Chemistry and Timing

By Stacie Susens, Associate Director, Client Services

About a week or so ago I was watching 20/20 with my roommate, Katie. It was another frigid Chicago night and we ended up tuning into the special feature that evening: 'Inside the World of a Millionaire Match Maker'. In this episode, the headhunter [for love] April Beyer walks us through her process for finding a soul mate, gives us real life examples, and highlights the interplay between two factors that determine whether or not you have a significant other this Valentine's Day: chemistry and timing.

Ms. Beyer's bit about chemistry and timing intrigued me. I interpreted her points to mean that you really need to have both in order to find yourself in a happy relationship. I then reflected on my own career experiences. Meaning, I could not help but draw similarities between potential love connections and search engine marketing campaigns (both natural and paid) where we aim to create relationships with brands and consumers.

Let's first examine chemistry. defines “chemistry” as:

any or all of the elements that make up something
the interaction of one personality with another

In today's dating world people are going to new measures to find the ideal match and weed out those that are not a good fit. Sites like,, and eHarmony are profiting from this basic concept, just like our friend Ms. Beyer. These sites allow screening of your potential mate via research including: discovery calls, targeting of behavioral, demographic and physical traits, googling, and the list goes on.

The same themes and strategy involved in internet dating also apply to search engine marketing. In a fictitious scenario, Brand A is approaching the middle of February (its busy season) and the pressure is on to acquire new customers at a low CPA. First, a foundation needs to be built. It is critical to conduct the research to understand your brand/product's position in the marketplace and the target consumer’s goals. From here we can move on to constructing a precise program that entails a measurable goal(s), solid strategy, and flexible optimization plan. Ideally, you are researching and planning so you can find the chemistry between your brand and the consumer.

As Ms. Beyer and the masterminds behind dating sites (and the average man or woman) can attest to, chemistry isn't always enough. This is where the timing comes in. defines “timing” as:

the selecting of the best time or speed for doing something in order to achieve the desired or maximum result

So, let's say Brand A has launched the search campaign and made a few key optimizations. Bill, a consumer in the market for Brand A's product category, is found searching online. As soon as Brand A engages with him, will the desired result (say a conversion) be achieved? Maybe it will and maybe it won't. But what if I tell you that Bill is Brand A's target consumer and Brand A is exactly what Bill is looking for? At this point, the answer is still…maybe it will and maybe it won't. Consider these “what if” scenarios:

What if he is hit with a direct response message when he was really looking to learn more?
What if he was looking to buy, but the conversion path was just too complicated or time consuming?

In these cases, chemistry is still important but if the timing is not quite right it could lead to a missed opportunity.

The 20/20 episode highlighted a couple that had great chemistry together. The first date was a success with great conversation that uncovered common interests. However, in the end, the timing was off, neither was right for each other at that point of their lives, and a relationship wasn't pursued.

For all of those search engine marketers out there…happy match making in the spirit of Valentine's Day.


Aaron Goldman said...

Good post Stacie. Agree that Chemistry and Timing are key. But what about Intrigue? Take Gatorade for example with its "What is G?" teaser campaign? Is that not the advertising equivalent of "Playing hard to get?"

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