Tips for Integrating Search + Social
Published: October 19, 2012
Author: Molly Shotwell
Today’s post is by Account Coordinator Julie Vera, food and travel lover and recovering Boston-holic.
It seems that the new standard in digital advertising is to “be everywhere.” That sentiment has quickly led to some pretty cool advances in the way we advertise. Ad serving platforms have begun to ‘get more social,’ adding features that mimic socially enabled content or provide some sort of gauge of trust or authenticity.
Between paid search, social media, and the links that enable the two types of channels to speak to each other, there’s a lot of possibility for channels helping the others to become more robust. As the lines between search and social blur, integrating these channels and being able to attribute successes or failures to a particular effort will be important.
Remember that integrating your channels is more of a continual process than a checklist of Do’s and Don’ts. Here are a few tips that can help you get on the right track in helping enable a conversation between your channels and also enable socially enabled features within Google AdWords:
Level 1 – The No-Brainers
1. Always Track Your Social Campaigns
Tracking is a prerequisite to integrating your channels! Whether you’re using Google Analytics or a 3rd-party tracking platform, it’s always a good idea to create a data link between one channel and your website or analytics platform. First, aren’t you running Facebook campaigns to drive traffic to your site? The easiest metric to pull insights from here is simply how much of your traffic comes from X channel. Next, try tagging your URLs so that, if you’re running a test, you can easily see which ad is performing the best.
This can also apply to ‘analog’ marketing. Running print media somewhere? Maybe you have some guerilla marketers posting flyers with QR codes? Attach some UTM codes to that URL so you can track exactly how many clicks are coming from that effort.
2. Poke and Prod Your Audience
Don’t just assume that the standard content on your Facebook page or any other channel is “working” for you (especially SEM channels!). Refresh and test your content often.
Also, don’t assume that your audience won’t respond to X feature. Lots of great ideas have hatched simply from trying something new.
3. Find out what the value of ___ is to you.
Whether you fill in that blank with a Like, an engagement, an e-mail sign-up via a social media channel, or an app download from paid search, you should always be able to tell someone what that action means to you. How does it factor into ROI? Is the time and money you put in worth what you’re taking out? It is becoming less acceptable for online campaigns, especially those of the social media variety, to run blindly, or without some expectation of return.
With tracking and goal-setting in Google Analytics, for example, it’s easy to see how social media campaigns are affecting your bottom line.
Level 2 – The Good Ideas
1. Make Your Channels Talk to Each Other
Let one channel inform the other and vice versa. See some pretty cool conversation forming on your Facebook post? Gather some ideas and create a blog post response.
Notice some interesting queries on your Search Query Report? If appropriate, tack some on to ad copy on other channels.
2. Use the Google + Button
When Google + arrived, I think we were all a little skeptical of its potential. Deemed the ‘Facebook Killer,’ Google+ quickly became something of an antithesis to Facebook and other social networking sites. Google+ was different because it created instant connectivity between search results, paid advertising, and somewhat of a content-centric user base.
Now, Google has made it possible to +1 your landing page, right from a top-of-the-page ad impression. This is an instant link between social media and search. When logged in to your Google account, you can also see annotations below websites or ads where other friends have given their +1 approval.
Level 3 – Ready? Let’s Go!
1. Take Advantage of Google Betas
I’m a fan of getting on Betas as soon as they become available. One of my favorites is the email signup box that appears just below a paid ad in the Google search engine results page. Without having to navigate through your website, a user can decide then and there, on a search, to subscribe to your newsletter. Assuming newsletter recipients are valuable for you – it’s a big deal to approach potential customers sooner rather than later.
2. Add More Authenticity
A lot of search marketers will talk about advanced Google Extensions like only The Big Guys use them. I can’t think of anything more limiting to the success of an account than to ignore the amazing set of tools that Google provides for a marginal cost.
If you’re an ecommerce company, think about adding seller ratings to your ads via Google Shopping. Have a stellar rating on Google Shopping? Don’t even think about leaving that out of your ad! Great ratings from friends and other users alike signal great customer service for the user, which is always a plus when deciding on a purchase.
Mobile Apps extensions are becoming the new must-have item these days. Like other extensions, you can link directly to your mobile app on Google Play or the Apple App Store. Voila – another potential source of engagement with your customers.
When it comes to integrating your search and social channels, look past the obvious things. Go beyond dollar attribution and connect with your customers on a more integrated level. Give your potential fans, customers, and users more reasons to engage with your brand.
– Julie Vera, Account Coordinator