The great minds and insatiable number crunchers have sat back from the feast table after gorging on the results of a Search Engine Marketing study undertaken in September and October of 2008 by The Aberdeen Group, who according to their website are a “leading provider of fact-based research focused on the global technology-driven value chain.” The Aberdeen Group is a Boston-area outfit that prides itself on being the go-to guys when it comes to understanding the measurable results delivered by technology in business. And so when Metamend was asked to participate in an SEM study directed by The Aberdeen Group, the answer was an automatic yes.
The title of the study was a harbinger for its scope, What Does It Take To Create Best-in-Class Search Engine Marketing? Best Practices in Paid Search, Paid Inclusion, and Search Engine Optimization. Now, don’t let the catchy title fool you, this was a seminal study that surveyed over 200 organizations with the aim of uncovering what practices are employed at best-in-class organizations to separate them from average and laggard players.
To distinguish best-in-class organizations, the study set four performance-based criteria: current return on marketing investment; year-over-year change in brand awareness; year-over-year change in web conversion rate; and year-over year change in website traffic. Those organizations deemed to be best-in-class averaged results of 108.24% on current return on marketing investment, 30.93% year-over-year change in brand awareness, 21.60% year-over-year change in web conversion rate, and 29.78% year-over year change in website traffic. These are impressive numbers in any ledger, but to those in the SEM business, another group of stats uncovered by the survey were the most telling of the best-in-class organization’s roadmap to success. Of the organizations surveyed and determined to be best-in-class, 79% provide access to real-time and near real-time analytics to track initiative performance, but perhaps more importantly, 74% provide for the ability to adjust SEM initiatives in or near real-time and 73% employ campaign management technology.
When looking at the average players and the laggard players, the study pin-pointed three key actions, that if taken with full corporate buy-in, would propel organizations into a higher level of marketing success. Firstly, in order to be best-in-class, organizations found to be wanting would have to implement formalized and repeatable processes for both SEM initiative development and management. Secondly, organizations found to be underachieving should establish a search engine marketing team. And lastly, organizations looking to improve their status must employ predictive analytics technology.
For more on online marketing, please visit the Online Marketing Blog. Up next, we’ll delve deeper into the strategies employed by best-in-class organizations.