Before the days of digital, “search” meant flipping through a phone book, perhaps dialing a customer service hotline, maybe even going to a library. But now, nearly everyone has a powerful research tool at their side 24 hours a day—and people are searching all of the time. Ten years ago, Google registered 1 billion searches a year. Now, they’re up to 3.5 billion searches every single day.
Consumers are checking in with brands multiple times before they ever make a purchase. According to a recent study by Statista In 2021, an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to purchase goods online. At the same time, global ecommerce sales is forecast at $4.891 trillion. If these online shopping statistics aren’t enough to blow you away, projections show that ecommerce sales worldwide are going to grow to $6.4 trillion by 2024. Essentially, search results are often the first brand touchpoint for potential customers. It’s, therefore, more important than ever that searchers have easy access to accurate, useful information—wherever they search.
A new Skai white paper outlines how a full funnel search strategy can help your brand cut through the noise and create meaningful consumer engagements
Consumers search in multiple places and ways
Search is no longer the sole domain of a handful of search engines. It originates in multiple places (many product searches now originate on Amazon) and devices. And it’s not relegated to text only, as we’ve seen with the rise of voice search. The industry is rapidly expanding, with market revenues estimated at 15.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, and market revenue projections of 35.5 billion by 2025. The two most popular vendors in the smart speaker market are Amazon’s Echo/Alexa and Google Home. Brands that aren’t factoring voice into their search strategy now are already behind, meaning they could miss out on those coveted top spots in the very near future.
The future of searching appears to be accelerating. Brands need to master this engagement channel because it will always be part of the shopping equation.
A full funnel search strategy will keep your brand visible
Traditional search wisdom has long placed the utmost importance on the highest-converting bottom funnel keywords. But top-of-funnel keyword search is just as critical for customers in those first steps of online research.
This is particularly true for voice searchers, whose queries often include top-of-funnel question words. For example, a consumer in the market for new hiking gear won’t likely search for a lightweight waterproof two-man tent but rather what’s the best tent for hiking Glacier National Park in May? Ensuring your brand is top-of-mind throughout the search process, for both voice and traditional search is the best way to make sure consumers remember your product when it’s time to check out.
According to research, one-third of people said they click search ads because it answered their question. Additionally, consumers see the value in paid search ads, with two-thirds of high commercial intent keyword clicks coming from sponsored ads, and search ads increasing brand awareness. But those outcomes are often a result of leveraging the entire power of search advertising across the various stages of the buying process.
5 steps to a full funnel search strategy
Moving to a full funnel search strategy is definitely a change, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are a few tips from our experts to get you started:
- Make it a team effort: Your entire organization should build a solid plan toward adopting a full funnel search strategy, giving each team input into how this move might affect their current strategy.
- Align keywords to the funnel stages: Most SEM strategies place a lot of importance on the bottom stages of the funnel and opt to keep costs low for the upper funnel campaigns so that the overall search KPIs look strong. But devoting time to understanding which keyword combinations are used at different stages of the purchase path is vital to making sure your messaging is also helpful to consumers in research mode.
- Align messaging by audience: Once you understand which keywords are critical to each stage of the funnel, make sure your messaging addresses the right audience in the right stage of the journey.
- Adapt your measurement approach: Adopting a full funnel search strategy means finding new ways to evaluate SEM at different stages of the funnel that best reflect the realities of an overall full funnel strategy. You’ll need to either have unique KPIs for each stage of the funnel, or a more realistic, blended KPI target (higher than the one you have today) to give you room for mid and upper funnel campaigns.
- Explore new SEM possibilities: An inherent necessity in a full funnel search strategy is to truly master all of the targeting and ad types available to you and better align your strategy to how consumers use search in their purchase path decision making.
Want to know more about how to master full funnel retail digital marketing? Check out Skai’s™ new white paper Full-Funnel Retail Digital Marketing