Recently, Shop.org and Forrester Research conducted a survey asking retailers what the most effective customer acquisition tactic.Of the retailers surveyed, 85% said search engine marketing (SEM), which includes paid search and SEO, was the most effective customer acquisition tactic. And, the research showed paid search (PPC) was the SEM channel most heavily invested in. According to 76 percent of survey respondents, paid search drove more revenue in 2013 than 2012. For 19 percent of the respondents, paid search accounted for more than 50 percent of their marketing budgets. Even with these amazing reviews touting the benefits of paid search, retailers should still expand their horizons and not put all their eggs in one basket. Paid search works amazingly well for retailers’ customer acquisition goals but there are still many of other opportunities to take advantage of and to learn more about their customers’ needs. Looking at the report and interestingly enough, display ads are seeing a comeback as well. Display ads, which have seen a gradual decline are seeing something of a resurgence: specifically in the areas of retargeting, remarketing and behavioral targeting. When used for these purposes, display ads ranked among retailers’ leading customer acquisition tactics, and display ads now collectively rank as the second highest area of marketing spend behind paid search. This renewed interest in display advertising also makes social media a more viable option for acquisition purposes. Because we are seeing more marketing budget allocation dedicated to display advertising, social media networks such as Facebook cannot be excluded from a retail advertising stand point. Too many people and businesses think of Facebook as just a social network, but in fact, it’s another medium for personalized display advertising. This is likely why Facebook has surfaced so high in planned budget spend this year. Organic traffic was also mentioned as an effective channel, with 41 percent saying so it drove significant customer acquisition. This isn’t too surprising. The survey showed that retailers were investing more in organic this year than last, among other tactics like affiliate programs, remarketing and direct mail. If SEM isn’t a part of your customer acquisition, get it! MarketingModo offers a full suite of SEM management services including paid search and search engine optimization.
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