Getting the Most Out of Social Aided Search

At some point during the last year, you’ve been hit with the word social: the social web, social apps, or social marketing. By now you’re probably a bit skeptical about the value of social, but when applied to real-world projects, leveraging social can generate real results. Recently our agency started testing the results of making search engine marketing (SEM) buys based on listening to the social world that’s sprung up during the last few years.

Facebook Knows the Benefits of Listening

Allow me to define what I mean by “listening”. As marketers when we listen we’re learning what people say about a particular brand, a vertical, and an industry as a whole on Facebook, Twitter, and other social outlets. As part of its ongoing war with Google, Facebook has tackled the listening concept by recently patenting a “curated” search. Facebook believes this curation will help it provide more relevant search results to the user.  Upstart search engines blekko and to a lesser extent Mahalo, before it, are also attempting to create a curated search experience. Facebook is betting with its integration of “likes” throughout users web experience, that it can provide a better experience than any search engine could hope to.

You can replicate Facebook’s efforts on a smaller scale using tools like Radian6 and Position2. The beauty of listening is that it tells you exactly what people think of your brand and what they expect of it. It also tells you where you’re being talked about beyond the obvious places of Twitter and Facebook and gives you tools to measure the sentiment of those conversations.

As most of you know, to begin a paid search campaign you need keywords, ad copy, and potential engines and content sites for ad placement. There are fabulous tools that help us make educated guesses about keyword selection. Unfortunately there is very little out there to help you write perfect copy every time. Our agency employs constant A/B campaign testing to help us pick the best copy quickly. However, with social-aided listening, we believe we can streamline this process.

Real World Search Example

In a real-life test, we applied what we learned via listening to create ad copy for a running campaign. The social-aided copy outperformed our current champion by 30 percent. The results were staggering and  eye-opening. The ad copy based on listening saw a 1.39 percent click-through rate (CTR) and a $1.80 cost per click (CPC). The previous copy only managed a 1.08 percent CTR and a $1.96 CPC.

For us, the difference hinged on the verbs people used in Twitter and Facebook posts. We found that people gravitated to the terms “using” the product and “exploring” the product. The original copy didn’t include those verbs. These call-to-actions of “using” and “exploring” are a bit unique and not totally intuitive. Seeing them outperform keyword insertion and some other standard SEM copy practices was exciting.

This approach is a new path for us. We don’t yet have statistically significant data, but we’re very excited about the potential of listening. In the meantime, we’ll  continue to listen and apply what we learn to ad copy, keyword expansion, and even content placement. How do you think listening can help you better reach your customers?

About Paul Uhlir

Paul Uhlir is the Principal at Addthree agency. Interactive advertising addict. Proud Father. Helpless Arsenal Fan.

One Response to Getting the Most Out of Social Aided Search

  1. Anonymous says:

    awsome words..
    seo company perth