At times, targeting a specific audience with search ads can be a challenge, despite your best efforts to bid on specific keywords relevant to your business. This can particularly be true when running a PPC campaign for a B2B company. Keywords without context have a tendency to create challenges for driving the most value from a PPC campaign.
Let me share a quick example with you. Let’s say Todd has a damaged computer that needs repairing. He isn’t a sophisticated computer guy so he associates anything with computers as IT related. He goes to Google, types in “local IT company to fix computer”. In this case, the paid search results return several Cloud Service and Security IT companies. These results aren’t helpful for Todd and can prove detrimental for companies bidding on IT related keywords; either in the form of an irrelevant click or potential Quality Score ding.
Google is now rolling out Interest Based Targeting for Search Engine Marketing campaigns. This means that specific keywords searched may return a specific company’s ad if the user first shows online behavior of having an interest in that service. For example, you could target someone who’s showing an online browsing interest in “Business Technology Vulnerability” and then conducted a search in Google for “IT Companies”. With interest based targeting, Todd’s search may not have returned IT related ads because he wasn’t showing online behavior of being “in-market” for IT services.
For companies who provide B2B services, Interest Targeting can help increase relevancy from paid search traffic by weeding out keyword search inquiries that lack context.
Life Event Targeting
We all have life-changing events or specific milestones achieved throughout our lifetime. Some of these events could include graduating college, moving to a new city, or getting married. Every event in our life typically results in us turning to Google search to find what we need, such as an apartment, vacation spot, wedding ring, or more. With Google’s Life Event targeting option, advertisers can now target consumers with highly relevant video and Google Sponsored Promotion ads based on searches indicating there has been a life event.
Here are a couple examples of practical scenarios:
- You are searching for Wedding Rings in preparation of proposing and you begin seeing ads for Wedding Reception venues.
- You are searching for apartments in a new city and you begin seeing ads for home internet companies and moving companies.
Life Event Targeting is a powerful new way to reach people who are moving, getting married or graduating. Currently, life event targeting options are limited but it’s expected that the targeting segment list will grow throughout the year and present opportunities for more industries.
Google search currently offers Price Extensions that are part of your Adwords search listing. Price extensions present a great opportunity for companies who desire to promote multiple products with pricing right in the search ad. Not only does this feature enable companies to provide promotional pricing information for consumers right on the ad, but it takes up additional SERP (search engine results page) space pushing your competition further down the page. Just like in the days of the Yellow Pages, the company taking up the most space on the page typically gets the most consideration.
The challenge with Price Extensions is that it requires three separate products with prices if a company wishes to utilize the feature. Not every company desires to promote multiple products or prices on their search ad.
If Price Extensions don’t drive value for your business, now you can utilize Promotion Extensions in your search ads. This features allows advertisers to keep a bit of mystery in their ad copy without revealing an actual price point. For example, if you want to promote a sale or discount on a set of products or services, Promotion Extensions enable you to do so.
Consider using Promotion Extensions for promo codes, monetary discounts or percentage off discounts. These can help your campaign drive higher response rates and increase your real estate on SERPs.
Sitelinks on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)
When sitelinks are present in an ad, a user is 10-20% more likely to engage with the ad. This increased user engagement typically results in more web traffic and a higher quality score. Sitelinks have been a useful tool when running adwords campaigns but their utility value is about to go up.
Google is phasing in vertically stacked sitelinks underneath your ad copy description; historically sitelinks sat side by side in a row. This means your ad will most likely take up more space. Could this change be important or substantive for your company? Well, the more SERP space your ad takes up the greater your chances are of a user engaging with your ad. This change could potentially push the #2 paid listing below the fold on mobile devices.
Accelerated Mobile Pages and AMP Ad Units
Following the rollout of AMP, Google started giving priority on ad position to ads that link to an accelerated mobile page. This makes sense as Landing Page quality affects your Quality Score and page load speed plays a big factor.
In addition to Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google has rolled out AMP ads. These ads are lighter, responsive and can load on a webpage up to 5 seconds faster than a standard display ad. Several years ago, Kissmetrics conducted a study on page load times and found that 49% of people surveyed would stay on a website for up to 10 seconds to let everything on the page load before they bounce. As page speed load times have improved and our patience diminished, it’s intuitive to think that most wouldn’t give a website 10 seconds anymore.
Here are some updated statistics on page load times and correlated bounce rates.
As the data shows, the longer a website visitor must wait for a page to render, the likelihood of them bouncing significantly increases. So how do AMP ads and pages work? Both are made with lightweight HTML and all of the files that make up the site/ad unit are stored in a Google AMP Cache; so when the page loads or the ad is clicked, the site and ad(s) are rendered instantaneously (or close to it!)
It’s important to give serious consideration to utilizing AMP pages and AMP display ads as you plan for 2018 to ensure you’re reaching your target market and increasing engagement levels on your website or landing page.
So there you have it. These are the latest and greatest updates to Google Adwords that may affect your opportunities in the future. It’s difficult to keep up with Google’s ever evolving product and platform suite, but companies and individuals willing to utilize new features that enhance the user experience and increase search ad’s SERP footprint may just be a step ahead of the competition in 2018.