To take your paid search program to the next level, it’s important to understand how paid search integrates itself into a larger digital marketing program. I’ve discovered a few ways to do so by utilizing Google Analytics data, aligning with search engine optimization efforts and observing social media feedback. The goal is to shape your paid search program with an understanding of the bigger picture.
Using Google Analytics for Paid Search
I frequently use Google Analytics data to help me determine where my priorities should lie and what my next opportunities could be. Most commonly, I’ve used it to identify my top 10 markets to focus on by checking out the Audience Location report (Audience > Geo > Location). Where is most of my traffic coming from? I will prioritize my budget here. Where am I seeing the highest percentage of New Visitors in the Top 10 locations? This is my primary focus for new opportunities. Where am I seeing less traffic but longer average visit duration? I want to test here.
In addition, I like to use the Behavior Flow (Behavior > Behavior Flow) chart to see how traffic is behaving when they are on the site. Where do I see the biggest drop off? I avoid driving paid search traffic here and recommend landing page testing for this page to keep users engaged on the site. Where is most of the traffic flowing to? These pages contain (or users believe contain) content the users want to see, so I will drive paid traffic here to start. We want to make sure there is a clear call-to-action on these pages.
Aligning with Search Engine Optimization Tactics for Paid Search
At Point It, we have seen the benefits of working on both SEO and SEM for our clients. Having both teams under one roof makes it easier for us to communicate and align with one another’s strategies. I’ve worked with Sean, our Director of SEO, on several accounts and we have developed a work flow that continues to improve. Something we always do when we have a new client is identify our strategies to ensure we’re in alignment. One tactic is identifying (relevant) keywords that are ranking on the second or third page organically, and adding those keywords to our paid search campaigns. This way our ads are showing on the first page for keywords that are likely not getting many views on the second or third page.
In addition, we share successes with SEO and SEM testing. For example, we use paid search ads to test several different messages against each other, and we incorporate the “winning” ad messaging into the website content. In general, this type of message testing is easier with paid search because we have the ability to rotate ads with more flexibility. Vice versa, we funnel our traffic to pages where we see high engagement rates organically or to winning pages after a landing page test has been completed.
Using Social Media to Understand our Audience
I lean on social media to understand who my audience is, what they want and how they perceive our brand. What type of Facebook content are they most engaged with? This helps me identify content that may be successful in our paid search campaigns. What are users saying in their feedback and how are we responding to them? Often times I find out a lot about my audience this way. They describe who they are, and why content is or is not applicable to them. They are usually honest in their feedback, and this helps me understand if they are getting what they want, or where the gaps are. This is valuable information for us to identify appropriate keywords, and provide meaningful solutions for our audience. It’s a finger on the pulse to make sure we are connected to our target audience, and providing content that is valuable to them.