Understanding Keyword Intent in a PPC Marketing Strategy

PPC Keyword intentExperienced PPC Marketers are classically trained to organize keywords based on relevancy across all Adgroups and Campaigns. It’s become one of those obvious best practices that should be applied to every account, regardless of industry type. However, we should be a little more vigilant and “dig a little deeper” into the understanding of the many different types of “Intents” for each of the keyword groups as it relates to conversions. In a nutshell, certain keyword prefixes and modifiers will trigger different levels of intent to act. Furthermore, once the PPC Marketer understands all of the different levels of intent, then budget allocation and ROAS% become clear and easier to manage through the optimization phase. Let’s discuss a little further.
INTENT Level of Search Term(s)
It’s an obvious thing to note, but when a typical searcher types in prefixes/modifiers such as “buy”, “get” “purchase” and so forth, those words tend to create a higher level of immediate action than others such as “shop”, “compare”, “comparison”, etc… Moreover, not all modifiers are the same. In fact, depending on the product or service of the advertiser, these “action terms” will vary greatly based on the behaviors of the industry being searched on.
Here are just a few examples of types of Search Terms which tend to deliver a higher level of intent for conversion.

  • ISBN # – This term identifies a high level of intent because the searcher knows exactly what book they are looking for. The PPC Marketer would then complete the “before the click” optimization by creating a Text Ad that reflects the Title and/or Author of the book along with a compelling Call-to-Action. The combination of all of these elements makes the possibility for a conversion is very high.
  • Model #– Similar to the ISBN#, searchers are looking for very specific Make & Model of a product. They are more likely to click on a Text Ad, which not only has the same Make/Model information in the Text Ad, but also directs them to the exact Landing Page for that specific product.

Now, even though these are just examples for a typical eCommerce advertiser, we can also identify other types of terms for their respected industries that provide a similar effect. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  1. Have a deeper conversation with the client. This would include online and offline experiences. Most often, the ppc marketer will get a better understanding of their perfect prospect/customer.
  2. Look at the Search Queries to find prefixes and modifiers that have converted better than others.
  3. If client has Live Chat, get a hold of the chat log files to identify specifics terms and overall behaviors.
  4. Review Competitors Text Ads to identify possible search terms based on their messaging.
  5. Utilize 3rd party PPC Competitor Software to see all keywords and text ads that are being used.

Campaign Implementation:
Now that we have discussed how to identify “high intent” vs. “low intent” search terms, we now have to build a campaign structure around them that not only makes Quality Score sense, but also financial sense.
Step #1: Campaign Structure:
The campaign structure should ultimately consist of at least two (2) intent levels. Basically speaking, High Intent and Low Intent.
Step #2: Budget Allocation:
Setting the right campaign budget allocation for each “Intent”. Typically, we would want to put a stronger emphasis on those with a higher chance to convert. This means more Budget and better AVG position. Also, depending on past performance we should also look at the Google Search vs. Google’s Search Partners. This can vary by advertisers, but keep that option in mind, especially with advertisers who rely on Lead Quality and not Lead Quantity.
Step #3: Migrate to other Search Platforms:
Once we have the optimal setting in Adwords, then we should take that structure and apply it to the Bing platform. Even though the overall budgets might be lower, we can still attribute a similar allocation structure.
Step #4: Optimization Phase:
Now once everything is setup and running, we cannot just let it run by itself. Regardless of the bid management preferences (automated or manual), a stronger emphasis should be put in the “higher intent” adgroups and keywords, as they have the best chance to “move the needle”. During this phase, the PPC Marketer should look at all of the basic metrics, but also some of the following:

  1. 1. Search Networks vs. Network Partners
  2. 2. Adwords Dimensions
    1. GEO
    2. Hour of the Day
    3. Day of the Week
    4. Search Queries

In conclusion:
According the Oxford English Dictionary, there are 171,476 words currently in use today. With that said, getting only a few of those which turn into conversions is all we need to make a successful PPC Campaign. When someone brags about having thousands of keywords and negative keywords, I scream FOUL. PPC Marketing is more about understanding the advertiser’s audience than it is pushing Text Ads to the masses.



Greg is a well-versed Internet Marketing Expert who has helped companies both large and small achieve success in Search Engine Marketing through proven strategies and effective implementation. Since 2004 he shifted his focus to Search Engine Marketing Industry, especially Pay-Per-Click- Marketing, where he has helped both Fortune 500 companies, as well as Start-Ups to improve branding, increase online and offline revenues, cut costs and succeed online.

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