Sr. Director, Media Strategy

New Approach to Paid Search: User-Intent Targeting

We have a new way to capture user intent through Paid Search. As Paid Search (aka PPC) evolves and Rise flips the digital marketing script to be audience first, we changed our overall PPC approach to start by qualifying audiences and user intent, before layering on advanced tactics and PPC automation. 

We’ll dig into the specifics, but first, let’s start with how we got here. 

How Search Has Changed

It’s easiest to start the PPC change journey by highlighting keyword match types. Exact match keywords provide the most control over who views your ads, but historically were also generally limiting and therefore didn’t tend to be the most valuable queries. However now, exact match keywords can also match with synonyms, misspellings, and semantics — which will expand intent and reach.

Secondly, update your approach to bid strategies to incorporate various auction time bidding (ATB) tactics. ATB strategies include additional signals that strengthen bid decisions to deliver stronger performance. The algorithm-based system allows brands to bid on advertising spaces, at scale, that increase awareness or impressions or conversions. This will help amplify strong performance with higher conversion volume and efficiency across accounts. 

For example, you can capture customers with the highest value to your business by using value based bidding that has integrated revenue data into bid strategies. Take it one step further by uploading offline conversions to enable ATB against a more holistic set of business data. Appropriately assigning customer value in the form of revenue or margin will allow bid strategies to optimize media against true business KPIs.

Finally, it’s a privacy-first, digital marketing world. Marketers need to future-proof their audience strategies to maximize conversion rates at every touchpoint. Part of this is matching different goals and tactics to each different type of audience and their level of engagement. What audiences does the brand want to reach through PPC? What keywords do THEY use, and how can we strategize to meet those needs?

For example, in the chart below, we start with the various audience types and their level of engagement. For Known Prospects and Customers, we want to target and create our campaigns in a custom way compared to less engaged audiences. By integrating first-party data into PPC campaigns, we could most effectively reach our Known audience and exceed the specific campaign objective. 

Introducing the New Intent Driver

With match types converging, controlling cost to maximize return needs to be informed by targeting that captures a user’s core intent. Keyword strategy is as much governed by targeted terms as it is by excluded ones. This is why Rise takes a methodical approach to our negative keyword process. As match types take more liberties in matching with queries, regularly reviewing irrelevant terms and adding negative keywords to strengthen actual targeting is a crucial renewed practice to be successful.

Using Better Data to Drive Decisions

Now that we have the roadmap, we can start building infrastructure to optimize for lead quality & customer value. Since ATB technology is available to all advertisers, brands need to ensure that campaigns are optimized to the brand’s business data at every stage of the customer journey

Follow the above example from the customer being served a PPC ad and requesting brand information, attributing revenue to that lead, and analyzing that data in Connex to optimize and retarget. Rise makes sure that each step along the way builds on the data from the step before to continuously enhance the performance output and learnings!  

Activating Into a New Structure

The focus of Rise’s paid search campaign structure still holds true. We’ve always advocated ‘granularity at scale’ and have successfully executed this philosophy through robust keyword build outs to be able to assign specific bids to every single type of variation: Singular/plural, misspelling, synonym, semantic and more.  

The main difference given all of the above change is around the execution of that structure. We now focus granularity on keyword and audience targeting by structuring campaigns to give more emphasis on matching with users in audiences as much as the query searched.

The New Future of Search

With any innovative approach to digital marketing, there is another one right around the corner ready to keep pushing the limits. Enter Google’s Performance Max (PMAX). In line with Rise’s audience prioritization strategy, PMAX can help find qualified audiences across Google properties. It takes the guesswork out of deciding which of your Google placements most-deserves your next marketing dollar.

As a refresh, PMAX uses a new Google feature called audience signals to find the best ad placements for action within the full Google ecosystem (YouTube, Display, Gmail, etc.). 

Rise prioritizes targeted keywords and audiences to control paid search bidding, but also ensures that we incorporate all the ways that search can be executed. For example, finding the right non-brand keywords is a long process, and can involve a lot of testing. PMAX allows us to use more Google signals and technology to efficiently evolve paid search programs and achieve marketing goals.

Ready to refocus your Paid Search approach to be audience-centric? Contact Rise today

12/07/2022 at 10:16