recent report from Marin Software uncovered some interesting new data about the effects of cross-channel marketing. Search has long dominated the landscape of digital advertising, but social advertising has gained steam in recent years. Many companies are increasing their spend on both strategies in the coming year, but this report suggests that the efforts shouldn’t be kept in their own silos.

Channels vs. Customers

To understand the results, you’ll need to consider how customers find their way to your company and how they make a decision to purchase something from you. The search and social channels hit consumers at very different stages in the marketing process. Social advertising allows you to target specific types of audiences by age, gender, or other demographic data. Search advertising is often confined to assessing intent based on keyword searches. Social advertising reaches an audience engaged in a discovery process. Search reaches an audience more intent on finding something specific. Marin’s report indicates that using both of these channels as part of an integrated marketing strategy will yield better results than using them in isolation.

The Study

Marin conducted their study with 200 advertisers running Bing, Google, and Facebook advertising. They studied conversions based on the visitor’s interaction with advertising, putting those who clicked on both social and search ads in one category and those who only clicked on one ad type in another. They also considered whether the advertising was part of an integrated strategy or not. They looked at all the traditional metrics used to determine the success of an online advertising program.

The Results

The conclusions of the study give strong support to the idea that companies should pursue an integrated strategy for their social and search advertising. Customers who clicked on both types of ads were more likely to make a purchase and spend more money on those purchases. Search campaigns also performed better when integrated with a social campaign. They suggest that this is caused by reinforcement of branding and building customer trust through both channels.

Search and Social Touch PointsI highly suggest downloading the white paper to get more information on how to leverage the findings of the report. Their suggestions range from making sure your search and social teams use the same messaging to using data from each channel to inform targeting decisions on the other. Knowing your audience has always been important, and an integrated online advertising strategy can allow you to collect and leverage that knowledge in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago.