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When Search Becomes Costly

By: Nick Godfrey on February 24, 2015

paid-search

For every eCommerce business that is paying to acquire customers, a portion of that investment must be going to Google to pay for keywords and top positioning within search results. This makes sense to me. It is a business transaction; you the brand are paying for premium positioning to target your core customers.

From the perspective of the consumer, it makes sense to me that some consumers are time-crunched and looking to be efficient as possible and go to the top of their browser window and type in the exact URL for branded website they are trying to reach like www.reallycoolstuff.com. But then there are the others who are lazy, or not quite as efficient, or even worse (like me).

Rather than typing in the exact URL, we will go to the search box and type in the words Really Cool Stuff, hit Enter and await the for the search engine to churn back the magical results. Voila! There are the results that I want – all 10,548,101 of them. Like most, I click on the top link and off I go on my merry shopping way. This would be the end of the story (or search) but the thing is that I am already a Really Cool Stuff customer (by RCS’s segmenting standards, I may even be considered a best customer).

However because of the way I navigate the web, like millions of others, I am repeatedly acquired as a “new customer” for which Really Cool Stuff will have to pay each time I appear on their eCommerce site to peruse and purchase.

Has Google, or any search engine for that matter, trained me to do this? While I don’t fault myself or the search engine for reinforcing these behaviors, the onus then falls on the eCommerce merchant, or in this case – Really Cool Stuff, to train me to behave different. Each time I enter Really Cool Stuff’s website through search they are paying to reacquire me as a customer. Since I have already stated that I am a loyal customer (perhaps, even a best customer) this seems a bit backwards and a poor allocation of funds.

If I were in charge of marketing for Really Cool Stuff, I would implement marketing programs where I would drive existing customers through specific channels to my eCommerce website. Maybe it’s an email campaign, or perhaps it’s a PInterest-esque app; but the end result is constant: I enter Really Cool Stuff’s website known as an active customer, and Really Cool Stuff can treat me as such and provide me with dynamic content that continues to push me along the marketing lifecycle. In turn, this will bring down the amount that Really Cool Stuff needs to spend on search and reacquiring active consumers.

The result is a win-win; me the customer gets targeted content and content to meet my needs and Really Cool Stuff can more appropriately direct their marketing spend with regards to acquisition, retention, and growth opportunities along the buyer’s journey.

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