In this case study for Client X, Ideopia pitted a long-running Google Adwords campaign against social media. We first developed a content and management strategy that incorporated Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Conversion metrics for social media and Adwords were the same, and both campaigns ran simultaneously. We found:
The conversion ratio for social media was 96% higher than Adwords.
The cost per conversion for social media was 27% less.
Social media pushed about 16% more traffic to the site than the Adwords campaign.
Social media visitors were more engaged, viewing 30% more pages than their Adword brethren.
After 6 weeks, the search campaign was shutdown with only a slight impact on website traffic, and none on conversions.
Does this mean you should pull the plug on your search campaigns? No! The efficacy of social media will depend on your market situation and ability to deliver the goods. Ideally, search marketing and social media should complement each other.
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Sucking up to search engines, aka search engine optimization, is widely considered the best strategy for driving clicks from search. Most users, especially savvier ones, just put more stock in it. Depending on what shape your site is in, driving search rankings to page one of search results can be a long-term and expensive undertaking. But you need short-term results now, now, now! Your best option is probably a carefully crafted Adwords campaign, or a similar channel on other search engines. You’ll still pay, but if your campaign is optimized properly you should realize an acceptable ROI. The answer is different for every industry. The best solution is blended. A properly optimized site will not only rank higher in search, but it will lower the cost of search campaigns by increasing the relevance of your landing pages.
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