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Thinking Beyond the Search Box

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I’ve spent the past eight years working as a search marketer, with the last four and a half at Intouch Solutions. I’ve helped lead many successful pharma search campaigns utilizing both SEO best practices and paid search expertise. Search marketing is my passion because I believe that search is one of the most efficient online channels for accomplishing objectives, well beyond just driving site traffic.

Whether you are looking to expand brand awareness, generate leads or increase online sales and retention, search engines are epically successful.

Year in and year out the numbers show that search user behavior is on the rise and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. According to a report published on February 1st, 2011, 80% of all online adults are looking for health information, which is the third most common activity after e-mail (94%) and using a search engine (87%). Additionally, the latest ComScore report shows that there were nearly 17 billion total searches completed in January of 2011.

In an age where social media often dominates marketing and advertising discussions, search remains stable in the background doing what it always has done well. The reason I am passionate about search and believe that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon is very simple — search engines are always innovating and evolving. For example:

  • In 2010, we saw mobile search trends escalate at an exponential rate.
  • We saw search engines integrating social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn directly into search results pages.
  • Video viewership continues to grow exponentially thanks to Google’s YouTube.

Also, new opportunities to leverage search-powered technology have changed the way advertisers can leverage search engines. Google’s DoubleClick has launched multiple venues for display advertisers to leverage the Google Display Network. Yahoo! and Bing have worked hard to integrate display advertising opportunities through their partner networks. Google, Yahoo! And Bing are no longer just search engines — they are broad media networks.

For marketers, search can be about much more than what’s going on within the search box. Search is about user behavior. It’s about looking at what users are doing in order to help define other aspects of online marketing. Using search data, we can define content strategy, identify key discussions and monitor trends. All the knowledge we capture from search behavior can ultimately lead to capturing the most relevant audience possible.

For us at Intouch, we’ll continue to capitalize on search data to further empower our integrated suite of online strategies and tactics. We’re thinking beyond the search box to help strengthen the overall online strategies we define.

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