Posted: Friday 29th September 2017 in Owned and earned media, Paid Media, Paid Search, Thought Leadership.

Having an integrated approach is not an option or a choice. As digital budgets continue to increase, and the search market becomes more competitive, it’s a must have for any brand advertisers wanting to improve their decision making.

Both disciplines are data driven, often requiring the same data to make better decisions, for example, seasonality, keyword, customer segmentation and buying triggers. However the sharing of this data is not alive and well.

One of the biggest challenges remains to be, the data accessibility between internal teams and third parties, especially where governance has not been agreed.


Why choose an integrated approach

Paid and organic results appear in the same environment, when a user is actively searching for something. Ultimately, from a user point of view, they both carry out the same function of answering a query. Users are more focused on looking for which search result matches their need, and therefore are not as averse to clicking on paid ads if it matches what they are looking for.

A brand should be focussing on where to spend their money to deliver optimal returns, and this should be across all channels. Changes in the search landscape happen continuously throughout the year, and can impact user experience, and the market share between paid and natural search. A prime example of this was the right hand side ad removal from paid search in 2016.


How are Summit different

We work with brands towards achieving their business objectives, and overall profitability. This helps to inform our decision when deciding where to focus a brands marketing budget. Quite often, paid search and SEO are managed in silos, and this is apparent even when working with an agency who delivers both channels. At Summit, we don’t have these barriers, and we ensure this by having one client team who plan and forecast together, attend the weekly trading calls, and use performance insights to make reactive changes, and utilise the data across channels to inform in-channel optimisation.

This one team approach ensures we have integrated annual, quarterly and monthly planning, with on-going learnings being seamlessly shared on a regular basis. We also have experienced product specialists providing expert advice and support when planning campaign implementation. Our team of data scientists, who are well versed across all digital marketing channels, can understand under what conditions, when investing in paid search, will deliver incremental value for the brand. We also design pricing models to avoid false incentives that would encourage inflation of paid search investment.


The benefit for retailers:

  • The benefit for retailers is more profitable returns, for example using data to include demand, CPCs, revenue and margin, when informing which categories should be focused on in paid activity, and which should be focused on in SEO.
  • If you choose for your activity to be managed by one supplier, time, and ultimately management budget, can be saved by only briefing one supplier. As a result, there is also no need to implement a convoluted governance approach to data sharing and planning, which from our experience is always destined to fail.
  • The fast pace across paid media can help brands learn quickly, which can consequently inform SEO tactics such as:

-Launching new propositions: statistically valid learnings from paid search can be shared at pace to inform the SEO strategy. This would include keywords which should be targeted, and content development / optimisation, using metrics such as quality score and creative testing learning

– Paid search can also speed up content A/B testing, especially when preparing for large content campaigns. Various approaches to a content piece can be distributed to target audiences in a controlled manner through paid search to rapidly gather results, regarding which type of messaging, site layout & imagery will drive higher engagement, prior to rolling out the campaign nationally.

– Breaking into international markets, re-branding, and new product and range launches can equally be supported through paid channels as a temporary solution, whilst you develop a strong a SEO presence. This can be phased out when the brand gathers a strong follower base, re-focusing on profitability rather than growth strategies.

Deciding where to invest your advertising should be a decision driven by the business revenue and profitability from that particular area, rather than media % that an agency will earn from their fees.

Co-written by Adrienne Burns & Kristina Kalpokaite