Amid an evolving media landscape, the brand site has become core to establishing trust with consumers. In fact, 81% of consumers identify the brand site as the most trusted source of online content. And yet, brands are failing to capitalizing on this opportunity.

Although brand sites are less trafficked than other digital channels, particularly across CPG categories, they can still prove to be a powerful tool for awareness and education. Brands, however, must justify investments in their sites by identifying opportunities to provide solutions to common consumer queries and evaluating the cost of customer acquisition through search. Where a competitive Google search environment limits the site’s ability to cut through the noise, brands can instead boost display ad investments to drive visibility on platforms that contain a natural educational component.

Most brands face an uphill battle to reach customers through Google search, as editorial sites and e-tailers drive significant visibility in core personal care categories. In the men’s grooming category, for example, editorial sites such as toolsofmen.com and menshealth.com dominate organic search visibility against male-modifier keywords (e.g., “best deodorant for men”), even outperforming e-tailers across product-specific keywords. Rather than attempt to compete with these sites, brands should strategically optimize their display advertising investments to target consumers across these publisher sites, which garner significant organic visibility. However, most men’s grooming brands fall short in this aspect.

The premise changes when the search intent is educational and brands have a right to win, as new-age names prove. Think with Google showed that baby-care shoppers who visited a brand site spent 15% more on their purchases, on average. In the baby skin care and baby bath categories, keywords related to skin conditions (e.g., “baby rash,” “cradle cap”) and specific ingredients (e.g., “colloidal oatmeal”) together accounted for approximately 50% of the search volume from April 2018 to March 2019. Mustela optimizes its site around specific baby skin conditions, capitalizing on the opportunity to educate consumers according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care. The brand appears on the first page of Google search results for 73% of educational searches and 44% of skin condition searches. But not all baby care brands take advantage of this. Johnson’s Baby’s site is primarily oriented around its mission and products, limiting its potential to garner organic search visibility. As such, Johnson’s Baby relies on investments in Google text ads to earn first-page real estate, where it outperforms its category peers.

 

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