The Search Monitor just completed this week's industry snapshot of SEM trends, and this week we focused on the Cable Providers sub-sector of our Telecom vertical. Specifically, we wanted to focus on the complex search advertising relationship between two industry giants--Comcast and Charter--and their many re-sellers.For our readers new to this vertical, the cable companies rely heavily on authorized re-sellers (or authorized dealers) that provide service information as well as offers and promotions on behalf of their cable giant partners. You can see this by searching for [your cable provider's name] + [your metro area] + "specials". This screenshot shows search results for the keywords 'Colorado Comcast Specials.' You can see that the SERP is a combination of a branded ad from Comcast in first position followed by ads from many of its re-sellers. This is a common practice in the telecom vertical where searchers see ads from both the company and its resellers. Also notice how a re-seller of one of a Comcast competitor, Dish, decided to run an ad on this brand-plus keyword.
By the way, the details of how companies work closely with their re-sellers to achieve SERP dominance will be a topic for a future blog post. It's a fascinating phenomenon since they must agree upon things like which keywords to bid on, what ranks are off-limits for re-sellers (if any), what the copy should say, and where the links should go.
This chart looks at Charter Communications. It uses The Search Monitor's PPC Market Visibility metric and trends it over a 30-day period from mid-June to mid-July 2014. Market Visibility measures the likelihood of a user clicking on an individual company's ad from one of these companies and factors in the ad's reach, frequency, and even rank. That is, these scores do not need to sum to 100%.
It's a great measure of who the top players are and how that ranking changes over time. Further, it can often signal shifts in PPC strategy. For example, charts like this will often show big spikes right before a major national promotion or holiday period.
There are 6 companies profiled above. The first is Charter, which has the highest PPC Market Visibility score at just under 60%. The remaining 5 are Charter's five biggest authorized re-sellers.
Of this group, you can see that CharterCableDeals.com has a very impressive market visibility of just under 40%. The next companies that show are CharterSpecial.com, ConnectToCharter.com, BuyCharter.com, and CharterBundleDeals.com. You will notice that there is a wide variety in this metric among the top five re-sellers. Why? Some re-sellers are more skilled, or have bigger budgets, than others, for example.
The chart above looks at Comcast and its re-sellers and measures the same thing: PPC Market Visibility. Similar to what we saw with Charter, you see that Comcast rightfully occupies the highest score, starting at around 65% in mid-June and approaching 70% by mid-July. Comcast's top seven re-sellers, meanwhile, score lower for The Search Monitor's PPC Market Visibility, ranging between the low single digits and 20% .
SEM relationships between companies and their affiliates or re-sellers are very interesting to monitor. If you'd like to know more about telecom in particular, please visit our Telecom Expertise page to learn the nuances of monitoring this vertical and to see links to our other telecom posts.
Or, request a demo and we'll show you the other data we have for telecom.