Stop me if you heard this before: “In paid search, it does not matter who clicks the ads as long as someone clicks!”. Years ago, this train of thought made sense. Targeting was limited, and outside of basic options like demographic, time of day or location, keywords were how you reached the intended audience. The term ‘customer centric approach’ never seemed to fit the bill, it was always about finding the right keywords for your brand and trying to be visible to anyone who searched those terms. But the days of casting that wide net are behind us as the channel evolved to incorporate varying targeting options to help pinpoint consumers more interested in a brands products or services. As a result, brands must focus on defining their target audiences by understanding consumer’s needs, behaviors, and interactions in advance of any search campaign activation. This ability to home in on higher intent consumers increases the chances of connection, conversion and ultimately loyalty.
While keywords remain the foundation of the channel, paid search is no longer exempt from being a ‘customer centric’ channel. While keyword targeting allows brands to get in front of people actively searching, audience targeting offers to the opportunity to make sure the right consumers are seeing your ads. There are a number of solid targeting options available outside of age, interest, and income to layer on to active campaigns:
• Affinity: Reach users based on search habits and interests.
• Similar audiences: Reach new users who maintain similar interests to your website visitors or existing customers.
• In-market: Reach users based on their recent purchase intent, usually products or services like those of your brand.
• Remarketing: Reach users that have already interacted with your ads or website.
The approach to paid search must evolve to include an understanding of consumer behaviors and needs. In doing so, brands create an atmosphere of high relevancy for high intent individuals that may lead to increased traffic, higher conversion, and brand loyalty. Put forth the effort up front to define your target audience and then layer on relevant targeting options to campaigns to increase the prospect of clicks and conversion. The more brands can make it matter who clicks on the ads, the greater the longevity of success in paid search.
Read more about paid search on Gartner.com – 2 Pragmatic Methods for Calculating Paid Search Budgets and Tool: Paid Search Budget Projections Calculator Using Impression Share