A great guest piece from Dan Schock, Google Retail Team Director
Search as a means of driving sales has evolved in the past few years. As recently as three years ago, most retailers and brands still viewed their “Internet” plan as a means of driving e-commerce. The Internet was a distribution and sales channel measured by its ability to drive online revenues.Then, as the Internet evolved into a broader media platform where consumers researched, watched videos and compared products/prices, and then often made their purchases in a physical store, many advanced companies began to include offline sales as an additional factor in measuring their overall Search ROI. In 2011, the most forward-thinking retailers and brands have started looking at a new measurement to calculate the success of their online campaigns: new customer acquisition and the lifetime value of those new customers. Think about your own search strategy: most likely you bid on as many of your brand terms as possible. And you should: here are customers that know you, who are raising their hands (via “queries”) and asking for information, then converting at a high ROI. But what about “non-brand” terms: queries higher up the purchase funnel like “makeup”, “detergent” or "paper towels”? These shoppers are still browsing and researching but they’re not converting at the same rate as those searching for your brand terms, so you may either not be buying non-brand terms them or buying very few. Why? – Most likely because you’re hooked on those brand ROIs. Why pay a higher CPC for a lower conversion rate?
Consumerism is as old as mankind itself. In fact, consumerism started when the first hunters found they could shop for rock types and find rocks that were more effective. Or when one animal skin was preferred over another for any number of reasons. I think brand also shows up quite early – like when weapon makers repetitively selected specific types of rock (e.g. flint) because they knew it made better weapons. In other words: exercising choice