AdWords provides an effective, scalable way to target business prospects with textual ads based upon search queries. In many ROI studies of multiple media, search targeting has emerged as one of the single most efficiency drivers of commercial revenue today. While reaching potential customers through search, it is important to qualify the visitors with the right targeting settings, methods and tactics.
With the right targeting settings you can vastly improve your ability to turn clicks into conversions, resulting in a higher ROI across your campaign as you further refine the settings for better performance. This guide can help both beginning and intermediate search marketers to understand ten concrete methods to improve search targeting through AdWords.
Set your GEO-targeting settings based upon your target market
At the settings level of each campaign you can identify which geographical markets are best suited to targeting. By default, AdWords will target your entire regional market (such as North America) which can potentially lower your ROI by extending the reach of your ads beyond your service base.
Refine GEO-targeting based upon performance data
You can identify which markets you want to target based upon city DMA, zip code, a radius around a core location or even select a basket of applicable markets with custom targeting. Since there are custom geography reports you can run through Adwords you’ll want to continually review and revise these settings once you identify which markets are converting most effectively into leads or sales.
Make account updates based upon statistical significance
If you have identified a change that may have improved campaign performance, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness by determining whether the change was statistically significant. Suppose you changed your ad variations and noticed an increase click through rate (CTR) – you will need to collect enough impressions to determine whether it’s statistically significant. Suppose you are comparing two ads for improvements in conversion rate and find:
Ad One: 5,000 clicks, 87 orders, CVR = 1.74% Ad Two: 5,000 clicks, 69 orders, CVR= 1.38%
Before we conclude that Ad One is the winner we must determine whether this difference is statistically significance – you should run the ad until you have confidence in the winner with enough data. In this case the standard deviation is 1.452681, giving us only 90% confidence in Ad One – you should run the test until you have 95% confidence.
Pay close attention to quality score on your keywords
The actual price you pay for a click is a function of your bid, those of your competitors as well as the quality score of your keyword:
CPC = Ad Rank + .01 where Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Score
To improve your quality scores, write more targeted text ads, select well-defined keywords and have relevant, high quality landing pages.
Test Multiple Ad Variations Over Time
Implementing multiple different text ads within each ad group can provide insight into which messages are most effective. Your quality score is largely determined by your click through rate and the relevance of your ad – testing unique ads can help you identify the best performing ads.
Group Your Keywords around core themes
Integrating multiple ad-groups around core keyword themes can help you more tightly group keywords with the corresponding ad variations. For example, if you are a service company you may want o segment your offerings into Service-Consumers and Service-Business so you can write targeted ads and select keywords tailored to a unique audience.
Provide a quality user experience after the click through testing
Paying close attention to user experience after the click is an important part the quality of your search campaigns. The relevance, quality and structure of your landing pages can influence your quality score so create pages based upon quality and take a long term approach to information architecture.
Build your pages for both sponsored and organic search
Check your search queries for negative keywords
Running a search query report can help you identify the exact searches which matched your keywords. As a result you can identify unwanted modify terms which can skew your conversion results. Let’s assume you sell custom T-Shirts. You execute a search query report to find the queries that triggered your ad. You may find that when the query contains the word “Macy’s”, your conversion rate is 0%. The users still click on your ad, but all it does is waste your money. To remedy this, you simply add the word “Macy’s” as a negative keyword. If you are looking to sell a product, common negative keywords would include “free” and “jobs”.
Have a unique selling point for your ads and products
To stand out from your competition, make sure your brand positioning and perspective is particularly unique. Name your product and promote it in a way that makes it stand out in the market – getting consumers interested in your offerings requires both a rational connection in terms of pricing and quality messaging in your campaign from the ad to the landing pages, as well as an emotional element to make your product unique.