Keywords- Who Gets the Glory?

As we watched the Canadiens score in last week’s hockey game, my brother screamed “nice shot!” while I thought to myself- “that was an awesome pass!

And that got me thinking about Google’s announcement of AdWords Search Funnels at SES NY. Just like any other sport, the player who scores gets the glory, but the credit goes to the team as a whole. Take that same concept online and you’ll see that campaigns work pretty much the same way. The keyword that converts gets all the glory, but what about all the other keywords that “passed” the conversion along or “assisted” in it?

2 weeks ago at SES, a friend told me a story about a PPC client they had 2 years ago. One of the keywords they had very early in their search funnel was “broadband,” which obviously accounted for zero conversions. So they decided to cut it out and guess what? Their sales dropped by 30% (causation not correlation, it was a pure experiment). But what they didn’t and couldn’t realize 2 years ago, is the impact this zero converting keyword had in guiding the user down the conversion funnel.

Let’s say a user Googles the term “broadband”, lands on your site, you do a decent job building trust and credibility, but then they left. The following day, they search for “internet broadband” and land on your site again. This time, the confidence level is higher and the visit turns into a conversion. Did your efforts go in vain the first time around because the visitor didn’t convert? Clearly they shouldn’t.

In a typical campaign, you would have no way of finding that out, unless you test or experiment like my friend did. But with Google rolling out this feature, it should eliminate a lot of the guesswork and change your perspective when you evaluate your keywords.

Some Considerations

1. You have to have AdWords conversion tracking set up on your account

2. You have to be comfortable letting Google have all that data (some clients aren’t!)

3. Google obviously had this data for a while before making it available. How and when will they use this data to impact Quality Score of your AdWords campaigns?

4. You have to understand the benefits and limitations of the reports that Google is offering. Analytics specialist Justin Cutroni recently published a blog post about his thoughts on Google offering up these sets of reports-

“The Search Funnel reports are a well thought out way to understand how people interact with AdWords ads prior to conversion and thus help us understand the ROI of our AdWords spend.”

“I think this is a good first step by Google. They took reliable set of data that was just sitting around a data center and created some reports that will help marketers understand the real value of different types of keywords. This is all very low risk for Google with very high potential (read: more AdWords revenue).

But these new reports are also a good test of how users, and the overall analytics market, will respond to Google’s version campaign attribution reporting. Real attribution models are very complicated to create. They involve a lot of data about different types of campaigns (banners, cpc, email, etc.).”

To get a sense of the types or reports available, you can watch this video put out by the Google team:

The Future Strategy of Using AdWords

All this is incredibly valuable, especially when you add Google AdWords’ other recent offering of Remarketing.

Let’s imagine a situation where we would help launch a PPC campaign for a local gym. We may start out targeting the keyword “gym Montreal.” It may not have a great conversion rate to becoming a lead for the gym, but it may help people recognize the brand on their first visit to our website from the ad. Using AdWords remarketing, I could target people on the content network who are interested in “beauty and personal care” to encourage them to come back to the site, or to drive search demand for our bootcamp, spinning, or yoga classes. That could lead people to search for “montreal spinning class” or even “by brand name + spinning,” which would eventually convert to a lead. “gym montreal” would get the assist, the content network remarketing would bring them back to search for terms that have a higher likelihood to convert.

To get a better step-by-step understanding of AdWords remarketing, read this fabulous post.

What are your thoughts on these recent releases and how do you think it will affect your strategy in managing your PPC client campaigns?

Comments

  1. Ting says:

    Great post and a very exciting release from Google! My only concern is that the tracking is available on Google search only, and not Google partner sites. This makes it harder for adversiters who get any significant amount of traffic from search partners to isolate variables when optimizing.

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