Mix.

Two thirds of all online searches are the result of offline media including TV, newspaper, magazines, word of mouth, radio, direct mail.

Of those who searched for a product or company 39% ended up buying from the brand that motivated their search (via). What happened to the other 61% and how do you keep your share (and steal some of your competitors)? How do you use those search trends to improve both your online and traditional media placement? How do you make sure your online and traditional efforts are cohesively working together?

Well I’d love to say follow a few simple steps and you’re golden, it’s not that easy. As web is almost all in real time these days, you have to consistently monitor, adjust and analyze. These are the top five things I would recommend –

Ignore.

A study by AdWeek and Harris Interactive provides some interesting stats on which medium ads are most ignored.

Medium of most ignored ads

At first glance its easy to assume that this means that internet banner ads are most ignored and television ads are the most effective. But the study fails to take into account several important factors.

1) Most people fail to recognize what is actually advertising online. When I teach clients and co-workers about search engine marketing, most people are surprised to learn that the sponsored links section at the top and right hand sidebar on search ads are paid ads. There are countless studies about visitors not realizing when they’re on a blog vs. a website. I’m sure a lot of people in this survey couldn’t accurately pick out all the ads on a website, but I’m sure they all recognize commercials on TV and radio.

2) ROI is king right now. Most people might say TV is an effective way to reach them, but who really watches a TV spot and immediately goes out to buy that item. On the advertiser side TV is an excellent reach medium but you can’t really measure and you can’t really target.

3) Mass reach and online ads serve different functions. TV and radio are to get the message out to everyone, if sales occur because of it, fantastic. But these days most people go online to find out more information and shop competitors. TV, radio and newspaper are step 1; online advertising is closer to the end of the funnel (even for offline channels).

I hate reports that just spew out numbers and stats without context.  You can read more here.

Bing.

I am totally impressed with Bing, Microsoft’s attempt to get back into the search game, and its not just because of the plethora of results of my vanity search – I finally beat out the Erin Norton who makes jewelry.

Bing’s spin is that its a “Decision Engine” so they’ve organized and categorized the results to help you make decisions. I highly recommend testing out an image search (limitless scroll bar!), a restaurant search (check out the left hand options!) and a travel search (they graph out ticket prices!). For some more capabilities check out this video –

However, I’m really very disappointed by the display ads. These are just crap – so far I’ve only seen them on tech heavy/early adopter web sites – show me some flights to SFO, comparison shopping a new tech gadget an image search for some nerdy movie if you’re going with the early adopters.

Creepy guy in mirror,  woman giving me evil eye surrounded by photos and crappy stock “I can do it” photo = what is this ad for again? Erectile dysfunction? Anti-depressants? It’s so generic, no defined personality and totally lame.

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I highly recommend reading more about this article from ReadWriteWeb – Search 2.0 vs. Traditional Search.

Wordier.

According to a Hitwise study found search queries are getting longer. Check it out here

As you can see from the chart below searches with 4 words and more (8 words are up 22%) are up year over year. While Hitwise doesn’t offer an explanation of this, I think its due to a combination of the increased number of sites being indexed by SEs and the increase in SEO.

Search is a journey (I picked up that gem at one of the online marketing conferences).

It makes sense that the further you are on that journey (or further in the funnel or closer to grandma\’s house, whatever you want to call it), the wordier your search query becomes. You\’re asking questions and searing for information without being able to engage in a conversation. Most of the time you know what you are looking for, from the address to a bar to the history of a sports team, and its hard for a simple term in a search engine to understand that.

Search engines are still inadequate at reading minds and SEOers are busy trying to tell it that their sites are the ones that have all your answers. There have been rumors about Twitter taking over Google as the place to search for information and while Twitter search and asking my tweeple questions is super quick and reliable it is not going to replace my love for Google.

Search.

If you Google me are any of the results actually me?

When we hired a new addition to the agency…I immediately ran the candidates names through Facebook, Google and Addictomatic to find about more about them. I won’t divulge the dirt, but it made me think about what online dirt is out there on my name that is not really me.

My name is pretty standard, so I’m not surprised that when I search for myself there are plenty of results and I am not one of them. Addictomatic returns some of my blog posts and tweets, but most of the listings are the other hundreds that share my name.

Buying.

While cleaning out my Bloglines, I stumbled on this iMedia Connection article from July. I really wish I had read it when it was published as it has some great tips for search marketing. 

Read the entire article here

The biggest lesson is that it’s important to support your search campaign like any other media buy. Complementing search with traditional media and leveraging your placement in one to increase the success of the other. Too often search is thrown on when there is a little extra budget and very little investigation goes into building and maintaining it. Traditional media buys are broken down by demographic, geographic,  and industry trends, search should be treated the same way.

Cool.

The new search engine Cuil (pronounced as cool) launched earlier this week. Lots of online hype, but I am just not impressed by it.

Interface is interesting, although a bit too much text to read through. Results are just wacky! A post on Current regarding these wacky results asks you to type ‘Jesus’ in the search results…#1 result is Jesus Dress Up. Seriously check out the site.

I’ve typed in client URLs for the search phrase and yet those pages are not served up in the search results. With Google now owning about 90% of all online searches after its acquisition of Yahoo’s search capabilities, I’m glad to see there are some new companies trying to balance it all out. I just wish that Cuil lived up to the hype.