by Angela Jones

Unless they’ve been liv­ing under a rock, most adver­tis­ers are aware that the imple­men­ta­tion of a paid search cam­paign presents a con­ve­nient, con­trol­lable and trace­able way to attain new vis­i­tors to their web­site.  Why, then, do we find some paid search accounts to be more suc­cess­ful than oth­ers?  Why does this occur across accounts with com­pa­ra­ble assets and product/service offer­ings?  Expe­ri­ence shows us the answers to these ques­tions lie in the appli­ca­tion of sev­en ele­ments. Here we lay out the sev­en ele­ments and some tips on exe­cu­tion.

Ele­ment 1: Man­age Paid and Organ­ic Holis­ti­cal­ly

All signs point to 1+1 = 3.  When man­ag­ing an inte­grat­ed search mar­ket­ing cam­paign and opti­miz­ing, plan and exe­cute paid and organ­ic togeth­er for greater return.

To do this, you’ll need to under­stand the dif­fer­ences between paid and organ­ic and the ben­e­fits of each. Though organ­ic clicks are con­sid­ered “free”, the paid search medi­um is more con­trol­lable than organ­ic search.  Key­word bid and ad copy man­age­ment, for exam­ple, can be altered on a whim while organ­ic results rely on an engine’s search algo­rithm, mak­ing opti­miza­tion efforts’ suc­cess less mea­sur­able.

Bid on PPC terms whether or not they rank organ­i­cal­ly. Many sites only rank for 3–4% of the terms searchers use –with paid search, you can serve ads on a larg­er array of terms that might not have con­tex­tu­al sup­port on the web­site to rank organ­i­cal­ly or are too com­pet­i­tive to rank organ­i­cal­ly.

Even when a search result ranks organ­i­cal­ly in top posi­tion for the search term used, SEO alone does not cap­ture all clicks.  In fact, Google Research claims that ranked in the top organ­ic posi­tion, 50% of incre­men­tal clicks are lost when a paid ad is paused.  This num­ber jumps to 82% when the list­ing is ranked between 2 and 4 and even high­er when results are ranked low­er.

Ele­ment 2: Do Your Key­word Research

Remem­ber that key­word lists are iter­a­tive and always chang­ing based on a busi­ness’ offer­ing evolv­ing over time to meet con­sumer and indus­try demand.

Don’t for­get neg­a­tives – Neg­a­tive key­words are an impor­tant safe­ty lay­er to pro­tect your ads from serv­ing against super­flu­ous or irrel­e­vant phras­es.

Con­tin­u­al­ly test match types and have a match type pri­or­i­ti­za­tion strat­e­gy (i.e. ful­ly fund Exact Match first as they’re typ­i­cal­ly cheap­er and have high­er con­ver­sion rates com­pared to oth­er match types).

Ele­ment 3: Account Struc­ture

Your paid search account struc­ture allows for flex­i­bil­i­ty in man­age­ment and report­ing. Struc­ture is also impor­tant for assign­ing expe­ri­ences (query  ad mes­sage  land­ing page) which informs Google Qual­i­ty Score and there­fore influ­ences your bid. Sep­a­rate accounts by lines of busi­ness­es and/or by your client’s busi­ness struc­ture and align with where bud­gets are allo­cat­ed.

Ele­ment 4: Track­ing

Ensure you track per­for­mance to opti­mize cam­paigns with and dri­ve greater ROI and cut back in areas that are less prof­itable. Mon­i­tor for sin­gle and mul­ti­ple con­ver­sion events per click. Track des­ig­nat­ed high val­ue con­ver­sion events (email sign ups, leads, sales, ROI, phone calls) as well as low­er val­ue events that show intent to pur­chase or con­sumer inter­est like store loca­tor, coupon down­load, social cues (Face­book like or Twit­ter fol­low via Open­Graph), etc.

Ele­ment 5: Bid Man­age­ment

Review search query reports to review terms your account is match­ing to that aren’t rel­e­vant (to build out more neg­a­tive key­words). If bud­get allows, uti­lize a bid man­age­ment tech­nol­o­gy to use auto­mat­ed bid­ding algo­rithms, in addi­tion to man­u­al human bid­ding. Man­age bids to your goals, not just top posi­tions.  ROI should dri­ve your allow­able bid.

Ele­ment 6: Bud­get­ing

Look at impres­sion share reports.  Brand terms should strive to hit high lev­els of impres­sion share.

Fund terms that are most prof­itable, but also look at assist data and under­stand the attri­bu­tion effects of high­er fun­nel terms that dri­ve more spe­cif­ic search queries lat­er that result in con­ver­sions.

Ele­ment 7: Mea­sure­ment and Report­ing

While track­ing con­sumer behav­ior is the first step, ana­lyz­ing data to deduce action­able insights is crit­i­cal.  To only track con­sumer behav­ior would be like win­ning the lot­tery with­out cash­ing in on the win­nings.  Google AdWords and Bing Ads offer detailed report­ing met­rics to assist in account opti­miza­tion.

This data becomes even more insight­ful when viewed across all mar­ket­ing chan­nels.  Often, the suc­cess of a paid search cam­paign requires an ana­lyt­ics tool to show how these clicks can boost brand aware­ness, dri­ve long-term val­ue and increase acqui­si­tions.

Cor­rect uti­liza­tion of these sev­en eas­i­ly exe­cutable ele­ments can ensure a suc­cess­ful paid search cam­paign. Once you’ve under­stood the rela­tion­ship between paid and organ­ic search and have struc­tured the account in a way that makes sense for your busi­ness, track per­for­mance and use those find­ings to bid appro­pri­ate­ly with­in a bud­get that keeps your over­all account goals in line!