Search engine marketing (SEM) – google adwords
SEM (or PPC – ‘pay per click’ – through Google Adwords) is often the most effective paid digital channel, but becoming ever more competitive. As bidding warfare continues, we look at different ways to leverage the channel by outsmarting our clients’ competitors, by thinking laterally to find the white space and making maximum use of under-exploited features and opportunities.
Our approach to keyword research is to find the reach, but at a lower cost per click. We therefore focus on developing very large lists of keywords and keyword phrases aimed at exploiting the ‘long tail’ – the longer keyword phrases that are far less competitive and yet make up the vast majority of searches. This follows a process where we’ve already decided which terms to pay for (through SEM) and which to target to rank for (in SEO). In developing our adgroups, we think laterally to come up with niche additional targeting opportunities, where a specific audience is self identified (and work on ensuring our ads are still relevant in that context). We use software extensively to ensure we can keep our costs low, despite the additional volume we are generating.
Similarly, we develop a very large number of creative executions to increase relevance to each search and therefore increase click through rate, as well as the variety of calls to action we set up as tests. A variety of landing pages are essential for successful SEM, and we develop these either using the client’s current CMS or third party tools, that allow for rapid generation. In the case of both ad creation and landing pages, we use software to ensure we can dynamically generate rather than manually produce, again keeping the costs down.
Niche interests and the multiplication of use cases both create good targeting opportunities, as do specific geographies. In addition to targeting as far as we can in initial SEM, we also look at search retargeting as a very cost effective way of reaching relevant users with display, without having to pay a premium cost per click.
Beyond conventional Google adwords and display, we also look for less competitive keyword targeting environments, such as You Tube. This is an extension of search engine marketing that affords equally tight targeting, potentially at a lower cost, with a richer engagement opportunity.
In planning search engine marketing, whilst an always-on medium, we integrate the requirements to uplift during a campaign or to compensate for low SEO following the launch of a new website. In campaign set up, we operate a standard taxonomy to ensure efficient management of activity in the long term, and ease of analysis. Ongoing optimisation is a given and we streamline management, optimisation and reporting through automated processes. Where the client is looking to take SEM in house, we then transfer these processes to them for continued efficiency.
We have considerable experience in setting up, managing and optimising Google adgrants accounts for charities or not for profit organisations that are eligible. The rules and methodologies for SEM in this context differ considerably from the commercial models (as perhaps does the Google algorithm!) and given the spend is effectively unlimited, we work extensively to ensure NFPs extract the maximum value, which is not always easy.