Using search marketing to amplify TV buys: SMX East 2016


In this session from SMX East 2016, “The New 1+1=3: Using Search Marketing to Amplify TV Buys,” Kerry Curran, Managing Director of Marketing Integration for Catalyst and Itir Aloba-Curi, Director of Advertiser Analytics and Insights for Bing Ads, talked about how we should be using search advertising the amplify the rest of our marketing efforts.

Consumer behavior

As consumers, we’re exposed to numerous advertising channels that are fighting for our attention every single day. This includes both traditional and online channels, but what are consumers actually accessing during the key moments that matter? When are they ready to make a purchasing decision?

During those key moments, consumers continue to turn to search to help guide their purchasing decisions. In a recent study Bing did with Forrester, about 49 percent of consumers view search engines as their number one source to research a purchase. Even more so, 74 percent of consumers really trust search engines, almost as much as they trust the website or the brand they’re researching.

Consumers use an overwhelming number of channels when researching, and they go back and forth between search and the other channels. That makes it hard for the advertiser to allocate budgets across all channels. While marketers see search as a channel, consumers don’t look at it that way. The see search as the key to their decision-making process.

So many horses in this omni-channel race

Search budgets to other channels

While 49 percent of people are using search in their decision, only 45 percent of marketers are leveraging search in their channel mix. That means 55 percent of marketers aren’t using search in their marketing campaigns. That’s a huge disconnect.

That makes fighting for more search budget hard because search isn’t a “sexy” channel. TV receives 3X the budget that search receives, and while it plays an important role in moving people down the funnel, we need to see a better balance across the media mix to allocate more budget, because the second-screen phenomenon is here.


Because so many people are using their smartphones or computers while watching TV, Bing found that there was a 50-percent decrease in branded searches when you turned off TV buys.

TV + search: actionable items

In order to measure the impact of a big TV buy to see search behavior, Bing and team turned to the mecca of marketing: the Super Bowl.

For example, during the infamous Budweiser “Lost Dog” commercial in 2015, the search engine a huge spike in related keywords in queries, not just around the King of Beers’ brand, but around the content in the commercial. In fact, most of that spike came from non-brand queries, so you can now capture the demand that the TV buys or your competitor’s TV buys are doing by beefing up paid search during those slots.

You can also test ad creative to be used on other channels with TV and search. For example, one of Bing’s credit card clients ran search along with a TV promo, and they took the ad messaging and keywords from their commercials and incorporated it into their search ads.

They found that while the ad copy was focused on “points,” consumers resonated with “rewards” more. When they switched the language, there was a 120-percent increase in impressions and a 16-percent increase in enrollments. They then took those findings to display and TV teams to incorporate that wording into their other channels.

In conclusion, there are four main takeaways when it comes to using search marketing to amplify your TV buys:

  1. Keywords. Bid on relevant keywords and target brand, non-brand.
  2. Creative. Test best ad copy and share with non-search teams.
  3. Flighting. Align paid campaigns with media flights.
  4. Conquesting. Plan campaigns to capitalize on competitor TV flighting and copy.

If you’re not doing the above, you can bet your competitors will be.

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