The Little-known Facts Of Search ROI: What You’re Missing Out

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Thinking of embarking on a Search Marketing campaign? You’ll definitely be interested in knowing your Search ROI then – and this post will come in handy to refresh your perspective on goal setting!

The goals you set for your campaign have to evolve in tandem with a constantly evolving search engine and digital behaviors. In fact, fixating on the wrong goals will cause you to lose sight on things that matter. 

The unprecedented capabilities of Search Marketing in recent years (transitioning from keyword targeting to user targeting) emphasizes the need for us to keep our perspectives in check. And that’s why I’ll be addressing the issue of ROI this week. In other words, how we value performance on search.

Value Individuals, Not Just Segments

While segmentation helps you with targeting and positioning, you now have an additional game-changing step: to personalize.

Google recognizes its need to become more profile oriented rather than query based. There are a ton of updates on targeting options – we’re gearing towards interest matching based on on-site browsing behaviors and CRM databases.

Knowing the value of these factors will help you take full advantage of latest capabilities as well. For instance, if you think that targeting a segment of Site Visitors in the last 30 days is considered micro-targeting, you’ll have to think again. In the evaluation done by the team at Criteo, there is up to 10X difference in value among customers in that segment.

You’ll have to look deeper into a customer’s individual on-site behavior and if it makes sense for your business strategy, classify them according to purchase power and intent. That way, you’ll be able to use targeting strategies such as bid modifiers and ad messaging more effectively.

Atomic Eye for Value in Information

Atoms make up mass. Protons, neutrons, and electrons make up the atom. So do information and data. 


While it may take a data scientist in the past to be microscopic about data, it is now no longer difficult to tackle questions like:

  • Who is sending the query and where is the source? -> Find where your most valued customers are
  • How many return customers are you receiving? -> Plan your retargeting strategies 
  • Has the location of your customers changed over time? -> Insights on whether or not if you should change your promotion strategy
  • Have my discounted rates substantially influenced query and purchase -> Tells you how much of the purchase decision is based on price

While these may not necessarily apply to every business model, I hope it inspires you to look at information with the thought of breaking them down further. It’ll definitely help you make appropriate goals and value your marketing efforts accordingly!

Form Molecules – Seeing the value of complements


I can’t help but make chemistry relevance to this, but it does depict the granularity of Search Marketing in its recent evolution. So, molecules.

We understand the value of combining marketing strategies, but the reason why I brought up the analogy of the molecules is to show how there may be correlations we aren’t able to see with a naked eye. Using a varied number of marketing channels together is no longer just an employment of media mix like you’re in a buffet spread.

With the use of proper analytics and clean organization of your advertising units, it is now possible to experiment and find insights about your campaign performance for things like consumer engagement. Instead of focusing on just Impression counts, use tagging methods such as UTM tagging to track the influence of the engagement on your website. You can then look at site duration and the number of pages viewed to discover opportunities for improvements.  

Here’s another example on display banners. If you are simply looking at the CTR of your banner, you might overlook the effectiveness of a banner campaign. Often, the returns of having a branded banner go unnoticed because brand awareness can be difficult to track. Run both your Search Ad and Display Ad at the same time to test if the banner ad helps to improve your Search campaigns.

Proving the long-term harvest now

What value is there to be gleaned when data is not in your favor (yet)? This is especially so for SEO campaigns where it takes time for results to show.

The optimization work that is done often has much more value than just keyword rankings. How do we show concrete evidence of its real value to the business? We have lots of metrics, but looking at them in their native form often serves to confuse more than anything.

Search Query Data


You’ve worked on on-site optimization, but traffic is not going to improve instantaneously. Hoping onto your Search Analytics Report on Google Search Console can help you see if long-tail keywords and impressions around associated phrases are progressing. If they are, you get to celebrate that small win!

Connect Strategy with ROI

Revise your business strategy and ask yourself the rationale for the campaign you are doing – strengthening its purpose via the medium of KPIs to see the value of your long-term Search campaign.

If your goal is to build awareness, look at smaller milestones such as impressions and keywords to your brand terms. If your intention is to drive more leads, you’ll have to pay attention to website traffic and focus on traffic behaviors before users make the signup.

Competitor’s Performance

Compare your strategies with your competitor values and find points of parity and differentiation. This is a good ole’ marketing concept that is relevant in this case. If you find that 75% of your competitors have implemented your recommended strategy and are performing better than you, it’s time to relook at parity points and set your goals according to what is in the competition.

In Search Marketing, you can do competitor analysis with the help of the useful tools out there. Here’s a useful read to find out what are the best tools out there for you to explore!

Moving Forward

To win at search, marketers will have to go beyond traditional management tools. Without proper evaluation of your marketing efforts, you might be losing out on emerging opportunities where Search Marketing can benefit your business.

If you’re looking to collaborate with an agency to work on a campaign with you, know the value of goal-setting in the perspective of latest Search trends. You’ll want a strategic partner that does more than just supplying you with SEO and SEM services 😉

If you’d like to know more about how a local digital marketing agency can fit well with your business objectives, you can read more about us here!

Joey Wang

Joey Wang

Joey is captain of Appiloque's spaceship. He spends his time charting the company's future and spearheading innovation projects that make business sense. Occasionally, he gets mistaken for a computer since he doesn't need a calculator and overheats when running too many processes.

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