Almost AI: PPC Growth With An Evolving, Learning Keyword Research Machine | Zenith 2016 LIVE Blog!

Fresh off an exhilarating morning keynote by Cindy Krum (@Suzzicks), we now join Purna Virji, Senior Bing Ads Client Development and Training Manager at Microsoft, and John Lee, Managing Partner at Clix Marketing, for their presentation…

Almost AI: Achieve PPC Growth with an Evolving, Learning Keyword Research Machine

Follow these two!

Purna Virji : @purnavirji

John Lee : @John_A_Lee

Following and immediately soaking up their industry intelligence? Good! You’re evolving and learning already.

Now onto their presentation, which promises to invigorate the inner keyword maven in all of us, while touching on voice search, keyword research strategies, and a plethora of tools, channels, and PPC targeting features.


John Lee kicks off the session by exploring keyword research.

Keyword Research: Not boring, not a one-and-done activity. PPC advertisers’ goal should be to create a perpetual motion (keyword research) machine.

Where to start with keyword research: Ask your client, ask your boss, ask your friends, ask your mom. Seriously! Different people search in different ways. The more research the better. NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA. Until you prove otherwise.

Where to look next: Past data. Look back to move forward. Utilize past traffic if it exists, to influence road map creation.

Expand your horizon when exploring keywords. For example, look at product reviews on Amazon. If people engage there, they tend to be extremely passionate and can be used as a wealth of data. Amazon ad search queries offer tremendous insight into purchase intent.

Targeting Features = Keyword Spies

Dynamic Search Ads: Target search queries based on your website content. Fill in gaps NOT targeted by your current keywords.

Shopping Campaigns: Do not rely on keywords, but instead on the content of your product feed. Review search query data to glean HIGH PURCHASE INTENT queries to target as keywords in core search campaigns.

RLSA: Match search queries to stages of the buyer journey.

Tools to use in keyword research: AdWords Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Planner, and Excel. Keyword reports are bulky. Use Excel, in all its glory, to speed the process up. Use conditional statements to analyze search query reports. Use if/then formulas to look through data and identify positive and negative keywords. The information discovered through this activity can set gears in motion, to ultimately create ad sets, ads, etc.

Have an optimization and analysis schedule. Go back to keyword tools and rerun research activities regularly.

Never stop doing keyword research.


Purna Virji then graces the stage to expand Zenith’s insight regarding the current state of voice search and how it may affect keywords.

Natural language is used with voice search. Typically, more words are used when voice searching, versus text search.

Who is using voice search? In 2014, a study showed that (surprisingly) 39% of 44-53 year olds and 38% of those 54+, use mobile personal assistants. Older audiences are using voice search. Why? It’s easier than typing!

Voice search is really growing. A 2015 survey revealed that 41.6% of voice search adopters began using the feature in the last 6 months or less. In late November 2015, three months after launching, 1/3 of Cortana queries came from voice.

Why does it mater? If a voice search is performed, users can see ads! Advertisers may not be prepared for that.

Big Differences Between Text and Voice Search

Query Length: Search queries from speech are longer – a little. And only a little longer because we’re still learning how to use it. We are slowly adopting it.

Do This: Add in keywords 3-4 words in length, instead of 2-3. Broad match can’t account for everything.

Question Words: Question phrases have been growing year over year. Question phrases = voice search degree of intent.

Do This: Bid higher on keywords with higher degrees of intent. For example, a question word/phrase like “where is” carries a higher degree of intent than “what is”. Add in question keywords (what, how, where, what’s, when). For example, “What is the cost….”, “How much does it cost….”, etc.

More Local: Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search. Make sure mobile and review ad extensions are in place.

Do This: Localize your keywords. For example, “near aerial lift bridge”, “opposite the marine museum”, “at lake walk”. Also, make sure phone numbers that appear in local results are up-to-date.

Voice will help us understand people. Who they are, what they want, how they’ll buy. We will monetize voice search. It’s the new face people will want to talk to.

The time to adopt for voice search is right now.

With an expanded understanding of voice search, keyword research, and actionable next steps, those in attendance vocalize their appreciation and hustle to their next eagerly-anticipated session.

On to the next one!


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