(New) Ways to Reach Prospects in Your PPC Account

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How long have you worked on your accounts? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? As we get more familiar with our accounts, understanding our consumer – the keywords they search on, where to reach them – becomes almost second nature.

We, as marketers, tend to do what is comfortable and what we’re good at – and being so close to our accounts sometimes makes us lose sight of other opportunities. Below are some fresh ways that you can reach new prospects within your PPC account.

Test New Engines

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This is an often overlooked way to find new consumers. Though Bing and Yahoo are lower in volume and reach than Google, both search engines are a great way to drive incremental clicks and conversions. In addition, the demographics of the search engines are different – so you may find yourself reaching entirely different groups of people. A few different studies have shown that Bing users skew older, more blue collar, more likely to have children, etc. when compared to Google search users.

In my experience, Bing drives lower CPCs (costs-per-click) compared to Google. Yahoo has its own PPC management platform for both PPC and Native advertising. Though both will drive less volume than Google, I recommend testing!

Check out Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini.

Look to the Peripheral

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My meaning here is to find new keyword opportunities other than the words or phrases that exactly define your product or service. The purpose is to reach your intended audience while they search on other (peripheral) keywords. Once you find these keywords, you can use ad copy to bring together the search term and your service offering.

To give you a better understanding, here is an example:

I’m an advertiser that runs a used car dealership. I sell used cars. Therefore, I bid on keywords such as used cars, buy used cars, used cars for sale.

Q4 is a big time of year for me and I have high goals for my car dealership. Basically, I need to sell more cars. After raising bids and ad copy testing to drive more clicks to my website, I still need to find more users.

I ask “how else can I reach users who may want to buy a used car?”…. And come up with the following “peripheral” keyword ideas:

1) find an auto repair for old car, old car repair keywords: These searchers are looking for auto repair, not necessarily another car. However, if any of the users are constantly repairing their old car, buying a used car could be a great option for them. I’m going to bid on these keywords and serve ad copy that brings together the search intent and my product to make the ad copy relevant.

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2) car buying website, purchase car online keywords: These users are searching for cars online. Try to convince these users that buying a car in-store at your trusted dealership is an alternative.

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3) buy car on craigslist, cars for sale craigslist keywords –  These users are likely searching for an affordable or cheap car because they are looking on craigslist. In ad copy, I can play up the fact that my cars are both affordable and that I’m a trustworthy source.

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Think about “peripheral” keywords for your own account. Find keywords that indicate a user may be a great prospect for your service or offer.

Get Competitive

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The next suggestion is to run a Competitor campaign by bidding on your competitor’s brand name. Google allows you to bid on keywords containing your competitor’s name but does not allow you to use the competition’s name in ad copy.

What is the rationale here? If a user is searching for your competition, that user is likely in the market for your product.

Competitor campaigns can help you reach new prospects, but be aware that you will likely see higher CPCs (remember, this user is not looking for your brand) and lower CTRs. That being said, I’ve seen success with these campaigns.

Test New Formats

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Testing new ad formats in AdWords can help you reach new users. By running new formats, you can reach users while they consume content outside of the search engines.

Two ad formats, available right in the AdWords interface, that you may want to test are Gmail ads and Responsive ads.

Gmail Ads allow advertisers to serve ads directly in Gmail on computers and mobile.  You can target an uploaded email list, a domain (that a user receives emails from), keywords (found throughout a user’s inbox) as well as audiences, interests, topics and demographics. When creating the ads, AdWords make it easy by providing templates. Choose the template you’d like to search and input the necessary messaging, imagery and call(s)-to-action.

For a Gmail ads campaign, you’ll need to select a Campaign Type of “Display Network”. To create the ad, you’ll select the “Ad Gallery” option and then be able to create a Gmail Ads template.

Responsive ads are another way to reach new users. An advertiser inputs several fields (headlines, description, logo, imagery) which are used interchangeably to create banner ads in every size/dimension that Google offers on the display network. With a wider reach – now ONE ad that caters to ALL sizes – you are almost guaranteed to reach more users! At least that has been my experience with responsive ads thus far. To create responsive ads, follow these steps.

Try Similar Audiences

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When you create an audience in AdWords, Google automatically creates a similar audience. These similar audiences are similar to the original audience created – i.e. have similar interests, web behavior, demographics, characteristics, etc.

Similar audiences are currently available for targeting on the Display network, not the Search network. This may change in the future.

The similar audiences will all have the same naming convention: Similar to + {original audience name}. The similar audiences are found alongside the audiences in the Shared Library > Audience section.

If you’d like to test similar audiences, try this: create an audience or audiences of your best users. Think – the users who converted or took important, meaningful actions on your website. Once you create those audiences, Google will automatically add the similar audiences. Now you have similar audiences that were created from your top consumers.

Try Dynamic Search Ads

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Dynamic Search ads can help fill the gaps in your keyword list and reach new users. With this type of ad, an advertiser targets website content and allows Google to find relevant search queries. That means as an advertiser, you do NOT develop a keyword list. You tell Google which website content you’d like to target, Google crawls the content and then decides which search queries should trigger your ad. Here’s an example:

I specify that the URL www.mydomain.com/womens/shoes/heels is my targeted website content. Google crawls my website to understand the content. Then, a user searches on womens high-heeled pumps and Google serves my ad.

One of the most important aspects of Dynamic Search ads is the fact that you will have insight into the search queries that triggered your ad. This is important! Google is expanding your reach and then giving you insight into those queries. This can help you find new keyword opportunities that do not already exist in your account. I personally have created new campaigns or ad groups based on this type of data.

Something else to know – Google will also dynamically generate the ad headline, while the advertiser is responsible for the description lines. The advertiser will not have insight into the actual headlines that were served. When writing these ads, make sure that the description could be relevant for ANY possible headline relating to the targeted content.


Hopefully these tips gave you some new ideas or reminders of things to try in your paid search accounts!

Heather Post is a Senior Analyst at LunaMetrics. Heather is a true paid search marketer, originally trained to focus her efforts on direct response and lead gen campaigns. She always asks the question “how do we get the most value out of every dollar spent?” When she’s not analyzing paid search metrics, Heather is happily at home in her new city of Pittsburgh with her husband, Brian.

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