Most marketers are doing some form paid search marketing. However, depending on their approach to paid search, they are having different levels of success with this marketing tactic. Most marketers do not understand the complete insights in paid search data or are not properly identifying certain levers to take their campaigns to the next level. A main issue in many of the campaigns is when agencies or an in-house team do not provide enough clarity about the TRUE campaign results. Here is a simple paid search tactic we want to share with you that will help take your PPC campaign to the next level.
Lost Opportunities in Paid Search
From the outside, paid search as a whole category of marketing spend looks great. However a simple change in strategy lets marketers realize that not all of paid search is performing as desired. Before we examine this strategy, we want to focus on orienting marketers to the potential lost opportunities in paid search marketing.
Paid search just like other channels has the ability to reach audiences at various stages of their purchasing decision process. Simply looking at paid search as direct response mechanics does not allow paid search to live up to its full capabilities. In addition, this singular perspective also blocks consumer’s mindsets about other channels such as display marketing.
One of the primary reasons why many marketers have very limited to no display campaigns in place is as rudimentary as comparing display performance to paid search performance. Therefore, a marketer’s analysis of display is inferior to the direct response performance of paid search.
Getting the Most out of Paid Search
So let’s debunk this myth for good with our simple trick and help take your paid search marketing campaigns to the next level. What if I tell you that display has the ability and should be performing on par with paid search? Sounds great, and is essentially true although one must break up the data to understand. Our simple trick is breaking up your paid search data into different buckets.
How to Break Down your Paid Search Data
Bucket breakdown #1: Brand terms versus Non-brand terms
Branded terms are results for all keywords that have your company brand name somewhere in there (complete or partially). Non-branded terms are the remainder. When you break up your terms from branded to non-branded will realize that your branded keywords carry the campaign results with astonishing weight, while your non-branded keywords are sub-par in their performance and many times even creating negative ROI.
When a user does a search with your company name attached to it in the search query, they obviously know who you are. This familiarity comes at a much higher possibility of you being able to convert this consumer with his post-click actions.
In contrast, when someone searches without a company name in the query, they are still in the discovery phase of the decision process. This consumer may search for the product category but has not honed in on a particular company. The result is numerous clicks to various companies on the search result page as this consumer begins to figure out what is out there in marketplace. Therefore, the conversion percentage is significantly lower than branded keyword searches.
Here, you can begin to compare display and paid search at the same level. Display marketing (excluding retargeting initiatives) catches users at the higher stages of the conversion funnel, when they are not actively looking for a company/brand or even product, just like non-branded paid search keywords. Try it, ask your agency or your team to do this and you will have very interesting conversations, I promise.
Bucket Breakdown #2: Charting Keywords by Funnel Stage
Simply charting your paid search keywords by stages of the decision/audience funnel can further your campaign effectiveness tremendously. The basic audience funnel stages are conversion (bottom), intent (mid-funnel), and prospect (upper-funnel).
Our tactic is to simply align your keywords with different stages of the audience funnel:
- Branded Keywords with Conversion Stage
- Long-tail Non-branded Keywords (search queries with 3+ words) with Intend Stage
- Short-tail Non-branded Keywords (search queries with one or 2 words) with Prospecting Stage
This breakdown is sure to provides an even deeper analysis into your paid search campaign data and help you to further your campaign effectiveness.
Branded and non-branded terms perform very differently. In fact, branded keywords typically cost less (less competition) and have a higher conversion rate since these customers are usually further down the sales funnel. Since this audience already knows about your brand, they may also be past customers.
While acquiring customers who are familiar with your brand is important, you also need to ensure that you are attracting new customers via non-branded terms. Non-branded terms are more competitive and expensive, but more valuable if you win a new customer and maybe more important to ROI in the long run. Further, you can use this data to allocate different budgets to branded and non-branded keyword terms based on company goals (i.e. increase sales versus increase customer-base).
While most marketers don’t break out these reports, it’s very important to do so. Placing branded and non-branded keywords into different reports will help you determine your company’s brand awareness in the marketplace (branded keywords) versus how well you stack up against your competition (non-branded).