May 24 2017
Basis Technologies

Paid Search Q&A


We received a lot of questions during our May 3T webinar. Because we like to keep these bite-sized presentations under 45 minutes, we were unable to answer them all, so we've enlisted our fearless speaker, Lisa Little, to answer them on our blog.

When setting budgets, how do you determine your search budget in conjunction with a display campaign?
Typically budgets by channel are determined by a media mix model or historical allocation from a client/brand. According to recent eMarketer stats, in 2016, U.S. digital media budgets were broken out by the following on average: 49.3% (display), 42.1% (search), and 8.6% (other). Budget allocation is based largely on the type of business or vertical and budget you have available. The main goal is to make sure you're not spreading your budget too thin across too many various channels. When divided out and spread too thin, you don't see great performance in any one channel.

Do you have experience with If functions or Ad Variations?
Yes! If functions can be very useful in search when providing more customized ad text experiences. We did not review in this webinar because If functions are a more advanced tactic.

Ad Variations, along with dynamic text, dynamic keyword insertion, dynamic countdown, etc. are all very effective methods to customize ad text to the customer's experience and typically result in higher CTR. The more complex and robust the account, the more important it becomes to leverage some of these dynamic tactics. For basic accounts with 2-3 campaigns, some variations may be considered over-optimizing, but always consider testing keyword insertion to start out.

Any rules of thumb about what budget levels are adequate to reach certain numbers of impressions, audience share, etc.?
This varies significantly between verticals and seasonality. Because search is auction-based buying, the verticals with more advertisers in the auction at any given time require more budget to be competitive and reach the ultimate impression share. Seasonality plays a part because if the keyword is in its peak season, it can become more expensive and require increased budgets.

For example: The keyword 'mother's day gift' is most likely more expensive and requires additional budget in the months leading up to Mother's Day, but most likely won't spend or need any budget in September. The best way to reach ideal impression share is to test out a budget and let the tools in the account calculate what impression share you're gaining and what impression share you're missing out on – due to budget or ad position – and optimize budget from there. The loss IS due to budget, and rank evaluations will indicate if your budget levels are making significant impact in paid search and what sort of optimizations or enhancements you can make to gain more market share.

Could you speak to how paid social advertising (e.g. Facebook ads) play into/impact paid search?
We have seen uplifts in CTR and efficiency when paring search and social. They are very similar channels, as they are both focused on the consumer's behavior, and often users switch back and forth between the channels and devices.

When sharing data, you can get more insight into audiences, demo targeting, and behaviors in both channels. The data also really helps in creating keywords in paid search that you may not have already thought about and for sharing high performing paid search keywords for social to utilize in elements of paid social campaigns.

Also: There's a huge benefit to looking at the creative in social to drive some of the messaging in paid search (and vice versa), so the experience is more seamless for your customers and they can connect the dots for the brand consistency.

As a best practice, is there an average spend per day that you recommend when providing a budget for a potential client?
Much like the answer above, the budget varies significantly by vertical and seasonality. Best practice is to make sure you have enough budget to allow for support of all the individual keyword bids in the campaign and monitor the spending. If you have keywords that average $3.00 CPC and set a $30 budget, then you can estimate you'll receive approximately 10 clicks per day before the budget shuts off. There is no magic number, but the best approach is to collect data, seasonality trends, put some simple math in place to calculate approximate clicks based on the CPC rates at any given time, and be willing to adjust/be flexible with budget. There are tools to estimate spend, but the most accurate estimate comes after the search account is live for a few days so you can measure impression share and lost impression share due to budget.

Can you set a lifetime budget as opposed to a daily budget? What is the best practice?
The lifetime budget or “IO" is for the whole flight and that is what budget Google sees as the ultimate threshold. The daily budget is more a guideline to help you pace the spending more evenly so you don't utilize or run through all your budget in the first few days of the full flight. For example: You can set an IO of $10,000 for June 1 – Aug 1. But if you don't set a daily budget, then there is a possibility you could spend the full budget by July 5 and have almost a month without running. If you set daily budget in this scenario it ensures you use the budget more evenly and as planned to pace for coverage throughout the full flight.

Can we do PPC using Centro's products?
Yes! Our Centro search teams specialize in search for full-service management of search campaigns. Centro Platform self-serve does have some planning elements with paid search as well. Talk to your regional Sales Lead to get more info.

What is the best data-driven digital marketing strategy to pair with SEM campaigns? Display ads with retargeting has been what we're using. Any increase in conversions when pairing with whatever is suggested?
Every channel – both digital and traditional – drives some search activity and has some impact in search performance. We have seen success with aligned and integrated strategies between display and search, as well as search and social. There are also some retargeting options within search – including RLSA, Google Match, and some audience targeting settings.

On the Nike ad example: Are “Women's" and “Men's" that appear under the ad also separate keywords? How does it work?
Those are called 'Sitelinks.' Sitelinks are additional pieces of text you can include under the main ad copy. These aren't triggered by additional keywords; they are just more character space where you can drive each of the sitelinks to various landing pages on the website. Sitelinks are really helpful when the keyword is general and you're not sure what the intent of the user may have been.

The screenshot from the presentation was taken when I searched 'Nike Shoes,' so the sitelinks provide additional detail that a consumer can click if they are for sure looking for men's shoes or women's shoes. Sitelinks provide options for the user and take up more real estate on the page, pushing the other ad listings down on the SERP.

Can you check your quality score and/or see what affects the score?
Yes, you can check the overall quality score on average or QS for individual keywords. The quality score fluctuates depending on the marketing, seasonality, relevancy, website, etc. With keyword quality scores, there is a feature to hover over and see insights behind why Google has rated you with a low quality score and how to optimize.

When it comes to relevancy, how does it work when the keyword is slang or a new and trending phrase that may affect consumer searches?
Slang is taken into account as well. Google is constantly working on their algorithms to include and read various slang, traditions, languages, and nuances in search behavior. There are some tools available to see 'trends' in Google searches to evaluate when certain keywords peak or fall with the interest level of the consumer and how they are searching.

In the swimsuit example, how did they get the "deal" part to appear in the ad?
The example has the discount/deal listed in 2 areas. The first is in the headline, and this is written by the account manager. The second deal line is considered a 'promotion extension.' This is an added feature where you can indicate details about the promotion within AdWords and it will include the deal: extension in the ad copy.