Attribution Study Convinced National Brand to Boost SEM – Will it Persuade SMBs?

SEM, attribution, search marketing, search engine marketing, digital, digital marketing, search, paid search

First published by Wesley Young in the LSA Insider on April 26, 2016. 

We’ve reported before that SMBs express skepticism at whether digital advertising really works, but apparently it’s not just SMBs that need proof of ROI. Big brand Chobani (greek yogurt) questioned whether their search advertising efforts impacted in-store sales.  They decided to definitively find out and partnered with Yahoo for help in tracking whether ad impressions led to an increase of in-store traffic and sales.

While the companies did not disclose exactly how they conducted the test, they termed it a closed-loop sales measurement study.  Yahoo tracked two groups for Chobani – those who were exposed to an ad on Yahoo and those who were not.  They did account for variables such as product promotions to make sure that results were not skewed by factors other than ad exposure.  Most importantly, the study effectively tracked and measured in store purchases of the product by those two groups.

A total of 8-10 studies were conducted. Chobani’s goal was to compare the effectiveness of different keywords in their SEO and SEM marketing strategies. But the study also confirmed the value of search marketing: Chobani saw a 9% increase in sales from the group exposed to search advertising and an increase in overall market share of 1.3%.

The results demonstrated both that search marketing done right gives great returns and that technology is making online-to-offline attribution a real game-changer. As further proof that the advertising worked, Chobani also saw a drop-off in sales once the campaign ended.

The brand gained great insight into strategic bidding, consumer interaction with ads, and comparative ROI. The results will likely lead to more ad spend as Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Brand Officer stated “I would absolutely consider increasing SEO and SEM.”

Perhaps the ability to measure and attribute offline sales to online marketing will boost the numbers of SMBs that engage in search engine marketing. Those types of metrics are now available to local businesses as YP and Facebook both shared at LSA16.

Our informal poll at LSA’s last SMB Bootcamp revealed only 2-3% of SMBs were currently using SEM and many others had given up on the practice.  But with a little help and the potential for results like those experienced by Chobani, more SMBs should venture into the fray.


Photo Credit: Adobe Stock (Standard License)

Categorized in: