Search Marketing Beyond Google – SAScon 2015


What, not Google? Let’s see what our else our panel are looking at.

We’re joined by Fabrice Michel, head of PPC at Blueclaw in Leeds. His starting point was Bing, perhaps a search engine we lack focus on (despite their growing market share in the UK).

Who had 11:52 in the “content is king” mention bingo? Fabrice’s point was that social ads and paid promotion for content present a huge opportunity, with the stat that we spend on average two hours a day on social media platforms. [Seems a bit low in my opinion.]

He discussed the various campaigns we can run on Facebook/Twitter, enhanced to increase engagement on posts or to drive website traffic or generate conversions. Perhaps under-utilised some marketers, though it’s certainly an area that we at PushON are investing resource in.

Next came YouTube and the use of in stream ads, again designed to generate exposure. I’d argue that these are actually not a great investment for smaller brands; display advertising in general does not convert very well so to make it work a campaign would need to be very tailored.

Considering YouTube is one of the largest search engines after Google (though let’s not forget Google actually owns it), brands should do more to advertise on it. There are similar ads that can be used alongside video content, InDisplay.

Finally LinkedIn. A “social” network with a lot of detailed user data, which makes any sponsored ads very targetable. Again there are opportunities for sponsored ads/updates, display ads alongside the feed and sponsored in mail. Fabrice did point out how spammy this approach can be and again I’m not sold. But it does allow for effective outreach which can be very specific and tailored to users.

Key takeaways for the use of social ads to promote content included: they allow laser targeting and building brand awareness.

Next up is Ann Stanley from Anicca Digital, discussing shopping ads and ‘buy buttons’.

Starting with a look at Google shopping ads (again, against the grain of the session title!), Ann started with features we should be aware of: aggregated product ratings, Google certified shop, local inventory listings and merchant promotions. Anicca is also using remarking and YouTube’s Trueview ads, the advantage of both being that ads send viewers straight through to product pages.

The biggest point was Google introducing the “buy” button. Whilst this is initially for PPC, Ann predicts that it may also come into organic results. To take advantage it’s advised that businesses are a Google certified shop, a key trust signal. It is not quite confirmed how this will work but essentially it will involve Google acting as a hub between results and ecommerce sites, with brands managing a shopping page through the merchant centre.

Back to Bing! They are bringing in shopping ads, and as Bing usually do it’s very similar to how Google operate theirs. Cheers Bing.

Amazon was briefly discussed as they’ve brought in sponsored product ads to external sites. Ann was dubious about the effectiveness of these due to where they’re listed on the product pages (basically right at the bottom, not a surprise that Amazon don’t want to send people away from their own site). There don’t seem to be many examples of this either which suggest that many brands have avoided it.

Facebook is another company that has now brought a ‘shop now’ button onto ecommerce brand pages. Certainly a good opportunity to help drive traffic from social. Twitter has something similar as a CTA whilst Pinterest is also close to releasing a button.

A lot of the features Ann discussed across each of these channels are new or recently released, and there is plenty for brands to play with anyway.

Last we had Nick Blake of Kenshoo, a software company working on display opportunities for brands. Their platforms look to help to manage campaigns and accounts across multiple search engines. Nick primarily discussed the features of the software and how exactly it can help businesses become more efficient with any paid campaigns and track attribution. The results they’ve seen for clients are certainly impressive, perhaps a tool to look at for brands who are looking to improve campaign performance (though who isn’t?).

Summary of the talk, at least my conclusions. There are a lot of opportunities for brands to explore, not least the use of social to push sales and conversions, or at least better connect their ecommerce store to other channels. However, given the session was about search beyond Google, our favourite search giant got a lot of mentions. Bing as we know tend to follow what Google do and YouTube is owned by Google; whilst they’re additional channels to try and increase exposure in, we’re still working in Google’s market.