The blurring of search and social is presenting new challenges. Here, Stefan Hull insight director at digital marketing specialist Propellernet describes how marketing strategies should adapt to ensure the best exposure in both earnt, owned and paid media., and hears the views of hotel panellists brought together for a roundtable debate.
Google dominates the search market and will increasingly do so in social. Links that will drive most value to you as a business come from high-profile authors and people that influence other people.
The top of page one is where it’s at; brands want to be on page one. If you are on page two or below you are effectively invisible.
For a strong brand like Virgin, holding the top position might suck up 35% to 40% of available clicks for that entire market because it’s a recognised brand. If you are not a recognised brand it’s more difficult.
In the natural space, where you earn the right to be there, you can pick up three-quarters of your search volume. People trust natural results more but travel businesses commit about 80% to 90% of search spend on paid search.
A lot of them bid quite aggressively on hotels. They will try to become known for hotels in Jamaica or the Caribbean, but when it comes to bidding on a particular resort it’s impossible to dominate.
But where does social media fit in with this? Can you track it? Can you make money from it? Where do reviews fit in? Then there’s PR.
It’s all got very complicated. One of the difficulties is that, traditionally, search might have been sat with the IT department while PR would be over there somewhere and it might own social or social might be in a separate team.
What’s happening is a lot of people in search now talk about this idea of content marketing to achieve the win. That’s why a lot of agencies are calling themselves recommendation agencies.
They talk about how those different pieces fit together and how you can drive the opportunity of bringing them together. Very few businesses are doing this effectively at the moment. What you need to do is recognise your business structure.
Search used to be about technical stuff. There was a guy in the office who did search. Now it’s about 10% of the story. Now, without authority, you are hamstrung.
That authority sits with your relationships with key influencers, bloggers, lifestyle media. PR teams are often speaking to these people but not in the right way because they are not thinking about the social or search opportunity.