Tips for Optimizing SEM Efforts, Part 2
In the second and final part of this series, I examine ways to segment your customer base for targeted advertising as well as how remarketing fits into search marketing plans. (For part one, click here.)
Paid search: Slicing the pie to stretch the budget
As the search marketing industry continues to boom, paid search budgets are ballooning. Top spenders have increased their paid search advertising threefold since 2010, according to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO). This means competing for popular keywords can be an expensive proposition, but there are also more ways than ever to segment a search audience. To maximize the relevance of your messaging and your return on investment, take full advantage of the tools available for targeted ad spending.
Mobile search: the new frontier
The explosion of mobile device usage has ushered in a whole new frontier of paid search opportunities. Nearly a third of consumers say they use mobile search more than desktop search, and 49 percent of mobile searchers say they've gone on to make purchases on their devices, according to Performics. Mobile search is likely to be an important factor during the holiday season.
Spending on mobile paid search advertising is forecasted to total 25 percent of all search advertising by the end of this year. Even still, mobile paid search remains cost effective, with costs per click lower than on desktop browsers. The potent combination of cost effectiveness and audience growth makes mobile paid search a good investment. To maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns for mobile users and devices, consider the following tips:
1. Segment for tablet buyers as well as smartphone users. Sales and conversion rates on tablets are markedly higher than on smartphones. Tablets comprise 3.2 percent of all web sales, compared with 1.5 percent for smartphones, with conversion rates on tablets higher than on smartphones. The cost per click for paid search on tablets is slightly higher than for smartphones, but overall ROI is higher, too. Take advantage of this by allocating paid search dollars to tablets if your target audience uses these devices.
2. Geotarget on smartphones for precise cross-channel messaging. If you have brick-and-mortar stores, target mobile search ads by region since mobile users routinely access their devices on the go. Fully 94 percent of smartphone users have searched for local information, while 32 percent of consumers who research products on their smartphone go on to purchase in physical stores. Craft localized ad copy with enhancements such as click-to-call and integrated location mapping to further enable shoppers.
1-800-Flowers.com calls out its gift finder as a site link in its mobile search ads. Shoppers who click the "Find a Gift" link can use a streamlined form to specify the delivery region, occasion and/or browse gift products.
Retargeting: precision is the key to efficacy
Paid search placements now extend far beyond text ads on search engine results pages. Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to reconnect with shoppers who have already visited your website. Furthermore, new programs that connect retargeting with keyword search data also enable you to reach potential new customers. Retargeting tops the list of advertising techniques in terms of boosting brand awareness, producing a lift in visits and related keyword searches of over 1,000 percent.
For greatest effectiveness, identify precise audiences to reach and deliver relevant content in a manner that's within those shoppers' privacy comfort zones. Specifically, here are two ways to accomplish that:
1. Message to shoppers all along the path to purchase. Retargeting gives you the ability to tailor messaging according to shoppers’ previous level of engagement. Here are some potential retargeting campaigns to test:
- Introduce your brand to new shoppers by placing ads that are triggered by particular keyword search terms. Plan campaigns at the keyword level, track them closely and update as needed to ensure delivery to the target audience.
- Lure back shoppers who perused a specific section of your site but didn't add any products to their shopping cart.
- Recapture cart abandoners. Beyond displaying the product they left behind, consider also showing them an array of other items shoppers who viewed the same product ended up buying.
- Boost trust for partial checkout completers. Consider a branding campaign that puts an emphasis on customer service as well as price and product guarantees. Prominently feature customer service contact information.
- Re-engage past purchasers by featuring complementary items or alerting them to new arrivals.
2. Respect shoppers’ privacy concerns. Even though retargeting offers more relevant messaging, it also poses a challenge: how to overcome consumers’ privacy concerns about the technology. Most consumers don't like targeted advertising (e.g., retargeting display ads) because they don't want their online behavior tracked. To negotiate the fine line between relevance versus invasiveness, incorporate trust-building measures into your retargeting campaigns. Here's how:
- Set limits on campaign delivery. Use advertising administration tools such as frequency capping, duration limits and stop triggers. Be sure to exclude customers that don't fit the intended profile.
The overwhelming challenge of successfully navigating the search marketing industry can seem daunting, but by maintaining your focus — from seeking out the right connections to boost SEO relevance to choosing precise messaging for segmented audiences — search optimization is well within your reach.
Marketers who stop chasing the ideal match type or bid strategy and instead use search to solve specific business problems will be well positioned even as search engines and devices evolve. By achieving optimal visibility with shoppers who matter, you can improve the ROI of your search investment, encourage engagement with your brand and win sales.
Related story: Tips for Optimizing SEM Efforts, Part 1