I read an article in the Times titled “A Google Gold Mine Below the Search Bar” that got me thinking about how I teach social media marketing to my graduate students. The article discusses the importance and success of product listing ads on the Google search page that come up when people type certain words into the search engine.
A product listing ad is one that has pictures of products and information, often including pricing. The pictures attract attention from viewers and the prices provide key information directly related to the purchase. It seems that retailers really like these ads.
So, why bring this up in teaching social media marketing? The paid search ads are now much more prominent than the organic search results on the page. In mobile, paid results may be the only thing that a viewer sees in a search because of the small screen size. Search can be super effective for a strategy because it leads directly to sales and it is very track-able. Marketers need to evaluate the value of search marketing in the mix and its effect on sales relative to the social media marketing effort. The analysis would include sales results and cost for a clear ROI for each.
Regardless of which is more effective students of social media marketing must learn general digital marketing in order to make effective decisions for brand communications.
Here is a link to the NYTimes article.