Refine Your SEM Campaign in Five Easy Steps

Originally published on 8/9/16 by Mike Pinckney. Refreshed on 5/21/19 by Vasillios Lambos

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of internet marketing channel used to allow businesses to acquire online search engine traffic to their business and website.

Search engine traffic can be used to help drive more leads, online e-commerce sales, and even offline traffic to your business.

There are many benefits when considering investing into PPC (pay-per-click) as a potential marketing strategy. Some of the most important components of PPC allow you as a business owner to not only drive traffic but understand the data behind that traffic. This data can come in the form of on-site behavior data, demographic data, audience level data, and conversion data.

To help you get to the top of the list, we’re giving you these five easy SEM tips anyone can us

1) Understanding Your Search Queries

Within the Google Ads interface there is a feature under the keyword section that allows you as the marketer to gain insight on keyword searches people are actually using. It not only shows what the person typed; but also how that query lead to your ads being served including the impressions, clicks, and conversions. This is a simple and easy thing task that can also help suppress traffic that may be irrelevant to your business and excluded as a “negative keyword”.

The intelligence you’ll receive is incredibly valuable and staying on top of these keywords is a guaranteed way to save money by being preemptive in solving any problems or capitalizing on any opportunities.

Let’s put this into context.

If you’re a heating and air conditioning repair company who’s currently bidding on keywords like “AC Repair “or “HVAC repair”, because “repair” is a trigger word, your ad may show up in an unwanted search that wastes a lot of your money such as: “TV repair”, “fence repair”, “phone repair” – or anything that has the word “repair” in it.

Adding “tv”, “phone”, and “fence” in your negative keyword group will ensure these keywords do not trigger something that has nothing to do with your business without excluding the word “repair” for obvious reasons.

2) Organize your keyword groups – Understanding Match Types

The more organized you are with your account structure, the more the information you can get to make it more effective.

There are essentially four different match types: broad match, phrase match, exact match, and modified broad match. Each have a different intent for where they are used and why.

What is the difference in each match type?

Broad Match – The keyword and or a similar term to the keyword can be contained in the query and will allow for a larger reach based on the keyword topic

Broad Match Modified – Similar to broad match when you add a “+” to the beginning of the keyword, Google will require that the keyword be within the query the user searches.

Phrase Match – When a keyword is outlined as phrase and in quotations. Google will require that the query contain the exact phrase.

Exact Match – The exact keyword needs to be searched in order for an ad to show. This is mainly used with brand related terms and helps to keep CPCs lower while also excluding irrelevant traffic.

3) Conversion tracking is essential.

Conversion tracking, located under “tools” in your AdWords campaign manager, allows you to track your online conversions that come from paid advertising.

There are many methods to setting up conversion tracking on-site. One of the most common ways to set up tracking is through google analytics and google tag manager. Both, will allow you to either create conversion tracking at the page view or event level.

Each conversion metric will tell you different components of where your consumer is within the sales cycle.

For example, if you’re in the automotive industry, you can track mobile click-to-calls, form conversions from sales and form conversions for service and parts. You can even go deeper and create conversion codes to track different types of offers on landing pages that you’re driving traffic to.

The time and effort to set these up is small compared to the data that you can get from your campaigns. Like a lot of our clients, we like to drive leads with the knowledge of where we got them, and to simply do more of what’s working –which we can provide because we have the tools in place to track it.

4) Add call-only ads to your search engine marketing campaign.

The call-only ads are found during the initial setup of creating a new ad group and are designed to serve on mobile devices with the sole purpose of driving phone calls to the business. For users to call a business from their smartphone, it requires only a simple click.

The campaign structure of the ad group is essentially the same as a normal ad group; with the biggest difference being that you are not driving visits to your site, you are driving phone calls. You are getting people who type a specific need and want to call about it.

For example: Consider the plumbing industry. As a plumber, you’re generally not looking for a form conversion on your site, you want a phone call. If you look at consumer behavior in that industry (and similar industries), you’ll notice the time on-site is generally very low. This is because people want to fix their problem now. If your sink or the toilet is overflowing, you want to find a solution before it ruins your hardwoods — which is most likely top of mind when you’re reaching out to a plumbing professional.

In situations and industries like that, the call-only ads are a fantastic way to drive leads to your business. For tracking purposes Google has a tracking number associated with your advertised number; you will know exactly how many calls you are getting on that campaign, the area code they come from, and the length of the call.

5) Daypart your ads (when it makes sense) based on the data that you get from your campaigns.

Search engines will allow you to serve your ads when you want, at any time and day you want. This is an excellent way to make your budget and ads are served at the right time for you.

The default for AdWords campaigns is to serve all day and night, but it might not make sense to serve ads all the time. You might have a limited budget and when you look at the data, you may notice that your primary audience only converts during certain times of the day.

By looking in AdWords, under the “Dimensions” tab, you’re able to click down to the days and times that your ads are serving. You will get a tremendous amount of data that can show opportunities where you should focus time and money.   The start of your discovery comes from poking around a little bit to see and identify search patterns.

Start by looking at time of day your ads are currently serving. From there, determine how efficient those times are for you in each of your ad groups. Continue by doing the same thing with days of the week. The data will show you what makes the most sense and where your conversions are coming from. The simple idea here is find what works and do more of it.

For example, if you’re a flooring company and your analytics show that most of your conversions happen:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday; with Monday, Thursday, and Friday following closely behind
  • Seldom on a Saturday or Sunday
  • Between 9 AM – 7 PM

You would probably set up your campaign to run Monday – Friday 9 AM – 7 PM.

We have more marketing tips…

Did you find our 5 steps to refining your SEM campaign informational? Download our Marketing 101 Checklist to get working on your best marketing campaign yet!

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