There’s more to paid search then getting coverage on target keywords to capture consumer intent. If we knew someone was more likely to purchase, we would modify our bidding strategies. If we knew someone was less likely to purchase, same thing. If we didn’t have the product in stock in the state from which the searcher is searching from, would we even serve an ad?
Something we coined around the office about a year ago was “target the searcher, not the search.” What this means is that by using data available to us about the specific searcher, we would modify the experience we present the searcher – tailoring their journey and making our campaigns more efficient.
Google has recently released a number of powerful tools for targeting searchers with search ads. Here are three you should be using right now. And remember, don’t look at them individually – think of the way you can combine them in layers to get more precise targeting.
RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)
Based on visitors previous behavior on your site they are added to Google audience lists. This can be done by placing adwords tags on important pages, or you can build audiences in google analytics based on behavior and then send to adwords. Depending on which list the searcher is in, the next time they search for one of your target keywords you can modify how you bid on them, and even what ad copy you show them.
The possibilities are endless. Bid higher on return searchers who went all the way to checkout, but didn’t convert. Don’t show ads to searchers who have already purchased. Serve different ad copy based on which products or services the searcher had been viewing on your site last visit. The strategy here depends on the specifics of your business, but start at more general lists and then work your way more specific as you learn and optimize.
Customer match is similar to RLSA in that it’s placing anonymous searchers into lists (or cookie pools) from which you can modify subsequent searches. The difference here is that instead of using previous site behavior to segment searchers into lists, you upload first party email lists from your business to create the lists.
Say you have a CRM full of data: current customers, previous customers, prospective customers and then just lists of target customers who you haven’t interacted with yet. For each of the four segments above, extract the email list from your CRM, and upload into adwords. Adwords uses cookie matching to tie your first party emails to a google cookie (40% is a pretty common match rate).
Now you have four Google audience lists: previous customers, current customers, prospective customers, target customers. Now you can modify ad copy, and adjust bidding strategies for each of these lists. Maybe with current customers you don’t serve ads – you don’t want to pay for navigational clicks. For prospective customers, you bid higher and land them deeper into your site because they already know who you are.
Again, the tactics will depend on the specifics of your business, but customer match is an invaluable way to tailor your search experience to the searcher – not just the keyword they’re searching.
Look-a-Like and Demographic Targeting
Working hand in hand with RLSA , Look-a-Like targeting find similar audiences to your target google audience list. For example, say we have an RLSA list of purchasers. We can use google similar audiences to find other consumers who have similar search patterns to the consumers who purchased from our site. Knowing these new searchers are so similar to our past purchasers, we’d likely be willing to bid more on these searchers since they’re more likely to convert.
Demographic targeting uses Google’s data to modify bidding on the age, gender and household income of the searcher. Think of this as a filter we’d use to narrow down a RLSA or Customer Match list to hone in our budgets on the most ideal searchers. For example, maybe we only want to bid on previous site visitors who are at least 25 years old. Or we only want to serve ads to similar audiences (to previous converters) who have a HHI on $75k+.
The Tools are Just the Beginning
These are all just really tools to help us, as advertisers, build audience segments which we address in different ways through our search bid strategies and search copy strategies. The real power is in how we use these tools, and really the combination of these tools, to build out the most addressable and useful audience segments.
Much more on that to come.