May 2019
Basis Technologies

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization

As a mom of two young kids, I am very passionate about providing them with great experiences. I take them for hikes, biking trips, long drives, multiple vacations, and, of course, to any new food joint that opens up in downtown Palo Alto or Menlo Park.

My kids, like every other kid (and many adults too!), love ice-cream. But when it comes to flavors, their choice is simple: chocolate for my boy, strawberry for my daughter and between my husband and I (occasionally we try something new) we end up with vanilla. If you look at ice cream flavors, I bet these three outperform sales of all others.

In the summer of 2017 when we were in Portland, Oregon for a vacation (yeah, weird Portland), we tried Salt and Straw and for some reason, that Ice Cream experience stuck with my kids. So when we heard that they opened up a storefront in downtown Palo Alto, we just had to go back.

So now at Salt and Straw, our new favorite flavors of ice cream are “Strawberry Tres Leches”, “Freckled Mint TCHO-colate Chip” and “Double Fold Vanilla”. Ah well, you would think we didn’t go too far from our regular, favorite flavors. That got me thinking creatively about how we manage our keywords.

If you are a performance marketer (like me) you would agree that we often pay too much attention to our set of top keywords. We are ready to bid and pay Google, Bing, and Amazon any amount to get our ads in the top positions for that keyword or set of keywords. Why? Because we spend a lot of time trying to understand the full funnel view of those keywords to know how they are converting from prospects to customers. We know that those queries/keywords, i.e. chocolate ice cream and strawberry ice cream, have topped our sales charts over and over again.

However, many marketers are still relying on the bid optimization tools that Google and Bing provide, even those with decent SEM budgets (~$50k). These publisher optimization tools and best practices like “Estimated first-page bid recommendations” and “Smart bidding” end up increasing our CPA and thinning our margins on those top keywords.

The good news, though, is that marketers have options now. This eBook - SEM Optimization Techniques: Are You Overpaying Google? - touches on how using revenue-based bidding can help us achieve our goals without overpaying for certain keywords.

We all have thousands of keywords in our SEM PPC accounts. Although these keywords are grouped together per product or common theme in each folder or campaign, many of them suffer from a “low-quality score”. Quality score is a black box and many of us have been working day and night on the prescribed recipe to get the best quality score for our top keywords. Think about it for a second! If the keyword doesn’t have an appropriate bid, it won’t appear in top searches and won’t get clicked. And if it doesn’t get clicked, Google’s algorithm will mark it as “bad quality”. It’s a chicken and an egg problem that we’re all dealing with.

The other set of keywords (a.k.a. long-tail keywords like Freckled Mint TCHO-colate Chip and Strawberry Tres Leches) are like many flavors in the ice cream shop that have not turned around (i.e. optimized) for months. They are often ignored because they don’t sell well or it takes too much time to optimize them. After all, we’re all humans and have limited time in our day to improve our SEM performance. But we often ignore the fact that there could be a strong following of these long tail keywords, i.e. if someone searches for Freckled Mint TCHO-colate Chip, they have a strong intent to buy and eat it. You don’t want to miss this opportunity.

With developments in data science, it’s possible to work on both sets of keywords (top converting and long tail keywords) and achieve the best performance for SEM PPC campaigns.

In this eBook, we touch upon the power of machine learning algorithms and how they can empower optimal bids across your entire portfolio. The QuanticMind algorithm integrates multiple sources of data (CRM, Business Intelligence, Revenue Intelligence, Inventory, Weather, and Publisher data like keywords, clicks, impressions, audience, etc.) and churns out the best possible bid for “ALL” keywords at that point in time to achieve a goal of conversion. Kind of a no-brainer and it works.

QuanticMind’s technology was previously only made available to a handful of premium customers, until now. Since many enterprises like 1-800-Dentist, Windstar Cruises, Moz and Hot Topic have seen great success with this technology, we’re now making it available to other performance marketers too. You could save time and focus on more strategic planning rather than manually changing bids and engaging in “busy” work.

And, of course, don’t forget to visit Salt and Straw Ice cream with your entire family. Now, my monthly ritual is to try their new and seasonal flavors 🙂

Are You Overpaying Google? | Search Engine Marketing and Optimization