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From our Depsters November 05, 2020

How a keyword cannibalisation model can help you achieve synergy between SEA and SEO

Digital Marketing Marketing Automation Dept

The most frequent question amongst digital marketers is whether or not to advertise on their own brand name. There are endless articles that feature recommendations about this specific topic and Google has even researched and analysed this. However, the advice given is often too broad and often doesn’t apply to all companies within an industry or sector. Therefore, our experts decided to take a critical look at the added value of purchasing advertisements on one’s brand name. The result? A keyword cannibalisation model that uses data to determine, in real-time, whether your brand name advertisements are working.

Channel cannibalisation between paid and organic results

When you search for a term or brand name in Google, the platform spits out two types of results: paid results followed by organic results. Numerous users will click on the first result that pops up which is most often the paid ads. These results can increase site traffic and transactions but they come at a cost.

Oftentimes, paid and organic results from the same brand will be displayed one after another. So one can’t help but wonder whether the paid results are capturing traffic that would otherwise naturally be captured by organic results.eBay tested this theory and found that paid results were, in fact, taking away traffic from organic results. As a result, the company has paused its branded advertising, saving themselves over $20 million per year!

Channel cannibalisation conditions

At Dept, we were determined to analyse whether organic branded search results could capture the same number of users when paid advertising is paused. Because if that’s the case, there is no added value gained from paid advertising and severe channel cannibalisation is happening. This is most likely happening when the following conditions are met:

  • There is little to no competition from other advertisers
  • Your company holds the first organic position
  • Your brand is an established name

Dept’s keyword cannibalisation model

Dept’s Keyword Cannibalisation model follows four steps:

  1. Setup the experiment: Pause paid branded keywords for a determined period of time. This is done to measure the impact on organic volumes and to analyse if any traffic is lost.
  2. Data collection: Once the campaigns are paused, we proceed to collect data. Using a model that uses machine learning and historical organic and paid click data from one’s Google Ads and Search Console, we’re able to predict the results of the paused ads. The model runs automatically and updates itself continuously if enabled. Thus ensuring the most up-to-date results.
  3. Experiment analysis: Once the results are in, we can compare both types of data and observe whether cannibalisation occurs.
  4. Activation: In the final step, the outcomes and conclusions from step three are incorporated into one’s current Google Search marketing strategy. To guarantee the timelessness of the conclusions, automated monitoring is a must so that variables such as competition and organic positions are controlled.

Applying this technique to Hans Anders’s marketing strategy

In collaboration with Hans Anders, a Dutch-based retailer that has been transforming the optical and hearing aid industry for the past forty years, we investigated whether brand name campaigns have added value. Using our keyword cannibalisation model, we paused the company’s campaigns for a week and segmented results by device type and search terms. The results led us to help Hans Anders to save more than 17k of their annual marketing budget because we discovered that heavy cannibalisation was occurring.

Enabling data-driven decisions

Marketers no longer have to wonder whether or not they should advertise on their brand name and make a decision based on gut feeling and assumptions. Our cannibalisation model uses data to make predictions, enabling companies to immediately anticipate market changes and demands and make adjustments if necessary. This can radically change one’s media strategy by enabling brands to know when brand name advertisements have added value and when they do not.

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