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.
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.
After two weeks, we saw Click through Rate increase by 175%. See below for a comparison as shown in AdWords Account Snapshot report.
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!
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.
Anyone who has ever run a Google AdWords account understands the importance of the Quality Score, not only at the keyword level, but also with the campaign as a whole. Recently, we had a meeting with Google and I learned some of the perceptions that I had about the quality score were not entirely accurate. The following are some myths and the facts surrounding the Quality Score.
One common myth is that changing the keyword match type of your search terms from broad match to exact match will increase the quality score. This is not true. According to Google, the Quality Score is calculated using only data from queries that exactly match your keyword. While keyword types are effective at further targeting your audience, they do not influence the quality score.
Many advertisers have the impression that having their ads show up in higher positions will improve their Quality Score. Google uses several different factors to determine an advertiser’s Quality Score, and it is not possible to, in essence, buy a better Quality Score. In fact, if an advertiser has their ad displayed too high on the search results page, they could damage their click through rate (CTR). The CTR is the amount of clicks divided by the amount of impressions; therefore, if your ad is displayed an excessive amount, and there are no clicks, you will drive down the CTR. It is best to test different cost per click bids to adjust positions and analyze the campaign data to determine the best position for your ad.
While having a high CTR is important, this alone will not automatically equate to a better Quality Score. Quality Score is determined by multiple factors such as historical keyword performance, webpage load time, ad/keyword relevance and ad/search query relevance, just to name a few. Keeping all these elements in mind, it is possible have a high CTR, but a low Quality Score.
Some advertisers are worried that if they optimize their Google Adwords account, that they will lose their account history. Luckily, the keyword, ad text and landing page history will all be preserved. While the visible history of the account may be erased, the historical performance of the Quality Score remains intact. Google fully encourages advertisers to test different campaign methods to determine what will work best. If after testing, your previous ad performed better, you can change your ad without worrying about damaging or erasing the Quality Score.
It is important to keep in mind that the Quality Score is determined by a multitude of things; therefore, a poor quality score may not be caused by one element. Try to review several Quality Score campaign elements to further determine causes. By reviewing your campaign components, you can not only improve your Quality Score but campaign performance as well.
I am often told by clients that they search for their Google Cost Per Click ads on a regular (almost daily) basis. In fact, a client recently told me she searches multiple times a day, just to make sure she is seeing her ads! I advised that although it is very enticing, as well as reasonable to want to see where her ads are appearing, it is definitely not recommended. Here is why…
Searching for your Google ads can lead to a low click through rate (CTR). Click Through Rate is defined in Wikipedia as “a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. A CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).” An impression is when your ad is displayed on a search results page. In laymen’s terms, if your number of impressions continues to increase, however, your clicks do not increase, your click through rate will be poor. This is exactly what occurs when you search for your ads on a regular basis. You are pretty much telling Google that your ad is not enticing enough to warrant a click, and your positions on the page will be lowered as a result. In actuality, not only does it lower your positions, it can also lead to higher click costs, because Google can actually state that a particular keyword is not performing well, forcing a higher mininum bid to even keep your ads running.