SMX Advanced recap: Using Paid Search & Social Together to Deliver the Ultimate Knockout Punch


As always, SMX was chock full of new ideas and actionable content. One of the struggles that many media teams face is the disconnect between the digital strategies that one team owns versus the strategies being implemented by teams that are responsible for other digital media types. This particular session brought together leaders in paid search and paid social to provide insight into:

  1. Proven ways to bridge the knowledge gap between teams.
  2. Building a cohesive strategy.
  3. Working in tandem to deliver results.

Maggie Malek, Head of PR & Social at MMI Agency

Malek kicked off the session noting that ad blockers are on the rise and that the key to getting around ad blockers is to put people before efficiency. In other words, putting in the time to create useful content pays off. In order to do that, Malek emphasized that search and social teams need to work together.

To truly maximize combined efforts, it’s important to understand the role of search and social in the buying cycle and to make sure that the teams work together closely. Her slides included a process for working together from an agency-partner kick-off all the way through launch, to ensure that both teams were in lockstep. In addition to the process, she also detailed the information that each team should plan to share throughout the project.

After covering project logistics, Malek underscored the importance of creating the best experience possible. Her approach is a three-step process: Discovery, Campaign Creation and Optimization.

The discovery phase is all about understanding the consumer. Malek suggested parsing out demographics from current followers and creating personas.

Second, campaigns are created based upon the personas and what each of the persona’s interests. Interests are important not only for targeting but for messaging, as well.

Once the campaigns have enough data, you can adjust your settings and audiences based upon your learnings (the optimization phase).

Jon Kagan, Sr. Director of Search & Biddable Media at Marc USA, and Tara Siegel, Sr. Director of Social at Pepperjam

Kagan and Siegel tag-teamed the second part of the presentation. They kicked off their talk by noting that search and social crossover is all about the audience.

Like Malek, they reiterated the importance of understanding your target market’s interests so that you can deliver the most valuable content possible. Siegel called social media an omni-channel optimizer and walked through the potential uses for leveraging social to improve performance in other channels and also highlighted social’s value throughout the buying cycle. In addition, she shared targeting options and noted that audience insights are a valuable way to learn about your consumers so that you can create your messaging.

Kagan reiterated the value of understanding the best-suited audiences to target, as well as excluding audiences that aren’t the right fit. He also illustrated the value of measuring and taking advantage of increased brand awareness created by television ads. Kagan and Malek went on to share case studies illustrating the lift in performance when search and social were used in sync.

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