The first truth from our new ’21 Secret Truths of High-Resolution PPC’ was leaked, on this very blog, in our New Years Day post.
That post, entitled ‘They’re Searching For Answers’ introduced the idea that every search is a question, and text-ads are an attempt to answer those questions.
(We’ll wait while you go read it.)
This is not just our first ‘Secret Truth’ but a kind of a guiding principle behind the entire collection.
It’s important because it turns the focus around and clarifies the fact that users (prospects, customers, searchers, whatever you want to call them) are driving this process. It’s demand driven marketing. They’re in control. We’re here to satisfy them, and only get to stay in the game as long as they think we are or at least might satisfy them. Our role is to anticipate and fulfill their needs. We can’t manipulate them.
In addition to getting us out of a dominant mindset and into a subservient one, this idea is also critical because so much of how we organize, target, option, value, and otherwise manage our campaigns – as we’ll explain in the 20 Truths to follow – can be guided and judged by how well it helps us to better align our answers to their questions.
Nearly every choice you make in the configuration of your paid search campaigns either clarifies or distorts alignment.
- If you put a lot of keywords into an ad group, they attract a wide range of search queries and the alignment between any one query and the provided ad copy can suffer.
- Organize ad groups into campaigns in the wrong way, and the campaign-level numbers you see won’t tell you if things are aligned or not.
- Use a lot of broad match, alignment will range from perfect to extremely remote.
- Bid too low, and your competitors will out rank you (and sometimes show when you don’t) for the most aligned queries.
- Fail to geo-target adequately and you’ll align with the right queries but from the wrong people – same bad result.
So it helps to have this simple prime directive : target the questions you want to answer, and then answer them directly.
When this rule isn’t followed, a lot of innocent keywords, text-ads, and landing pages pay the price.
Consider one example:
- If the keyword is ‘snow plow’ running on broad match
- The search queries include many things like ‘who can plow the snow off my driveway in Allentown PA’
- The text ad copy says ‘J-Deere 150″ Plow Extensions for Your F-150″.
In this case the keyword is likely to have a terrible CTR and conversion rate. It might be judged a ‘bad keyword’ and paused or deleted.
But in-fact the problem is that we’re delivering answers that have nothing to do with the questions being targeted. What’s needed is more keyword negatives and probably a lot of keyword expansion (to grab all the words and phrases that broad match is eligible to capture in ways that we can organize and answer them far more accurately).
Poor results here are predictable. And the reason for them can clearly can be seen in the results. But many times we look at the metrics for our keywords, text-ads, and landing pages (not to mention campaigns and ad groups) and draw conclusions without taking the time to see if we were answering the question they were asking.
Paid search advertising is the process of paying to answer questions. It only sense to work very hard to answer them well.
Understanding that this is what we’re doing is the first step.
What do you think?
This blog post is a companion to our free ebook ’21 Secret Truths of High-Resolution PPC’.
It will be available for download later this month.