Audience Targets: The New Kid in Town

Hey keywords, remember when we first met? Okay, I don’t remember when we first met, but admitting is the first step. From a junior paid search manager to a seasoned veteran, keywords have been the first word to come to mind when thinking of paid search. Keywords are the fuel that keeps the search machine running. As digital marketing matures and advances, are we bound for a split from keywords?

Over the past year, more importance has been put on segmentation and targeting. Google, Bing/Yahoo and 3rd party vendors have given marketers the ability to cast the widest of nets, or hook the smallest of fish. Through display, we have the ability to target certain genders, interests and topics. As time goes on, we are starting to see some of these options spill into search with audience lists. We’ve been able to create remarketing lists for display advertising, but up until the past few months this was not available for search. Now that we can utilize these audience lists in search, we are more concerned with the specific type of user that visited our site versus the keyword searched on.

Remarketing lists for search aren’t the only way we can target segments to use in paid search. Paid search professionals have doing this they learned how to create their first campaign. We group keywords and campaigns into themes. These themes represent consumers in various steps in the buying cycle. We create unique copy to cater to the researchers, the buyers and the repeat visitors. Layer in mobile, geography, time of day and you have a whole new set of audiences and each should be catered to uniquely.

Think about your strategy. Are you focusing on just the keywords, or are you going deeper? Ask yourself these questions and tailor your marketing strategy:

  • When is the customer searching?
  • What device is the customer using?
  • Have they been to your site before?
  • Where are they searching?
  • What days do you see more traffic?
  • How long does it take each segment to convert?

As 2014 approaches, marketers will need to adjust to these principles to push the envelope for their clients. It’s time change the way we think about our campaigns. Less emphasis on keyword, bid, match type, etc. and more on the consumer. Thinking more about audience and intent will be the future key to success as more date becomes available. Keywords will always be an integral part of our campaigns, but it no longer stops there.

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