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Why should your SEM agency manage your Display campaigns?

Published: April 1, 2014

Author: Sara Pfitzinger

We see it all the time: clients using one agency to manage their display campaigns and another to manage their SEM campaigns. Yes, different agencies have different strengths, but if you’re confident that one of your agencies can expertly handle both, there are a lot of advantages to be gained by consolidating accounts (and we won’t even go into the trouble of handling contracts, scheduling additional meetings, etc.).
Here’s what consolidation of SEM and Display campaigns under one agency can do for you:

Improved reporting and analytics

The value of “view-through conversion” metric of display campaigns, which measures how effective a display impression is at pushing consumers through the funnel, can only properly be measured if data at the end of the funnel (SEM) is available. The same is true of measuring the value of display clicks that do not lead to immediate conversions.
Note that social data also helps complete this picture; when different agencies are managing these channels, the data is fragmented and unreliable.

Exponentially powerful retargeting

Search retargeting and display retargeting can feed into each other in a number of ways. These include:
1)     The demographics of remarketing audiences in AdWords can inform display advertisers of the demographics of converted AdWords users. These demographics should be used in display targeting as well.
2)     Display retargeters can create cookie pools of users who have searched for specific terms (brand, product, competitor) and target ads to those pools. High-converting search terms are the most obvious place to start testing.
3)     Search keywords can help display retargeters create contextual pools, targeted programmatically. In this case, a list of search keywords would be provided, and through our DSP we would target placements on pages that fit the context of the keywords.
4)     Access to search retargeting data allows display advertisers to serve personal display ads. Advertisers can take top performing brand, non-brand, and competitor keywords and use them in Search Retargeting. Using a data partner, display advertisers can utilize search intent to actively target prospects with display banners – and bid differently on brand keywords, non-brand keywords, and competitor keywords.

SEM can help Display campaigns by…

1)     Improving targeting

Display advertisers can use search intent-driven data to create contextually targeted or behaviorally targeted strategies. Using SEM data to refine the audience profile helps display advertisers achieve more granular targeting to get more precise with display bidding/media planning.

Display campaigns can help SEM by…

1)     Feeding the funnel

Search is an incredible channel for capturing intent, but doesn’t work for new brands or new product types; there’s nobody searching for them (for example, what would keywords would you have chosen to buy for Tivo in 1998?). Display is a powerful channel for creating brand and product awareness because it does not rely on intent or keyword targeting. Although it can absolutely be effective for direct response, it’s a funnel entry point for an audience inaccessible to search marketers.
In the U.S. market, those consumers exposed to a display ad show an average lift of 49% in site visitation and 40% in brand-name queries.
Premium placement, like the MSN homepage, has shown that display ads make browsers 258% more likely to search for the brand and 138% more likely to visit the website.
While the Google Display Network (accessible by advertisers doing SEM) is a large network, it has significant gaps in inventory – particularly premium inventory – and delivers less than half of the optimal daily impressions and real-time bidding opportunities available on other display marketplaces.

2)     Improving creative

Display ads can test messaging at far lower cost than SEM ads. Those with significantly high CTRs, such as the below ad, can help inform search ad copy:

3)     Establishing consistent branding and messaging

Different agencies running search and display campaigns will not be reliably consistent in messaging. Branding consistency is much more achievable when both channels are managed by one team.
branding branding 2
Have you seen additional benefits from running both campaigns under one agency? Drop a comment!
-Director of Client Services Susan Waldes contributed to this post.

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