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TV campaigns, radio and print advertising are old school, right? Nowadays only performance marketing is valid, digital of course. Efficient and directly measurable. So why do companies such as Coca-Cola, AXA UK and even online fitness providers spend huge sums on TV, print or radio commercials? As reluctant as search engine marketers may be to hear it: Branding campaigns work!

Why Performance Marketing benefits from Branding

Customers buy from companies they know, like and trust. Unknown providers have a much harder time in the market, even in search engine marketing. Every search marketer who has taken care of various campaigns knows this. AdWords campaigns for well-known companies are much easier to manage profitably than those of unknown providers. The branding effect is even more important when even the product is completely unknown. Search engine marketing works, but only when search volume is there.

Last year, one of my customers developed a new therapy method. The product is fantastic, but no one is looking for it. SEO or AdWords for this offer? Very difficult, especially since doctors in Germany are not allowed to advertise with treatment successes.

According to WordStream, there are three types of search requests:
• Information: Orientation phase, the user is looking for answers or solutions
• Navigation: The user knows whose website he wants to visit, but uses Google search.
• Transaction: The user knows what he wants to buy and searches for the best provider.

SEO & SEA: Use the existing demand

In all phases, search engine marketing is always concerned with maximizing the existing search volume. In search engine marketing you can increase click-through rates, influence your position in the search, and optimize the conversion rate. However, you have no influence on the search volume. Eventually, search engine marketing will reach its limits. Of course, there are always small changes, small optimizations, with which you can get a little bit more out of it. But you can’t expect dramatic increases. This point comes sooner or later, depending on the market and offer. Highly innovative products usually start with this problem. Even in markets with well-known products the influence of branding campaigns is very clear:

In this screenshot, you can see the AdWords campaign results of a medium-sized education company in Switzerland
The orange line shows you the AdWords conversions (bookings) supported by print and radio ads from January to February 2016. The blue line, on the other hand, shows you the AdWords conversions from January to February 2017 without print and radio ads. In both cases, there were regional campaigns for the same courses. With the accompanying print and radio campaign, 60% more visitors and 40% more bookings were realized than without. The offline campaign has not only increased the search volume in general – The offline marketing campaigns of competitors had already contributed to this. As a result of the campaign, this company was much better known and the click-through rates in many campaigns were correspondingly higher.

In the most important regions, the click-through rate of one of the most specific campaigns, course names combined with city names, was 7.2% in 2016. In 2017, however, only 4.65%. At the same time, the brand search volume fell by more than 50% in 2017 compared to the same period last year. Interestingly, however, the conversion rate of the most important campaigns fell by more than 50% in 2017. Although the campaigns were almost identical.

Branding Influence on Conversion Behaviour

Why is that so? To what extent does the awareness of a company influence visitor conversion behaviour? The popularity of a company not only influences the click rates in search results, as a study by Search Engine Land showed, but also the conversion rate. That’s why Remarketing is so successful. Visitors who already know your company are more likely to become customers than visitors who don’t yet know you. Current conversion rates in various industries: 

Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/02/29/google-adwords-industry-benchmarks

What does that mean for smaller budgets?

Branding campaigns, including those via traditional media such as TV, radio and print, work and positively influence the results of all channels. But it does not have to be a nationwide TV campaign. The more precisely the target group is defined, the easier it is to find and use branding options. Facebook campaigns or display advertising can be an option. In many niches, there are magazines, both online and offline, with which cheaper campaigns are possible. Influencer marketing also offers numerous possibilities for branding campaigns.

There are almost always options for almost every budget. The smaller the budget, the better you should know your target group to find the most effective strategies. Such branding campaigns will not lead directly to conversions. But they increase the numbers at the beginning of your’ funnel’. The right mix of subsequent channels and measures is crucial to accompany the entire Customer Journey up to a conversion.