Don’t You Forget About SEM

To paraphrase the Simple Minds soundtrack as John Bender walked confidently across a high school football field, his fist raised in triumph as he celebrated the conquering of yet another Saturday detention (not to mention Molly Ringwald’s affections), don’t you forget about… SEM.

With all the recent trends (and you need to listen to the guy talking about recent trends who just referenced the Breakfast Club of all things) in online advertising (re-targeting, in-game advertising, interactive ads, video advertising, mobile) it’s easy to forget about the grand old dame of the genre, Search Engine Marketing (SEM).  While not the sexiest option out there in terms of buzz, SEM continues to be the most effective online option for most retailers in terms of ROI.

Hotel Online has a nice article on the Do’s and Don’ts of SEM and has this to say on SEM’s prominence in the online media mix:

“With the search engines maintaining such an important role in the direct online channel, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) continues to be the most efficient means of delivering a targeted marketing message via the online channel, in terms of both traffic generation and revenue production.  Revenue from Internet Advertising increased 23.2% in Q1 and Q2 of 2011 compared to 2010, setting a new record at $14.9 billion. Search Engine Marketing advertising increased by 27% during this period and constituted 49% of the total online marketing revenue compared with 47.5% in 2010.”

At we consistently see a higher quality visitor to our site from our SEM traffic.   In 2011, the users originating from our paid search campaigns visited 25% more pages, spent 20% more time on site, and had a bounce rate 25% lower than our average site visitor.

So what should you be monitoring to make sure you’re getting the most out of your existing search engine marketing program?  The Hotel Online article has a great list of Do’s to focus on, not just for hoteliers, but that can be applied to most folks in the retail industry.

For those of you who are just starting out in the SEM world, here’s a nice primer on the basic steps involved in setting up a program and some best practices.


About Brian Evans

I’m proud to help promote visitation of Lancaster County (my home!) as the e-Marketing Manager at the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau. I love handling any web projects, SEM, SEO, email marketing, and miscellaneous internet-related marketing opportunities that get thrown my way.
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