The People Behind The Search

November 20, 2013

The People Behind The Search

After joining in the middle of October, and completing the Ad Words certification, the underlying message I have taken away from my training and research is that understanding the psychological behaviour of search users is pivotal to creating a successful PPC campaign. I would like to present the fundamentals of PPC from a beginner’s perspective. I will highlight the areas of PPC where the behaviour of the search user is especially important.

Firstly, I should begin by identifying the critical importance and advantage of PPC advertising, which is being able to deliver information to a target audience who are interested, and actively searching for the products/services that your business provides. Because of their search query, the audience is qualified to see the ads presented to them. However, although the search user may be qualified to see these ads, the next part of the process depends on how the PPC campaign is tailored to the searcher. In order to successfully tailor the ads to the search user, you should revert back to that user’s requirements, intentions and motivations.

The Decision Making Process

After making a search, the user is presented with a number of paid ads. Due to the search query entered, the ads presented are of relevance to the search user. In order to gather more information, the search user has a decision to make… which ad to click on. To make this decision, they will select the most compelling ad from those they are presented with. This decision is based entirely on the user. The user’s behavioural motivations, intentions and requirements will directly determine which ad is clicked on.

So, what does this mean? The behaviour of the user is central in terms of the ad receiving the click!

So, what should you take away from this? You should create the campaign in line with your audience’s requirements, intentions and motivations!

Keyword Management

Initially, you need to ensure that the keywords you add to your campaign are relevant. Then you need to determine what audience you are targeting. What terms will this target audience search? Shape your keyword list to the products/services that your business provides, but always tailor these keywords to your target audience’s requirements, intentions and motivations. Additionally, you should incorporate words which are inconsistent with your target audience by adding these as negative keywords.

Target your audience throughout their personal buying cycle. It is important to be aware of and understand how differently your audience behaves during the researching phase vs. the converting phase. In the researching phase, people will use shorter, more general search terms, whereas in the converting phase people will use longer, more specific search terms. As such, you should ensure to include keywords relevant to both the researching phase and the converting phase.

Ad Creative

In order to receive that all important click, it’s essential that the ad is compelling and distinguishable from all of the other ads presented.  To achieve this, the ad creative should:

  • Display as much valuable information as possible within its 25,35,35,35 limit. The quality of the information presented in the ad is more important than the quantity. With limited space to ensure that the search user clicks on your ad above your competitors, the information should summarise what you can offer a potential customer and should highlight your unique selling point.
  • Include price points and promotions. People are very sensitive to cost and value for their money. Therefore, incorporating some information about the price of your product/service is likely to grip the user and give them a reason to click on the ad.
  • Tailor the language to your audience. It is essential that you know your target audience to ensure that the language you use in your ad is emotively poignant to them. Know the demographic of your target audience and use language and information that is consistent with the behaviour of this demographic.
  • Incorporate a short and sharp call-to-action phrase in your ad, such as ‘buy now’ or ‘get a quote today’. These phrases give the search user an extra push to click on the ad by introducing that next step the search user will expect to take after clicking on the ad.

Bid Adjustments

By using enhanced campaign settings you can increase or decrease your bids by device, by day/time and by location. Bid adjustments allow you to tailor where and when your ad is shown based on the behaviour of your target audience.

  • By device. Adjusting your bid across different devices, e.g. mobiles, desktops and tablets allows you to target ads more heavily towards devices that your target audience are more likely to use. For example, if your audience are young and technology savvy, they may be more likely to perform search queries on their mobiles. As a result, you may decide to increase your bid on mobile devices and decrease your bid on desktop devices. With 1 in 5 search queries now being performed on mobile devices, it would be valuable to develop a specific mobile site to optimise search experience for audiences using mobiles.
  • By day/time. Depending on the demographics and behaviour of your target audience, they may perform more search queries on some days of the week and some hours during the day more than others. In order to reach your target audience when they perform their search, you may decide to increase bidding on specific days or at specific times of day using the ad scheduling tool.
  • By location. You can use location targeting to adjust bids in terms of postcodes, cities or other geographical areas. This is another setting that enables you to tailor your ads to your target audience.

Ad Extensions

To entice your target audience into clicking on your ad, there are some ad extensions that can be particularly compelling. Ad Extensions provide more information to the search users, giving them more reason to click on the ad.

  • Image extensions. These provide rich content and can ‘show’ an audience what a business offers, alongside the text ad which ‘tells’ them. With text ads, there is a restriction to how much information can be presented. Image extensions help to alleviate this restriction.
  • Call extensions. These give your target audience an extremely convenient opportunity to gather more information and work especially well on mobile devices, as these users are often ‘on the go’.
  • Social annotations, seller ratings & review extensions. People are very influenced by the thoughts and experiences of others, and will use this information in their own decision making. These three extensions communicate what other people think of your business. Social annotations link your Google + page to your Ad Words campaign and show how many followers your business has. Seller ratings display your online business ratings and review extensions enable you to attach a quote of endorsement from a reputable external source, for example a trading award.

Landing Page Experience

Finally, to ensure that your target audience’s requirements, intentions and motivations are met, it is vitally important that their experience once they land on your website is positive. This will not only result in more conversions, but it will also result in returning customers. To achieve this, your website should have clear and original content, should be trustworthy and should be easy to navigate around. Additionally, your website should be tailored to your audience to hook and hold onto them.

Monitor Performance and Make Regular Changes

Tailor your campaign to your target audience and carefully monitor its performance. The more data you gather, the greater understanding you will have of your target audience’s needs, intentions and motivations, and the more qualified you will be to make changes that will optimise your campaign.

TEST TEST TEST. In order to ensure you are captivating your target audience, test new keywords and experiment with new ad creatives, testing different value points, language techniques, call-to-action phrases and price/promotional points.


Be flexible and mirror the behavioural trends of your audience!

So, as a PPC beginner, that’s my perspective on what is central to creating a successful targeted campaign. What settings or techniques do you think are critical in creating a successful targeted campaign? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter @hollymartin__ and thank you for reading!

By Holly Martin PPC Share:

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