Boost Volume and Lower SEM Costs

Wish your best keywords could deliver more return on investment (ROI)?

Most marketers would love surges in high-converting traffic for their high-performing keywords. Unless your campaign’s keywords are very seasonal or you employ PR or other marketing to drive search behavior, you’re stuck with the current number of times searchers type in your power keywords every day. Luckily, there’s a way to boost your campaign volume while reducing costs: compelling creative.

If more people who see your ads click on them, it’s an immediate campaign volume multiplier. In Google, if new creative is more compelling and gets a higher CTR, you’ll get more volume due to an increased conversion from impression to click and a higher position at the same CPC. Alternately, your current position may become less expensive due to the Google AdWords “bid x CTR” method of ranking ads in search results.

In Overture, you won’t get a CPC discount or position boost from compelling creative. However, you’ll get more clicks on the keyword listings you already determined are working. Imagine your highest ROI keywords suddenly doubling in traffic volume; campaign efficiency improves dramatically.

Consider including each keyword in the ad creative. Google and other engines will boldface keywords in the search when they also appear in the creative. This increases visibility and CTR.

Google’s DKI

Google has an automated method to allow you to have the searcher’s keywords inserted into your ad (assuming the keyword string isn’t too long to fit). The Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) system uses a creative template and keeps all the other ad copy the same.

An example of Google’s DKI formatting:

Title: {Keyword: Default creative} always here

In this example, “Keyword” is replaced by the actual search phrase or term. If the actual search is too long to fit in the title or description, the default is displayed in its place. Here, “Default creative” is displayed. Anything outside the squiggle brackets (“{}”) is always displayed. In all cases, the words “always here” are in the title. So, if a user searched “car,” the result would be: “Car always here.” Say the user searched for “New York state car marketplace pricing.” The phrase is too long to be dynamically replaced, so the title would read: “Default creative always here.”

The Google DKI can be used in the title or description. Generally, CTR increases with DKI over many other creative executions.

For important Google keywords, using templates may not suffice to make creative as compelling and relevant as possible. Instead of using DKI alone, place keywords in AdGroups, where the message can be tuned to the specific offer or landing page.

Overture

In Overture, standard match is the most important aspect of the system. Luckily, you can use spreadsheets to customize listings on an individual basis, or use macros or formulas to fill a template before uploading ads into the system (either directly or through a campaign management system).

Write macros in a spreadsheet to concentrate keywords together. The macros create unique title and description listings for the upload. Spreadsheets can count the number of characters in a keyword and make decisions as to whether a title template will fit, similar to the DKI.

Deteriorating Click Quality?

Old-school direct marketers may worry overly promotional creative will reduce post-click conversion, due to a deterioration in click quality. It’s a real fear. For that reason, ads must remain highly relevant. In most engines, you can’t use superlatives. The call to action cannot include words such as “click” and “click here.” You must be inventive with ad creative.

To date, all the client tests we’ve conducted indicate little correlation between conversion from impression and click and post-click conversion, unless the ad’s offer was unclear or misleading. Sometimes, click quality can actually rise as an ad becomes more compelling. In direct marketing, this typically isn’t the case. Search is different — searchers are looking for what you have to offer. As with all direct and search marketing, a well-designed testing method is critical.

Different kinds of creative seem to attract slightly different searcher mixes. One differentiator in searcher type could be where searchers are in the buying cycle. Promotional copy that mentions price, free shipping, or selection will likely get different clickers than copy citing reviews, ratings, specifications, and descriptive language.

When you boost CTR and don’t diminish post-click conversion quality, it’s a win-win situation. Yes, if you keep spending on the same keywords and positions, your budget will go up, but profit rises as well. You could instead lower bids and get the same traffic level at a lower position. Often, the first interaction with clients, customers, and prospects is a textual search listing. Give that listing every opportunity to perform.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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