Luanne Marek has been involved in digital customer acquisition for 12 years. Marek has been the leader of the Centerfield media buying team for six years. Marek and her team managed over a billion dollars in ad spend, nearly a dozen Fortune 100 companies and several dozen Fortune 500 businesses, as well as many other brands in the B2B and ecommerce, insurance, and wireless industries.

Marek shared six lessons that her team learned over the past several years at SMX Advanced.

1. Check out your campaigns

Many brands don’t believe there is any reason to make changes to branded campaigns because they are low funnel and high converting. Marek did not go into detail about the tests that should be performed, but she explained that they were able increase sales by 122% and improve the quality of sales by another 3133%.

2. Measure with third-party instruments

After you have decided to test your campaigns, the next step is to ensure that your data measurement is correct.

They see too many tests fail because the data wasn’t well presented.

People who have worked with search campaigns or managed them may also feel a strong emotional attachment to the results. Marek says that when this happens, it can make it difficult to see the data objectively.

Marek suggests that you bring in a third party who specializes in this type data analysis.

  • Set the correct baseline
  • Balance
  • Use symmetrical data for measurement
  • Ensure that there are clear, performance-based outcomes
  • This allows the test to be performed without attachment to the readouts.

3. Always experiment

Marek and her team conduct thousands of tests per month:

  • Keywords.
  • Campaign structure.
  • Bidding strategies
  • Copy.
  • Landing pages

About 80% fail to turn out and the winners usually win by 5-10%.

Once you have found a winning test, scale it up across other campaigns. You can test additional iterations and ensure that you can measure it to your final goal.

Marek explains in the example that the submit button resulted is more form submissions, but the see package button resulted was the most page views and ultimately won by 33%.

4. Optimize your real estate

Marek and her team see brands fail because they don’t take full advantage of the real property available in paid search results.

She suggests trying out multiple brand positions.

Other brands may show up in your results. Adding a second paid brand position to the SERP will push them to the bottom of page. Instead of a user searching for your brand and seeing a compelling messaging from one of your competitors, they’ll only see your brand message.

This method was tested and resulted in a 121% sales increase and a 9% increase of CPA for Marek (and her team).

5. Personalize the experience

It’s not enough to add a bunch keywords to your landing pages. It’s just the minimum.

Marek suggests personalizing the experience. Marek suggests that technology be able to personalize and talk to users about what is important to them.

Her advice? Look for a technology platform that flows through the entire user experience, starting with the landing page. To keep users engaged, choose one that uses contextualization and artificial intelligence to personalize each step of the user’s journey.

6. The buyer journey is not linear

The market is becoming more competitive. Users will often have three to five touch points before converting.

Automation and omnichannel optimization are the best ways to meet customers at every stage of their buying journey.

Marek gives the example of SMS and chat, which were not available as a conversion channel until a few years back. Marek recommends getting ahead of your competitors and letting consumers reach where and how they want.

Three key takeaways

  • Tests can be set up.
  • Validate your results with a third party vendor.
  • Give consumers the option.

“There are many options, so compare your current paid brand strategy to other strategies. Facilitating the testing is another option. Let’s not forget to give consumers the option of choosing. One conversion path may have worked well for you, but that doesn’t mean that it is the only one to focus on. Marek stated that it’s not about spreading the same conversions to other options.

Search Engine Land’s first article, Driving SEM success: Lessons from $1 billion+ in advertising spend appeared first on Search Engine Land.