When it comes to targeting your ideal audience through advertising, you will want to use a mixture of demographic, keyword, geographic, interest, and device targeting.
If you don’t know the demographics of your audience, then you must first collect data. After you collect enough data, you can see which audiences (by demographic) bring in the most traffic and are fulfilling the current marketing objective. It’s best to have a diverse reach for your advertising while also having the highest spend (bid) on the audiences that are fulfilling your objective. Do this by lowering the bid significantly for the audience that is bringing only about 20% of the results.
Start with keywords with at least mediocre search volume and keyword difficulty, and have a low cost per click (CPC). If your business typically has a high CPC, like real estate, you may need to start with long-tail keywords to get results with a low monthly budget. Then, group all relevant keywords together in the same categorial ad group to facilitate a higher ad relevance score. Each ad group should have 5-10 keywords for small budget accounts. In some rare cases, it might make sense to have 10-15 keywords in an ad group.
When using keyword targeting, it’s vital to optimize the keywords used on an ongoing basis to get the most cost-effective ROI. Start by updating the negative keyword list by viewing the search term report, search for keywords that are bringing in bad traffic (these are peripheral, low-intent, and irrelevant keywords), and utilize the keyword planner to add more high-intent positive keywords (these are typically best added as an exact word or phrase match).
Keyword Targeting Strategies & Considerations
For keyword targeting, you want to maintain a quality score between 7 and 10, ideally. However, in some rare cases, this is not possible due to some industries being blacklisted under Google’s hidden, strict guidelines. A quality score of 1-3 is only okay if it’s not for a high-intent keyword or one that is bringing in most of the good traffic to the business.
You can increase your ad rank for most important keywords by increasing the quality score and max bid. You can increase the quality score by trying to increase the expected clickthrough rate (CTR), ad relevance, and landing page experience.
Pro tip: Google secretly keeps a blacklist of certain industries where the highest quality score you can get is 4-6. Sometimes you can get lucky to increase this number—say, for example, from a 4 to a 6 quality score—by talking directly with a Google representative to ensure that you’re running a legit business. An example would be the word “Botox.”
Search Impression Share: Throughout this process, you will want to keep in mind search impression share (IS) at the keyword and at the campaign level (budget search IS). Use data of “search IS” with data of “lost-search IS.” For example, low-search IS, high-lost search IS, and low-search IS (at the campaign level) is a clear indication that your bid for the keyword needs to be higher to stay competitive. If this is a high-intent keyword with a high conversion rate, then you need to allocate your budget appropriately to increase the search IS for this keyword. Adjustments should be made on a case-by-case basis, but overall, you will want to pause lower-performing keywords and increase spend on high-performing keywords. Using this tactic, CPC will go up, but in the end, because you know that high-intent keyword has a high conversion rate, the cost will be offset from the potential increase in profits.
Bad Actors: One last thing to consider are bad actors, which are people who purposely click on your ads to drive up the cost. This is typically coming from competitors. If this does occur, you need to speak with a Google representative to get these bad actors filtered out of your ad spend.
Try to avoid visitors “interested” in the location to prevent any traffic outside the country or unnecessary traffic. If the business covers all 50 states, then input all 50 states individually. If the business is local and has a physical location, then set a small radius around the physical store (about a 1- to 10-mile radius) and try to include locations individually at a granular level, such as cities, zip codes, or county, etc. Be sure to choose one type, such as zip codes only. Exclude locations in rare scenarios where the general population of a geographic location is negative towards your business or laws do not favor the business.
Start with the observational option to see the potential for an in-market audience. Don’t be afraid to split test targeting vs. observation.
Interest Targeting Strategies & Considerations
Hour-Day Strategy: Adjust bids by day first, then by hour. Increase bids where there is a higher probability of conversion to occur, and lower bids otherwise.
Ongoing Optimization: Make bid adjustments in increments of 5%. Justify bid adjustments with conversion data, at least 100 clicks, and at least 1-1.5k impressions. Depending on the business, you may want to exclude bids, if, for example, the business is getting phone calls at 3:00 AM, which is more than likely irrelevant for the business.
Users among various devices behave very differently. Increase bids where there is a higher probability of conversion to occur and lower bids otherwise.
Advanced Bid Adjustment Strategy: If the business receives calls regularly, then you may want to make bid adjustments for call extensions. Observe data collected first before making any bid adjustment.
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