Getting Personal with Paid Search

Recent data from reports the beneficial effects seen by marketers when they personalize their paid search campaigns. The data, gathered from a survey of 600 UK-based respondents active in paid search, reports that 48 percent of respondent report a “major lift” in conversion rates through personalization, with another 43 percent report a “minor uplift” achieved through it. Almost all (91 percent) report that personalization contributes to some level of improved conversion rates.

The Many Flavors of PPC Personalization

It’s standard practice in PPC search to create unique landing pages to serve as the destinations for individual ads, ad groups, and/or ad campaigns. The messaging and presentation on these pages is consistent with – and limited to – the subject matter of the ad itself. Doing so ensures that the searcher won’t be surprised or disappointed by the post-click experience, which makes it more likely he/she will convert to the offer.

But that’s just a starting point. To significantly boost conversion rates, you’ll need to employ more advanced personalization methods. Here are some you should use in concert with your paid search campaigns:

  • Adwords Geo-Customizers
    Adwords provides an advanced form of dynamic keyword insertion called ”Ad Customizers” that allow the marketer to provide a personalized experience to those in a particular location (or those expressing an interest in a particular location). Location-specific pricing, product availability, and calls to action are all available, giving your paid ads a personal touch likely to boost conversion rates. Last week, Google also offers Affiliate Extensions, which let OEMs communicate with geo-located prospects about how many searched products are actually in-store at any given time.
  • Device-level personalization
    Google recently restored device targeting to Adwords marketers, and that’s a great thing, because it’s likely that users on different devices have discernibly different intentions when typing in similar queries. Device-level personalization lets you create custom ad copy for each class of intent, and bid more for those most likely to convert.
  • Custom Audiences
    Custom Audiences, originally invented by Facebook, were adopted by Google in late 2015. Google now offers them (Google calls them “Customer Match”) on its Search, YouTube, and Gmail properties. The “audiences” comprising Custom Audiences consist of email addresses of people who’ve already divulged them to your business, for example, by buying a product, opting into an email list, or filling out a form on your site. By carefully segmenting your lists, you can precisely target these people with offers most likely to result in conversions..
  • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads
    Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (Also known as RLSAs”) provide an effective way to personalize ad copy for people who’ve visited your site. RLSAs can be programmed very simply  or via sophisticated rules with multiple conditions that must be satisfied before the ad fires.
  • IP-based personalization
    Knowing the IP number used by a searcher will tell you a lot. For example, if you’re an enterprise software company, and someone comes in bearing an IP number belonging to or, you’ll probably want to bid a lot for that customer and serve him/her a uniquely personalized ad. Conversely, a visitor coming bearing an IP address associated with or won’t likely be deemed to be as valuable.

More Clicks = Better Personalization

PPC personalization works so well because people respond better to ads and landing pages that appear to be custom-tailored to their individual needs (the best, most personalized campaigns can appear almost “clairvoyant” in this respect.) Better conversion rates equate to higher Quality Scores, which in themselves lower the effective click costs borne by the marketer.

But arriving at the perfect paid search personalization solution is often a lengthy — and often costly – process, because the only reliable way to determine which combination of ad copy, offer, and other ad elements works best is to buy enough clicks from Google to build sound statistical models and embark on a rigorous program of testing to find these combinations. Consequently those marketers with larger budgets are advantaged over those who can’t afford to buy sufficient data (or are unable to build valid models based on this data).

Still, because paid search personalization has so much going for it, it’s something you should explore, irrespective of your budget level or level of in-house/agency analytics talent. Even if your gains are marginal at the beginning, they will likely grow as you continue to test, learn, and iterate in the direction of greater personalization.

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