Not all search engine traffic is created equal

It’s really easy for a newcomer to the world of search engine marketing to assume that search engines (eg Google, Microsoft) are all the same and that clicks from them all behave the same . In the words of College Game Day ESPN analyst Lee Corso. . . “not so fast my friends”!! In this article, we’ll learn the differences between Google and Microsoft, their search engines and shopping engines, mobile vs desktop, and more to help you better optimize your efforts here. As you will read, there are probably a lot of things you are doing today that you shouldn’t be doing. And, vice versa, lots of things you’re not doing today that you should be doing.

Google versus Microsoft

Well, first of all, the biggest difference between Google and Microsoft is reach: Google is significantly larger than Microsoft (which includes Bing, Yahoo, and AOL traffic in their network). According Statistical, this difference is about 63% market share for Google and 25% market share for Microsoft in the United States, so Google is about 2.5 times the size. You’d think that suggests you should focus your efforts on Google first, to get closer to more users, right? Maybe, but everyone thinks so too. There’s actually less competition on Microsoft, and you might be able to acquire the same number of clicks at a significantly lower cost per click and improve your ROI in the process.

And there is a material difference in demographics between the two networks. Google tends to appeal to a younger, more educated, higher income, and generally more tech-savvy audience. And Microsoft tends to appeal to an older, less-educated, lower-paid audience that is more likely to have children. Maybe it doesn’t matter to your business, depending on your product offering (e.g. either audience watches movies). But maybe that demographic difference could be a big issue for you (for example, selling a product targeting older baby boomers might perform better on Microsoft).

There is also a material difference if you are trying to attract users from outside the United States. Google’s international reach is significantly larger than Microsoft’s, in case you’re targeting international customers, as well as US-based customers.

Search vs. Shopping

Just to be clear, search ads are the sponsored listings that appear at the top of search engine results when you enter a keyword (mostly text links). Shopping ads are the listings of products that appear in the “shopping” sections of those same search engines (e.g. mostly visual images of products), typically loaded into search engines with a direct feed of your products from of your website with feed management tools such as Feedonomics or DataFeedWatch. If you’re selling products in an e-commerce business, the natural instinct is to advertise in both sections: get your link to “chairs” in the search results, and get your picture of the specific chair references you you sell in the buy results.

It may work well for you, or it may not, as we learned with the Restaurant furniture More Company. For this company, the shopping section appealed primarily to consumers, not commercial buyers. So there was a material difference in the average order size between the two sections, say $500 for purchases and $5,000 for research. And based on the differences in customer acquisition cost, say $100 from purchases and $200 from search, it was materially easier to maximize revenue, profitability, and return on ad spend by focusing on research, and not struggling to just break even in purchases. spend. The correct answer here for a given company will be different depending on your goal. Determine what works best for your business.

B2C versus B2B

Related to this topic of search vs shopping, are the implications for B2C vs B2B businesses. Continuing with the Restaurant Furniture Plus example, let’s say they were advertising “chairs”. Yes, chairs are required for restaurants. But consumers also need it at home. When they were just advertising ‘chairs’ they were faced with lots of big consumer brands selling chairs (eg Pottery Barn, Wayfair) trying to exploit those same ‘chairs’ keywords. And those big brands have a lot more marketing power and repeat purchase potential because those consumers will most likely buy other products for their home over time. Which means the big brands were willing to pay a lot more for those leads. It wasn’t until they stopped their shopping feed and changed all the generic keywords “chairs” to the more specific “restaurant chairs”, “commercial chairs”, “catering chairs” that they started to really optimize for B2B needs. Someone really needs to build the “B2B search engine only” because you usually can’t get that level of keyword targeting from current search engine tools.

Desktop vs Mobile

When I started digital marketing in 2000, there was no smart phone. Thus, all traffic came from desktops. But, over the past 20 years, and thanks to innovations from Apple, Android, Samsung and others, for many companies, searches from mobile phones have actually overtaken searches from desktop computers. The problem with that: Most companies have optimized their user experience for desktop, not mobile. And, search engine algorithms actually produce different search results, based on the perceived user experience and site speed of these different desktop channels versus mobile channels.

For example, look at this Google tool that lets you check your site’s speed on desktop vs. mobile. If Google thinks your mobile site (compared to your desktop site) is too slow and you’re providing a poor mobile user experience, it won’t serve your mobile ad at the same frequency as it serves your desktop ad, or at the same frequency of your competitors’ advertising or search engine optimization rankings that are better optimized for mobile. Today, you really need to think mobile-first to get the lion’s share of searches reaching you.

Text (Prospecting) vs Display (Retargeting)

In addition to the text ads you buy from search engines, they also allow you to buy display ads, which are shown to the same retargeted users who visit other websites that are part of those same ad networks. There are several differences here: what you can say and show in a few lines of text is very different from what you can say and show in a nice picture. Not to mention, this image is now displayed for a user who has seen your brand once, so they will be much more likely to engage with this second impression image ad, than they were with this text ad from first impression. So if you’re going to launch a search campaign, you’re leaving a lot of potential success on the table if you don’t run display retargeting ads simultaneously.

With opinion vs without

Over the years, Google has put a lot of emphasis on social media data, dictating how it posts ads and how it ranks sites for organic traffic. One of the main drivers of this is customer review data. But criticism must come from their list of trusted review providers to lend credence to the review and make sure you didn’t just make it up.

The benefit of working with one of these trusted third-party review providers is that if you have more than 100 reviews, Google will add those reviews (for example, your five-star summary score), next to each of your paid search ads and your organic search result. connections. Which does two things: (i) it gives you greater credibility against other links on the page, increasing the chances of the customer clicking on your links; and (ii) most importantly, it can reduce your cost of customer acquisition by up to 15%, on average, with a higher likelihood of conversion into sales. So make sure you have a good customer review strategy that will make search engines more likely to promote you to really maximize your ROI.

General or Custom Audiences

Until now, you mainly had to rely on search engines to identify your target audience and hope they got it right. In the latest iterations of search marketing, search engines give you more information about who is being targeted. For example, if you are a “whitelisted” email marketer, you can give them your list of email targets, they will match it to their users and target advertising only to those users. This is great if you are targeting old customer email accounts or a prospect email list you have created. Or, as another example, you can give them a list of competitor or industry websites where your likely customers are searching, and they will target advertising to all users who visit those sites. It’s pretty awesome!! This is the first thing I’ve seen other than customizing keywords from “chairs” to “restaurant chairs” that will help B2B marketers find really targeted traffic for their business. So be sure to set up your Custom Audiences in your campaigns.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, a lot has changed in the world of search marketing since I first wrote about it in 2011. And I suspect there will be many more changes to come in the years to come. So please don’t set up your campaigns once and forget about them. You need to constantly relearn new best practices and reset your campaigns to really get the maximum return on your search engine marketing investment.

George Deeb is a partner at Red Rocket Ventures and author of 101 Startup Lessons – Entrepreneur’s Handbook. For future posts from George, please follow him here or on Twitter at @georgedeeb Where @redrocketvc.