Keywords that drive clicks used to be the primary components to successful pay-per-click advertising campaigns.
Times have changed, though. More and more emphasis is placed on audience targeting. This strategy allows businesses to define more clearly who they want to see their ads while they are visiting websites or using search engines.
The ability to establish target audiences and serve ads to them specifically has been made possible through new updates and innovations from leading ad platforms. As these services continue to improve, creating target audiences, including further defined segments of those audiences, is only going to become easier and more effective.
Successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns aren’t dismissing keywords - and they shouldn’t - but they are now doing their research on audience targeting.
That’s because the strategy works.
Advertisers who know their audiences can break through clutter
By focusing on people, businesses can fine tune their advertising in ways that allow ads to be served more often to audiences that have a higher likelihood of clicking on an ad. This strategy also allows savvy marketers to add an extra layer of personalization to ads based on the audience.
There are a variety of ways to focus on specific audiences in ad campaigns. For example, with Google Ads, advertisers can target remarketing lists, custom combination lists, life events and interest categories.
Some of these options separate customers into lists based on where they may have seen an ad before and what actions they may have taken (or not taken) when they were shown the ad. Others, such as the interest categories, focus more on the people themselves, i.e. who they are, what they enjoy or what they are searching for online.
Speaking with Search Engine Journal, Purna Virji, senior manager of global engagement for Microsoft said businesses with PPC campaigns need to focus on creating and optimizing specific audience segments. That will allow the messaging in the ads served to the audience “be as relevant and feel as personalized as possible,” he said.
Keep people moving through your marketing funnels
When considering audiences, businesses need to pay attention to remarketing lists.
These lists are organized in ways that sort potential customers (or returning customers) into different groups based on where they are in a marketing funnel. The goal is to serve them ads that will lead them down the funnel to the point where they could be ready to make a purchase.
Remarketing lists are also perfect for staying top-of-mind, particularly when used for PPC search ads.
Some examples of how audiences could be segmented into remarketing list include actions they may have taken, such as landing on certain webpages, such as for a certain product or service; downloading an ebook or infographic or a website visitor that spent a lot of time browsing the site or visited a sequence of pages.
Once you have created and set up a campaign for an audience that accomplishes some type of action, you can create ad content that gets them to the next stage of the funnel.
This of course can work for people who have stalled in their progress through marketing funnels, too. Keep track of audiences that may have engaged with content a while back but have been inactive for some time. If the people in this segment return or take another action, then consider targeting them with “Welcome Back”-type messaging in ad content.
Audiences could become equally or more important than keywords
Not only is audience targeting increasing in popularity, but it is also just as important as keywords in PPC advertising.
At least one PPC expert has claimed audiences are in fact more important than keywords.
Aaron Levy of Elite SEM told Search Engine Journal that he believes keywords will soon lose their top priority status to audience targeting. He told SEJ that if marketers are not using audiences, then they are not doing PPC right.
Other experts agree in part with Levy that audience targeting will become equally important to researching and selecting keywords for successful ad campaigns.
Microsoft’s Christi Olson says top-notch marketers will be able to separate themselves from everyone else based on how well they pay attention to their audiences and how they divide that audience data into segments in order to better target.
Target new, similar audiences
Businesses can use their existing targeted audiences to discover similar audiences they may not be reaching.
One example is Google’s Similar Audiences feature. This tool takes a look at existing remarketing audiences and uses that information to discover new, qualified potential customers based on shared interests with the existing audience. It’s a great way to find new prospects in a short amount of time.
It’s an effective tool, too. Based on Google’s own data, advertisers who utilize Similar Audiences with their remarketing lists generally see 60% more impressions, 48% more clicks and 41% more conversions.
Michelle Morgan recommends in Search Engine Journal that marketers keep audiences found through Similar Audiences in existing search campaigns and not creating new campaigns. That’s because these users likely have not had any previous engagement with a brand, she says. The same messaging already in use for search campaigns can be effective.
Plus, the people identified with Similar Audiences are often very similar to a business’s ideal audience - those who made a purchase. By keeping a converted user list, you can locate people who are even more likely to also make a purchase.
Elevate your PPC advertising with Emagine
Businesses and marketers would do well to hop on board the audience targeting bandwagon - because this trend is here to stay.
Emagine’s team knows how to drive results using PPC advertising. It’s an effective way to present your product or service to customers at the most opportunite moment: when they are actively seeking to buy.
Our team can help your business create target audience lists, find ideal customers and lead them through the buying process.
If you are looking to dip your toe into PPC ads or optimize an existing campaign, then reach out to tell us about your project.