Before you read about search audience targeting, take the Kenshoo Search Spring Cleaning Week Survey to learn just how long a full search engine advertising audit might take you and how much time we can help you save with our automated Skai Audit tool.
Our final guest contributor for Search Spring Cleaning Week is Brad Hawk the VP, Product at iProspect. Audience targeting is a fairly recent addition to paid search, the most mature channel in digital advertising. Marketers now have more control than ever over who sees their ads, but it is also yet another thing to manage for practitioners.
Search audience targeting allows marketers to assign targeting logic to your search campaigns that are based on the behavior or actions of groups of users who have visited your site, app, blog, etc. Most commonly, audiences are powered by tags placed on sites but can also be created through CRM list uploads and from mobile apps.
Audiences are often the lifeblood of campaign performance and help ensure consumer relevance for your search program.
Search audience targeting: what to do?
To ensure everything audience-related in your search campaigns is working as it should. perform a spring tune-up and health check via the AdWords ‘Audience Manager’ tool:
Diagnostics: are your tags functioning like the should? Make sure there are no listed issues that could be affecting whether tags are firing.
List sizes: are your lists growing or shrinking – do the trends make sense? Check out the trending over time to make sure a tag didn’t fall off a page or logic wasn’t changed.
Sources: are you using all the data sources you can and should be using? Consider expanding your search audience targeting sources to use the most relevant data for your campaigns:
- Ads tag for AdWords
- Remarketing to YouTube views
- Google Analytics based behaviors
- App analytics / SDKS
Audience logic and assignment: check, double-check, and triple-check – do your lists make sense? A list of site visitors that visited your buy flow but abandoned their cart makes sense, but does it align with who you want to target? Are you accidentally targeting them in the wrong campaigns? Under the ‘audience use’ tab within the Audience list section, check your audiences and exclusions to ensure you are assigning the right campaigns and ad groups to the right lists.
Bid modifiers: you should periodically make sure you are valuing audience data correctly – if your remarketing audiences have a 50% higher conversion rate than the default targeting, then why is your bid modifier set to only +5%? Win that auction and increase your modifiers according to your KPI (ROAS, CPA, etc.) Or, better yet – create a discrete campaign and customize everything – the bid, the targeting, the ad copy, and more.
There’s much more you can explore with audiences (custom logic, first-party data ingestion, audience insights, etc.), but make sure you have the fundamentals down first!
Search audience targeting: more important now than ever
Over the last 5 years, Google, Bing, and others have made it clear that the future of SEM is not going to be powered by keywords – it will be powered by audiences and data. And oftentimes – it will be powered with data from other marketing platforms (like CRM systems) to create those audiences and their insights. That shift is in full effect for all digital channels, but especially paid search with search audience targeting
I have personally seen campaigns succeed wildly (and fail spectacularly) on the strength of audience strategies, implementation, and ongoing maintenance. Why? Because the stakes are so high!
Have you ever been targeted for a product you bought, immediately after you bought it? Have you ever been targeted as a new customer with a special offer, when you are actually a long-time customer of a brand (and that offer does not apply)? Oftentimes, this disconnect happens because marketers are not keeping up with their audience maintenance.
Not only will this affect overall campaign performance, but it can hurt the brand you are working with because it is creating a poor experience for their prospects and current customers. So, make sure to dig in and continually optimize this critical part of your campaigns!