Spend on Search – The Budget Alternative

With macroeconomic conditions in Australia meaning that many businesses are tightening their belts, the most common area that spending is being cut from is marketing.

This is evident by the fact that marketing positions are down by 26% across Australia (BRW Magazine) as many businesses look to cut the fat from their advertising dollars.

But there is a cheap alternative to traditional advertising mediums… search.

There are two kinds of ways businesses can spend money on search. One is through search engine optimisation (SEO) where professional optimisers improve your website’s position in search engine rankings. The other is search engine marketing (SEM) which are the paid ads you will see above and to the right of natural search results.

There are a number of reasons why search engine spending is a wise alternative. Let’s do a quick comparison:

A full page ad in many print media publications costs between $6000-10,000 for just one run. And this is occuring at a time when many businesses are noting a distinct drop in conversion to sales from print media.

One of the clients I manage has a Google AdWords budget of $90 per day. One of the great things about investing in SEM is the ease with which detailed statistics can be obtained and sales conversions tracked. Here are the basic facts from four weeks of the AdWords campaign:

  • Around $2500 was pumped through AdWords in that time. This compares quite well to the $6000 that would have been splurged on a print media ad.
  • The Ads generated about 180,000 impressions. That means 180,000 people actually had the ad appear on their screens. Even if the readership of the print publication was 200,000, this does not mean that 200,000 people saw the ad, especially if the ad is buried on page 37.
  • As a result of these impressions, over 1200 visitors were sent directly to the site.
  • This translated into 350 conversions at an average cost per conversion of around $6.50. With the print media ads, it is often very difficult, if not impossible, to tell exactly how many sales have been generated.

So when we sit back now and look at the final figures, this particular client spent half as much money and generated around the same number, if not more, views of the ad. But the thing is, they know exactly how much they spent, how many views they had, and most importantly, how much it cost them per sale to undertake the advertising.

It is this combination of factors that makes search such an attractive alternative to traditional marketing.

But SEM is just half of the picture, as that $6000-10000 can also buy your company a whole lot of SEO. By putting that money into professional SEO you’ll get around 12 months of continual optimisation for Google and the other major search engines.

This means 12 months, not one print run, of potential customers seeing your site up the top of search engine results, and that translates into sales.

So despite many business’ financials being quite tight around Australia at the moment, SEO and SEM remain highly lucrative options as their relatively cheap nature and ease of tracking make them a smart solution for all businesses.

Llew Jury

Founder, Managing Director

Llew Jury is the founder and Managing Director of Reload Media. He is an experienced digital entrepreneur, having previously co-founded and sold Alfresco Design, Queensland's largest web design company. At Reload, Llew oversees the strategic expansion of the business worldwide and works with leading brands on all aspects of their digital strategies. This includes search engine optimisation, social media, search engine marketing, website usability and more. Llew is the Lord Mayor's Young Business Person of the Year, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and has been a finalist and winner for many management and export awards.