For brand marketers using search, a brand name may be their best asset. That's the finding of a recent Travelocity study, which challenged assumptions around the "portfolio approach" to paid search.

Travelocity tracked visitors coming from paid search and found that 65% of people only interacted with paid search once, via a single keyword. The company found 27% interacted with paid search multiple times - but just searched repeatedly on the same term. Only 8% searched multiple times with different terms.

The final findings? Only 2% of paid-search conversions fall into the category where the searcher originally clicked on a nonbranded term only to click and convert on a branded term at a later date. Travelocity now credits nonbrand phrases as being responsible for only 4% of each booking, meaning 96% of Travelocity's booked trips are the result of branded key words.

"For us, we can take a loss on nonbranded terms like 'Hawaii vacation' -- but not much of a loss," Mr. Glueck said. Ultimately, he said, it is a "profound mistake by all of us to think we've figured out how to measure ROI on search. We're in stage one."

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