Look Beyond the SERP! Social & Display PPC Deep-Dive @ #SESCHI

The final day of #SESCHI brought with it a progressive session on paid search, PPC Beyond Search: New Ad Formats, Display and Social. In an industry near-typified by constant evolution, it’s essential to stay up on the latest and greatest in online marketing technologies if you want to be the best. In terms of the wonderful world of PPC, remember: paid search is just the tip of the ice berg! New ways to advertise online are popping up every day– deep marketers are keen to up and coming platforms and formats at their disposal, and you should be, too.

Moderator Loren Baker, VP of Marketing, BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. and speakers Joseph Kerschbaum, Vice President, Clix Marketing and Kevin Lee, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Didit, hit the stage to share their two cents on the blossoming new frontier beyond paid search, tips for optimizing for various ad-types, and best practices for tapping into display and social networks on the PPC front. Read on for the juicy goods!

Joe was up first, and jumped right into some top-shelf strategies.

Core Strategies for the Google Display Network

  • Focus on your target audience
  • Manage to your CPA- focus on ROI and CPA
  • Separate your channels never run your channels together because each one is incredibly different and should be treated accordingly
  • Segregate your devices

Standard targeting methods: Joe used the example of a hair loss product to explain the methods.

  • Keyword targeting: Examples- hair loss, hair loss remedy, hair loss medication, hair loss treatment
  • Placement targeting: Specific websites- about.com, anniesremedies.com, WebMD.com
  • Remarketing: visitors to a website who don’t purchase

Keywords, placement targeting, and remarketing are the standard targeting types to look into first. The goal is to find those sights that are going to convert for you. You want to find that person that is willing to buy from you.

Joe showed some methods to try together for more powerful niche targeting tactics. You can mix, slice and dice, even jubilee all these examples to narrow down your target 🙂 .

  1. It is important to use placement targeting and keyword targeting together for a more targeted ad. For instance, you could target WebMD, but also make sure to add your keywords, so your not targeting all of WebMD, but only the keywords you want to target within WebMD. It is important to narrow your focus down to get that conversion.
  2. Placement targeting, with topic targeting to narrow down your focus
  3. Topic targeting, layered with keyword targeting over that to zero in.
  4. Use re-marketing and include keywords too. This will lower your volume, but will help you get the people that are willing to convert.
  5. Use re-marketing and interest categories together.

Again, with these different tactics0– you can use all of them or some of them together to really hone in your target audience and truly focus on those that will convert.

Topic Targeting vs. Interest Categories

  • Topic targeting: describes the page
  • Interest categories:  describes the person
  • Topic targeting vs. Interest categories = Page vs. person

There is one silent killer tactic, and if you don’t set it up right, you may not be happy with your results. It is a critical Google Display Network campaign setting, you have two options:

  1. Broadest targeting method
  2. All selected targeting methods

Make sure to select all selected targeting methods– this is extremely important. If you don’t do this, you could be spending a lot of marketing dollars targeting a whole website. For instance, you could be targeting the entire WebMD website, when you should be targeting only a really focused portion of the site. The default setting is the broadest targeting method, which is a no-no. So you need to check your settings and set them accordingly.

All of these targeting methods will help narrow down where campaigns are showing. You need to focus on CPA’s!

Before Joe finished up his portion of the presentation he left us with some Bonus tips:

  • Impression cap: Eventually, people will be tired of seeing your ads, so set an impressions cap. You should be switching up your ads regularly so as to avoid ad fatigue.
  • CPA bidding and enhanced CPC: These can really help your campaigns. Joe recommends to at least test them and find what works best for you.
  • Frequent ad testing: You have to keep your ads fresh. Test new variations so people to not get bored
  • Exclude high CPA websites: Either adjust bids specifically to that site or make sure to cut sites that are not working.
  • Target your previous customers: People may want to continue to buying your product or service. Why not remind people in 60 days to re-order and buy again?
  • Exclude your previous customers: If it is a product that typically people would not buy twice, don’t waste your time and money, focus your efforts on new customers only.

All in all, always be thinking about how you can get more specific with your display targeting.

Next up is Kevin Lee. Kevin talked about Facebook and LinkedIn ads as well as text and display beyond the SERPs.

As search engine marketers, we have opportunity to manage tangential forms of media, some of which belong in search, others… the jury is still out.

Regarding Facebook

The good news:

  • Billions of impressions available
  • Demographic targeting likes, groups, connections

The bad news:

  • Millions of Facebook users generally ignore the advertising
  • “Info” is very incomplete for many profiles which is a targeting challenge
  • Like search, remember to use unique inbound URL (query parameter or other) to help reconcile billing
  • No 3rd party ad serving or frequency caps (not as much of an issue in search and most contextual)

Facebook Targeting:

  • Works for branding, awareness, likes and some Direct Response
  • Direct response needs a low barrier to conversion
  • Difficult to get high scale when the interest are niche
  • Not as much employer targeting as LinkedIn but some potential for B-To-B focus

As you go through the opportunities in the marketing platforms, think about how niche you can go to hit that small audience, who is most likely to convert. For instance, with Facebook targeting, you can target against likes and interests.

Tools like PageData are available to find (top “liked” pages). Are there messages you could craft to specific enthusiasts for some of these? Why yes, there are.

Kevin gave an example of top liked pages in the (Baby Goods / kids goods) category as categorized and measured by Pagedata. Gerber and Pampers were the first two results. Select the ones you want from the top lists and Facebook will suggest more. Then, go wild! But make sure to add more targeting so get your desired target audience.

  • More targeting is better at tuning both the ad creative and the quality of the click
  • Audience narrows more than you’d expect because profile data is often incomplete
  • In your Facebook ads, try including:
    • Logo if you want branding
    • Photo if you want clicks (CTR)
    • There is lots of room for ad copy, so you may need to get creative!

Facebook ads are more like traditional media buying but there are targeting demographics. Think about who “likes” your competition:

  1. Their customers
  2. Former customers
  3. Their staff
  4. Their management

Any strategies come to mind? Like trademark SEM bidding, there are risks. Targeting your competition is an option you can consider.

With LinkedIn, you could probably get as narrowed down to an audience of one person, even though they list <1000 as a minimum. Like Facebook, LinkedIn ads include text and images, but are not IAB sized units. Targeting in LinkedIn is profile based, not keyword driven. Decide if you need branding or direct response and tune copy and images to fit your strategy.

Useful takeaways:

  • Prioritizing within and across media types
  • Know the value that each click and impression ads to your top line, or bottom line.
  • Buy highest ROI clicks/ impressions with your first dollar
  • Work your way to the more “expensive” media
  • Include interaction effects between media types
  • Understand how changing your metrics changes your campaign
  • Test media based on predicted ROI plus scale if it can’t deliver scale, it’s often not worth your time.

Figuring out what to do first and what will deliver the biggest campaign improvement is the key. Kevin ended with a few last tips:

  • Stay educated on best practices
  • Think like Google, put the consumer’s needs first. Don’t be afraid to ask experts for advice and help.

Phew! Awesome tactics shared by all. Stick around AIMCLEAR blog for more final day coverage of #SESCHI 🙂 .

photo credit: pere

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