Saying that media strategies have evolved a lot in the last several years is like saying that search engine users “kind of” like Google: it’s a major understatement. In addition to new online channels and media properties and the explosive growth of social and mobile, innovative offerings have also come from cable providers, broadcast networks, online portals and search engines.
Innovation is flowing like never before, and it’s hard for marketers to keep track of this expansive, rapid change. But as brands increasingly need to control costs and drive results, micro strategies that can make offline channels more affordable and enable smarter, smaller media buys with greater accountability deserve a closer look.
Let’s consider a couple of examples.
Drive time micro-targeting
A retailer recently utilized pay per click (PPC) search marketing to maximize offline revenue for its stores in just one state. An exclusive coupon offer only accessible through PPC search advertising was used to help drive offline traffic and in-store sales in that state.
Rather than taking the more generic approach of geo-targeting by state, the team developed a micro-targeting solution based on drive times from each retail location and began a three-pronged approach. First, third party mapping solution was used to plot 30 minute drive times from each store and then targeted those areas in Google AdWords. Once geo-targeting was set, customized copy and landing pages were developed to effectively highlight the offer. Finally, they created a feedback loop. Custom coupon codes and landing pages tracked the offline revenue from state-targeted customers separately from the drive time targeted customers to monitor results and evaluate the micro strategy.
Over a two-month timeframe, the micro-targeted program resulted in a more than 30% increase in offline conversions, and the retailer has since implemented similar campaigns in other geographic areas.
For years, catalogers have leveraged PPC search marketing efforts to capture demand generated by catalog drops by loosening up ROI/effective revenue share (ERS) requirements to enable search teams to effectively capture increased interest and sales. A leading outdoors retailer and cataloger recently fine tuned the role its PPC search program plays in its regular flights (catalog drops) to get even more out of its cross channel integration efforts.
Unfortunately, with a portfolio of more than 50,000 keywords, ratcheting up the program to capture demand and then back down to return the program to its ongoing ERS (ad cost per sale) can take time – which only decreases profitability. To take the effort to a new level of profitability, the search team developed what Performics calls a “hyper-flighting” micro strategy.
By classifying keywords into one of five groups based on past performance, more specific micro bidding strategies are employed for the different keyword types when entering or exiting flights. This enables the team to quickly change the bids of the account’s high spend terms to more effectively and quickly increase or decrease the cataloger’s ERS.
Applying micro strategies to these keyword categories yielded large traffic increases, additional opportunities to optimize high priority keywords, increased sales and improved efficiency. Year-over-year sales rose 15%. Clicks rose 12%, and the cataloger’s ERS decreased 11%.
Go granular, get results
Increasingly, CMOs that have tasted the success of micro-targeting encourage more granular thinking from their teams. While these specific examples may or may not work for a particular brand, the commonality of the examples and the ability of micro strategies to infuse new efficiencies into any marketing campaign, particularly cross channel campaigns, are worth noting.
Michael Kahn (Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior vice president, client services at Performics and a monthly contributor to Chief Marketer.