Editor's Note: What keeps media planners up at night? Hint: It’s not just the glow of their iPads. Our "Meet a Media Planner" series digs into the minds of media and search planners to find out what matters most to them. This week, we’re checking in with Aimee Cerny, a paid search specialist for Rakuten LinkShare in Tampa, Florida. Aimee was introduced to search in 2006 when she began creating campaigns for her own clothing and accessory business. Her knack for advertising led her to online marketing and eventually to her current role. Aimee’s LinkShare clients definitely keep her on her toes, but with a background in fashion, she’s always wearing the right shoes for the occasion.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: You originally got into search to help your own business. How did that shape your view of search planning?
Aimee Cerny: My business was online clothing, accessories, and shoes, and doing my own search advertising gave me a good idea of the whole space and how it all interacts together. It’s definitely a lot different than what I do now. My ad budget was maybe 1/16 of what I have for an average client today, but that experience taught me a lot about the long tail. I couldn’t compete on the really generic clothing terms, but specialized terms would convert for me.
YAB: When it comes to search marketing, what are your clients’ biggest concerns?
AC: Attribution is the biggest concern, across channels and devices. They want to know the best way to expand internationally. Online-to-offline conversions are important, too, especially for clients that have brick-and-mortar locations. And of course, we’ve been hearing about mobile and tablet from clients for years, in terms of how to budget and maximize the potential of those devices.
YAB: When it comes to attribution, many planners tell us that their clients are especially interested in better ways to measure results for their mobile campaigns.
AC: Definitely. Many times, mobile clicks are driving consumers to brick-and-mortar locations because people are using their phones to find the nearest stores. The conversion doesn’t necessarily appear on the front end, but it could come if they go into the store and purchase something. So how do you attribute that purchase? It’s a lot more complicated than it appears at first glance.
YAB: Are there any search trends or technologies you think are especially interesting?
AC: I think search retargeting is very interesting and cutting-edge. Being able to take somebody who is searching for a handbag and then retarget them with a handbag ad later in the day when they’re surfing the Internet---just based on their search history---is pretty cool. The consumer may not feel the same as I do, though. I think a lot of people have misconceptions about the privacy end of it.
YAB: What do you find most satisfying about your job?
AC: My client relationships are definitely the most rewarding part. I’m huge on providing exceptional customer service, and it really allows me to build trust and become part of their team. That lets me work very closely with them, test out new ideas, refine what we’re currently doing, and more importantly, really grow their businesses. In one case, we had a 70 percent increase in brand lift year-over-year. That was great news to share!
YAB: How’d you make such a dramatic improvement?
AC: It was all a matter of staying top of mind and in front of the customer with display and video ads. We also used a lot of non-brand search terms to capture customers’ attention when they were first starting to peruse products during the research phase. They might click through and look at our site once, twice, even five times based on non-branded searches, and then come back and convert using a branded term.
YAB: Do your friends and family understand what you do for a living?
AC: Not really. They seem to think of those flashing “click here” ads. If the conversation progresses to an explanation of paid versus organic search, most people are surprised that those ads even get clicked. People outside the industry don’t understand how much goes into the back end of what we do---the optimization, the planning process, the KPIs. It’s a never-ending, constantly evolving business.
YAB: If you had to change careers tomorrow, what would you love to do besides search marketing?
AC: I would like to have my own travel show on TV like Samantha Brown. I would just travel around the world, talking about what makes each culture unique. I’d enjoy all the art, history…and beer. I think that would make an excellent travel show.