Search + PR = Pretty Cool Strategy

by Seth Hargrave on February 4, 2010

in Media,Search

Anyone reading our blog on a regular basis is no stranger to how much we preach about the importance of search marketing.  That said, I’d like to share a quick real-life story that shows just how incredibly powerful and important search engine marketing is to your interactive media mix.

About a week ago, I was informed by one of my clients that a key business partner of theirs was about to have a major press release which would be mutually beneficial to their businesses.  As a result of the conversation, we decided that as a way to capitalize on the added exposure, we would open their search budgets up for the remainder of the month.  What happened next was quite intriguing.

On the day of the press release, there was a small bump in performance.  Lift in CTRs went from their average of 2.5% to about 2.85%.  Not a big deal, but definitely noticeable.  However, the following days really started to show us something powerful.  The day after the release, CTRs went to 3.74%, followed by 4.29%, 4.89%, and then dropping back off to 4.3%.  A bell curve!

So, putting this in perspective, consider the natural flow of information on the Internet.  When a major press release goes public, there’s the initial diffusion you’ll see through major media channels followed by a deeper diffusion to secondary channels, social media, and so on until the buzz dies down.  This buzz, either via interactive or traditional channels, inherently drives more search volume.

Based on the information we’ve seen thus far, the lag time of that buzz to reach a crescendo and drive relevant search volume is likely two to four days.  I stress the word relevant here.  Nothing in this strategy focused on anything other than constant exposure via sponsored search.  There was no change in copy, no alteration to the keyword lists, and no change to our geo-targeting or day-parting structure.  So, the increase in CTRs is a direct indication of the perceived relevance among our audience.  They simply responded to our marketing better during this time frame.  Keep this in mind the next time you consider how your advertising should blend with PR.

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