Treating paid marketing and owned marketing separately costs marketers conversions, ranking and revenue. Most marketers evaluate channels separately, or, split out paid, earned, and owned marketing.
You leave 50-100% of your potential results on the table.
I recently asked almost a hundred CMOs and marketing executives: How do organic and paid marketing influence and amplify each other? Their answers were astonishingly insightful, and provide powerful evidence that marketers should seek and exploit synergies not just within but all between all their marketing channels.
Social is an obvious example.
Most brands juice organic social with a little paid. But some marketers find that the benefits extend well beyond better social media results. For example, perhaps … to organic search marketing.
We launched a Facebook Ad campaign to promote a free trip giveaway. This has resulted in thousands of likes, shares, tweets and about 50 inbound links from travel blogs. Our organic search traffic has improved by 35% over the course of a couple of months because social shares and inbound links are major ranking factors in Google's algorithm. Amine Rahal, founder and CEO of Little Dragon Media
In other words, paid social led to earned social led to earned SEO led to owned web traffic.
That's a nice chain of causation, if you're a marketer with a limited budget.
Another example? Pay-per-click to organic SEO.
Just the fact that you’re driving additional traffic to your web properties has a positive overall impact:
On average, we've seen a 10 to 20% lift in organic search traffic for keywords and phrases where ads are also placed, particularly around branded search. Those ads are also very affordable and perform well, as they are typically lower cost. Kent Lewis, founder and President of Anvil
Why does this work?
Laura Simis of Coalmarch says that since page traffic is a factor in search engine result page ranking, boosting traffic to a particular page through paid media can improve that page’s ability to rank well.
So, what kind of lift can you generate from this technique of combining SEM and PPC? Marketers I surveyed said their results ranged from 10 to 40% lift. That may not be earth-shattering … but it is essentially free.
One really interesting example: organic SEO and paid Google shopping ads.
This one resulted in a massive 7X boost in revenue for one marketer.
Alison Garrison, a senior director of marketing at Volusion, an ecommerce platform for SMBs, saw a long 12 months’ worth of organic search engine optimization hit pay dirt when she added Google Shopping ads.
After kicking off a Shopping feeds campaign, the SEO work that had been going for about a year gained significant traction, and traffic from organic search increased 325% overall and more than 400% from mobile alone year-over-year. Alison Garrison
But revenue absolutely jumped through the roof as well … including organic search revenue.
Revenue from organic search increased by 240% during that period. Shopping feeds ads were key to success here — overall traffic increased by more than 2,500%, mobile traffic increased by more than 10,000%, revenue increased by more than 800%, mobile revenue increased by more than 80,000% — not a typo.
Clearly, her client was starting from a small base of web and mobile revenue. And, there are two other important caveats. One: she invested a full year in search engine optimization. That's dedication and effort — and a long-term perspective — that you don't often see. And two: your mileage may vary. Just because one marketers aims for the moon and hits the stars does not mean every marketer will achieve the same results.
Still, the results are impressive.
And, at minimum, Garrison's results prove the need for synergies between marketing channels. Marketers who don’t seek and exploit synergies between paid and organic marketing channels are missing out on pure gold.
The full study with insights from all the marketers I talked to is available free here.