Four Essential Tools for Search Ad Personalization

Are you personalizing the search campaigns you’re running on Google? If not, you’re overlooking a powerful set of methods that can turn lower your click costs, improve your conversion rates, and transform unprofitable PPC campaigns into profitable ones.

Just about every paid search marketer performs some level of personalization, for example, by creating unique landing pages for each Adwords campaign. This technique maximizes the conversion opportunity by ensuring that the searcher won’t be surprised or disappointed by the post-click experience.  But unique landing pages are just a starting point. To really boost conversion rates, more advanced personalization methods must be used. Here are four ultra-useful personalization tools that you can use to make your Adwords campaigns more personal, compelling, and higher-converting:

Personalizing by Device

In late 2016, Google restored device targeting to search campaigns in Adwords (Google had removed the feature in late 2012). This was welcome news for marketers who’d sorely missed this useful functionality. Today search campaigns can be configured to selectively run on three types of device: PCs/notebooks, mobile devices, and/or tablets, and campaigns simultaneously targeting more than one device type can be individually adjusted by adjusting bids for each device type.

Device-level personalization is important because searches on different device types typically have very different classes of intent. Device-level personalization lets you create custom ad copy for each class of intent and bid more for those most likely to convert.

Getting started is easy. Examine your own analytics data to determine the devices used by your highest-value customers, determine whether there’s a strong correlation between device type and conversion rate and value, and double down on devices whose users make you the highest profit.

Adding Geo-targeted Elements to Search Ads

Adwords provides an advanced kind of dynamic keyword insertion called ”Ad Customizers ” that lets you provide a personalized experience to those in a particular location (or those expressing an interest in a particular location). Location-specific pricing, product availability, and calls to action are all available. For example, searchers in Brooklyn can be made to see personalized “Free Shipping to Brooklyn” or “20 percent off in our Brooklyn Store” messaging in the ad. Including a local element can cause the ad to “pop” in a way that stands out from competing, non-personalized competing ads, thus boosting clicks and conversions.

Using Custom Audiences

Google now offers Custom Audience (which it calls “Customer Match”) targeting on Search, as well as its YouTube and Gmail properties. This simple but powerful personalization technology lets you upload lists of email addresses to serve as target lists. Custom Audiences are useful for remarketing/retargeting, avoiding ad burnout, and broadening campaign reach through “lookalike audiences.” (audiences whose properties are similar to those in the uploaded list). By carefully segmenting your lists, you can precisely target these people with offers most likely to result in conversions.

Using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Remarketing (often called “retargeting”) is a technique that lets you show ads to people whose creative is personalized based on their prior browsing behavior. Remarketing Lists (also known as “RLSAs”) provide an effective way to personalize ad copy for people who’ve visited your site. RLSAs can be programmed very simply (e.g. a person visited yoururl.com/halloweendeals.html but didn’t convert) or via sophisticated rules with multiple conditions that must be satisfied before the ad fires. Either way, they personalize your ads so that they “pop” in a way that non-personalized ads can’t.

Personalization can increase the efficiency – and profitability — of any search campaigns you’re currently running. There’s convincing evidence – including a 2016 study from Econsultancy.com – substantiating the positive impact of personalization. According to the study’s data, gathered from a survey of 600 UK-based respondents active in paid search, 48 percent of respondent report a “major lift” in conversion rates through personalization. All told, 91 percent of surveyed paid search marketers reported that personalization improved campaign conversion rates.

Kevin Lee is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Didit a leading digital marketing and technology firm. While Didit started in SEO in 1996 and PPC in 1998, over the last 5 years Didit has made 11 acquisitions to transform itself into a full-service marketing firm. Kevin and his biz partner coined the one-stop-shop strategy BigTique due to the fact that internal experts in each marketing discipline are at the client’s disposal. Kevin continues to invent new technology platforms for Didit and new marketing ideas for clients.  Kevin also co-founded We-Care.com which has generated over $8 million for nonprofits via cause-marketing. Kevin Lee, is a true Digital Marketing pioneer and gives back to the industry via books, speaking engagements, and 780+ published columns. Kevin received his MBA from Yale University. Kevin lives in Scarsdale with his wife Dr Allison Kahner and two kids.


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