COLOGNE – Given the headline-grabbing allure of advanced television, things like organic and paid search can get overlooked. But search is still one of the best sources of human intent and can provide long-term customer value beyond initial purchases.

So says Craig Ellis, Global COO of the IPG agency Reprise Digital, in this interview with Beet.TV at the annual DMEXCO conference in which he discusses pricing dynamics and measuring true ROI.

Not that long ago, the search discipline seemed to be structured around achieving the lowest cost per click, according to Ellis. “Now with understanding your audience and the targeting, it’s making sure you’re buying the right audience and therefore how does the cost work in not only the initial purchase but then also lifetime cycle, lifetime value.”

With innovations like voice search and the integration of image-based search, “All of this is becoming quite fundamental because it is demonstrating consumer intent,” Ellis adds. “There’s a lot of value in that intent. Tapping into that consumer and behavioral opportunity is really important for clients.”

Depending on the category, paid search can be prohibitively expenses for some marketers. Nonetheless, Ellis counsels going beyond the initial purchase “and start looking at lifetime value. I think that’s really important to start fundamentally getting the true ROI.”

Asked about performance benchmarks, he says some clients approach the process like a full acquisition budget. “I sell a computer, I’m prepared to pay seven percent of the sale. Go and sell me as many computers as you can for seven percent.”

Tweaking the percentage to 8% might yield extra volume, and it might not. “The challenge is going to trying to keep that margin. Search specifically is going up year on year. There’s more ways to spend your dollars,” Ellis says.

“There’s really challenging dynamics, which I think’s putting a lot of emphasis on the consumer journey. What happens after the click.”

Search also comes into play in digital re-targeting, with understanding consumer intent again being a major component and proper message sequencing key as well to the overall experience.

“What quality experience is a brand providing to ensure that consumers are feeling you understand me, that you’re listening to me, I’m valued and you’re taking note of what I’m saying and you’re giving me a sequential story that maybe helps me to action? I think that’s pretty important.”

This interview is part of a series titled Advertising Reimagined: The View from DMEXCO 2018, presented by Criteo. Please find more videos from the series here.