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Paid Search Lessons Provided by Cain, Occupy Wall Street

occupy wall street

Current events provide an interesting insight into how paid search can be used in response to fast moving trends. Or not, as publishers' nonreactions to Occupy Wall Street proved.

Occupy Wall Street movement gained global acknowledgement. Yet, Search Engine Watch writes, few publishers who were in a position to deliver OWS content did so actually did so and missed out on a significant marketing opportunity.

It pointed to ComScore Search Planner data that found that few publishers used paid search in this manner, despite the fact that search associated with Occupy Wall Street eventually culminated in 1.6 million search click-throughs — more than 99% of which occurred on organic search links.

The Arab Spring Example

Yet, publishers were all over the events of this past Spring, namely the uprisings in the Arab world. Foreign Policy magazine repackaged its reporting of the events of the Egyptian uprising in an ebook it sold Amazon. Mother Jones' online traffic and ad revenues received a significant boost in February due to its "Explainer" articles on events in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Wisconsin.

These articles packaged the magazine’s content into mini e-book formats, breaking down the complexities of the various develops around the world.

The Herman Cain Example

Another successful use of paid search can be seen by Republican presidential contender Herman Cain in response to the allegations of sexual harassment. The Cain campaign purchased Google keywords related to both the candidate and those involved in the allegations, according to PC World.

The Cain campaign also purchased sponsored advertising on Twitter after an unflattering Oct. 31 story, PC World said. Searching for the phrase "Herman Cain" on Twitter pulled up the following message at the top of the results, the publication said: "From Team HC: Sadly we've seen this movie played out before. Mr. Cain and all Americans deserve better".

After the Financial Crisis

brokerage sites paid search exposures

A final proof point is provided by financial firms during the depth of the financial crisis, in 2008.  As the economy softened, the overall number of visitors to online brokerage sites grew 14%, more than twice the rate of growth of the total US internet audience, according to a comScore study of the online trading and brokerage industry.

The strong visitor growth to online brokerage sites coincided with, and were likely in part the result of, heavy online advertising efforts by several of the key brokerages, comScore said. Among online brokerages with a significant paid search strategy, E* led with 6.4 million paid search ad impressions.


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