Jun'22·Andrés Auchterlonie·5 MIN
The unflattering facts of search ads every marketer should know
What does the following have in common?
Known as one of the most common forms of digital advertising (till a few years ago), search ads are displayed on search engine results using the keywords provided by a user every time he/she searches for some information online. The proponents of this form of digital advertising go gaga over its efficacy in targeting customers using keywords but what they often miss out on or ignore is its short-lived impact, little user engagement and large investment of time and effort. While this may appear contradictory to the claims laid down by search ads advocates, a closer scrutiny would reveal the real deal behind search advertising and how it’s time to look for a more effective form of user engagement and brand awareness.
Some of the uncomfortable truths about search ads which are often not openly talked about are:
- Unproductive clicks drain your budget – When working on a regulated budget, it is important that your ads produce the maximum number of productive clicks. While, not every click would convert into a sale, but every unproductive click would cost you a missed opportunity for a potential conversion. Hence, it is critical to monitor the kind of clicks an ad generates based on the time of the day, location, demography, ip addresses and other important parameters and weed out the sources that contribute to these inefficient clicks. While search engines do it regularly, there is always a scope for improvement. The less the number of bogus clicks on your ad campaigns, the more are the clicks available for your target audience and this has a direct impact on your business revenue. A small yet significant step, when not managed, might result in ad campaigns with nil effect
- Creating the right balance between match types – One of the critical components of an efficient ad campaign is finding the right match for your keywords among broad, phrase and exact so that your ads end up in relevant search queries and reach out to an audience that may be interested in your product. However, this is easier said than done since finalizing the right match requires one to rigorously monitor the search queries of keywords using different combinations to be able to come up with a list of most relevant search results. The higher the relevance, the higher is the success of the ad campaign. It’s a combination of trial and error, experience and a small bit of intuition to actually be able to ace this aspect.
- Monitoring the efficiency of Partner Network – While evaluating the performance of ad campaigns, not only is it important to analyse the quality of clicks and impressions but also the source of these clicks and how efficient are these sources in terms of driving conversions. What are some of the partner network sites on which your ads are being displayed? Are there particular sites in this list that are using up your budget faster than the others? How beneficial are the impressions received from those sites? Could you tweak this ratio to generate higher conversions? These are some of the questions that need constant evaluation to improve the success of your ad campaigns. No amount of training is ever sufficient to master this efficiency. What is then required is constant evaluation of these parameters regularly.
- Maintaining healthy Ad relevance scores – Apart from keeping a track of the technicalities, it is also important to analyse the relevance of your ad in terms of the quality of copy, how well is this able to connect with your audience, is it targeting the right pain points, does it motivate your audience to take an action? While no one achieves it perfectly right at the first shot, what is critical to note here is the fact that these aspects require constant refining to suit the evolving preferences of your target audience.
- Maintaining ad relevance in non-English speaking regions – What if your ad is displayed on sites in non-English speaking regions? Do you rely on the auto translators available that translate your English copy into the local language or do you create customized copies for the regional languages keeping in mind the nuances? Do you keep a track of how responsive your ads are in non-English speaking regions and what could be done to improve the relevance score in such areas?
- Balancing price and ROI while bidding – Deciding where to draw the line while bidding for ad space is as critical as the ad campaign itself, if not more. Not only does this limit decide your budget for subsequent campaigns but it also creates a mindset of how you would like to compete with others in this. Do you want to outbid your competitor at every step or do you try out newer ways to carve a niche of your own or do you focus on your own campaign and make it so efficient that it stands out in the crowd irrespective of its placement?
Search ads could be a great way to build awareness online provided one is able to manage the tricky little elements (mentioned above) that often lower their efficiency and aim to derail the ad campaigns (intentionally or unintentionally). These are small but real roadblocks that advertisers often face while they are executing ad campaigns in this space.
An effective alternative to this is Contextual advertising that aims to present ads to its audience in an environment that’s relatable, non-intrusive and appropriate for the brands to appear. Contextual advertising is based on the premise that ads (placed on a page) when in sync with the content and context of the page, garner more views and higher customer engagement than ads that are not in sync or are completely random. Contextual advertising focuses on brand suitability by being able to understand nuances in language and being able to semantically interpret editorial content. As a result, brand suitability bridges the divide between risk and opportunity.
Consumer trust increases in brands when they are discovered in environments that aim to nurture them with related content. This strategy also ensures that unlike any other form of advertising, brands don’t end up in places which are unsafe for their long-term image – an idea propagated as brand safety. Also, in recent years, consumers have become wary of sharing their data online with concerns being raised as to who collects this data and how it is being used. With GDPR and other lawmakers across Europe, the US and LATAM making the right kind of noise around data privacy, advertisers clearly need to rebuild their strategies around elements that focus more on consumer intent rather than their browsing behaviour.
Increasing number of consumers are opting out of third-party data collection as they are concerned about who and how their data is being used which has led to legislation in Europe, the US and LATAM being created to put control back in the hands of the user, needing them to opt in to having their data collected. As a result, more and more advertising platforms are giving up third party cookies – all of this because consumers don’t want companies to track them all over the internet and then bombard them with ads. Additionally, consumers have also become concerned. All of this clearly shows how the future is being shaped by consumer preferences and how they want companies to promote themselves and advertise online.
The 4 Ps of Traditional marketing needs to be rejigged and conceptualized within the framework of relatable context to suit the changing preferences of new age consumers.Contextual advertising provides the appropriate environment and reason for your audience to engage with your brand in a manner that is non-intrusive and brand safe. It is also used in helping brands build creative that fits seamlessly into the environment in which it is placed, and to build powerful, emotive stories that drive a deep connection. They also provide a great opportunity to build trust with your audience which goes a long way in helping your users make the inevitable purchase decision.
Contextual Advertising is on the rise and companies are getting to see its benefits in the form of better brand awareness and higher business revenue. Talk to us today if you want to utilize Contextual Advertising to reach out to your audience in an environment where they are looking for your brand or something related.Google’s decision to gradually phase out third-party cookies.
- Consumers’ attention span is reducing.
- Companies trying innovative ways to reach out to consumers and engage with them.
- Users opting out of cookies that track their browsing behaviour online.
All of these point to the evolving consumer preferences and tastes in the wake of increased penetration of technology in our lives and the need for organizations to modify their branding exercise to adapt to this change sooner than they would want to. Hence, it is important for you to re-evaluate your digital advertising strategies to see if they still work and in this blog post, we will talk about one such strategy whose fine prints and complexities need to be addressed in the light of this development.