successful search engine marketing?

George Anderson – Moderator

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6 Comments on "Retailers Searching for Ways to Drive Traffic"


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Jeff Weitzman
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Jeff Weitzman
15 years 1 month ago

“Most consumers do not click on sponsored links” does not equate to sponsored links not working. Click rates on all forms of online advertising are in the single digits, that’s a given. They still work, and work well.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of direct-response marketing, and like all such programs, is most successful when approached with a by-the-numbers rigor that maximizes the efficiency of the program. Marketers need to cast a wide net with keywords and mercilessly optimize and test until they find the most efficient set of keywords, and even then they need to stay on top of the program. You can do this in-house or hire a search engine optimization firm to do it for you. New forms of keyword-based advertising, including embedded contextual links, are expanding the options for this very effective way to drive consumers to a desired action.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
15 years 1 month ago

I would strongly suggest retailers utilize value to drive traffic. Paying to get on the top of the list doesn’t work on my computer as my browser seems to block access to all “pay for position” search results. While much of the business model for the internet is based on revenue derived from “pay for position” search results the consumer is learning quickly that these results don’t really reflect a retailers value position. Programs have been developed to ignore “pay for position” and their use will increase over time. Again, I must implore retailers to work for their business. Depending on pay for position only last as long as someone else doesn’t pay more. A bought placement has no residual value.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Am I wrong in thinking that sponsored links are those in the right hand column on the screen while search engine links are those that take up the larger area, reading from left to right? If so, even when people know that the search engine links may have been paid for, they are still perceived as being less overtly advertising related than those in the right hand column. It has always been possible for companies/products/whatever to appear high on a search engine’s list by using the most easily and frequently recognisable meta tags. The fact that knowing this and capitalising on it now bears a cost is the way of the world. It doesn’t necessarily change surfers’ perceptions that a listing from a search engine is somehow more objective.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Some recent research indicates that businesses can easily pay too much to be listed #1 in the paid search slots. Apparently the price for being #2 is often so reasonable in comparison that the profitability is greater even though the position is not as dominant. Many internet users don’t limit their clicks to “just one” when researching a purchase anyway. The wonderful thing about internet marketing is how easy it is to prove profit improvement (or the opposite) based on alternative testing. Endless testing will make the ad market more and more rational.

Jim Pappas
Guest
Jim Pappas
15 years 1 month ago

Typically PPC conversions (click through to sale) are, for us, higher than natural conversions. However, click through percentage (the number of people who actually click your link) compared to the number of impressions of your link is generally lower than the click through percentage for natural listings.

Kai Clarke
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Location, location, location! Successful search engine marketing is dependent on 3 things: priority placement, meta tag placement and multiple keyword emphasis. Search engine marketing is the key to growing a successful internet business. Knowing how search engine crawlers work, as well as being able to manage your placement in the listing, is a requirement for online success with any internet marketing program. With the growth of “secret” search algorithms from search engines like Google, as well as key search directories like Ask Jeeves, online marketing must go beyond meta tag emphasis and pay for placement with these search engines. However, to ensure continual high ranking within the plethora of other search engines, repetition of targeted keywords and met tags are also important. Following all of these marketing promotion essentials are the old standards of product positioning, pricing and placement. Prominent location among search engines is the key to a successful internet marketing execution.

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