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5 Solid Tips for Paid Search Campaigns

According to a recent report by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), companies spent $42.8 billion on online advertising in 2013, more than any other medium besides television.  Online advertising is fast becoming the mainstream advertising channel and finding a way for your company to compete in this rapidly growing ad space is key to future success.

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of knowledge from a few good tips to put you ahead of the competition.  Here are 5 worthwhile tips that will boost your paid search campaigns.

1.  Use intent-based keywords in campaign setup

Who has more intention to make a purchase:  someone who searches “flowers” or someone who searches “order flowers”?  By using intent-based keywords in your campaign setup, you avoid casual searches and focus on people who are interested in purchasing.  What people often forget is that identifying your target audience and keywords are only half the picture – targeting them at the right time and place is the other half.  By using intent-based keywords, you are able to reach your audience at a time when they’re ready to interact and transact.

2.  Match ad copy to keywords

When someone searches “buy flowers” they’re obviously looking to “buy flowers”.  Shouldn’t your ad speak directly to them?  By matching your ad copy to your keyword criteria, you’re increasing the likelihood that someone will see, click and follow through with your ad.  Writing ad copy that says, “Buy flowers for mom” is going to be more effective than copy that says, “A rose is a mother’s best friend”.  How do you ensure that your ads line up well with your keywords?  Our next tip shows you how:

3.  Keep ad groups small and focused with exact match

When you’re creating ad groups, it’s better to be small and focused rather than large and broad.  A more strategic approach regarding your campaigns, budgets and keywords will land you better leads at the end of the day, despite the fewer searches and impressions.  By using exact match for your keyword criteria, you will accumulate fewer clicks, but garner a higher conversion rate (the most important factor of all).  Using exact match will also make your ads more powerful, especially if copy is aligned as explained in the tip above.

4.  Geo-target campaigns, no matter what

Regardless of whether you’re a large, ecommerce company with a huge budget or a small, local business with a tiny budget, geo-targeting your campaigns is extremely wise.  A geo-targeted campaign is often much more effective at reaching your audience than a national one because different regions respond to different cues, images, language, seasonal products, and more.  For example, people in the Northeast might prefer to buy roses, whereas people in Texas prefer bluebonnets, and your ads should reflect this difference.  If you have the resources, build different campaigns for different regions to improve your click through rate.

5.  Set aside a review time every other week or month, seriously

Review and analyze, review and analyze – this can’t be stressed enough!  Marketing campaigns should never run on autopilot, but because it has the ability to do so, many people let it go (and sometimes far too long).  Review your ad performance, determine what keywords are driving your CTR, see what geo-targeted areas are most lucrative, determine negative keywords, and don’t forget to review alerts.  The review and analysis is probably the most important task of all to ensure your ad campaigns give you the most bang for your buck.

The fifth and final tip is probably one you hear all the time, but it’s also the most important one.  You don’t want to be that company that sets up a campaign, lets it run, and realizes too late that it blew through a ton of money.  Have a plan, set goals, and integrate online ads into your standard marketing strategy.  Then utilize these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to making good decisions, and a solid ROI, with paid search campaigns.