PPC and the Marketing Lifecycle

Paid Search is often used to bring awareness to your product or service, but don’t overlook its value during each phase of the marketing lifecycle.

Most marketers are familiar with the acronym AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action), which describes the timeline from which a consumer engages with a brand. This tried and true model can be applied to your paid search strategy, but as Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, told SEMPO Director Mike Grehan, a better approach can be stated using three simple terms. See. Think. Do.

See. Think. Do. is a simple framework of which the goal is to reach a qualified, addressable audience with the proper message at any time in the decision-making process. Since the time to shift from “see” to “think” to “do” varies for every consumer, it is necessary to have three distinct yet simultaneous PPC programs to reach the broadest possible audience.

Using Kaushik’s example, digital marketers must think from a consumer’s perspective. During the “see” stage, PPC campaigns should try to reach everyone who is in the discovery consideration stage. This is anyone qualified to be a customer. In general, your keyword strategy should be broad and general in nature but still limited to those who are likely to be interested in your service. Your ad copy and landing page calls to action must align with the consumer’s intent. Calls to action such as “Learn More” or “Contact Us” will help drive consumers from the “see” stage to the “think” stage.

As you build your PPC campaign for those in the “see” stage, the goal is not yet a conversion, so key performance indicators should be based on your goals of driving awareness. Share of impressions and percent of new visits are a few of the KPIs that are relevant to determine if your campaigns are effective.

In the “think” stage, your keywords will become narrower, while your targeting becomes more specific. Instead of driving consumers to a home page or a contact form, you should think about which “micro-conversions” will help drive the consumer to the next phase. These micro-conversions may be driving the consumer to a category page or a video download. During the “think” stage, your goal is to prove to the consumer that your product or service is THE solution to their problem. Your goal as a marketer is to determine your prospect’s intent – based on their measurable action – to move toward the “do” stage. It is during this stage that you’ll begin to focus more on your overall click-through rates, page depth, and percent of assisted conversions. It is also important to measure conversions to your micro-conversions. Those in the “think” stage are closer to making a purchase decision but are still likely not to convert in the traditional sense.

As the consumer moves further down the funnel into the “do” stage, your metric for success can finally be conversion rate. It is at this stage that consumers should be ready to buy. From a PPC perspective, your keywords, ad copy, and most importantly, your landing page must be aligned and optimized for conversion. Your keywords should be very focused and specific toward buying, ad copy should include direct links to shopping cart pages, and landing pages should have clear and definitive calls-to-action. You should, however, look beyond conversion rate. Other metrics to review in the “do” stage are return visitor rate, checkout abandonment rate, and profit. This chart succinctly describes See. Think. Do.

See. Think. Do. should be applied not only to your PPC campaigns but to all your campaigns. It is a simple, yet effective way to measure not only direct response but all your marketing actions.

3 Remarketing for Search Strategies for Success

Remarketing for Search is an amazing product that now allows you to utilize remarketing audiences in search. You can target audiences based around who has or hasn’t visited whatever page of your site that you want through different audience strategies. Combine all the various audience strategies with the various keyword strategies you could employ, and you’ve got yourself quite the list of options! Today, I’ll be showing you three strategies to get you started using Remarketing for Search successfully.

Hopefully you’ve got your site coded with your universal AdWords remarketing tag, so you can build out audiences in AdWords based on URL now. If that’s the case, you should be able to see estimated audience sizes for Google Search based on audiences you’ve already built out. I’ve found when I create new audiences based on URLs, the estimates for audience size are at least there by the next day.






1. Marketing for Special Seasons/Sales

The first strategy is utilizing special audiences and keyword lists in combination with remarketing for search during special seasonal or sale periods. A perfect example of this is an eCommerce site during Christmas. Think about the product or service you’re advertising during this special season. Think about all the super generic terms you could use to describe your product or service or that people could be searching for that could possibly result in a conversion for you. There’s a good chance you’d never bid on those keywords because they’re so crazy competitive and likely to have low CTR and low conversion rates, right? Well, with Remarketing for Search, you can pre-qualify your audience and actually use these crazy keywords!

Using the example of an eCommerce site during Christmas, you’d want to target keyword lists that are generic for the season and for your items. So, let’s say it’s a site that sells a wide range of gifts. A possible keyword strategy for them would include “Christmas gifts,” “Stocking Stuffers,” etc. These keywords are very high volume in terms of searches and high competition during this time.






If you pre-qualify your audience for this campaign to be people who have visited your site, you could see great results. They’re already familiar with your brand, so if they hated you before and you make it clear in the ad who you are, they’ll likely choose not to click. But if they were semi-interested before, and choose to click over again, they’re way more likely to buy.

This also allows you to lead to special landing pages. For stocking stuffers, the landing page could be the most popular items under $15, for example.

If you’re familiar with remarketing, then you’re familiar with all the awesome custom combinations you can make to target specific people. The most popular option for this is targeting people who have put something in your cart and not actually purchased it. Also, with this awesome product, you can target multiple audiences and use the bid modification system to change your CPCs for each. It would look like this:








Here, I am saying that I want to show ads to all people who have visited my site, and I’ve set my CPCs to be appropriate for that size/quality of audience. However, if people have put something in the cart and not purchased it, I consider them more valuable and there are obviously fewer of them, so I want to bid an additional 40% to my max CPC.

2. Use Negative Audiences To Exclude Valueless Traffic

In the first strategy, I talked about how to target audiences with special keyword lists and modify the bids based on the quality of the audience. In this strategy, I’m going to talk about how to use negative audiences through Remarketing for Search to funnel traffic in your account, allowing you to better target and optimize.

Like the eCommerce site at Christmas in the last strategy, I need an example, so I’m going to use a monthly subscription service site. It’s not surprising that this client doesn’t want to pay for clicks when someone is currently a paying member. Before Remarketing for Search, I would have just had to block their brand name and hoped for the best, even though that would leave our brand wide open for competitors to bid on and get top ad position.

However, now, we can develop a strategy that will help out tremendously with this issue! You simply create an audience for the first page your members see after logging in, and then add that as an exclusion to all your search campaigns. This would prevent your ads from showing to anyone who is currently a paying member. That would look like this:






With this strategy, you can be sure anyone seeing an ad has not logged into your members site in however long you make your cookie live for (I would recommend the max cookie like, here).

This strategy can also work if you’re trying to block people who use a part of your site that doesn’t make you money. Let’s say you have a retail portion to your site, but you also have a careers page. You might want to include an audience that targets your careers page as an exclusion at the campaign level in your branded campaigns. This would prevent any wasted spend where people are searching for your brand just to submit a resume.

3. Include Audiences In Search Campaigns Just For Bid Modifiers

In my first strategy, I went over how to develop special Remarketing for Search campaigns to target special keywords and audience combos. In the second one, I went over how to use negative audiences in your regular search campaigns to increase their value. In this third strategy, I’ll go over how to use targeted audiences in regular search campaigns to create a hybrid search and Remarketing for Search campaign that improves value through allowing bid modification for audiences.

With this feature, you have the ability to layer any remarketing audience in with any search campaign. The difference between a strictly Remarketing for Search campaign and this hybrid version is the difference between targeting options for “bid only” and “target and bid.” In the “bid only” mode, you’re telling Google the bid modification you’d like for that audience, but telling it to continue showing to the general search audience for the keywords in that campaign as well. Here’s an example:






In this case, I’ve decided that people who have visited my sales page are more valuable than the general search audience, so I’d like to increase my CPCs by 20% for them. This allows me to set CPCs that are appropriate for the general search audience, but set specific ones for any remarketing audience I’d like, in accordance to their value/quality.

In theory, if you are cool with people who have been to your site clicking on your ads, you could utilize this strategy in all your search accounts.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.