How to make your paid search, er, pay…

Five top tips for revamping your paid search strategy and making your money go further

 How to make your paid search, er, pay…

Get your paid search advertising wrong on a regular basis and you will soon be pointlessly burning through your precious budget, explains Patrick Headley, CEO of Go Inspire Group…

In a recent piece for PMW, we shared our research on the amount of paid search advertising budget going to waste every year in UK industries. We estimated that UK businesses could be saving £728.7m by intelligently formulating their paid strategies. Here, we look at the five ways marketers can enhance their current approach – going beyond keyword changes and delving into customer data.

1) Adopt a bird’s eye view

This first step is likely to produce the most significant return on investment, and consists of building a panoramic view of the customer journey. Each customer is different and should be treated as such. By creating a comprehensive overview of the customer journey, including online and offline touchpoints, marketers can gauge at which points paid search is most effective – if at all.

2) Understand customer intent

There are many reasons why a customer may return to a website – so it’s important to understand their intent. Are they visiting the page to buy accessories for a previous purchase or are they merely here to leave a review? Rather than remarketing to customers on route to the next stage or who have already purchased, businesses can use intelligent insight from customer data analysis to focus their efforts where they have a chance of producing a result. 

As well as being ineffective, remarketing messages can be seen as bothersome or even have a reverse effect. By building a deep understanding of your customers and the segments they sit in – from high-value high-loyalty to low-value low-loyalty – effective campaign targeting becomes possible.

3) Beware of phantoms

‘Phantom’ is a name for someone who visits a page, leaves and never returns again. These visits are often the result of accidental clicks or misdirected searching. While 25 percent of phantoms may respond to a paid search message, the majority will not engage. This can have negative repercussions on your click-through rates [CTR] and ultimately cause your cost per click [CPC] to rise.

4) Allow organic searches to run their course

Another key mistake that paid search strategies often make is attempting to bid their own brand name regardless of the search terms used by the customer. It may be that the customer was already searching for your brand organically – in this case, the paid search advert is wasted on someone who intended to click through to your website anyway. Conversely, if a customer has lapsed or is seeking a competitor, bidding your brand name will be a good use of your paid search budget.

5) Monitor evolving behaviours

In the past year, we’ve seen customer behaviours change dramatically. Naturally, as the customer journey continues to evolve, so must paid search offers and messages. Staying abreast of changing behaviours, both online and in-store, is crucial to enable the best return on investment for paid search advertising campaigns. Ultimately, this will also help businesses to remain agile as the pandemic continues to affect how customers are shopping.

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