Deciding what is next – Shifting your paid search strategy

Is it now time to rethink your paid search strategy?

As U.S. states start to open up their markets over the next few weeks, advertisers are now faced with executing new digital marketing strategies to adapt to the new changes in the market. In this new environment, consumers are now looking for more concise information about what they want and how to get it.

Amid these changes as a result of COVID-19, advertisers must first work to better understand this new consumer behavior and adapt their marketing approach and objectives to meet these needs. So how do advertisers tackle this type of challenge if they are working with a modest budget or budget cuts? Digital marketing is a great place to start. As states progress to open up their markets from 25% capacity to 50% and beyond, the need for digital marketing will be critical to get their business back on track.

Below are my top 10 tips to help you rethink your advertising strategies and regain momentum for the second half of 2020.

  1. Audience Targeting – As your start to scale your PPC campaigns and ramp up your PPC budget, consider adjusting campaign audience targeting to prioritize users who are more likely to convert or take action. Analyze the behavior of in-market and remarketing audiences to determine which audiences to target or exclude from your search campaigns.

  2. Ad Scheduling – Modify daily and hourly ad scheduling to ensure ads are running during peak times. Plus, consider your call center hours to determine if you should pull back on mobile CPC bids outside of customer service hours.

  3. Bid Strategy – Switch to an automated bidding strategy (ROAS or CPA targeting); set conservative targets to start and allow the smart bidding technology to gather enough data needed to optimize your bidding.

  4. Optimization – Focus first on keywords and ad groups that have consistently and historical performed well for you (analyze pre-COVID performance).

  5. Geo-targeting – Exclude regions with low conversion rates. Gradually, start to expand your geo-targeting as your campaign starting start to regain momentum and improve in conversion rate.

  6. Remarketing – Continue re-targeting users who have previously visited your website. This will help to keep your brand top of mind with these users, driving them back to your website to complete a specific action. Refresh remarketing banner creative and test different headlines and descriptions in your new responsive display ads.

  7. Ad Extensions – Update your ad extensions (sitelinks, callout, structured snippets and promotions) to indicate any new changes in your business. If you’re using account-level ad extensions, take the extra time to design campaign-level ad extensions to better personalize your ads.

  8. Ad Messaging – Analyze historical CTR and conversion rates of your your responsive and expanded ad text. If you haven’t optimize or refreshed your ad creative in 2020, it’s definitely time to do so now.

  9. Promotion – Test new PPC-only promotions and landing pages to improve conversion rates (create urgency including promotion deadlines in your ads).

  10. Continue Researching – Leverage Google Trends “rising queries” to identify new trends in your market and fine-tune your keyword list.

Need help auditing your PPC account, contact Melissa at 940-268-1381 for your free initial consultation.

Enhancing your Google Ads program in 2020

What are you doing to further enhance your Google Ads program in 2020? If you’re unsure, you should definitely consider refining your audience targeting and definitions to further segment and target these individual audiences with unique creative and landing pages. This means, segmenting your search and display campaigns based on these different audiences, which will help you to align your budgets, bidding and message strategy for these individual audiences.

If you’re unfamiliar with how audience definitions work on Google Ads, let me fill you in. You can add audience targeting to your ad groups within campaigns and reach people based what pages they visited on your site, who they are, their interests and habits and what they’re researching. Audience targeting can boost your campaign’s performance by reaching people browsing websites, using mobile apps or watching videos.

The data used to generate these audiences is fundamentally used used to improve the bidding and targeting of your Google Ads campaigns. Therefore, the concept of segmenting your campaigns by audiences will help to drive efficiencies for your account and allow for better automation of your campaigns.

This approach can also be applied across all of your paid media programs.

Google to Use Machine Learning to Manage Ad Frequency When Cookies Are Missing

Google announced it will soon be using machine learning to manage ad frequency when third-party cookies are missing.

This change will first roll out in the coming weeks to Display & Video 360, though Google has plans to bring this capability to its display offerings in Google Ads as well.

Google is rolling out this change as part of a larger effort to improve user privacy while still being able to serve ads in a way that’s effective for publishers and marketers.

Usually, when third-party cookies are blocked or restricted, advertisers no longer have the ability to limit the number of times someone sees an ad. That means someone who’s blocking cookies may end up seeing the same ad over and over again.

Source: SEJ

Don’t attempt to figure out Google Ads yourself. Hire a Paid Search Expert.

If you’re an SEM newbie and you’re looking to start your first paid search program for your business, you should definitely consider bringing on a paid media expert to guide you through this process. Over the past 10 to 15 years, Google Ads have made their user interface more and more complicated for newbies to understand and manage. Plus, understanding the account features, campaigns structures, ad copy best practices and match type terminology can be extremely overwhelming for someone doing this for the first time. I’ve come across so many paid search clients who have chosen the do-it-yourself approach, and quickly realize that the helpful set up guide provide by Google Ads only made things more confusing and complicated. It is so easy for a first time or novice users to become totally baffled with the options in the Google set up guide. Ultimately, these users end up with campaigns and ad groups that they really don’t understand.

Rather than hiring an agency to take on your new paid search account, you should consider hiring a paid search consultant to help guide you along the way. Having an expert early on can really help in terms of orienting you on all the important things to consider regarding Google Ads. That means, teaching you SEM best practices, understanding Google KPIs, optimization tactics, and they can walk you through the dos and don’ts of the account set up process. Keep in mind, during the Google Ads set up process, just because Google provides you with an option, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good option for your account or campaigns. An experience paid search freelancers can help you organize your account based on your business goals, then build out a campaign and ad group structure that will make it easy for you to navigate throughout your account, so that you can better optimize your campaigns towards your goals.

In my opinion, it is definitely worth the investment to hire a paid media consultant, just to ensure that you’re going in the right direction. If later on, you decide to ramp up your media spend, and you need more customized or automated solutions and reports for your account, then you’ll have the data to support moving in that direction. Not to mention, you will then understand the data much better with the guided support of a consultant, rather than just figuring it out yourself.

Search News: Google now showing competitor ads on local business profiles

Google has been slowly ramping local search monetization over time. It introduced local search ads in early 2017, which put ads in local packs, and began putting ads in local Knowledge Panels roughy two years ago. Now, the company is starting to show competitor ads in local business profiles.

A ‘Local Campaign’ placement. Part of Local Campaigns, the ads are designed to drive visits to local businesses and retail locations. These fully automated units run across Google properties, including search, Maps, GDN and YouTube.