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What B2B search marketers need to know entering into 2023
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As the end of the year approaches and 2023 planning is full steam ahead, search marketers may be scratching their heads as they adjust to upcoming paid search shifts. From algorithm updates to automation concerns, next year promises to disrupt the relatively smooth sailing that paid search offered advertisers in years past.
MNTN’s Ali Haeri, Vice President of Marketing, and Eric Hatzenbuhler, Senior Digital Marketing Manager joined SMX for a two-part series to discuss the shifting performance landscape. Haeri covered some of the upcoming changes expected for paid search in 2023 and how paid search marketers could add Connected TV to make the most of their marketing budget. Hatzenbuhler then took attendees on a tour of a Connected TV reporting dashboard, highlighting the extensive data that this performance channel can offer.
In the first session with SMX, Haeri jumped into discussing the changes coming to paid search and how B2B marketers should be approaching 2023. “The big headline here, I think the thing that is most provocative to a lot of B2B marketers is the fact that CTV can be thought of as a performance marketing channel.”
Paid search has been a key tool for B2B marketers and Haeri has experienced it firsthand. MNTN itself is a B2B business and Haeri points out that his team uses the same playbook and thus is experiencing the same pitfalls. “Paid search, for us, isn’t performing to the same degree that it always has. There is no jeopardy here that we would walk away from paid search or even pare down what we’re doing there, but when we’re looking for opportunities for growth, we’re just not really seeing that on paid search right now. And just generally speaking, search broadly is going through a lot of volatility.”
Haeri then took a deeper look at some of the changes facing paid search advertising. The talk of more updates coming to Google’s offering means that marketers are always scrambling to stay on top of updates. He pointed out that the impending “helpful content update” means that webmasters will be much more concerned over quality over quantity. CTV, on the other hand, only shows an ad on one screen which means there is no competition for attention. Haeri highlighted that CTV provides a consistent advertising channel with optimized results.
He went on to outline other changes facing the paid search world from SERP changes and limited visibility within automation to changing attribution models. As paid search struggles to make the appropriate changes in 2023, Connected TV advertising offers a consistent and measurable performance channel for B2B advertisers to use to their benefit.
Despite all the uncertainty facing paid search, it has been a consistent channel that B2B advertisers continue to rely on. Haeri cautions against putting too many eggs in the paid search basket. “We developed this overreliance on paid search–specifically for B2B marketers. We find ourselves using paid search quite a bit,” he said, including his own team in that B2B bucket.
“[Paid search] is certainly a silver bullet in the case of people who are in-market in categories that are already well-established. The reason that paid search works so well for B2B marketers is that in B2B marketing, we’re selling to people that are in a research phase. People are looking to procure some kind of service or product and they are researching that. Search is the ultimate tool for facilitating that type of research….The problem here though is that if you’re looking to generate demand, if you’re looking to seize upon an audience that isn’t explicitly searching for your product or solution…then it’s going to be hard to do that on paid search,” Haeri explained.
Paid search is a powerful tool to capture this existing demand that Haeri outlined, but once that has been captured, it’s natural to see a plateau. He cautions against pouring more money into paid search campaigns after that optimum point as it’s wasting a limited ad budget. Those text paid search ads are not going to create demand for the 95-98% of people who are not yet in-market for what the advertiser is offering; they won’t even reach that audience. This is where Connected TV comes in; it can help reach those who are not yet in-market, but may be interested in your offering, ultimately generating new demand. Haeri also mentions that when paired with CTV, paid search often sees a halo effect as it captures that newly generated interest.
Eric Hatzenbuhler, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at MNTN, also joined SMX to get to give a deeper look at what kinds of data Connected TV’s reporting dashboards provide to marketers. He began, “CTV is data-rich. I think that’s something that we think about television, historically linear TV, as not providing a lot of data. Connected TV, because it’s of course rooted in digital–the amount of data is extensive.”
Hatzenbuhler then took attendees through real dashboards that advertisers who use MNTN Performance TV have access to, including:
While MNTN Performance TV provides extensive amounts of data regarding CTV campaigns, it also can have extended benefits. “CTV really elevates paid search and really all of your other channels. We get a large amount of data out of CTV but like we talked about at the beginning, it doesn’t have to stop at the TV; it doesn’t have to live only within the MNTN platform,” Hatzenbuhler explained.
As for launching an initial campaign on CTV, Hatzenbuhler says, “You already have the skills. My background, as I said, is primarily search marketing; we can take a lot of what you do on the search marketing side and bring it to CTV and have a campaign up and running.”
Starting with account structure, he highlights that paid search efforts can translate directly to the TV screen. Paid search usually includes campaigns that align with each funnel stage and are organized by campaigns, ad groups, etc. This can be translated to CTV. Unlike linear TV, CTV covers the full funnel. Hatzenbuhler suggests advertisers follow the paid search structure they have already developed, creating a prospecting campaign for the top of the funnel, utilizing CRM for mid-funnel, and launching a retargeting campaign to capture the lower funnel. These should be segmented by audiences, budget, and creative by campaign to maximize performance and align with business goals.
Hatzenbuhler also had a suggestion to make the most of tight ad budgets. He recommends reallocating spend from poor-performing keywords to somewhere it can be more effective: CTV. By moving underperforming budgets from paid search to CTV, advertisers can avoid paid search plateaus and increase their return on ad spend. Not only does this move make the most of the budget, but as Haeri mentioned in his presentation, running a CTV campaign alongside search and social provides a halo effect to those campaigns as well. Hatzenbuhler concluded by sharing a case study from National Business Furniture that showed the impact running on MNTN Performance TV had on their Facebook and paid search campaigns.
While the tides are certainly changing for paid search, Connected TV can act as a stable and complementary solution for marketers. Not only does it generate new demand for paid search to capture, but it also provides extensive data that can be used across channels. To hear more about the developments with paid search and CTV, be sure to check out both Haeri’s and Hatzenbuhler’s full webinars.