Articles in the Campaign Optimization Category

Learn how to optimize your PPC, display, social media and remarketing efforts with help from our SEM team. From big-picture strategy ideas to the granular tweaks that will help you to improve your campaigns’ performance, our campaign optimization blog posts will provide you with the information you need to improve your ROI and drive qualified, converting traffic to your website.

April 21 2009

Using Demographic Exclusions to Improve Click-through-Rates

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If concentrated visibility in front of a segmented demographic is one of your PPC goals, Demographic Exclusion is the vehicle that can help get you there.  Age and gender segment exclusions are just one of the tactics that the top search engines are providing advertisers with to help refine their PPC campaigns.  Options for targeting vary by engine.  Check out Katherine Bennett’s recent post for more on the details.

Google has been rolling out similar features at a higher rate since their acquisition of DoubleClick was solidified.  With more demographic data available form a higher volume of publishers, Google is able to offer smaller advertisers (budget-wise) the opportunity to target their core demographic with a minimal cost of entry.  While higher budgets will get you more visibility, it is possible to be effective with modest budgets as well.

Demographic exclusions can be implemented quickly and easily, from a technical perspective.  However, it is important to know your audience and even to have solid evidence to support your exclusion choices prior to implementation.  Have you profiled your customer base?  Reviewed demographics for the websites you are advertising on? Be sure to do your due diligence before testing.

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To adjust your demographic settings in AdWords, select the campaign (available for content only at this time) and click “Edit Campaign Settings”.  On the Edit Campaign Settings Page, Demographics are located within the Networks and Bidding section.  In the example below, we have excluded all known users up through age 34.

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After two weeks, we saw Click through Rate increase by 175%. See below for a comparison as shown in AdWords Account Snapshot report.

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Although ads within this campaign received fewer impressions, we have eliminated known unqualified users from clicking our ads.  From here, we can refine our Click through Rates even further by segmenting into gender-based ad copy.  One option is to set up a duplicate campaign, each targeting either Male or Female users.  Ad copy should reflect the audience being targeted.  For example, an ad targeted toward Males for Mother’s Day gifts could be:

Browse Thoughtful Gifts
Get Your Wife What She Really
Wants For Mother’s Day This Year!
www.ClientSite.com/MothersDay

A Similar approach should be taken with display ads.  Use male-themed images to attract your male audience and female-themed images to attract your female audience. 

If you have not checked it out already, I highly recommend taking Demographic Exclusions for a test drive.

April 20 2009

Demographic Marketing

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One of the first things that should be thought of when building an online campaign is your audience; specifically demographics. The online behavior and attitudes of men and women vary significantly. When you consider your audience some of the factors you want to determine are age, race, ethnicity, and language.  You can use this information to your advantage in online advertising. For the most part, you can advertise directly to your target market audience.

In light of behavioral targeting, Google Adword’s content network allows advertisers to bid on their audience by age or gender. Recently, Yahoo Search Marketing upgraded their system to allow demographic targeting. Their demographic targeting module enables advertisers to bid higher when someone from their selected audience is searching for a keyword they are bidding on. Yahoo allows more flexibility in reaching your targeted audience by allowing advertisers a percentage increase in cost-per-click for the audience they specified in the Yahoo interface.

Microsoft Sponsored Search is currently displaying ads on blog sites with postings related to demographic targeting. The ad reads, “Your audience, up close. Connect with women 25-54.” MSN is displaying ads geared to exactly what advertisers need to start considering, demographics.

December 23 2008

Use Negative Keywords to Control Costs in Your Pay-Per-Click Campaign

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Sometimes it pays to be negative…especially when optimizing a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign.  The main goal of Google and the other search engines is to deliver the most relevant paid (and natural) results to a search query when a visitor uses their search engine.  Seems pretty simple and works exceptionally well when you have a well structured PPC campaign.  If someone searches on a keyword that you feel is relevant to your business, be sure that keyword is included in your campaign.  But what happens when the search query triggers your ad and the visitor isn’t the most targeted prospect?  Well, you still have to pay for that click and if that continues over time, you could be wasting a sizeable portion of your budget on unqualified traffic.  Implement negative keywords into your campaign to help cut costs, optimize your campaign and zero-in on your target customer.

For example, if you provide a high-end product or service, utilize negative keywords like “cheap”, “low cost”, and “inexpensive”.  This will help filter out visitors who are looking for your “type” of product or service, but aren’t the target customer who can afford your product or service.  It seems like a simple idea but the savings are real and the higher your target budget, the greater the cost savings.  In addition, negative keywords will help overall campaign optimization because your ads will not be delivered to the wrong search query.  You could expect to see higher click-thru rates (CTR) and better conversions as the visitors generated by your sponsored ads become more targeted. 

Google has a keyword tool which helps campaign managers develop keyword lists.  This same tool can be used to develop negative keywords as well.  Leverage the broad match search settings within the tool and it could return thousands of possible keywords, many of which can and should be added to the campaign as negative keywords.  In addition, if you have Google Analytics tracking on your site, utilize that tool to determine your best and worst performing keywords.  By reviewing both the organic and paid traffic (and the keywords that generate that traffic) you can further expand your negative keyword list with the non-performing, budget wasting keywords.

Quite simply, by implementing negative keywords you can help optimize your campaign, drive more targeted traffic to your site and save money on your PPC costs.  That is the formula for success in search engine marketing and ensuring a favorable return on your advertising spend.

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