Six essentials to doing paid search the right way

how should i do paid search

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re not running a paid search marketing campaign for yourself or a client. But you’re doing some other things very well, especially at the top of the funnel.

You’ve built an audience and are running highly-successful display campaigns. You’re killing it on Facebook. Ditto for email. Things are running on (almost) all cylinders. Your creative is great. Your team is happy. Your boss is impressed.

Because of all of your superb top-of-funnel activities, people are searching for the product and the message. You’ve got them interested. They’re ready to buy, to get on board. They want in.

But then, when they search for the product, they see something else. It’s a competitor of yours — let’s call them Company X. And since Company X has a very enticing headline, some good copy, and a message that’s awfully similar to yours, well, the customer goes ahead and clicks on them.

All of that money you spent on display, social, and email? Not only did it go to waste, but it also led to a conversion for a competitor. “Waste” would imply a net-zero impact. This actually has a net-negative impact.

The simple way to avoid this less-than-ideal scenario is to run a paid search campaign, and to run it efficiently. Because when you do search well, you’re providing a solid foundation to the bottom of your funnel and making sure that all of those great things you’re doing at the top will pay off.

Paid search is a vital part of a balanced marketing diet.

It goes hand in hand with efficient mobile, display, social, and email campaigns. And when a customer searches for you or a client, they have intent. They’re ready to convert. Here’s what you need to do to help them to the finish line.

Leverage historical conversion data.

First, what’s worked historically? Where did most of your conversions come from (search or otherwise)? If you’re running your own search campaign, you’ve got your own first-party data, so use it. And if you don’t have the tools to properly analyze it, find a partner who does.

If you don’t have first-party audiences (like if you’re an agency running a campaign for a client) do this instead.

If you don’t have access to first-party audiences, take insights from Facebook lookalike audiences. If you’re already leveraging a partner for display, social, and email campaigns, you have a whole treasure trove of data that can be carried over to begin your search campaign.

Target by zip code.

You’ll be able to target nationally, by state, by DMA, within a radius, or by zip code.

You’ll want to target by zip code. Within most U.S. cities, you can see huge demographic discrepancies from one zip to the next. That can cause inefficiencies if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re targeting granularly or working with a partner who is, because every dollar you spend on a zip code that doesn’t match your target demo is a dollar wasted.

Work with a one-stop-shop if you can.

If you have one partner running your campaigns for Facebook, mobile, Connected TV, desktop — everything, basically — then you’re gathering all of your insights under one roof. This leads to higher levels of efficiency (and less meetings!).

With one budget, a “one-stop-shop” partner can more efficiently iterate on a campaign, while keeping you in the loop about what’s working (and what isn’t). Again, this is about spending your money and your time wisely.

Make sure your partner has a real people-based marketing platform.

If you’re working with a true people-based marketing platform, you’ll be able to more accurately measure the most important KPI of all: conversions. A real people-based marketing platform can tie people’s digital selves to their real selves, and deliver marketing messages to them across all the screens they use. This provides point-of-sale match back opportunities and more accurate attribution data, which gives you a better gauge of what’s working.

But be warned: “people-based” is a term that gets thrown around too loosely in the marketing world. Make sure your people-based marketing partner can prove that it ties people’s desktop cookies, mobile IDs, and connected TV data to things like their postal address. They also need to place a premium on user privacy and security, which takes us to our final point.

Make sure any potential partners ethically source their data, and that they take privacy and security seriously.

Does your marketing partner take user privacy and honesty seriously? Are they fully compliant with GDPR and California’s privacy law? Are they a member of a group like the Digital Advertising Alliance, which establishes and enforces responsible privacy practices?

They need to be. Working with a partner who isn’t fully compliant can potentially inflict harm that can’t be undone (lost users and damage to the brand being chief among them).

But if you work with a search partner who takes privacy seriously — and has an institutional knowledge of cutting-edge search practices — then you’re protecting the bottom of your funnel and helping your marketing machine run smoothly.

Ready to start a paid search campaign with a real people-based marketing platform? Get in touch.

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