Back to the "Basics": The Power of Automating Paid Search
There is never a shortage of new betas and ad types to test in search marketing. Of course, having an evergreen testing program for these betas is a key component of a successful search strategy. In this age of newness, however, the fundamental optimizations for search campaigns and keywords are more important than ever. Let’s revisit the foundational data analysis and one of the most important levers that can help drive more revenue at the same spend in your search campaigns.
First, it’s important to know which campaigns and keywords in your search program are driving the highest percentages of spend and revenue. For many brands, we see variations of the 80/20 rule, where a smaller subset of keywords or products are responsible for the majority of revenue generated by search marketing. However, brands often have difficulty drilling down into this subset. In this case, establishing a data infrastructure would be the right place to start. In order to drive the best performance out of your search marketing program, you will want to be able to access your data for all of the keywords that you are spending money on across all of your active search engines in a single view. There are a number of available technologies that can help aggregate your cross-engine search data—Google’s DoubleClick Search, bidding platforms like Kenshoo and Marin, and Connex® Analytics. Connex is Rise’s proprietary insights platform that allows you to manipulate search data across millions of keywords in seconds.
Next, once you have successfully identified the keywords and campaigns that are driving the bulk of your spend and performance, it’s time to make sure that you are applying paid search best practices to maximize the output of those keywords. In order to drive more revenue without increasing spend, you should identify top performing search queries and add them as keywords with specific, performance-based bids. Here’s what we mean:
Let’s start with some quick definitions: search queries vs. keywords. Search queries are the full set of words that a user types into a search engine. Keywords are the words that advertisers bid on, so they’ll differ from the search query at times. For example, a broad match keyword could be “+running +shoes,” which means any query with both the words “running” and “shoes” could trigger the ad. An example search query for +running +shoes could be “best running shoes for marathons.”
Using Queries for New Keywords
Let’s say you are an athletic apparel company advertising running shoes. As we know, an ad for +running +shoes may show in an auction for queries “best running shoes for marathons” or other queries such as “I hate running shoes.” In this case, let’s say the search query “best running shoes for marathons” has driven 50 conversions at an $80 ROI. If $80 is above your ROI goal, you probably will be willing to drive sales by investing even more money for users who search “best running shoes for marathons.” To maximize the ROI for this search query, add it as a new keyword and separate it into its own ad group so you can have more control over the budget and set a higher bid. As more specific queries are separated into new keywords, adjust bids based on the performance of that individual keyword to minimize wasted spend and maximize revenue.
Query “Mining” at Scale with Automation
We now know that we can increase the revenue of search programs by creating new keywords based on search queries and setting specific, granular bids. Many brands, however, have tens of thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of keywords generating various search queries. The process outlined above of finding high performing or low performing search queries and making bid adjustments is a manual and time-consuming task. Many brands are only able to complete this process for a very small portion of their search campaigns. Now think of the power of creating very specific keywords with performance-based bids across the entire account, regardless of size. To realize the aggregate impact of applying this fundamental best practice across an account, Rise built technology to automate the process of reviewing search term performance and proactively recommending new search queries to build out as keywords. Our search experts can then apply custom bids based on the performance of a specific search query. We have seen powerful performance lifts using this approach. Our team also recently wrote a post on Why Brands Should Utilize Automation in Search, which dives further into how to ensure you are spending your time and resources as effectively and efficiently as possible.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of spending a disproportionate amount of time testing new ad features. However, focusing on the highest impact levers to improve your search program efficiency and scaling those tactics across an account can reap big benefits. To learn more about how to use technology to apply these keyword-level optimizations across your entire search account, contact Rise today.