The eternal question for businesses both large and small: should you run your marketing in-house, or should you hire an expert?
There are numerous factors to take into account including level of expertise, the complexity of the campaign, existing internal resources and the management fee of said expert.
We’ll come clean. Most of these types of articles are written by an agency of some sort and will therefore naturally have a tendency to be biased towards the benefits of external help. Some would call it bias, some would call it scaremongering.
This article has also been written by an agency, but one looking to give as objective a view as possible. The truth is that both options are completely viable when everything goes to plan. In turn, both options can have significant downsides when those cogs do not turn quite as smoothly as intended.
Note: We previously explored this topic on Search Engine Watch back in 2014. I will include some of the points made in the aforementioned article, as well as adding some new ones.
On the face of it, one of the main points of the argument boils down to cost effectiveness. For a business, the obvious question is: why would you pay a potentially hefty management fee if you could find the time in-house and do it yourself? Especially when PPC is just a bidding system, and does not require design or development skills.
Dig a little deeper, though, and there are key questions that you need to ask yourself on both sides of the coin.
More importantly, what is the risk profile of the agency not hitting the expected ROI and as such their management fee actually removing all of the margin in the campaign?
Managing the campaign in-house
Do you actually have the in-house resources to properly manage a campaign, or are you just going to try (unsuccessfully) to squeeze more time out of an already busy team? How will this impact other critical daily tasks within the business (i.e. opportunity cost)?
If you are hiring a new person to run the campaign, what are their total costs? Basic salary is an initial indicator but what about benefits, pension, increased desk costs?
Furthermore, is this something that you are committed to for the mid to long term? Hiring someone is easy, but if this is their sole responsibility, they may become an unnecessary part of your cost base should you not continue with the campaign. In the UK and EU especially, you can’t then just get rid of this unfortunate soul without going through a somewhat arduous process which will likely involve additional costs such as redundancy pay.
As you can see above, assessing the cost effectiveness of agency vs in-house involves a whole swathe of variables. No two businesses are the same, and as such, applying a standard equation to this situation is simply not possible.
Hopefully you will have enough information available to put together your own version of this equation and come to a decision with regards to the cost effectiveness of a PPC expert.
It all depends on the level of knowledge
Knowledge is power, or in the case of PPC, knowledge and experience will result in a campaign that outperforms one managed by a beginner. You might get lucky, but as with most things in life, the more experienced practitioner will come out on top.
Taking this into account when looking at how to manage a PPC campaign (agency or in-house), you must first look at the level of knowledge within your team.
The fundamentals of a bidding system and focusing on search terms that deliver ROI for the business are easy to grasp. However, to really squeeze the benefits of your spend on PPC you simply need to know what you are doing. Of course this required level of knowledge is only likely to increase with more complex campaigns.
As mentioned in the previous blog post on this topic, having an expert conduct the initial research and set up the campaign is often a cost effective method of making sure that the campaign gets off on the right foot. Much like an initial SEO audit, gettting an expert to set up the campaign could provide you with a sufficiently stable foundation to then manage the campaign in-house.
Again, we have seen a plethora of pretty decent campaigns that have been set up by business owners after doing their own research so it still comes back to the level of knowledge (and time) available to you.
How far do you want to go?
There is a reason why different marketing campaigns have different associated costs. Some are very simple, single product localised campaigns whereas others may involve national or international coverage with thousands of individual products.
Generally speaking, the more complex the campaign, the higher the budget, and therefore the higher the risk liability of an underperforming campaign. It doesn’t just come down to bid adjustments.
Great digital marketing campaigns break down the barriers between departments and channels. Teams now communicate with one another instead of remaining in their silos, combining to generate greater results than the sum of their individual parts.
In sport it is often referred to as ‘marginal gains’, although you’ll find that an overhaul of your website’s user flow could deliver far more than just a marginal gain. Access to multiple disciplines is what you potentially turn your back on when running a campaign in house and it can make or break a campaign.
The core functions apply to the aforementioned single product campaign just as much as they do to the international campaign; it’s just that the latter has more to lose. As campaigns increase in complexity, there comes a point where you need to fully commit to the process and give the campaign the very best chance of success.
In this case, it is worth handing it over to a team that specializes in PPC.
In the end, the likelihood is that if you put an agency’s campaign next to one that has been run in house you would imagine that the additional level of expertise and experience would mean that the agency’s campaign would produce better results. All other things being equal you would choose the agency nine times out of ten.
The elephant in the room is of course the agency fees.
Yes, you could argue that in-house teams have a higher level of industry knowledge, or that a PPC expert will be able to make sense of the campaign dashboard and utilize some of the more advanced tools. But you already know this. That argument is pretty clear (and well covered!).
It all comes down to money. In basic terms, how much money will you get in return for the corresponding costs?
Agencies often have a minimum fee associated with PPC campaigns. Therefore if your budget for PPC is particularly modest, for the sake of argument let’s say £500 per month, you will probably find that the agency fees will exceed the margin made from the campaign.
Remember to look at your internal margins rather than revenue! In this case it is likely that having an expert set up the campaign initially will be the only option that would produce a meaningful ROI.
On the other hand, if the agency fee is only a small percentage of the total budget spend and in turn, the margins from the campaign exceed the agency fee then it makes sense. As the Americans love to say, “if it makes money it makes sense”. The agency provides a higher level of expertise, and may also allow you the flexibility to stop the campaign at any moment.
One size doesn’t fit all
Hopefully my ramblings have shown that this not a one size fits all argument. There are simply too many variables.
My advice would be to base your decision on real world facts. For example, we often see business owners try to run campaigns themselves (or ask one of their team to do it) without seriously considering the time expenditure required. Trust us when we say that if you don’t have the time, it won’t get done. You’ll end up spending a chunk of money for three months and then giving up without making any adjustments.
On the other hand, if you do have the time you could find yourself getting to grips with the campaign and increasing your sales as a result. It may even mean that you can reduce spend on other marketing channels, all without having to pay an agency fee.
Consider your options before making a decision. Don’t just do PPC for the sake of doing it; there should be a real business case put forward which will provide real data as to whether hiring a PPC expert is going to be a viable option.
If it transpires that running the campaign in-house is going to work in the real world, then great, go for it! Be flexible, be realistic and you should find yourself making the right decision. Remember – both options can work.
Google AdWords is a staple platform for the vast majority of digital marketing strategies. However, marketers need to get things right from the outset to avoid costly inefficiencies.
This guide will provide everything you need to know to get an AdWords account up and running, and set for success.
The digital marketing industry has grown in tandem with Google AdWords, to the extent that the two are linked inextricably.
Of every dollar spent on digital advertising in the US 42 cents goes to Google, and the search giant brought in 96% of its revenues in 2016 from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
It is easy to see why the format has such enduring appeal. Any business can get started and making money on AdWords in a few simple steps, with Google providing plentiful support along the way.
The business model is beautifully crafted to fulfill a marketer’s needs; you only pay when a user takes out your desired action (normally a click, a call, or a purchase), so the return on investment is clear and controlled.
Moreover, consumers are explicitly stating their intent when they search. If I owned a sleepwear store, for example, (and it’ll always be the dream), I would love to be front and center when my target audience searches for [buy lounging pants online]. AdWords allows us to do just that.
There’s more to AdWords’ lure than that, of course. Google processes well over 1 trillion searches per year, all of which are saleable assets to data-hungry brands and marketers.
Factor in the increasingly granular audience targeting and remarketing options Google can offer and the potency of this offering becomes very clear.
Although Google didn’t invent pay-per-click advertising, they certainly refined it and developed the proposition into a sophisticated, multi-billion dollar industry.
Its slick interface (recently upgraded to make it even more user-friendly) can get brands spending very quickly, but there is a subtle blend of art and science behind a successful PPC campaign.
Getting the basics right from day one can be the difference between an underwhelming PPC account and a very profitable one.
This guide is written with that aim in mind; to get beginners up and running on AdWords through a combination of definitions, tips, and best practices.
Although AdWords offers options for Display, Shopping, App, and Video campaigns, we will narrow our focus to AdWords Search campaigns within this article.
The first stage of setting up an AdWords campaign is to understand the level of consumer demand for your brand and products. We can approach this by defining which business objectives we wish to deliver on by using paid search marketing to provide some structure to the process.
AdWords can be expensive, so consider where it fits in alongside your other marketing efforts. PPC and SEO are typically included within the same keyword strategy, given the obvious interplay between the two on search results pages. Often, PPC can cover gaps in SEO visibility or help to strengthen good SEO performance by doubling a brand’s presence for high-priority keywords.
This will become a more significant factor at the later stages of AdWords account setup, but it is a good idea to start thinking about how PPC fits alongside other marketing channels as early as possible.
Furthermore, there is a lot of work that can be done outside of the AdWords interface to get your PPC campaign off to a great start.
Google Keyword Planner is a useful tool, no doubt, but it is not the only resource we should look to for audience research. Before delving into the AdWords interface, marketers should:
Survey current customers: Find out what customers see as the brand’s unique proposition and what keeps them coming back to purchase.
Speak to the customer service team: Customer service teams hold invaluable data on the most frequent areas of strengths and weakness cited by consumers about the business. Use this information either to accentuate positives or counteract negative perceptions.
Strategize with other departments: Brainstorm some ideas about the brand, its products, and what exactly the company is hoping to achieve by using AdWords. Every department can score the proposed keyword categories by their level of importance to their business function, which helps to create a wider view on the PPC strategy beyond the digital marketing team.
Research the competition: Third party tools can give a really good sense of how your competitors are approaching paid search. This will help you to understand the landscape and also gain some tips on which keywords might be valuable additions to your list.
This will naturally lead to some core product names and concepts, which can be used to generate a keyword list and to shape ad copy tests at a later stage.
From here, we can enter the Google ecosystem and plug in our keywords to see the search volumes and projected costs for our campaigns. The AdWords keyword planner will reveal how frequently a keyword is searched and how much it typically costs when a user clicks on a paid listing.
Google will also automatically suggest a variety of relevant, popular keywords that are semantically linked to your seed list of terms.
It can be easy to get carried away, but stay focused on the essential volume drivers for your business. The account can always be expanded later, so start with a smaller set of keywords to get a sense of the market and familiarize yourself with AdWords.
We are fortunate to have both the technology and the data at our disposal today to go deeper than just bidding on keywords. Another level of segmentation can be added by including audience data on consumer demographics, interests, past website behavior, or location.
These will be explored later; for now, we have our initial list of keywords that we know our brand wants to advertise for.
Stage 2: Keyword match types
Of course, people don’t always search for the same products in exactly the same way. An identical search intent (to get more information or to buy something, for example) can be expressed using myriad terminologies.
Someone hoping to purchase lounging pants from a sleepwear store may search [buy lounging pants online], but they could also type or say [where can i buy lounging pants nearby], or simply [lounging pants].
If my objective is to sell more of this product, I don’t want to restrict my visibility to just a few of these variations. I want to match my brand to this purchase intent in as many relevant situations as possible.
That’s where keyword match types come in. Match types can both restrict visibility and allow Google’s technology to make decisions on our behalf about which keywords are relevant enough to display our ad.
This match type, as the name suggests, allows most room for interpretation. I can tell Google that I want to bid on, and have my ads shown for, any search queries related to lounging pants and it will do so for terms as varied as [red mens pants for lounging] and [tartan lounging pants store near me]. My ad could also show for synonyms of my defined terms and for different combinations that include both of the specified words.
Phrase match provides more control for the advertiser. This time if I say I want to bid on “lounging pants” (phrase match keywords are always written within quotation marks), my ad can show up when these two words appear in this order, but they can be accompanied by other modifiers. For example, [lounging pants for women] or [stripy lounging pants] would be valid within this match type.
Exact match is something of a misnomer. It lets advertisers specify the exact terms they want to be displayed against, but it is not 100% accurate. Google made some controversial changes earlier this year to the format, meaning that keyword targets set as exact match can show up against close variants of the defined term.
To go back to our imaginary sleepwear store, if I set [lounging pants nyc] (exact match phrases are always written between square brackets) as my target, I could have an ad served against [lounging pants in nyc] or even [nyc lounging pants]. That can be problematic, of course, and there is a script to make exact match, well, exact, here.
To get our account up and running Google’s out-of-the-box solution is fine, but inspect your search query reports to see how exact this match type has been.
For more on the differences between broad match, exact match and phrase match keywords, check out Amanda DiSilvestro’s guide to common PPC keyword mistakes.
Negatives are an essential part of keyword setup. Negative matches allow us to specify any queries or modifiers that we categorically do not want to show against. For example, I may not want to display an ad for any lounging pants terms that include “used” or “second hand”, for obvious reasons.
I also may not sell certain brands, colors, or styles, so I can add these to my negatives list and upload them to AdWords. This brings an essential element of control for brands, as most companies have a clear idea both of how they do and do not want to be perceived by customers.
A combination of the above is usually best and the optimal balance between them can be found through testing and optimisation. Exact match is great for targeting, but it restricts reach. Broad match will get impressions, but they won’t always be the ones you want.
Tweaking the negatives list and shifting the focus on a keyword level between exact, phrase, and broad will yield good results to advertisers that pay close attention and are prepared to change tack.
Stage 3: Creating PPC ads
Now that we have defined the keywords we want to target and the match type variations we plan to utilize, we can start to create our ad copy. This is a really crucial element of AdWords setup and the right ad copy can significantly improve the click-through rate (CTR) your ads receive.
Even with the right targeting and the right bid strategy, there is no guarantee of traffic. Always consider why a prospect would stop and choose your brand over everything else calling for their attention on a search results page.
Google introduced a new standard for PPC ads, known as Expanded Text Ads (ETA), last year. As the name implies, these provide more scope for advertisers to communicate with their audience and they are designed with mobile devices in mind.
Expanded Text Ads are comprised of the following elements:
Headline: Two 30 character headline fields, which can appear side by side or on separate lines, depending on the size of a user’s screen.
Description: One 80 character field, within which you should try to highlight the core reasons prospects should engage with your ad over others.
Destination URL: This is the landing page users will be sent through to, so it is worth spending time testing different landing pages to see which perform best for specific queries. The destination URL will be tied directly to your Quality Score, which we will get to in the next section.
These fields will be displayed as follows within the AdWords interface:
A best practice in this area is to create 2 or 3 ad copy variations and test the effectiveness of each in a controlled environment.
Google has also created a helpful walk-through to help users navigate the platform as they create their ads:
Advertisers have access to a wide variety of extensions, allowing them to highlight offers, benefits, or unique selling points to their intended audience. These also bring the advantage of taking up more space on search results pages, which can have a positive effect on click-through rate.
As we can see in the example below for the query [car insurance], advertisers are making the most of these new formats to take up as much valuable real estate as possible.
We won’t go into detail on ad extensions within this guide, but it is worth knowing that some appear automatically while others require input from advertisers before they show. You can read more here about the list of possible extensions.
Stage 4: Setting up ad groups and campaigns
We are now ready to start categorizing our keywords and ads into ad groups.
This can be achieved by separating out your products and services and creating an ad group for each. If we go back to our sleepwear example, we can illustrate a clear and logical approach for achieving this.
Each of these ad groups will have 2-3 ad copy variations, which can be updated on an ongoing basis as performance data arrives in the account. Each keyword, of course, can be set to the match types outlined above.
After I have tested out this product, I may decide to branch out into the pajama market. This is where we need to introduce the concept of campaigns, which sit at a level above both keywords and ad groups.
In a nutshell: keywords make up ad groups, and ad groups make up campaigns.
There is no obvious reward for starting with a huge array of ad groups; in fact, this lessens your level of control over performance. When getting set up, it is best to begin with a smaller sub-set of core products as this will help performance and allow you to learn from the data much faster.
Some marketers even prefer to isolate keywords into their own ad groups, if they are particularly profitable. This strategy brings a lot more control, but it is labor-intensive and restricts the amount of data that can be used for optimization within the ad group.
Stage 5: The fundamentals of AdWords bidding
The AdWords auction dictates how much you pay for each action and in which position your ad will show for the selected keywords.
“The auction is a sealed-bid auction because advertisers do not know what other advertisers are bidding. The highest bidder wins the auction and gets their advertisement placed on specific pages for specific users, but pays the price of the second highest bidder plus $0.01. The $0.01 is to differentiate the highest bidder from the second highest bidder and to allow the highest advertiser to outbid the next highest bid. This type of auction awards the advertiser with the highest bid but sells the advertisement slot to the highest advertiser at the price of the second highest bid.”
Therefore, what you bid is not always what you pay. A second consideration is that budgets are set as a daily limit; however, Google has recently decided to allow accounts to spend up to double this amount each day as long as they are still hitting their campaign targets.
This is evened out over the course of a month, and Google will never charge advertisers more than 30.4 (the average number of days in a month) times their daily budget. So if your account spends double the daily limit on a frequent basis early in the month, you could max out the budget rather quickly.
Google uses a range of advanced machine learning technologies and rule-based automation to deliver maximum value to advertisers in its auctions. We can therefore tell Google what our objective is, how much we are willing to pay to achieve it, and let the algorithms do the bidding on our behalf.
That makes automated bidding sound appealing, but there are enough cautionary tales in the industry to suggest it must be approached with some reservation.
Ceding control to Google altogether can lead to very costly campaigns and, while setting a sensible ceiling on maximum bids can help, automated bidding can still lead to inefficient spend. Machine learning systems feed off data and learn from feedback, which means budget can be spent in a wide range of areas to gain this knowledge.
For a beginner, manual bidding is a great way to start. This option provides control, quick feedback, and the ability to adjust bids quickly based on performance. Although it gets more difficult to stick with manual bidding as an account increases in size and complexity, nascent accounts with a small set of ad groups will benefit from this approach.
Google has also added the option to adjust bids based on a user’s device type. This welcome feature means marketers can increase their bids for specific queries on a mobile device, for example, if they know that this device type typically converts better than desktop. This is reflective of user behavior, as people tend to use their mobile and desktop for different purposes.
Quality Score is a fundamental aspect of Google AdWords bidding, as it will dictate how much a brand pays for clicks. The intention behind Quality Score is simple: Google wants to ensure that relevant ads show against its searches and also wants to deter low-quality websites from manipulating the system to gain high ranking positions.
AdWords depends on its high quantity of searches, after all, so Google needs to ensure users have a positive searching experience or they may take their business elsewhere.
The exact formula behind Quality Score is not publicly known, but we can make some safe assumptions. The score is on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being given to irrelevant ads and landing pages, and 10 awarded to brands that match the user’s intent with a relevant ad and a great landing page experience.
Quality Score is calculated at a keyword level, so you could even see different scores within the same ad group. Again, there is plenty of room for experimentation and it is worth the work, as a high Quality Score can make your budget go a lot further.
Wordstream created a helpful image to illustrate how this works:
Ad Rank is explained in more detail here, but suffice to say this metric determines which position your ads will appear in on search results pages.
Google recently added a long-awaited feature that allows advertisers to view historical Quality Score, which now allows us to view any positive or negative trends over time. There is plenty more information on Historical Quality Score in this thorough guide.
Stage 6: Reviewing and optimizing performance
To get the best possible results from Google AdWords, marketers need to keep a close eye on their performance and be prepared to make adjustments. There are four metrics in particular to keep abreast of, which can be segmented by dimensions such as device type, demographic factors, or location.
Click-through rate (CTR): Clicks/Impressions
Conversion rate (CVR): Conversions/Clicks
Cost-per-click (CPC): Spend/Clicks
Cost-per-acquisition (CPA): Spend/Conversions
The steps outlined above will get your AdWords campaign up and running with the right foundations in place. There is a huge amount more to this platform and advertisers are rewarded for investing the time in more advanced features.
However, this all starts with the basics and as long as marketers monitor performance and are open to new strategies, the more complex pieces will naturally fall into place over time.
Facebook now accounts for 65% of total social network ad spend and is expected to reach $36 billion in 2017, while Google saw a 17% increase in revenues from 2014 to 2015.
These are now the go-to channels for marketers wishing to attract users and user attention, with businesses putting aside huge budgets to reach audiences on these platforms.
Facebook and Google have also both influenced how users search for information online and respond to advertising, in ways that marketers need to be aware of and adapt to in order for their advertising campaigns to be a success.
Both channels are powerful in their own, unique ways, but both also have their problems.
How can marketers overcome these challenges and optimize their campaigns for the twin giants of Google and Facebook?
We all know that Facebook is growing at an amazing speed, with 1.28 billion people logging on for an average of 35 minutes every day (Mediakix, 2016). Clearly, this platform has monopolized users’ free time, so there is now no better way for marketers to target potential customers as they go about their everyday activities.
However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When someone uses a search engine, such as Google, they are looking for what they are interested in – giving marketers some idea of who and what they should target.
But there is slightly more guesswork involved with Facebook ads, with marketers needing to ensure that they are pushing relevant content onto consumer’s feeds, to avoid it getting lost in the mass of content that is already on the platform.
On Facebook, people share almost every conceivable detail of their lives. Harnessing this data to create personalized and targeted ads is the key to taking advantage of the Facebook boom – and to delivering the right content, to the right individuals, on a platform they are already browsing.
Marketers can even go a step further – combining all known information about consumers, including that found outside Facebook, like website visits and previous purchase history, to create even more targeted content.
The more granular and rich your incoming data, the better your Facebook ads will be, and the more likely they will lead to conversions.
Google now processes an average of over 40,000 search queries every second – translating to over 3.5 billion searches per day. This number is huge, and when you consider the fact that every single one of those searches is a user looking for something to meet a specific need, you understand why keyword bidding is such a powerful tool for marketers.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the beauties of Google is that when a person searches for something related to your brand, you can be pretty certain that they are interested. But with this specificity comes greater competition from businesses wishing to capitalise on these potential customers.
Indeed, whilst the average CPC for Facebook Ads in the US was $0.28 in Q3 of 2016, Google AdWords was costing businesses a whopping 88% more, at a search average of $2.32 (AdEspresso, 2017; WordStream, 2017). Marketers need to ensure that they don’t get so caught up in the appeal – and ease – of AdWords bidding, that they spend huge budgets for little outcome.
Invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so that your bids are automated according to how potential customers are responding at any given moment. Marketers can only adapt so quickly, but by optimizing and automating your keyword bidding in this way, you can ensure you do not over, or underspend, your budget.
So, is there a winner?
Clearly, each channel offers something that the other cannot – meaning that marketers shouldn’t really have to choose between one or the other when planning a digital campaign. The important thing is being able to overcome their pitfalls, in order to increase ROI and customer conversions.
We’ve found that the best way is to take advantage of your customer data, in order to deliver personalized and targeted content across your channels.
The question of which attribution model to use in paid advertising is a tough one to answer, and columnist Andreas Reiffen explains why.
The post The big problem with PPC attribution modeling no one is talking about appeared first on Search Engine Land.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
As Q4 approaches, it’s crucial that you plan to capitalize on all the traffic that comes with it.
We all know how effective search is, but it’s also limited to those already in the hunt for what you’re offering.
To continue to scale, you need to effectively get in front of audiences that aren’t yet interested – but could be! – in your service/product. That’s where demand generation comes in, and marketers have more (and better) options for demand generation than ever.
As we head full-steam into Q4, here’s a list of demand generation channels, considerations of when to make use of them to expand your reach, and best practices we’ve honed across clients of all budgets.
Once rather maligned, the GDN provides a number of targeting options that allow you to leverage the thousands of data points they collect on users across the web. Among the most effective targeting options when it comes to both demand generation and direct response are:
Keyword contextual targeting
Choose your top 10-15 keywords and let Google place ads accordingly.
My strong recommendation is to start off with content-based keyword targeting first; this gives you more control over what is being targeted (websites relevant to your keywords). When you select “audience”-based keyword contextual targeting, you end up targeting a significantly larger group of users where the targeting is not only websites relevant to your keywords but also audiences who may be interested.
This gives Google a lot of power to find users – but it also opens you up to more risk. By starting out with content, you are taking a low-risk approach to GDN. As you see success and build up conversion history, feel free to experiment with audience targeting.
Based on audience behavior, Google determines users who are currently shopping for different products/categories. The feature combines search intent with display’s reach, and it’s definitely worth testing.
Custom affinity audiences
If you provide Google with competitor websites or industry-relevant domains, CAA will analyze the types of audiences visiting those sites (demographics, interests, website topics) and target audiences similar to them. I recommend that you test by starting off with your top 5 competitors.
As you build conversions – about 40+ conversions is a good benchmark – I would strongly recommend switching your bidding style to CPA optimizer and allowing Google to leverage its thousands of data points and optimize towards your target CPA. We’ve had a lot of success with this option.
The Facebook/Instagram duo offers powerful audience targeting capabilities. We’ve seen two strategies work consistently:
Make use of lookalike targeting and base your seed lists off your customers
Rather than taking your full customer list, however, segment by identifiable characteristics. I typically recommend high LTV or high AOV, or segmenting by category/type depending on the product or business. If you have a big enough seed list, start by testing a 1% audience, as those users will be most similar to your existing customers.
Use interest/behavior targeting and insights from the platform’s Audience Insights tool
Upload your top customers to Audience Insights and analyze the valuable demographic, interest-based data. Now begin building various personas of audiences you want to target (each ad set should represent a different persona).
When selecting your targeting options within Facebook, layer in demographic data from the Insights tool to make these audiences more relevant.
I recommend this fast-growing channel more for ecommerce than B2B. Remember that Pinterest is somewhat intent-driven, as users are typing in keywords to look for relevant pins. Start off with your top keyword list and test from there, and focus on strong creative that can stand out among the many other pins.
Your Pinterest creative should be eye-catching, high quality, and include compelling images of the product. Write detailed descriptions highlighting the most compelling aspects of the product and inviting users to click on ad, and leverage text overlays on your pins to help any core message stand out.
Twitter tends to perform well for B2B or more technical businesses. I recommend that you leverage lookalike targeting on your top-performing customer segments; you can also try targeting followers of certain influencers who may be core to your brand or followers of competitors in the industry.
Last general recommendation: begin leveraging these options ASAP so you can build up a retargeting audience to engage when purchase motivation is higher. Cast a wide net now, and you’ll have more fish to land in the holiday season.
Google AdWords offers three major keyword match types – broad match, phrase match, and exact match.
It’s safe to say that if not you don’t know how to use each correctly, you could be wasting your PPC budget.
Choosing the right keyword match types can help you target your ads better so you get higher-quality traffic to your site. Match types are simple to understand, so it’s important to take time to learn about them before you do anything else with your PPC campaigns.
What are match types for PPC advertising?
The first question is easy: What does match type mean? In short, the match type you choose for each keyword specifies which searches Google can show your ad. Your match type determines whether a wide audience will see your ads or whether your ads will only show for a few highly targeted searchers.
Your first step is to create a keyword to track by navigating to the “keywords” tab and clicking the red “+Keywords” button, as shown below:
After clicking the red button you will be taken to a page where you can add multiple keywords, as shown below:
Once you save that keyword, you can select the keyword to change the match type. Consider the specific differences below:
Of all the keyword match types, broad match casts the widest net. When you choose broad match for a keyword Google will show your ad to people who type in all kinds of variations of your keyword, as well as the keyword itself.
For example, let’s say your keyword is ceramic pots. If you set this keyword to broad match, your ad won’t just show up for people who type ceramic pots into the search bar. Google will also show it to people looking for blue ceramic pots, ceramic cooking pots, and cooking pot ceramic. Your ad can even show up when people type in synonyms of your keyword, like pottery cookware.
Simply click in the keyword to change the match type:
Broad match is the default match type for keywords, so if you haven’t adjusted your keywords’ match type, they’re currently set to broad match. You don’t need to use any special symbols to set a keyword to broad match, although you do need to use symbols for other match types – more on that in a minute.
It’s a good idea to use broad match keywords when you want to reach the widest audience possible. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, though, this strength could become a weakness. The impressions you get from broad match keywords aren’t very targeted, and that could mean you’re paying for clicks from people who weren’t interested in your offer to begin with.
Modified broad match
You can get around some of the downsides of broad match keywords by using a modified broad match type instead. This lets you specify which words must be in a search query for your ad to show.
If you do this, your keyword still falls under the broad match umbrella, but you have a little more control over who sees your ads. Modified broad match is a powerful tool for keeping your keywords flexible while cutting down on irrelevant traffic.
To modify a broad match keyword, place a + sign directly in front of any word that must be in a query for your ad to display. For instance, to re-use our example above, you could modify your keyword by changing it to +ceramic pots.
This tells Google not to show your ad unless “ceramic” is somewhere in the query. For instance, your ad could show up for ceramic bakeware and stockpot ceramic, but not for pottery cookware.
You can also insert a “+” before more than one word in your keyword. If you wanted your ad to show only for queries that included both the words “ceramic” and “pots,” you could modify your keyword to +ceramic +pots.
Phrase match lets you specify an exact phrase that must be in a searcher’s query for your ad to appear. It lets you hone in on your intended audience more than the broad match type, but isn’t as restrictive as exact match.
To set a keyword to phrase match, put quotation marks around it. This lets Google know to only show your ad to people who used your exact keyword (or close variations of it) somewhere in their query. If your phrase match keyword is “ceramic pots”, your ad can show up for the searches “heavy-duty ceramic pots” and “ceramic pot with lid” but not “ceramic cooking pots.”
When you use an exact match keyword, your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword (or close variations of it) and nothing else. This match type will limit your impressions the most, so use it with caution. The impressions you do get, however, will be highly targeted, so they’ll be more valuable than the impressions you’d get from a broad match keyword.
Set a keyword to exact match by putting it in square brackets – for example, [ceramic pots]. Only people who type ceramic pots or close variations of it into the search bar will see your ad. There’s no way to turn off close variation matching in Google, so your ad will still show for people who search for ceramic pot or another very similar term.
Negative match isn’t a keyword match type in the same way as the ones above. Rather, it lets you specify words you don’t want your ad to show for. If you know your ad won’t be relevant if a certain word is in a search query, set that word as a negative match. Google won’t show your ads to any of those searchers.
For instance, if ceramic pot is your keyword and you’re selling cooking pots, you might want to set “vase” as a negative match. Otherwise, people looking for ceramic vases might stumble upon your site and then leave right away, which only wastes your advertising dollars.
Set a word as a negative keyword by including a “-” in front of it, like this: -vase. Below shows you how to navigate to the negative keyword tab. You simply click the red button once again, and here you have a choice if you want these negative keywords to be for one campaign or your entire ad group, as you can see below:
What counts as a close variation?
We’ve mentioned a couple of times that Google automatically lumps very similar terms in with your keyword. At this point, you might be wondering what a close variation actually is. According to Google’s page on keyword matching options, close variations include all of the following:
Singular versions of plural words, and vice versa
Stemmings, or words that all have the same root – e.g. cook, cooking, and cooked
How can you make sure you’re choosing the right match type?
Now that you know what all the match types do, how should you plan your keyword strategy? Google recommends starting out with broad match keywords and then narrowing them down as appropriate. Keep an eye on your search terms report, which tells you which queries people typed in to see your ad.
If you notice that your ad is showing up for a lot of unrelated or irrelevant queries, try adding negative keywords to weed some of them out, or use more restrictive match types for your keywords.
You can find your search terms report using a variety of tools. AgencyAnalytics is one such tool that allows you to also click the keywords tab (shown below) for all of your keyword data to help create a full picture:
It’s also a good idea to vary your keyword match types. Don’t use all broad match keywords, or your ad will display for too many people who aren’t interested. Likewise, if you only use exact match, your ads might not show up often enough to get you good results.
Mix it up based on what makes sense for each keyword, and aim for a good balance between reaching a wide audience and showing your ads to the right people.
You can choose great PPC keywords, but if you don’t deploy them well, they won’t get you the results you want. Choosing your keyword match types is an important way to determine which searchers see your ads, and this ultimately impacts your sales.
Monitor your search terms report to see how your match types are performing, and adjust them as needed, and you just might notice a big difference in your traffic and sales.
What’s your strategy for using keyword match types? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Amanda DiSilvestro is a freelance digital marketing writer and editor living in San Diego, CA. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her writing services at amandadisilvestro.com.