Programmatic advertising has been on the rise ever since Genius Monkey helped coin the term in 2010. It’s no easy one-size-fits-all solution, though; a good programmatic campaign involves a lot of work with careful research, a thought-out strategy, and – the topic of today – a strong paid search plan.
Travis Champ, COO of Genius Monkey, commented: “Paid search is so important that Genius Monkey will often tell clients to start – at the very least – a branded PPC campaign prior to using our platform. Without having a paid search foundation and baseline, the true benefit of the Genius Monkey platform cannot be realized. The combination of targeted ads and paid search really lets our users reap the full benefits of the branding that programmatic drives.”
Left unchecked, paid search can be a money pit; outspending your competition is always an option, but there are smarter ways that you can go about bidding strategy. Let’s take a closer look at paid search and what you can do to take better advantage of it.
Go Narrow and Find Your Niche
It all starts with the keywords and making your bids as narrow as possible. If you’re a local guitar shop, you don’t want to bid on the keyword “guitars”; this is an extremely broad term that will pit you against giant music stores across the world who can afford to throw huge money at keywords. Instead, you can narrow it down to “black yamaha acoustic guitar”. A highly-specific phrase like this will have a lot less hits on the search engine, but will also allow you to rank higher in the bidding without spending as much.
There are many ways to narrow down your keywords; product descriptors are always good, but you can also include your location if you have a physical store. Applying the city, state, or even the words “near me” will help local customers find you more easily. The more specific you get, the less likely others will be spending big money to rank high. Bear in mind that you don’t always need to be #1 in your keywords; ranking in the top 5 or so can drastically improve your cost-per-acquisition.
Make Me a Match
Another way to refine your strategy is considering the match type you use. This defines how closely your keywords need to match the customer’s search input in order to rank. Google uses three types:
- Broad Match: Your ad can appear in any search involving any of your keywords in any order. This is the widest match type
- Phrase Match: This match is based on the order of the keywords, with some wiggle room in word choice and extra words before or after your keywords.
- Exact Match: Follows very closely to your keyword; Google now lets plurals and even synonyms count toward Exact Match, but it remains the most narrow of the match types.
Depending on your business, some match types may work better than others, so don’t be afraid to mix up the types and see what works best for you. Businesses with a smaller budget should probably focus on exact matches, since it will cost less and yield more consumers who are ready to purchase.
Get in the Game
In order to know what to bid on, you’ll need to know where your competitors are lacking. For instance, they may dominate the ranking in “household cleaning products”, but a little research will find that they don’t do as well in “household glass cleaner”. Ranking well on the second can help you get a foot in the door of the household chemical market in your area. Keyword research is an important step of the paid search process, and you need to pay careful attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s strategy.
Switch Up the Bidding Strategy
Whether you’re looking for website visits, an app download, or a straightforward purchase, Google will optimize your campaign based on your desired outcome. Within this structure, you also have some room for experimentation to mix up your strategy.
You can direct the system to maximize conversions within an average daily budget, where Google will basically use your budget to outspend the competition on as many keywords as possible. You also get to define a target cost-per-acquisition (CPA), which will allow you to balance conversion numbers and budget if you can find the CPA sweet-spot.
Maximize Conversion Value
If you’re looking for more bang-for-your-buck bidding, then you can also try to maximize conversion value by defining a monetary target. Here, you can shoot for high profit margins, raw sales revenue, or a target ROAS. The prioritizing of value means you’re unlikely to outbid your competitors, but you’ll know you’re not spending tons on keywords that may not work.
These aren’t the only options – you can bid on each keyword manually if you want – but the point is that there are many approaches to keyword bidding. Some will inevitably work better than others, and it’s worth exploring the methods to learn which works best with your business and message.
Optimize Your Landing Page
Once you’ve got people seeing and clicking your link, it’s up to your landing page to reel them in. Landing page optimization is a science unto itself that we can’t fully explore here, but here are a few quick tips:
- When in doubt, simplify. Make sure the offer is clear and is the 1st thing the user sees
- Optimize your website so it is fast and responsive
- Don’t forget SEO
- Keywords and taglines on page should match that of the search copy being used
- Fill in alt text and image descriptions using keywords and format all meta formatting properly
- Have a form fill, but only ask the customer for information you absolutely need, at least at first
Supplement Your Other Marketing Efforts
Paid search is an inherently bottom-funnel tool, so you’ll need other marketing in order to introduce your business and move people along. None of your marketing efforts should be happening in a vacuum; for example, you can emphasize your paid search keywords in your display ads so people know what to search for.
In a nutshell, programmatic advertising is all about finding those with a need who are ready to purchase; paid search makes it easy for them to find you. Paid search has some of the highest conversion rates of any advertising medium and should form a part of your marketing strategy. For more on advertising and how a multi-channel approach can bring more customers to you, get in touch with Genius Monkey today!