When an online search becomes an online sale, that conversion can usually be measured. That’s how you calculate the true ROI of sponsored search listings. But is there an additional, hidden value to that investment?
Consider these examples:
A j.jill online visitor — who got there through a Google search — decides she really needs to try on the jacket she found in a store. She goes there based on her online search and makes the purchase there.
A search on a favorite author causes someone to browse the virtual stacks of Barnes & Noble. Later in the week he buys the book at a bricks-and-mortar location.
Those examples don’t include business-to-business purchases. For instance, someone needs a widget, so they type the phrase into a search engine. This person finds a promising widget merchant, but closes the deal much later, via phone and email.
How do you capture the value of those original search listings — whether they are paid or organic?
ROI Research attempted to find out (in the b-to-c space, at least), and their findings turned up some provocative numbers, including the following:
As many as one out of every three offline purchases was precipitated by an online search
Search can influence an incremental 3 times the dollar value of e-commerce transactions by reaching consumers who shop in traditional channels
Those who search up to 10 times annually spend an average of $1,789 online
Those who searched 31+ times spent an average of $2,943 online
As you might expect, off-line purchasing volumes went up as well with the number of online searches a consumer made in a year.
As measurable as search engine marketing is, its full value is much larger than what you see in ROI reporting. For the right keywords, the search engine results pages become ad hoc portals attracting people more likely to purchase, both online and offline.
Marketing Technology Musings and Tips by Jeff Larche