In theory, optimizing a paid media channel such as search engine marketing isn’t simple—but it’s fairly straightforward. There are so many “levers to pull” (as search marketers call them) such as diverting budget away from underperforming keywords & ads to the ones that are working well.
Other standard search marketing optimizations include rewriting ads, changing bids, revising audience and geo-targeting, and dayparting campaigns to run during peak times of the day or week.
Just one critical piece of data is needed for search practitioners to know if elements are working or not—the conversion. Without the right conversion data in the account, search marketing programs just can’t ever be fully optimized.
Conversion tracking has evolved, but proxies are not enough
In the early days of Google AdWords (circa 2003-2005) pixel tracking was fairly simplistic—just reporting if someone who clicked an ad made it to a specific page—and conversion tracking was basically limited to website visitors who made it to a “thank you” page.
Over time, the solution evolved to become more advanced. Search marketers could eventually set goal amounts (applying a pre-set dollar amount to each conversion) and a few years later were able to use macros to pull down actual order amounts, the number of sales, etc. from order confirmation pages.
But, even though we are light-years from where we started from, many search advertisers still are unable to track to the final conversion value. This could be for a few different reasons—the first being that the data sits behind a wall that the advertiser chooses to not share with the search engine. In many cases, conversion data is considered very private information that is not something a brand would want to enable any external entity to know the health of their business.
Another common issue about paid search conversion tracking is that the final “sale” isn’t the value of a trackable order. For example, an insurance company doesn’t truly want to optimize its campaign around leads, because many of those leads won’t turn into policies. Policies also have different values—and more importantly—different lifetime values. Today’s publisher search ad platforms can’t ingest that data.
So, what does a search advertiser do if they have one or more of these issues?
They optimize around proxies, or “the next best conversion” they can track. Leads/signups, not sales. First-order values versus lifetime order calculations. Proxies aren’t the best way to optimize a search account, but for many advertisers they are the only way.
Skai’s Signal Enhancement gets search advertisers the conversion data they need
Historically, for many advertisers, third-party tools such as Skai Search were the only option to manage their search programs because they can ingest final or calculated conversion data. The right conversion data is essential to search program optimization and whatever functionality was missed with not using the engine native ad tools was a perfectly fine tradeoff to have their custom conversion data in their platform.
However, as publisher automated bidding solutions (such as Google Smart Bidding) are becoming increasingly valuable for optimization, search marketers now need the best of both worlds: publisher bidding and real conversion data.
Skai’s new Signal Enhancement functionality is focused on getting rid of proxy optimization and transferring the right data into Google Search Ads so that clients can let Smart Bidding optimize their campaigns using the right data. For example, an education client might want to optimize via custom metrics or a blend of conversions using custom weighting. Google Ads can’t do this alone, but with Skai, an advertiser can achieve this scenario.
Other companies have been trying to get data into Google for some time, but Skai’s process is unique and a more powerful solution than any other third-party API integrator.
It’s exciting stuff and Skai clients that have been testing this feature are having very good results:
“After years of tracking issues with a client, I was very excited to learn about Signal Enhancement,” says Travis Jones, Senior Search Specialist at TInuiti. “We manage a very unique and complicated account and I was worried about how daunting the task at hand appeared, but the Skai team made it very easy to implement and set up Signal Enhancement. Once we were up and running we saw the impact immediately, with conversions increasing 50% in the first week and CPA improving in the process. Not only is our client excited about the results; our day-to-day jobs are now easier with clean data and automated strategies that help produce fantastic results. I’m excited about what the future will bring with Signal Enhancement!”
There are more plans on the roadmap for Signal Enhancement to help search marketers get the data they need inside the native publisher ad tools. It’s vitally important to use the right conversion data for optimization, so it’s an important undertaking on behalf of our clients.
Skai Search solves the biggest issues for paid search marketers
Another example of how Skai has helped with conversion data is for tracking paid search conversion on Amazon. With more marketers diverting search traffic to their products on Amazon, Skai has created a data bridge to get Amazon conversion from paid search into Skai Search. Before this solution, marketers would have to optimize for efficient, low-cost traffic, and not true sales. The problem, of course, is that traffic that has a 10% higher cost might be paused even if it was actually driving a fantastic and efficient ROI.
Are you missing data in your native ad tools? Are you still optimizing around proxy conversions and not the end data to really make your search programs more valuable?
Check out Skai Search, or even better, reach out to schedule a quick demo so you can see all of the innovative paid search features we offer.