Natalia Horst

Associate Director, PPC

Utilizing Marketers + Technology in your Paid Search Strategy

Machine learning and automation are buzzwords digital marketers hear a lot. The promise of leveraging these technologies is to free up human marketers of time-consuming, repetitive tasks so that marketers can focus on the strategy behind enabling machines to do what they do best. At Rise, we have seen great results incorporating automation into paid search workflows; however, having a solid business strategy and the right measurement and segmentation in place are key to enabling better performance.

One strategy we recommend at Rise is to iteratively test and refine your paid search bidding segments. We’ve seen this tactic elevate conversions for our clients as high as 80% while maintaining or reducing target Cost Per Lead (CPL). During our tests, we have developed several best practices that are good to keep in mind before diving headfirst into automation. We recommend partnering with a human expert on developing a good strategy for the automation and leveraging the right technology stack to help with testing.

Set Up Measurement and Goals

Before getting started with automation, it is important to have a solid measurement framework that bidding algorithms can leverage. In addition to tracking online micro-conversions, consider also including any closed-loop qualified leads, store visits, phone calls, and other meaningful metrics that align with campaign goals. This will allow for a more complete picture of campaign performance.

It is also important to have the right engine attribution strategy for different conversion points. This will enable bidding algorithms to have full insight into different touchpoints that lead up to desired conversions. Non-Last-Click attribution models, like data-driven attribution, are a good stepping stone into giving automation more helpful insights.

Create the Right Segmentation and Help Automation Learn

While bidding algorithms can be a great time saver when set up correctly, they also require a fairly high conversion data density in order to be successful. If measuring all the right conversions within the platform is not yet possible, a human specialist can help to create performance strategies using campaign segmentation. They can then test different hypotheses around the value different keyword groups drive and iteratively optimize the campaigns.

Creating segmented bid strategies that have different performance thresholds and constraints around maximum and minimum bids—as well as seasonality adjustments—allows a human operator to help bid strategies perform better through inputting more business-relevant constraints. Whenever pursuing this type of strategy, it is important to leverage an agile reporting tool like Connex Analytics to frequently evaluate the performance of different segments and re-balance bid strategy constraints as needed when they are not in accordance with the set-out objectives and hypotheses.

Monitor and Adjust Budgeting

One of the biggest challenges with running bid automation for maximizing performance is ensuring that campaigns are allocated sufficient budget. Campaigns bidding too aggressively may run the risk of losing out on valuable impressions due to budget constraints. Closely monitoring search terms that rise to the top and become top spenders is an important part of ensuring that your strategy continues to bid on the right set of keywords.

Evaluating search terms and building out robust negatives relevant to your business and keyword target lists can help elevate the performance of the account. When the account is set up in an organized way, automation tools like Connex Media Management can mine through top converting and top spending words in search term queries at scale, freeing up time for human specialists to optimize.

Leverage Automation Beyond Bidding

While getting the ads in front of relevant audiences is something that bid algorithms are designed to do, getting a larger percentage of searchers to click is achieved through high-quality ad copy. Understanding target segmentation and the audience’s needs are key to creating relevant messaging. Furthermore, testing different calls to action and frequently refreshing messaging can help avoid ad blindness.

New ad copy formats like Responsive Search Ads (available in Google and Bing) can help scale and test different ad copy variations by letting engines automatically combine headlines and descriptions. While limited asset performance reporting currently makes it difficult to robustly test using this feature, it can help to guide which variations would be good candidates for prioritization of further explicit testing.

Continue Evolving Your Search Strategy

Of course, the main benefit of automating more areas within the account is to free up time to create strategies that capture the attention of your target customers. Investing more resources into market research, competitive insights, and testing out different offers and ad formats can help uncover additional opportunities to scale marketing efforts and grow the customer base.

Contact Rise to learn more about incorporating automation into your Paid Search strategy.

11/06/2019 at 08:03

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