One of the things that I have neglected to focus on in the churn discussion is the challenge of “finding the ad.” Many SMBs simply cannot find/see their ads. This has been problem historically for small businesses and online advertising and I’ve not spoken about it at all. What reminded me was this post, discussing the Borrell churn study, on the Efficient Frontier blog:
Often frustrations from local businesses stemmed from one key statement: “I get the bills but I can’t even find my ad.” I see the lack of predictable visibility in search as a key factor driving the high churn (50%+) Borrell identifies in SMB search marketing.
Why does predictable visibility matter in search marketing, a marketing channel where we can report on the clicks and transactions that occur directly associating ROI? … [S]mall businesses are left to look and see if their ad is running as tangible evidence that their investment has value. With its complex algorithms that determine rank, search often does not produce proof of an ad to the marketer searching for it. Local marketers used to seeing their ad in the yellow pages, newspapers, and local television cannot access a similar experience in search.
I wouldn’t say it’s 50%+ of the problem but it’s a big problem that needs to be addressed. But as the author writes dynamic processes play peekaboo with SMB ads on search engine results. Other than showing screenshots of SERPs it’s not clear how to address the issue of enabling the SMB to see the ad “working.”