PPC Audience Targeting Trends

The PPC Audience Targeting Trends to Watch in 2016

Autumn is in the air; April heralds the beginning of a new tax year and with it comes the time to set goals for your business. Whether you are in retail or B2B, you will start asking yourself how much you should spend on marketing this year, and perhaps, more importantly, on what.

Pay-per-click is very dear to our hearts, and 2015 was indeed an exciting year in PPC, even more so with the emergence of new applications to increase its reach. AdWords and search marketing have continued to perform strongly, and the new kids on the block, AdWords Customer Match and remarketing with Bing have shown real potential.

We review some of the most promising tools available to maximise PPC strategies and the trends to watch to stay ahead of the competition.

AdWords Customer Match

Email marketing has been one of the major tactics of digital marketing for years, but it can be somewhat indiscriminate and not always yield the highest rates of response.

Google’s AdWords Customer Match is a bit like a hybrid that gives you the best of two worlds: making the most of your email database while allowing you to match very specific –and therefore relevant- ads with visitors, as long as they are logged in to Google applications, YouTube or Gmail.

What is exciting about Customer Match is that you can create highly targeted groups based on interests, demographics and other criteria, and associate them with the ad which is most likely to be pertinent to them.

One of Customer Match’s successful applications is lead conversion. If you collect email addresses in exchange for downloadable material for example, then you know that you have a captive audience already interested in your products or services. AdWords Customer Match can help you nudge them into continuing the conversation and becoming a customer.

If your business is seasonal in nature, this programme also provides the opportunity to remind existing customers of what you have to offer at specific times of the year. Gardening businesses, for example, will be particularly busy in Autumn and Spring, so you could target your client base with offers of new products at the beginning of each season.

Customer Match is also ideal to reconnect with dormant customers and inform them of promotions and discounts, new products and services, or items similar to those they purchased from you.

Another less thought-about but as important feature of this tool is that it can be used to exclude certain categories of customers deliberately. If you work in the tourism sector and sell holidays, you may not want to target people who have just booked a holiday with you for a little while. It is highly unlikely that they will be ready to buy so soon, and it can actually affect the way your company is perceived negatively – nobody likes to be spammed with ads that are irrelevant to them.

There is only one caveat to using Customer Match: your campaign will only be as good as your CRM list is. So don’t rush into it without having a good look at your email database first and segmenting it into meaningful audiences.

AdWords audience targeting

In 2015, AdWords extended its programme with Audience Insights, which allows advertisers to find out about the demographics, interests, locations or devices of the customers included in their remarketing lists.

You can now view existing audiences, create remarketing lists based on very specific criteria, combine custom lists and devise campaigns around interests.

The power of mobile advertising shouldn’t be underestimated, especially if your business operates in the retail industry. It gives you the opportunity to target customers when they are out and about, and possibly passing one of your shops! Sending an ad to their mobiles around lunch time when people are about to go on their break may just be the prompt they need to stroll to your stores and see what is on offer.

Bing Remarketing for Search Ads

Google, Facebook and Twitter have been offering remarketing for a while, and now so is Bing.

In a recent post, we looked at how effective remarketing techniques are proving themselves to be. It works by tracking visitors’ browsing history and showing them relevant ads of your products after they have left your website, keeping you at the forefront of their mind at a receptive time in the purchase cycle.

As remarketing targets visitors who are already interested in your products or services, it usually yields higher conversion rates and return on investment than blanket display advertising.

In 2015, Microsoft’s search engine finally caught up and launched the Bing Universal Event Tracking, and it is definitely one to add to your quiver of digital marketing arrows.

It interfaces directly with Bing Ads and works in a very similar way to the other remarketing platforms. First, each webpage has to be tagged with a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag. The second step is to create remarketing lists based on user activity and pages visited which you then associate with ad groups to optimise bids based on keywords searched on Bing. Don’t underestimate Bing as becoming more regularly used in New Zealand due to the popularity of microsoft devices such as their surface range which use Bing by default.

Remarketing lists for shopping campaigns (via RLSA)

Google and Bing both released an extension to their remarketing tools in the last quarter of 2015, to capitalise on one of the busiest times of the year for retailers, the pre-Christmas shopping season.

As we discussed above, several operators had already been offering successful tools for a while, but they weren’t available for shopping campaigns, and this is what this new set of features addressed. The shopping suite is not available in NZ at the time of writing, however for those Kiwi businesses selling globally this medium can certainly be leveraged.

Targeting users who have visited a site but not completed a purchase or have abandoned their shopping cart, it allows advertisers to reconnect with them after they have left, and, hopefully, win them back.

Although it hasn’t been around for very long, RLSA has already shown fantastic results in a crucial period for ecommerce advertisers. It is establishing itself as one of the most profitable types of remarketing campaigns and is definitely one to watch in 2016.

If you are looking for assistance with these new and emerging advertising mediums, contact This Side Up via our contact form or on 09 360 2299.

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