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Improve your SEM campaigns


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This guide offers valuable tips that can help search engine marketing (SEM) managers
improve their campaigns. SEM managers tend to find complexity interesting, and they
especially love the complexity of online marketing. But it’s also important not to forget to
look at marketing fundamentals. This guide introduces those fundamentals in a way that lets
SEM managers use them to their best advantage. As marketers, you will learn several
techniques or action items that you can implement immediately. Ideally, one or more of
these actions will make a significant difference to your marketing ROI.

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Improve your SEM campaigns

  1. 1. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide Eleven Tips You Can Use Today to Improve Your SEM CampaignsPresented jointly by: This guide offers valuable tips that can help search engine marketing (SEM) managersBen Brutsch improve their campaigns. SEM managers tend to find complexity interesting, and theyAdobe especially love the complexity of online marketing. But it’s also important not to forget toMike Deckman look at marketing fundamentals. This guide introduces those fundamentals in a way that letsVintage Tub and Bath SEM managers use them to their best advantage. As marketers, you will learn several techniques or action items that you can implement immediately. Ideally, one or more of these actions will make a significant difference to your marketing ROI. Use foundational metrics Using foundational metrics is perhaps the most strategic element of any SEM strategy. Testing is particularly important because the wrong metrics will very likely produce skewed or inaccurate results. First, be sure that you are measuring the right things. For example, evaluating each lead-generation input based on the number of closed sales (or even the dollar value of closed sales) is better than simply measuring the number of leads generated. The most valuable inputs are those that lead to the greatest dollar value of closed sales, not necessarily those that generate the most leads. Analyze the right metrics Many people manage their campaigns to a cost-per-lead metric and leave it at that. SEM managers have access to lots of data and metrics, but they need to keep their overall goals clearly in mind when studying them. This can be difficult, because it’s easy to get so buried in the complexities of the business and the data that high-level goals get lost in the weeds. Vintage Tub and Bath uses Omniture® SearchCenter® to simplify many of its search marketing challenges. The Vintage Tub website has over 90 action sets that look at various metrics, including return on ad spend, product views, and total lifetime value of keywords. Although detailed findings are fascinating, the most important thing is how much profit a campaign generates. Therefore, marketers need to stop focusing so intently on the intricacies of their metrics, especially top-line revenue and return on ad spend, because these two metrics can be misleading. In fact, there are times when top-line revenue and return rates are lower, but profit has actually gone up.
  2. 2. Ultimately, the most Omniture SearchCenter offers an intuitive interface for search campaign management and a tool called theimportant metric is net COGS VISTA rule, which helps calculate gross profit minus cost of goods sold (COGS). With the help ofprofitability, and SEMmanagers can delve even Omniture SearchCenter, Vintage Tub looks at several areas to determine whether a campaign has beendeeper into these results. effective. Top-line revenue shows how many orders were generated, but this number doesn’t tell the whole story. Taking out COGS can decrease top-line revenue considerably. Additionally, Internet sales have other costs associated with them, such as credit card processing, shipping, and sales-related processes. Profit drops even further after these costs are taken out, and what’s left is the profit plus the cost of ad spend. Since, none of these costs are noted in top-line revenue, SEM managers should focus on the metrics that matter most to their business. Each component of an SEM account can be reviewed independently to calculate net profit, starting with the campaign, then each ad group, and finally each keyword. How much net revenue does each component yield? Looking at marketing spend from that perspective changes the way you look at all future marketing campaigns. Keep test data clean Each part of an SEM campaign is connected to every other part, so a change in one area affects everything. For instance, click-through rates are impacted by average position, ad copy, competitor ad copy, use of keywords in search titles, and other factors. Some marketers have even found an inverse correlation between volume of impression and click-through rate. Everything Within Your SEM Campaign is Connected Establish your success metrics before you conduct tests. Make sure you test one element at a time. Knowing these nuances of the relationship of various aspects of a campaign is important because it lets marketers test the things that might be impacting the click-through rate or “dirtying” the data. Before doing a test, you should answer these important questions: • What is the overall goal of the campaign? Why is this test taking place? • What are the success metrics? What are the things that differentiate a successful campaign from a less successful one? • Which external influences could potentially impact the desired effect? For instance, would the click-through rate see greater effect from a change in average position or impression surge? • How might the test affect other areas of the campaign that shouldn’t be affected? Running a test can have a positive or negative impact on some other area. Small changes can have a broad impact. Because SEM components are interrelated, success in one area can lead to even greater success in another. It is important that SEM managers are aware of the way elements can affect one another in their campaigns so that the influence of any change can be accurately measured. Also, make sure that only one element is tested at a time. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 2
  3. 3. Marketers sometimes fall Be Comprehensive in Your Keyword Analysisinto the trap of looking ateach keyword individu-ally, but keywords workin conjunction with oneanother as people clickon multiple ads. “Clawfoot tub” “Vintage tub” “Clawfoot tub faucet” Ignored in Last Source A ribution For instance, Vintage Tub’s site gets visitors looking for a particular product, but there might be a lag between the initial visit and the actual order while they check out other sites and compare prices. Eventually, they come back to Vintage Tub and make their purchase. In this scenario, last-click reports would show that customers were only buying based on that specific keyword. But in fact, other keywords had brought them to the site, so it’s important to consider the impact of those other keywords. It might be useful to allocate revenue attribution to each keyword to figure out how profitable each one actually is. This helps marketers know which keywords or products might increase sales of other products, and thus keeps them from lowering a position that should stay as high as possible. Keep in mind, however, that SEM managers have trouble assigning view attribution because they have no way to track views, so this scenario applies to users who click the ads before buying. Without advanced tools like Omniture SearchCenter, marketers can be limited in the data used to evaluate their effectiveness. For example, information provided by IT might be limited to first touch or last touch, whereas Omniture enables analysis based on multiple data points and inputs to better understand the factors that contribute to success. Keywords Many keyword techniques have implications for keyword list building, but that is not their primary purpose. Become your customer Question: What does the term “bid management” mean? Question: What does the term “window” mean? Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 3
  4. 4. Marketers must first get to know their customers and experience what they experience. For example, when SEMmanagers use the term “bid management software,” they are typically thinking of tools like Omniture SearchCenterthat help them optimize bids on PPC SEM campaigns. But others might use that same term to look for somethingcompletely unrelated (for example, bid management as it relates to construction). When managers don’t take thetime to know their customers, companies end up competing for clicks with unrelated businesses.To mitigate this, never bid on a keyword until you have first queried that keyword in the search engine andhave previewed the first page of listings. Even if you have hundreds of keywords to review, you need to knowwhat kind of results come up. It can take a long time to do this, but it saves a lot of time in the end, and itdecreases unintended competition. This is especially true when it comes to organic listings. By knowing whichmeta tags are coming from the listings, marketers can find keywords they might have never thought about,which in turn can help with list building.Match typesMatch types can be classified in a number of ways, but one rule of thumb to follow is related to broad match.Generally, broad match keywords should either be used for the company’s brand, or they should be used on atemporary basis. Broad matches should not be the crux of the keyword list, because they can sometimes catcha lot of unnecessary matches.Using Omniture, you can start with broad matches to see what was actually searched for, then exact-match thewords that drove appropriate clicks, and negative match the others that didn’t. After several iterations, you canremove the broad match because you have all the exact queries you need. With this approach, instead of a netto catch fish, you are using a spear, catching the exact fish you want and paying less in the process.Use “Match Types” to Refine Campaigns Don’t rely on broad match. Pay less for the exact fish you want.When visitors clicked on your ad, what did they first type into the search engine? They might have beenmatched to the ad, but that ad might not fit what they were looking for. A tool like Omniture SearchCenter canrun a paid query report that breaks down all queries resulting in click-throughs. Log files might have thatinformation as well.When the exact query list is in place, divide it into two groups: those in which the company should show upand those in which it shouldn’t. For the phrases where it should, do an exact match in the campaign. For thosewhere it shouldn’t, do a negative match. After the traffic patterns improve, turn off the broad match word. Withthose more targeted queries, the company pays less for each keyword, and the amount of unmatched trafficdecreases. This can also be a way to discover words and phrases that haven’t come up before. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 4
  5. 5. Myth #1Know how to use contextual ad campaigns appropriatelyPopulate your campaigns with unique words and phrases that you find on the sites you would like your ads toappear on. Oops! Arthritis Relief Pond Help Grow Great Hydro Plants Try Our Arthritis Treatment See our Pond Galleries. Get EM1 for vegetables, fruits, Natural, Safe & Fast Relief Design Ideas. le uce, and other plants See an irrelevant ad…? …or a well-placed contextual ad?Our first myth is that search engine and contextual campaigns can be handled in the same way. Keyword listselection is a completely different process in contextual campaigns. Internet marketers tend to view websitelayouts more analytically than other users do, and someone familiar with contextual keyword selection mightunderstand why an ad appears on a page where it doesn’t belong contextually. An ad for arthritis, for example,might appear where a trowel ad should be because someone complained about arthritis acting up while gardening.This tells us that keyword discovery for contextual campaigns must be done without respect to the searchengines. Visit the sites where potential customers are, find the words and phrases they might use in thatcontext but not in others, and then bid on those words. Instead of focusing on what customers are looking for,this approach focuses on how customers talk in a particular context.One of the biggest challenges for SEM managers is creating or optimizing a campaign in an unfamiliar vertical.In these instances, find someone who is an expert and talk to them about the terms they use, and then build akeyword list from what you learn.Key message: Be wary of contextual ad networks. Typically, the technology isn’t refined enough to avoid adsthat are inaccurately mapped to content. It’s best to target sites rather than keywords. This can help youeliminate—or at least minimize—mismatching and dramatically improve your click-through rate, Q Score, andultimately your ROI.Leveraging toolsOmniture SearchCenter has been a valuable tool for Vintage Tub in a number of ways, but particularly inkeywords and classifications. Keywords need to be organized in detailed fashion. Search engines tend to raisequality scores with keywords that are similar in character. Therefore, ad groups should be as specific andgranular as possible, because that makes it easier to allocate budgets.Although this way of organizing does facilitate search queries, it doesn’t make reporting easier. There arekeywords in every ad group performing at different levels. Some groups have high performers and highvolumes, while others have lower level performers and volumes. This makes it difficult to manage some groups. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 5
  6. 6. Omniture SearchCenter Keyword classificationsenables you to alignkeywords with the most Tag keywords with classificationsrelevant campaigns, butstill apply additional clas- Keywords can be groups across different campaigns and ad groups.sifications and informa-tion to those keywords to Careful: a campaign with keywords about different products doesn’t look attractive to most engines.enable advanced analysisand reporting. High Engagement Born-on Date Paused Low Volume High Engagement Born-on Date High Engagement Born-on Date Paused Low Volume Paused Low Volume Classification is one way to mitigate the difficulty in managing some keyword groups, and Omniture SearchCenter helps considerably with this process. As an example, Vintage Tubs might classify keywords based on a number of factors: • Born-on dates—the date the keyword was first tagged—help separate keywords tagged three days ago from those tagged three weeks or even three months ago. • Low-volume words aren’t searched very often and seldom generate any revenue, but stay on the keyword list because SEM managers forget about them. These run up the cost of ad spend, so marketers should watch them over time to see whether they get used more frequently—or less. • High-engagement words are hand-managed keywords. They’re not subject to bid management rules, so marketers adjust them one at a time. Also, marketers want to see their usage in ads from competitors to find out where they place. • Paused keywords are ones that don’t perform very well, but they’re set aside so marketers don’t forget them. There are times when some merchandise sales may suffer after a certain keyword has been paused, so storing them separately makes the impact easier to analyze and restore them if needed. Which of these keyword classifications do you use in your environment? Are there others that you think are useful as well? Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 6
  7. 7. Marketers should use Automationtheir available tools to To make time for the responsibilities that bring the most value, it is wise to delegate some things to theautomate redundanttasks so that they can technology at hand.spend most of their timeanalyzing data, making SEM can be time consuming,decisions, implement- laborious, and plans, and analyzingresults. Attempt to automate any boring, redundant, or brainless process through whatever tools available. Omniture SearchCenter enables you to align keywords with the most relevant campaigns, but still apply additional classifications and information to those keywords to enable advanced analysis and reporting. You can create macros to automate reports and set up dashboards that create weekly or monthly reports. You can transform a days-long process into one that takes just hours to complete. Take control of SERPs While automation can save time, some things simply cannot be automated. A company’s brand and image as represented by its website and ads must be controlled by people, and the easiest way to do that is to control the ad copy. Your ad copy and landing pages must clearly communicate your competitive advantage—your unique selling proposition. It is essential that your competitive advantage is something that customers care about and value. To do this effectively, you must go beyond keywords. Create a list of target sites and then look for the unique phrases and words that are being used. Populate your campaign with these words to take control of your search engine results pages (SERPs). This will increase your return on ad spend and more. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 7
  8. 8. Myth #2Let Ad Copy Reinforce Your Competitive Edge Rule of thumb is wrong. Write to what youre good at, even if it is the same as others.Another longstanding myth is that ad copy and landing pages should talk about the same things as thecompetition but in a different way or with a different focus. In fact, a company that isn’t talking about itscompetitive edge is relying on “pockets of ignorance.” A company doesn’t have to beat its competition in everyaspect, but it does have to be the best in at least one. Once your company finds its competitive advantage,make sure that every piece of ad copy reinforces it—make sure the claim is true! Customers always find outwhen it’s not.By emphasizing your competitive edge, one of two things might happen. Some competitors might change theircopy to make the same competitive claim. At first, it might seem like everyone’s ads are indistinguishable, butthe company that makes the claim honestly will win the game. Other competitors might write copy thatreflects their competitive advantage, but this is fine. As customers gravitate toward the company that givesthem what they need, each company loses some of the customer base, but they’re losing the base that mostlikely wouldn’t buy from them. Those customers who want something that you can’t offer (or can’t offercompetitively) will ultimately look elsewhere anyway.Keyword relevanceAs noted before, keywords must be relevant across queries, ad copy, and landing pages. But what happens ifkeywords don’t match across all these areas? Like other Internet businesses, Vintage Tub spends a lot of timequerying keywords to see which ones are most relevant to the company. At times, one comes up that isn’tbeing used. At other times, a very relevant keyword might end up benefiting another campaign.When this happens, it might not be the fault of the marketers but of the search engines themselves. Forexample, a recent ad from Vintage Tub led to links to Omniture SiteCatalyst® because Google had broad-matched Vintage Tub and Omniture and also exact-matched Vintage Tub and Omniture Test&Target. WhenGoogle grouped the query, it ended up serving “Omniture” and not “Test&Target.” Search engines often end upserving the less relevant ad, particularly when a lot of campaigns are running at the same time and theirkeywords are not very distinct from one another. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 8
  9. 9. Fence Out the Wrong Keywords Adwords Mismatch But there is a fix called keyword fencing. Vintage Tub added “Test&Target” to any brand campaign where Omniture was a keyword, so now Google has to skip over the Omniture ad because the more specific phrase has been negative-matched. By keyword fencing, you can isolate overarching keywords from areas that should belong to a less popular or less expensive keyword.Yet another myth that Myth #3persists is that SEM is only Omniture has done a lot of testing of this idea and can prove that paid ads can move up organic listings and viceuseful when a companydoesn’t already rank versa. In either case, the click-through rates went up on both ads, in some cases more than doubling.organically on a keyword;otherwise, it cannibalizes Use SEO and SEM On the Same Key Wordssearch engine optimiza-tion (SEO). In fact, SEOand SEM can work well Situation: Two primary target audiencestogether. Solution: Ensure each listing targets one. When SEO and SEM complement each other, their ads should also. Even if specific pages on your site are well positioned within organic (non-paid) search results due to SEO, you could also have paid search advertising, but use a different message for each. A page on your site might have great rankings for SEM because it is informational. If that’s the case, consider targeting your pay per click (PPC) ads for the same page on other messages (like the quality of your service or your prices). Make sure that each addresses different targeted messages: If the organic ad speaks to one target audience, the paid ad should talk to the other. Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 9
  10. 10. Closing ThoughtsSummary of key messagesThe scope of your SEM strategy can grow out of control very quickly and easily. Use these 11 tips to broadenyour search marketing in a calculated, measured way.1. Analyze the right metrics.2. Keep your test data clean.3. Be comprehensive in your keyword analysis.4. Become your customer.5. Use “Match Types” to refine campaigns.6. Know how to use contextual ad campaigns appropriately.7. Tag keywords with classifications.8. Automate.9. Ad copy should reinforce your competitive advantage.10. Fence out the wrong keywords.11. Do both SEO and SEM on same keywords.Can you answer these questions?1. How did you originally find your customers?2. Which campaigns positively influenced your prospective customers?3. What ultimately compelled your prospect to make the purchase?Without advanced tools like Omniture SearchCenter, marketers can be limited in the data they use to evaluatetheir effectiveness. For example, information provided by IT can be limited to first touch or last touch, whereasOmniture tools enable analysis based on multiple data points and inputs. This gives marketers a betterunderstanding of the factors that are contributing to, rather than detracting from, their success.SEM campaigns can be intricate and complicated, but the right preparation can make them more effective andprofitable. Understanding how customers come to a particular site or page gives marketers the insight to refinetheir test data, keyword lists, and ad copy. This helps decrease ad spend while also improving click-throughrates and sales.Key takeaways:• Internet marketing can be complicated, but don’t forget that marketing fundamentals are at the core.• Each part of a campaign affects others, so isolate testing to one element at a time.• Proper keyword selection and classification can increase marketing relevance and decrease cost of ad spend.• Leverage the tools at your disposal to make tasks and operations more efficient and effective.• Let ad copy reinforce your competitive advantage. Based on recommendations presented in this guide, which new tools and processes will you consider using to improve the ROI of your SEM campaigns? Improve your SEM campaigns: Webcast Guide 10
  11. 11. To view this Webinar, visit About the presenters: Ben Brutsch Senior SEM Manager, Adobe With 6 years experience running B2B and B2C search engine marketing campaigns in a number of different industries, Ben Brutsch brings a number of effective tools and hints. Mike Deckman Internet Marketing Manager, Vintage Tub and Bath Mike Deckman serves as Internet Marketing Manager for Vintage Tub & Bath, an Internet Retailer Top 500 company and America’s largest private retailer of clawfoot bathtubs. Since joining Vintage Tub & Bath in 2007, Mike led his team through advanced in-house SEO, SEM, Affiliate, and SCE tactics that resulted in consistent double-digit growth for the company. For more information To learn more about segmentation through testing and analytics with solutions from the Omniture Online Marketing Suite, contact your Omniture account manager or call 866-923-7309. For businesses outside of United States and Canada, visit for the office nearest you. Obtain additional resources at: 1.877.722.7088 View recorded Webcast: Learn more: Adobe, the Adobe logo, Acrobat, Adobe AIR, Authorware, Flash, Flex, and LiveCycle are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the UnitedAdobe Systems Incorporated States and/or other countries. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.345 Park AvenueSan Jose, CA 95110-2704 © 2010 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Printed in the 91025506 5/10
  12. 12. Notes Unlocking insight from social media data: Webcast Guide 12
  13. 13. Notes Unlocking insight from social media data: Webcast Guide 13
  14. 14. Notes Unlocking insight from social media data: Webcast Guide 14
  15. 15. Notes Unlocking insight from social media data: Webcast Guide 15