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Many marketers still find themselves spending hours of time having to review raw query reports with the slight hope that keyword expansion tools might be able to help them identify those key terms that their campaigns are missing.
Adding new keywords and refining match types might be important for optimisation, but it’s not necessarily the fastest way to increase volume. Often, advertisers focused on growing their paid search programs pay too much attention to keyword expansion activities.
This isn’t surprising, especially given the multitude of keyword tools out there such as Wordstream, Trellian, or Adgooroo, each promoting their own version of keyword data.
However, once marketers have built out their core search programs, the process of adding long-tail terms can require a massive expansion and yet only return a slight impact on traffic volumes.
Before embarking on a long-tail keyword expansion effort, marketers therefore need to evaluate whether or not they have done everything they can to maximise the volume from their existing keywords.
As such, here are a few tricks outside of keyword expansion that we have seen have a great impact for search marketers:
Don’t let budgets constrain top performing keywords
You never know when a celebrity endorsement is going to increase traffic on a particular keyword four-fold overnight. Budget settings are important because they stop these situations using up a whole month’s worth of budget on poorly converting traffic.
However, on a regular basis, budgets shouldn’t be limiting volume for top performing campaigns. In general, if keywords are delivering positive margins, marketers should want to take advantage of all of the profitable traffic that is available.
In order to maximise volume, they should be regularly reviewing top performing campaigns to ensure that impressions aren’t being limited by budgets. To identify campaigns that meet these criteria, they should pull a report that includes the previous month’s daily cost, budget, and margin.
If campaign spend tends to be at or above the budget for strongly performing campaigns, increasing the campaign budget will most likely drive additional high performance traffic.
Try out “Accelerated Delivery” for more volume
Many advertisers don’t realise that the Google delivery method setting can affect the rate of traffic that different campaigns receive, even if their budgets are significantly higher than expected traffic.
With Google AdWords, we’ve noticed that selecting the “standard delivery” option instead of the “accelerated delivery” option results in fewer impressions – even when using the same budget.
So, after ensuring that top performing campaigns aren’t budget limited, turning campaign settings to “accelerated delivery” could provide incremental impressions and revenue.
Expand your reach with keywordless ads
Rather than trying to mine the long tail by adding keywords by hand, marketers should consider taking advantage of Google’s Keywordless Ads.
While this feature is still in testing, we’ve worked with a number of retail advertisers who have opted into Keywordless Ads (now known as “Dynamic Search Ads”) and seen a lift in conversions and revenue.
The feature basically turns Google loose on your website, allowing them to target your ads to those keywords they think match the content on your pages. Be careful when setting it up to apply negative placements to the non-commerce pages of your site such as support pages, careers and management pages, or 'about us' pages.
Excluding these pages will help Google match your ads to the right queries, and save you some unwanted clicks.
Although continually adding keywords is important, marketers can’t forget to change the other settings and make tweaks that can impact volume on their SEM campaigns.
Taking some of the steps above could get marketers one step closer to unlocking the full potential of their campaigns.