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Integrated Data and the Future of Search Marketing



Arena's Head of Paid Search, Suzie Rafla, looks ahead

Integrated Data and the Future of Search Marketing

The buzzword of last year was undoubtedly ‘Big Data’. But, as we move into 2014, the focus now needs to be on how we integrate this data, specifically how we integrate different data sets to drive paid search forward. Integrating data will make search marketing more focused on, and relevant to, the individual consumer and their circumstance.

A user’s search query gives insight into their intent, their mind-set, and their readiness to purchase. However this is just one piece of the puzzle. A user who searches for ‘pizza’ could be looking for a variety of things including a restaurant, take-away or nutritional information. Imagine as a take-away advertiser that we also knew the weather was miserable, that our TV ad had just aired, that the user was a football enthusiast, and there was currently a big football match on. Suddenly the likelihood of conversion from this search is much higher and we can adapt our strategies accordingly by increasing bids and adjusting the messaging we serve to engage more with the user and their context.

2013 saw a lot of focus on user context with Google’s Enhanced Campaigns making it easier than ever to optimise to contexts such as day of the week, time of the day, device and location. Thus far there has also been relatively limited data integration with products such as Google Scripts. 

In 2014, however, we will see these data sources multiply to paint a bigger, more detailed picture enabling us to predict to a greater degree the likelihood of conversion. As we increase these data sets the ability to manage bids and adapt copy to all these contexts suddenly becomes very hard, if not impossible, to do manually. Automation is therefore going to lie at the heart of success. Only then will brands truly have at their fingertips the opportunity to reach the right buyer in the right way at the right time.

A lot of bid management tools are building their capabilities to pull data from third party feeds such as weather feeds, interest rate feeds or social buzz feeds. Brands must also integrate their own data to understand how users have interacted with the brand in the past, their value as a current or new customer and their purchase history. Once all these data sources are aggregated we can combine user contexts and increase our bids when the likelihood of conversion is higher.

A more personalised search experience is also achievable using integrated data. Brands need to serve different messaging under different conditions to engage the user in their specific context. If we take the same pizza example above, we can adapt our copy when we know there are big football games on. In addition, if the user is a current customer we can include the name of their previous pizza purchase in the ad copy to increase engagement rates. The more data we can integrate, the better we can understand what messaging will resonate with the specific user, hence the more we can increase click-through and conversion rates.

While integrating various data sources into paid search certainly brings complexity, it also brings a lot of opportunity. Not only can advertisers increase performance on current keywords, but understanding when the probability of conversion is higher will enable advertisers to drive incremental growth by bidding on broader, previously unattainable keywords when specific user contexts are true. This makes it more important than ever for brands to identify the different factors that impact their business and to start integrating those data sources effectively to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities this offers.

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LBB Editorial, Wed, 05 Mar 2014 12:34:35 GMT