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Study Shows Strong Correlation between Search Marketing and Social Media

October 8th, 2009

GroupM Search and comScore, Inc., a leader in digital marketing intelligence, recently released a study demonstrating the strong correlation between a brand’s social media exposure and users’ engagement with their paid search ads.

Essentially, the two key findings are:

1. Users exposed to both distributed social marketing content AND paid search are nearly three times more likely to search for that brand’s products compared to users who only saw paid search.

2. In organic search, consumers searching on brand product terms who were exposed to their social media marketing are 2.4 times more likely to click on organic links than the average user who only saw that brand’s paid search ad.

I’ve believed this to be true for a while now but it’s exciting to have data to back it up from a well-respected intelligence company like comScore.

Specifically, I’ve seen this happen with Facebook PPC ads. A PPC campaign on Facebook will often have a much lower CTR than a similar campaign would on Google. But the real value is in the new fans to your Facebook Page (which you better have if you’re running ads there) and overall increased site traffic.

Keep in mind, social media users are very savvy. These users spend nearly three times more time online than the average consumer, according to this study. They’ve seen a banner ad or two (million).  When they see one, they know they’re being marketed to in their personal space.

So sometimes instead of clicking your banner, they run a search in Facebook to see if you have an actual presence on the network where you’re marketing yourself. Or they open a new tab and run a Google search on your brand to see where you live.

“Social media-exposed consumers are far more likely to search for brand and product-related terms, and click on a brand’s paid search ad,” said Graham Mudd, VP of comScore, Inc. “This finding provides strong evidence that investing in social media marketing can both increase brand consideration and drive higher conversion rates once the consumer has decided to purchase.”

This study gives weight to what many internet marketers already knew: search marketing and social media marketing play very well together.

And that reinforces what traditional marketers have known for many years: effective marketing campaigns consist of multiple channels with multiple touch points within those channels, enabling you to reach your customers in the way they want to be reached.

Get started in search and social media marketing:

•    Show your boss this blog post and the press release from comScore to convince him that social media and search marketing really do work hand-in-hand.
•    Find your audience where they live (on Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
•    Listen and research first, then engage.

And remember, it’s called social media for a reason. So please, be social.

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