As marketers, we know that the customer's buying journey involves several channels along the path to conversion. From awareness to conversion, our messages need to follow buyers and stay with them. Integrating channels, especially search and social, leads to improved budgeting, bidding, targeting, and performance compared with isolated campaigns.

Paid search and social are both performance channels with particular strengths and weaknesses. For example, paid search captures buyer intent, whereas Facebook doesn't. Facebook can open awareness to a huge new audience that AdWords can't reach. LinkedIn offers the ability to target by job title, industry, and other specific criteria that the other platforms don't offer.

Used intelligently together, paid search and social combine for a powerhouse cross-channel campaign.

Marin Software conducted a study of more than 200 enterprise advertisers managing Google, Bing, and Facebook campaigns, and examined conversion rates, revenue per click, and revenue per conversion for integrated and isolated search and social campaigns. Here is what the study found:

  • More likely to buy. Users who click an advertiser's search and social ads had approximately double the conversion rate of users who clicked only the search ad. The impact of cross-channel touch was even greater when examining social clicks: Users who clicked both the search and the social ads had a click-through rate approximately four-and-a-half times higher than users who clicked only social ads.
  • More likely to spend more. Users who clicked both a search and a social ad contributed approximately twice as much revenue per click than users who clicked search ads only. Users who clicked both a search and a social ad contributed six times more revenue per click than users who clicked a social ad only.
  • Increased revenue per click. Search campaigns managed alongside social advertising campaigns had double the revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation.

Considering the revenue implications of integrating search and social advertising, how can we get beyond the theoretical to actually integrating these two channels?

Here are three things to keep in mind to successfully integrate your search and social campaigns.

1. Run both channels

The first step toward integration is assessing your existing cross-channel marketing capabilities. Here are some sample questions to address in your assessment:

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image of Michel Benjamin

Michel Benjamin is a B2B digital marketer and the director of marketing at AUDIENCEX, an independent programmatic trading desk in Marina del Rey, CA.

LinkedIn: Michel Benjamin