When creating paid search campaigns, marketers quickly become scientists. They make hypotheses, test variable, review their findings, and then start the process over again … and over and over again.
The craziest part about these paid search “experiments” is that the outcomes vary widely depending on the product you’re promoting and the audience you’re trying to reach. So, it’s never a one-size-fits-all solution. While this post isn’t going to make you a paid-search extraordinaire, it will help you understand how paid search works and different variables you need to consider. To help you navigate this crazy, ever-changing experiment of paid search, here are the essentials for a successful paid search campaign.
Keywords are the search terms people enter into search engines to find your brand and/or products, and they’re possibly the most important part of a paid search campaign. Essentially keywords work like this:
1. You give Google a list of keywords that correlate to your specific ad
2. Someone searches on Google using one of the terms in your keyword list
3. Google displays your paid-search ad on that person’s results page
It sounds simple enough, but finding the right keywords takes a lot of research and trial and error. The first thing you need to do when creating your list of keywords is to visit your website. Based on your website content, you should be able to put together a pretty comprehensive list of relevant keywords that relate to your products and services.
Once you have a good list of keywords, you have to decide how specific you want Google to be when serving your ads. Google has three keyword match types: exact match, phrase match, and broad match. These terms mean exactly what you think they mean, and they are great tools to help searchers find your products.
You’ve already done some targeting with your keyword strategy, but audience targeting is all about reaching specific people. You can create audience profiles for each of your paid-search campaigns that match your customer base. Here are some of the ways you can target the right audience:
· Demographics – Age, interests, income, behaviors, etc.
· Territories – Geographic location
· Devices – Desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
· Time of Day
· Day of Week
Not only is this type of audience targeting available for search ads (Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.), but it’s also offered on social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram ads. So, no matter what, you can make sure your ads are getting in front of the right people.
When creating your ad, you have very limited space. Google limits the number of characters you can use in your ad, so you need to craft your copy carefully. Here’s what you have to work with:
· Title (the blue, underlined headline in your ad) – 25 characters
· Display URL (this does not have to be your destination URL) – 37 characters
· Description 1 (the first line of your ad) – 35 characters
· Description 2 (the second line of your ad) – 35 characters
You’ll also find that making small alterations to your ad copy can make a big difference, so do lots of testing. For example, if you have a graphic design agency, you’ll see varying response rates between the headlines “New Business Logo,” “Professional Logo Designs,” and “Custom Logo Design.” And the only way to know which headline gets the best results is to test.
Your paid-search ad placement is determined by bids. And Google sets its prices with auction-style bids. For example, the advertiser who bids the most for a keyword gets the highest spot on the SERP. The ad from the advertiser who bid the next highest amount will be displayed next, and so on.
With paid search, there are two main payment options:
· PPC (Pay-per-click) – You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad
· CPM (Cost-per-thousand) – You pay per thousand impressions
PPC is the most popular paid-search strategy because you pay for exactly what you get. On the other hand, with CPM, your ad may be displayed 100,000 times and only get one click, which would be a bummer.
With either type of payment structure, it’s really easy for your budget to get used up really quickly, but it all depends on your keywords and bids. To make sure you don’t go over your budget, you have the option to set a daily budget on the campaign level. The allows you to tell Google how much you want to spend on each campaign per day. Once you reach your limit, Google stops showing your ads.
If your budget disappears within an hour or two, you can request that your budget is spread out throughout the day to extend your exposure. Setting a daily limit is super helpful for those who are new to paid search or have a limited budget.
Nope, paid search isn’t just about what happens in Google AdWords or on the SERP. Once you pull your audience in with your amazing targeting and copy, they’re going to click on your ad, and that link is going to send them to a landing page. So, you need to make sure that the ad you painstakingly created flows seamlessly into the webpage visitors land on.
What’s great about paid search is that you can quickly and easily test different landing pages to find the one that performs the best. With one ad, you can send visitors to two different destination URLs. Once you know what paid-search ad gets the most clicks, you can use that ad to test different offers, landing page designs, form layouts, etc. This process is called A/B testing and will take your online marketing to the next level.
There’s a lot to think about when creating and managing paid search campaigns. But don’t worry, the more training you get and the time you spend testing campaigns, the more comfortable you’ll become with the process. Or, you can just hire someone else to focus on paid search for you. Either way, you’ll be glad you got in the paid-search game.