Enterprise paid search marketing is complex, and each day it grows incrementally more complex. New advertiser options, more sophisticated ad-serving technologies and new entrants to the SEM auction are near-daily occurrences. And if that wasn’t enough, sophisticated analytics communicate return on investment (ROI) to the penny, which in turn encourage advertisers to spend aggressively within an identified threshold. Layer in millions of queries performed daily around the globe and in numerous languages, and you have a very intimidating environment for the lay advertiser to navigate.
But for global organizations, shying away from the complexities of paid search is not an option. You have to pursue the inbound opportunities that only search can deliver, and you have to be exceptional in your execution. Plus, enterprise paid search is materially different from run-of-the-mill search programs. You’re in the big leagues now — and trust me, you need a game plan.
What does best-in-class enterprise search look like?
Enterprise search is global, it’s multilingual, and it’s high-volume, with incredible risk and reward dynamics at play. Enterprise search is not something you can manage with a single analyst and a few spreadsheets. The stakes are too large to not get this right.
Global organizations need a best-in-class SEM team or agency partner to derive value from this complex space: a team with the ability to draw out strategic audience insights that can then be put to use at the point of execution. This group must include a mix of both senior-level strategists and more tacticallyfocused planners and analysts, each with discrete areas of responsibility to ensure that all programs are performing as optimally as possible.
In-market team members are a must, too. Region-specific keyword research and local insights are the only way to maximize the investments being made across disparate markets. But though team members are geographically dispersed, another critical requirement is having a centralized global strategy. It allows the organization to see a holistic view of program performance, and provides for cross-region optimizations when opportunities emerge.
Technology is the final piece of the puzzle. A modern, enterprise management platform is needed that can easily handle simultaneous uploads of millions of keywords, and offer support for multiple languages and currencies. A key offering too among leading solutions is a built-in, multi-user workflow. This feature alone will save the team managing the programs innumerable hours, as duplicative efforts are minimized while many people work on the programs simultaneously.
Killer KPIs are a must
A huge miss I often see is organizations that don’t place enough emphasis on the clear articulation of program key performance indicators (KPIs). My agency defines KPIs as the “primary indicator(s) used to monitor how well a business is achieving its most important quantifiable objectives.” Applied to paid search, KPIs represent a critical tool in assessing the health and well-being of the programs at large. Clearly understanding what the organization wishes to accomplish with its investment in search, and being in a position to determine whether or not those objectives are being met, is paramount to enterprise SEM.
KPIs are most impactful when agreed to by a multi- stakeholder team across the organization. Getting buy-in on key objectives and measurements before any monies are spent will serve the SEM team well before the programs go through subsequent optimization revisions. Conducting a series of internal stakeholder interviews is a perfect way to curate the development of KPIs that have organizational approval built-in.
And if you still need help, I know some “Secrets to Creating Killer KPIs.”
Enterprise advertisers are always a step ahead
The enterprise search space is a battlefield and one where savvy advertisers recognize the need to always stay abreast of emerging technologies and best-practices. This means that enterprise SEMs are constantly experimenting with new beta advertising opportunities at the engines. It also means that more advanced constructs in paid search have to be present: systematic multivariate experimentation at both the ad and landing page levels, comprehensive retargeting, and multichannel attribution analytics.
Looking forward, it seems as if the next major frontier for enterprise search advertisers will be the infusion of social graph intelligence into SEM programs. Imagine the possibilities for engagement and conversion if both search query data and social preferences are known.
Get your game plan together now if you want to go big, or else your opportunity to go enterprise may pass.
Vice President, Global Practice Leader – Search