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19 Must-Have Marketing Channels to Try Now (+Tips to Make Them Work for Your Business)

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19 Must-Have Marketing Channels to Try Now (+Tips to Make Them Work for Your Business)

I think we can all agree that ice cream is great, but it’s even better with the right toppings. When it comes to promoting your small business, your marketing plan is the ice cream and your chosen channels are the toppings. Your foundation is great, but you need those layers on top to maximize results.

With the right channels, your marketing plan can look this good!

We’ll show you how building your strategy with the right marketing channels is like building the perfect ice cream sundae—trying some of each kind will bring in the sweetest success! Here is how we’ll break it down:

Use this post to make picking your marketing channels easier than choosing toppings for a sundae.

What are marketing channels?

Marketing channels are the various places you promote your business and/or communicate with your target audience—both online and offline.

For example, a potential customer could see a print ad and navigate online to learn more. From there, they might search for your business on Google, see a video about your brand on YouTube, or find your business on social media.

That’s all part of a multichannel marketing strategy that ensures you catch every potential customer within your sales funnel.

Types of marketing channels

Typically, there are two types of marketing channels most businesses use:

  • Traditional marketing channels: any channel that’s done offline, like TV, radio, and print.
  • Non-traditional marketing channels: any digital channel that’s done online, like search ads, email marketing, and more.

However, these labels can be a bit outdated. They don’t accurately reflect the ever-changing marketing space as many channels could now fit into either of these categories. How you choose to organize your different types of marketing channels will depend on what makes the most sense for your business. That said, knowing the difference between these two types of marketing channels can help you ensure you’re promoting your business both online and offline.

What is the best marketing channel for your business?

Like with anything in marketing, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to which channels you choose for your business. The best marketing channels for your business might be different from the channels your competitor is using. Ideally, you’ll use as many marketing channels as possible to maximize your chances of interacting with potential buyers throughout their customer journey. Be ready to test various marketing channels and benchmark your progress to find out what mix of channels is right for you.

The top free marketing channels: 

As you plan out your campaigns, these are the marketing channels that should make up the foundation of your strategy since they require little to no marketing budget:

1. Local SEO

This past year, 46% of Google searches had local intent. Plus, searches for “near me” or “close by” have grown by over 900% since 2018. This means that in 2023 and beyond, local SEO will continue to be a game-changer for small businesses.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In other words, you’re working to get your business to show up on search platforms like Google or Microsoft’s Bing. Local SEO takes things a step further by optimizing your onsite and offsite content specifically for local searches.

The best part about this marketing channel is that it’s completely free. No cost means no reason to not have local SEO as a part of your marketing plan!

Quick tips for local SEO:

  • Optimize your website. Page load time factors into your SEO ranking. You can check your site’s speed by running page speed tests. Plus, 55% of people use a mobile device to search for local businesses, so you’ll want to cater to your local mobile audience by making your website easy to navigate on a small screen.
  • Prioritize the user experience. Understanding what your local audience will want once they arrive to your website will help you stay one step ahead of any deterrents.
  • Identify the right local keywords to focus on. Finding out how local customers are searching is a key step to local SEO success. If you’re struggling to know which keywords to use, our resources on keyword research can help!

wordstream free keyword tool results

An example of finding keywords to fold into your SEO strategy.

2. Local listings and online reputation management

Today, 93% of people read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. What’s even better is that people are now willing to pay 22% more for a product or service if the company has a good online reputation.

Achieving that stellar online reputation in 2023 all comes down to managing your local listings. Your local listings not only show up on the specific listings’ sites—like Yelp, Google Maps, and CitySearch—but they can also help you to show up in search engines.

Plus, listings like the Google Business Profile allow customers to find vital information about your business. For example, your business description, contact hours, or address can all be found in one spot.

What’s even better is that local listings are a completely free way to promote your brand.

Tips to elevate your local listings:

marketing channels - local listing example

 Source

3. Organic social media marketing

This year, social media marketing is a must-have marketing channel. That’s because there are now 3.7 billion active monthly social media users worldwide, and the average US adult currently spends over two hours per day on social media.

Some examples of popular social media platforms you can promote your brand on are:

Within the social media channel, you have two options: organic, or unpaid, social media marketing and social media advertising.

Your organic social media marketing strategy relies on engaging your audience and building a community. Plus, with those numbers and options to choose from, you’re sure to catch your ideal audience on social media this year. To do so, establish social media marketing goals.

Preplan what you’ll post (plus where you’ll post it) and how you’ll track success. Using a social media scheduling tool or leveraging a marketing partner can help you with this.

Tips for your organic social posts:

  • Use engaging media. Consumers prefer digesting videos and images over just plain text.
  • Leverage your followers for content. To drive engagement, call out your followers by running contests to have their posts featured on your page.
  • Try hashtags. Hashtags help your organic posts get found and add creative flair.

marketing channels - chart of number of hashtags and engagement for organic social media

4. Word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing can be just as effective as other free marketing channels, like online reviews and local listings, since 84% of people weigh online reviews the same as they would a word-of-mouth recommendation from friends or family. This means that word-of-mouth marketing is a highly trusted channel for customers to learn more about your business.

Word-of-mouth marketing tips:

  • Run a referral program. A referral program motivates your loyal customers to spread the word about your business.
  • Prioritize customer service. Ensure that every customer has a smooth, seamless experience with your business. When you offer a good quality customer service experience, your customers will be 38% more likely to recommend your business to others. Additionally, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. Focusing on your customer service will maximize your chances of gaining more word-of-mouth marketing.

5. Networking and partnerships

The connections you build throughout your career can turn into mutually beneficial partnerships. When you network with other small businesses and local organizations, you’re opening up opportunities for people to learn more about you and your business. This could lead to partnerships with other business owners or organizations where you could cross-promote one another’s offerings. Networking also allows you to share marketing ideas and source inspiration for new campaigns based on what your connections are doing.

Networking tips:

  • Keep an open mind. If a business unrelated to your industry is interested in connecting with you, don’t immediately turn down the opportunity to network. Instead, see how your offerings could complement one another. You might uncover more opportunities to reach one another’s customer base.
  • Practice active outreach. Try to keep a running list of potential businesses or contacts you’d like to connect with. That way, you can draft tailored networking emails, call scripts, or direct messages to increase your chances of building a meaningful relationship with them.

marketing channels - example networking email

6. Event marketing

Whether you’re running your own events, or joining in on community and industry events, event marketing provides countless ways to grow your business with any budget. Both in-person and virtual events can help you get more leads. In fact, 79% of U.S. businesses use event marketing as a lead-generation tactic.

Event marketing tips:

  • Promote your events on social media. Social media is a great place to raise awareness and attendance for any events you host or participate in. Some platforms, like Facebook, even give you the option to create an event page or event countdown that you can invite users to opt into. Start your social media promotions ahead of the event to create buzz, then take lots of photos and videos during the event to share out after.
  • Try participating in varying capacities. Different approaches to event marketing will bring you different results. For example, you could try sponsoring or volunteering at a community event, and measure that against hosting your own event.
  • Track everything you can. Hosting or participating in events can be a whirlwind, so tracking can easily get pushed to the back burner. However, it’s crucial to have a way to measure the success of your event. Be sure you’re able to track how many people registered or attended your event, and how many may have interacted with your business. Look out for any increases in leads during or after the event, too.

The top paid marketing channels

Although the following marketing channels will require you to spend a bit of your budget, the marketing ROI can be well worth it for your business!

7. Social media advertising

The beauty of social media is that you can market your business for free or decide to put a bit of budget towards paid social ads.

Paid social ads help you to show up in your follower’s feeds more efficiently, and even reach folks who may not be following you yet.

You don’t need a monster budget to get started with social advertising. For example, you can start by putting a few dollars behind an organic post you already created—which will “boost” or “promote” it.

Tips for your paid social content:

  • Have a clear and unique call to action. With so many social ads getting thrown at your viewers, being clear on what you want them to do when they see your ad will help you stand out.
  • Be sparing with your text. You’re putting money towards a post that’s working with limited space in social feeds. Don’t let your text get cut off by keeping your points clear and concise.
  • Refresh ads often. Social media is now a quite saturated space, give your audience something fresh to look out for every once in a while by swapping out your images and ad copy.

marketing channels - linked ad example

An example of a small business’s paid social ad on LinkedIn. 

8. Search advertising

Today, 97% of consumers search online for local businesses, and a local PPC strategy is a great way to guarantee your business will show high in search results when they do.

PPC, or pay per click, ads (also known as search engine marketing, SEM, paid search, and more) show up above organic results on the search engine results page for searches related to your business—making local PPC the perfect marketing channel to complement your local SEO efforts.

Quick PPC tips:

  • Find a reporting method that works for you. With so many PPC metrics that can clue you on performance, finding a tool to understand your account’s data is crucial. There are plenty of free, online options like Google Analytics or Google Data Studio.
  • Leverage automation when you can. Automation has been on the rise in PPC platforms, you can use this to create smart ads or smart campaigns that do a lot of the build-out and optimization work for you.
  • Be patient! The hardest part of running ads is being patient. All ads go through a “learning period” as platforms test them out to different queries. This can last up to two weeks, or even a whole month, at minimum. However, if you treat PPC as a time investment, you’ll be sure to see stellar results by the end of 2023.

marketing channels - screenshot of search ads on serp

An example of search ads on the search results page

9. Display ads

Along with paid search, one of the other main forms of PPC ads is display ads. Display ads are images or videos that show to your audience passively as they browse websites. Display’s outlook for 2023 and beyond looks very promising, as it has grown to take up over 21% of global advertising in 2022.

To start, you can place an image ad on a relevant website that your audience may frequent, or have your video ad play alongside content on YouTube. This helps you tap into your audience even when they might not necessarily be searching for you.

In fact, running display and search ads together works like a charm. Your display ads can spark awareness—triggering your audience to look for your search ads on the SERP later. You can even measure the effectiveness of display and search together through a metric called view-through conversions. (Find out more marketing metrics you need to know and track here!)

Tips for display ad:

  • Get creative with your targeting. Display ads have a plethora of audience targeting options, like remarketing to your website viewers or showing to folks of certain interests or lifestyles. You can have fun by imagining what your ideal customer’s daily life is like and choosing your targeting based on that.
  • Leverage unique placements. With display, you can show across apps, selected websites, and more. Be sure to choose a variety of placements across devices to maximize your results.
  • Start small, then go big! Display historically has a cheaper cost-per-click than other channels. This gives you the chance to start off with a small budget while you test what works, then build up from there.

marketing channels - example of display ads on news website

An example of display ads shown on a news site.

10. OTT ads

This hot marketing channel is sure to be a hit in 2023 since OTT (over-the-top) streaming has increased by 115% in 2021 compared to previous years. In contrast to display and search ads, OTT ads use different pathways to show paid video ads.

With OTT your video ads could appear on apps like Hulu, Google Play, and more.

OTT ads instill brand awareness and spark searches for your business later which can result in conversions. Plus, OTT helps you reach beyond the SERP or social media to find people you may have otherwise missed.

OTT tips:

  • Know your audience. Identify the personas you’re trying to target with your video ads and be sure to focus your ads on what would appeal to them.
  • Market with emotion. Think about what your target audience might react to best—whether that be a funny skit, a heartfelt moment, or a suspenseful action scene.
  • Run tests. Frequently testing your video ads to see what your viewers are the most receptive to is your best bet for finding your OTT “secret sauce.”

marketing channels - ott advertising chart

Source

11. Affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing, you’re letting someone else do the hard work of selling your product or offering. Essentially, you offer a financial incentive for a third-party seller to promote your business for you. For example, if a customer purchases your product or service through an affiliate link, that affiliate would earn a commission. This can be an especially powerful marketing channel for businesses that don’t yet have a lot of reach or brand awareness. Instead, you’re leveraging the credibility and resources your affiliate has to help grow your business.

Affiliate marketing tips: 

  • Run a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis requires you to evaluate your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With this exercise, you can find out where your business may be lacking, and find an affiliate that fills that gap.
  • Create a checklist to quickly vet potential affiliates. A strong affiliate has a clear online presence that matches or complements your brand. For example, you may want to consider the following factors when choosing an affiliate:
    • Do they already have a platform, such as a blog or a website, with quality content?
    • Are they authentic when communicating with audience members online?
    • Is their online presence professional, and does it align with your brand position?
    • Do they have a large or engaged social media following?
    • Is the affiliate ranking high for keywords connected to your products or services?

swot analysis graphic from wordstream

12. Influencer marketing

Although influencer marketing has been around for a couple of years now, it won’t be going away any time soon. In fact, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations from social media.

When you leverage influencer marketing, you’re tapping into someone’s larger following by having them recommend you on their social pages or blog sites.

Most businesses tend to shy away from influencer marketing because they picture a celebrity with millions of followers charging them hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. On the contrary, using micro-influencers that have a lower price per post and a niche following can bring just as effective, if not better, results.

Influencer marketing tips:

  • Scout out an array of potential micro-influencers. You may need to reach out to a few accounts before you score a solid partnership. To start, find micro-influencers that fall in line with your industry and have like-minded customers within your target audience following them.
  • Draft your pitches ahead of time. To save time, draft up a few different pitches for when you direct message or email micro-influencers. If one pitch doesn’t work, you’ll have another on hand to try instead.
  • Brainstorm content ideas. Your micro-influencers will be relieved to know you already have a caption, image, or video script in mind. That way, you can control the quality of their shoutout while also saving them time.

marketing channels - instagram influencer marketing example

Source

Even more marketing channels to try

Think of these next few marketing channels as a “choose your own adventure challenge.” You could try any of these channels with little to no budget, or put more money towards them depending on your business’s unique needs.

13. Email marketing

In 2023 and beyond, email as a marketing channel will continue to be a major revenue driver for small businesses. That’s because, back in 2021, there were over 4 billion daily email users, and 64% of small businesses already use email marketing to reach customers. Those numbers have only continued to climb since then. So you won’t want to miss out on the benefits email marketing can bring to your business in the coming year.

Email marketing tips:

  • Keep your email subject lines concise. When crafting your email copy, be sure to keep your subject lines short and eye-catching.
  • Remember the purpose of each email. You’ll also want to have a goal in mind for each email you send to make it clear to your recipients you want them to complete a specific action.
  • Automate when you can. If you don’t have the time to collect emails and send them out manually, you can use online tools to help you pre-plan your email marketing campaigns. That way, you can set up your email marketing to run consistently on the back burner while you focus on other marketing channels.

14. Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is a must-have marketing channel for any business because of the sheer numbers behind mobile usage. Check out these mobile marketing statistics:

  • By 2023, the number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to reach 4.3 billion.
  • Clicks coming from mobile devices cost 24% less than those coming from desktop experience.
  • 70% of smartphone users have made a purchase after using their phone to discover information.

To try out mobile marketing, you’ll first want to ensure you have an easy-to-navigate, responsive website that is mobile-friendly. From there, the mobile world is your oyster as you connect with your audience in a trendy new way!

Mobile marketing tips:

  • Try geofencing. Geofencing allows you to target mobile-specific ads to people within a selected location—ensuring you only spend when it counts.
  • Make sure your website copy is concise. Aside from checking your website’s technical compatibility with mobile devices, you’ll also want to remember your audience is working with a smaller screen when writing your web content.
  • Run SMS campaigns. 64% of consumers think companies who text value their time, are progressive, and would recommend them. Encourage your customers to sign up for texts to get exclusive information from your business.

marketing channels - mobile marketing

An example of SMS marketing.

15. Audio and podcast marketing

Nearly 60% of people agree audio is more engaging than other forms of content. Don’t just get eyes on your content, get ears on them too. The emergence of audio across marketing channels in recent years has brought to light the endless audio capabilities businesses now have.

For example, 55% of the U.S. population aged 12 and above listen to podcasts. There is a podcast for just about every niche market out there, so see if you can place an ad for your business on a popular, fitting podcast. Or, start your own podcast to build your brand’s community!

Another way audio has crept into the marketing world is through social media. Many platforms now offer ways to foster communities through virtual chat rooms with designated speakers and listeners. For example, Twitter introduced Twitter Spaces as well as voice tweets. With Twitter Spaces, folks can listen and chat with others about hot topics. Voice tweets are audio clips followers can playback.

By using these platforms, you can discuss your brand while also connecting with your audience.

Audio marketing tips:

  • Write scripts. There’s nothing wrong with preplanning what you will say in your audio content. Writing a script or even loose notes ahead of time can save you from slip-ups if your audio content is being recorded live.
  • Promote your audio clips on other marketing channels. What’s audio content without listeners? Be sure to draw attention to your audio marketing so people know to keep an ear out for it.
  • Practice makes perfect. If your audio efforts don’t take off right away, don’t give up! Keep practicing and putting out audio content, as it will take time to build up a loyal listener base.

marketing channels - screenshot of a twitter space

Source

16. Artificial Intelligence

The forecasted AI growth rate between 2020 and 2027 is 33.2%. Talk about a trendy marketing channel!

A plethora of AI marketing capabilities has become accessible to all businesses just this past year. AI (artificial intelligence) in marketing uses machine learning based on large sets of data to do tasks for us like:

  • Content creation and curation
  • Product or search recommendations
  • Ad targeting
  • Website chatbots
  • Marketing automation
  • And much more!

Trying AI marketing in 2023 could help your business stand out by conveniently connecting with your customers from the comfort of their own homes (or wherever they may be in the world).

AI marketing tips:

  • Try rolling out VR experiences. For example, you can use AI to create VR (virtual reality) ads that might let them try on clothing items, view a venue, or take a test drive completely virtually.
  • Use AI as a time-saving tool. Using AI for tactics like data collection and analysis will take tasks off your plate.
  • Proceed with caution. AI is constantly changing. To avoid any glitches, don’t implement any strategies you haven’t yet tested or gotten comfortable with first.

marketing channels - an example of using ai as a marketing channel for retail

Image source

17. Marketing with website chat

92% of customers feel satisfied with their experience after using live chat, so don’t miss out on this easy website win this year! Adding live chat can work as a bonus marketing channel because it can make suggestions to customers. For example, your chatbot could promote a new product or offer users an exclusive deal.

Live chat tips:

  • Provide options. Be sure your prompts not only include marketing mentions but also have plenty of options for the various needs your web visitors may have.
  • Personalize your bot. Adding a bit of personality to your live chat experience will make your customers’ chat more enjoyable.
  • Run quality checks early on. Be sure to run tests and check that all of your chat’s responses make sense before a customer gets caught up in a nonsensical chat.

marketing channels - example of live chat

Source

18. Print advertising

Although print advertising is a bit more of an “old-school” marketing channel, it’s still a lucrative strategy for many businesses. Print advertising includes tactics like direct mail, advertisements in publications such as newspapers or magazines, flyers, and more.

Print advertising tips:

  • Solidify your creative strategy. Print advertising is all about the visuals you create to pop on your viewer’s page. Plus, your print ad may end up in various different placements, so you’ll need imagery that can flex to many different sizes.
  • Source print advertising inspiration from your competitors. Print advertising may feel a bit different from the digital marketing channels you may be used to doing. To get a feel for what’s going on in your print advertising market, check out some print ad examples to see what strategies might be most effective for your business.

19. TV and radio

We can’t do a marketing channels roundup without a nod to traditional marketing channels like TV and radio. While digital marketing channels should primarily be your focus, TV and radio can help supplement any other online and offline promotions you may be running.

Tips for TV, radio, and similar traditional marketing channels:

  • Use your OTT ads as material for TV ads. Since TV commercials and OTT ads are so similar, you can knock out two marketing channels at once if you use the same video ads across both platforms.
  • Remember the rule of seven. A common mistake with traditional marketing channels is worrying that you’ll overtire your audience. It’s been proven that people need to see or hear something at least seven times in order to recall it later. Try running your traditional marketing channels for a longer period of time than you might with other channels so you can ensure you’re promoting your business as much as possible.

Start off on the right foot with the right marketing channels

Make this year your year to thrive. With so many easy marketing channels to choose from, there’s no reason not to! To recap, here are our top recommended marketing channels for small businesses:

  1. Local SEO
  2. Local listings and online reputation management
  3. Organic social media marketing
  4. Word-of-mouth marketing
  5. Networking and partnerships
  6. Event marketing
  7. Social media advertising
  8. Search advertising
  9. Display ads
  10. OTT ads
  11. Affiliate marketing
  12. Influencer marketing
  13. Email marketing
  14. Mobile marketing
  15. Audio and podcast marketing
  16. Artificial intelligence
  17. Marketing with website chat
  18. Print advertising
  19. TV and radio



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The Important Takeaways from Google I/O 2024

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Google I/O 2024

Google I/O 2024, the Silicon Valley giant’s annual developer conference, brought a bunch of exciting updates and advancements across various Google platforms and services. signalling a new era of intelligent, creative, and responsible technology.

Here’s an in-depth look at the key announcements and features unveiled during the event.

Google Search Gets Smarter

No surprises that one of the biggest stories to come out of Google I/O 2024 is about the enhancement of Google Search. AI Overviews are now being rolled out to all users in the U.S., providing deeper insights with just one search query. This feature leverages Google’s latest AI model, Gemini, allowing users to ask complex questions and receive comprehensive answers.

For example, users can now search for “best yoga or pilates studios in Boston” and not only receive a list of studios, but also specific details such as introductory offers and walking times from their location. This level of detail and integration aims to make search results more actionable and relevant, and improve user experience.

Enhanced Brainstorming Capabilities

Google Search is also becoming a tool for creativity and inspiration. The new brainstorming feature helps users find tailored suggestions for various needs. For example, if someone searches for “anniversary celebration dinner places Dallas,” they will elicit personalized recommendations, complete with categories to explore, such as types of cuisine, ambiance, and special offers.

This enhancement transforms Google Search into more than just an information retrieval tool—it becomes a creative assistant, helping users plan and make decisions with ease and confidence.

Interactive Video Search

Another ground-breaking update is the introduction of Interactive Video Search. This feature allows users to search within video content to find specific insights. Imagine watching a cooking video and being able to search for a particular step or ingredient explanation within the video. This capability deciphers complex video content, making it easier to locate and understand the information presented.

Interactive Video Search is expected to be a game-changer for educational content, tutorials, and entertainment, providing a more dynamic and user-friendly way to engage with video media.

Gemini Tools for Developers

Google is also empowering developers with new tools. The Gemini 1.5 Pro and Flash models are now available in over 200 countries, offering advanced capabilities and integrated collaboration features within Workspace apps like Gmail and Docs. These tools is to enhance productivity and innovation in the development community.

The integration within Workspace means developers can collaborate more effectively, leveraging AI to streamline coding, debugging, and deployment processes. The global rollout ensures developers everywhere have access to the latest technologies to build and improve their applications.

Generative Media Models

Content creation is set to become more intuitive with the introduction of generative media models. Google unveiled Imagen 3 and Veo, tools that allow users to create images and videos from text prompts. This technology is especially useful for marketing campaigns, social media content, and other visual storytelling demands.

With Imagen 3, users can generate high-quality images simply by describing them, while Veo enables the creation of compelling video content from text-based descriptions. These tools lower the barrier to professional-grade content creation, making it accessible to individuals and businesses alike.

Responsible AI Initiatives

Amid all these advancements, Google says it remains committed to the responsible deployment of AI. The introduction of SynthID is a significant step towards easier identification of AI-generated content. SynthID embeds a subtle but detectable watermark in AI-generated images, ensuring transparency and authenticity in digital media.

Additionally, LearnLM is another innovative tool aimed at promoting responsible AI use. It provides educational resources and best practices for developing and deploying AI models, helping developers understand the ethical implications and technical standards required for safe AI usage.

In Summary

Google I/O 2024 showcased a range of innovations that not only enhance user experience but also push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology. From smarter search capabilities and creative brainstorming tools to advanced developer resources and responsible AI practices, Google continues to lead the way in making technology more accessible, intuitive, and ethical.

These updates reflect Google’s ongoing commitment to leveraging AI for the betterment of society, ensuring that their technological advancements are both innovative and responsible. Users and developers alike can look forward to a more connected, efficient, and creative future with these new tools and features.



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Ultimate Guide to Product Data Feed Management

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Ultimate Guide to Product Data Feed Management

From the early days of simple online catalogs to today’s dynamic, data-driven shopping experiences, the e-commerce landscape has seen a monumental shift, driven by advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior. This transformation has not only expanded the reach of retailers but also heightened the competition and complexity of selling online.

Overview of the E-commerce Landscape

The current e-commerce landscape is a vast, interconnected ecosystem. It is one where businesses of all sizes compete to capture the attention and loyalty of digital consumers. 

Ecommerce spans various channels, including online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. It involves social commerce platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. It is conducted by countless individual online stores powered by platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce

Each of these channels offers unique opportunities and challenges. Each demands a particular approach to engaging with potential customers.

As the digital marketplace continues to grow, so does the importance of maintaining a strong online presence. 

For businesses, this means more than just listing products online. It involves creating comprehensive, engaging, and personalized shopping experiences that resonate with consumers across multiple touchpoints.

The Evolution of Online Shopping and the Role of Data

The evolution of online shopping is a story of technological innovation and changing consumer expectations. 

Initially, online shopping offered a convenient alternative to physical stores, allowing consumers to purchase products from the comfort of their homes. 

Over time, the advent of mobile technology, social media, and advanced data analytics has transformed online shopping into an immersive and interactive experience. 

Today, consumers can receive personalized product recommendations, see targeted ads, use augmented reality to “try on” products, and enjoy seamless omnichannel shopping experiences that blur the lines between online and in-store.

At the heart of this evolution is data. 

Data fuels the algorithms that predict shopping behavior, tailor marketing messages, and optimize the online shopping experience. 

Effective product data feed management plays a crucial role in this ecosystem. It involves not just listing products online but strategically managing and optimizing product information, ensuring it reaches the right audience, at the right time, in the right way. 

This process is vital for improving product visibility, enhancing customer experiences, and ultimately driving sales in a crowded and competitive digital marketplace.

As we delve into the intricacies of product data feed management, it’s important to recognize its significance as the backbone of successful e-commerce strategies. 

By understanding and leveraging the power of data, businesses can navigate the complexities of the digital marketplace and create meaningful connections with their customers.

What is Product Data Feed Management?

The ability to efficiently distribute, update, and optimize product information across multiple online channels is paramount. Product data feed management facilitates this critical function. It is a process that stands at the core of successful online retailing.

Definition and Explanation of Product Feeds

A product feed, fundamentally, is a structured file—often in formats like XML, CSV, or JSON—that contains detailed information about the products in an online store’s catalog. 

This file serves as a digital product list, designed to be ingested by various e-commerce platforms, search engines, social media channels, and comparison shopping websites. 

Product feeds include essential details such as product titles, descriptions, images, prices, stock levels, and more—each attribute meticulously organized to meet the specific requirements of different digital channels.

Product data feed management encompasses the creation, maintenance, and optimization of these product feeds. 

It involves regular updates to ensure accuracy of product information, strategic modifications to enhance product visibility and appeal, and careful adherence to the data standards and specifications of each target platform. 

The goal is to streamline the process of listing and advertising products across the web, ensuring that potential customers encounter consistent, accurate, and engaging product presentations, no matter where they find them.

Importance of Product Data in E-commerce

We cannot overstate the significance of product data in e-commerce. In an online marketplace where consumers rely heavily on product information to make purchasing decisions, the quality and presentation of this data directly impact sales performance. 

High-quality product feeds enable:

  • Improved Visibility: Optimized product data feeds help products to surface in search results and feature prominently in comparison shopping engines, directly influencing discoverability.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Detailed, accurate product descriptions and high-quality images help build consumer trust and reduce the likelihood of returns. They provide the necessary information to aid consumers in making informed purchasing decisions, enhancing the overall shopping experience.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: By ensuring product listings are optimized for relevance and appeal (including SEO-friendly product titles and descriptions, compelling images, and competitive pricing), merchants can significantly improve their chances of converting browsers into buyers.
  • Streamlined Operations: Effective data feed management simplifies the process of listing products on multiple channels, reducing manual effort and minimizing the risk of errors. This efficiency is crucial for businesses scaling their online presence across various platforms.

In the context of today’s online shopping environment, where customer engagement and satisfaction are key drivers of success, the role of data feed management extends beyond mere product listings. 

It is about crafting a narrative for each product that resonates with potential buyers, leveraging data to tell compelling stories that captivate and convert. 

As such, product data feed management is a critical component of any e-commerce strategy, ensuring that products are not just seen but also chosen, liked, and purchased.

Why Product Data Feed Management is Important

In the digital marketplace, where competition is fierce and consumer attention is fleeting, the strategic management of product data feeds emerges as a crucial lever for e-commerce success. 

Its importance is multifaceted, impacting everything from how products are discovered to how they’re evaluated by potential customers.

Impact on Visibility and Sales Across Channels

A well-managed product data feed is instrumental in amplifying a product’s visibility across various online channels. 

Each e-commerce platform, marketplace, and comparison shopping engine has its own unique set of requirements for listing products. By meticulously optimizing product feeds to meet these specifications, businesses ensure that their products are not only listed but also positioned favorably within these channels. 

This optimization can include keyword-rich product titles and descriptions, high-quality images, and competitive pricing information, all tailored to align with the search behaviors and preferences of the target audience.

The direct result of increased visibility is, quite naturally, an uplift in sales. 

Products that are easy to find and presented compellingly are more likely to attract clicks and, subsequently, purchases. 

Furthermore, optimized product feeds contribute to more effective and efficient advertising campaigns. By targeting the right consumers with the most relevant and appealing product information, businesses can significantly improve their return on investment (ROI) in marketing, driving both sales and profitability.

Role in Improving Customer Decision-Making and Satisfaction

Beyond the immediate benefits of visibility and sales, product data feed management plays a vital role in enriching the customer’s shopping experience. 

In an online environment devoid of physical touchpoints, product information is the primary means through which consumers interact with and evaluate offerings. 

Detailed and accurate product feeds help bridge the gap between online browsing and the tangible experience of shopping in a store. They provide customers with the information needed to make informed purchasing decisions, reducing uncertainty and the likelihood of dissatisfaction.

High-quality product data feeds also allow for the personalization of the shopping experience. By leveraging data insights, businesses can tailor product recommendations, ads, and promotions to match the specific interests and preferences of their audience. 

This level of personalization enhances customer engagement and loyalty, as shoppers feel understood and valued by the brand. It also streamlines the shopping process, making it easier and more satisfying for customers to find products that meet their needs and desires.

Moreover, effective management of product data feeds ensures consistency across channels, further improving customer trust and confidence. 

When product information, pricing, and availability are synchronized across all platforms, it creates a cohesive and reliable brand experience. This consistency is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and fostering long-term loyalty.

Optimized product feeds are a powerhouse for e-commerce marketing, offering substantial benefits for ad campaigns and search relevancy. These advantages are pivotal in navigating the competitive landscape of online retail, where the ability to capture consumer attention at the right moment can make the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

Benefits for Ad Campaigns

For advertising campaigns, particularly those running on platforms like Google Shopping, Facebook, and Instagram, the quality and optimization of the product feed directly influence the campaign’s effectiveness. 

A well-optimized product feed ensures that ads are not only displayed but also resonate with the target audience. This optimization includes accurate and enticing product descriptions, high-quality images, and the right use of keywords and categories that align with what potential customers are searching for.

An optimized feed allows for more targeted and personalized ad campaigns. 

By segmenting feeds based on product categories, price ranges, or even customer behaviors, businesses can create tailored ad experiences that speak directly to the interests of different audience segments. 

This targeted approach increases the relevance of ads, improving click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates, thereby maximizing the ROI of advertising budgets. 

Furthermore, dynamic remarketing campaigns, which display products that a visitor has previously viewed or shown interest in, rely heavily on the precision and detail of product feeds to re-engage potential customers effectively.

Data feeds play a pivotal role in the integration and success of paid search campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising

Understanding how these feeds interact with paid search platforms can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your advertising efforts, leading to better targeting, higher conversion rates, and improved ROI. 

Here’s an in-depth look at how data feeds work within the context of paid search platforms.

Fundamentals of Data Feeds in Paid Search

At the core of paid search advertising, especially for e-commerce, are product data feeds. 

These feeds serve as the foundation for creating dynamic and highly targeted ads based on the product information stored in your e-commerce platform. 

For platforms like Google Shopping and Microsoft Shopping Campaigns, your product feed is uploaded to their Merchant Center, where it’s used to generate Shopping ads that are displayed across search results and other Google or Microsoft properties.

Structure and Optimization

A product data feed for paid search is typically structured in a CSV, XML, or a Google Sheets format, containing detailed attributes of each product such as title, price, image URL, product ID, and stock status. 

Optimizing these attributes is crucial for the success of your campaigns. 

Effective titles and descriptions that incorporate relevant keywords can improve the visibility of your ads, while high-quality images enhance click-through rates. 

Additionally, accurate pricing and availability information helps to reduce the bounce rate and increase consumer trust.

Dynamic Ad Creation

Paid search platforms utilize the information in your product feed to automatically create ads that are tailored to the search queries of potential customers.

This process involves matching the keywords and product categories in your feed with the terms users are searching for. 

As a result, when someone searches for a product that matches an item in your feed, the platform can dynamically generate an ad that showcases the product, complete with its image, title, and price.

Targeting and Personalization

Data feeds enable sophisticated targeting and personalization options in paid search campaigns. 

By analyzing the data in your feed, these platforms can serve ads to users based on their previous interactions with your website, search history, and purchasing behavior. 

For instance, remarketing campaigns can target users who have viewed specific products on your site but did not make a purchase, showing them ads for those very products as they browse the web or use social media.

Performance Tracking and Optimization

Integrating your product feed with paid search platforms allows for detailed performance tracking at the product level. 

You can see which products are generating clicks, impressions, and conversions, and adjust your feed and campaign settings accordingly. 

This might involve pausing ads for underperforming products, increasing bids for high-value items, or optimizing product titles and descriptions for better performance.

Continuous Updates

To maintain the relevance and effectiveness of your paid search campaigns, it’s vital to keep your product feed updated. 

Changes in product availability, pricing, or promotional offers need to be reflected in your feed in real-time or as close to it as possible. 

Many platforms offer the option to schedule regular feed uploads or enable direct API connections for continuous updates, ensuring that your ads always display the most current information.

Enhancing Search Relevancy

For search engines and online marketplaces, the relevancy of product listings plays a crucial role in visibility. 

Optimized product feeds contribute to higher search relevancy by ensuring that product information is comprehensive, accurate, and keyword-optimized. 

This means that when consumers search for products, the chances of your listings appearing in their search results are significantly increased.

Moreover, detailed and well-structured product feeds help algorithms better understand and categorize your products, making it more likely for them to show up in relevant searches and for related products. 

This alignment with consumer search intent not only boosts visibility but also drives more qualified traffic to your listings—consumers who are actively seeking what you’re offering.

Optimizing product feeds for search relevancy also involves updating feeds regularly to reflect changes in inventory, pricing, and product details. This consistency ensures that search engines and marketplaces have the most current information, further improving the accuracy of search results. 

It reduces the likelihood of customer frustration caused by outdated information, such as discontinued products or incorrect prices, enhancing the overall shopping experience and fostering trust in your brand.

Who Needs to Conduct Product Data Feed Management?

While product data feed management is a universal necessity in e-commerce, the scale and approach can vary significantly based on several factors.

Differentiation by Business Size, Catalog Complexity, and Sales Channels

Small Businesses and Startups: Small businesses, especially those with a limited number of products, may initially manage their product feeds manually or with minimal automation. 

However, even small operations can benefit from basic product data feed management practices to ensure their products are accurately listed across preferred sales channels. 

As they grow, the complexity and time investment required to manage feeds manually can quickly become impractical.

Mid-sized Businesses: For mid-sized businesses with larger catalogs and sales across multiple channels, the complexity of managing product feeds escalates. 

These businesses often deal with dynamic inventories, frequent promotions, and the need to optimize product listings for different platforms. 

At this stage, the efficiency, accuracy, and scalability provided by a dedicated product feed management solution become increasingly critical.

Large Enterprises: Large enterprises with extensive product catalogs, global markets, and sales across numerous channels face significant challenges in maintaining consistency, accuracy, and optimization of product data feeds. 

Advanced product feed management solutions, often customized and integrated with other enterprise systems, are essential to manage the scale and complexity of their operations effectively.

Indications Your Business Needs a Data Feed Management Solution

Expanding Product Catalog: As your product range grows, so does the complexity of managing each product’s data. A solution that can automate updates and optimize listings becomes invaluable.

Increasing Sales Channels: Selling across multiple platforms (e.g., your website, Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping) introduces specific requirements and complexities for each channel. Managing feeds for each platform manually can become overwhelming.

Time and Resource Constraints: If updating product listings is consuming a disproportionate amount of time or if errors are becoming more frequent due to manual updates, it’s time to consider a more streamlined approach.

Marketing and Sales Challenges: If you’re finding it difficult to effectively target or retarget potential customers through ad campaigns due to poor data quality or if you’re unable to leverage dynamic pricing and promotions effectively, a product data feed management solution can offer significant advantages.

International Expansion: Selling in multiple countries requires tailoring product information to different languages, currencies, and cultural nuances. Managing these variations without a robust feed management system can limit your ability to scale globally.

Inventory Management Issues: Difficulty in synchronizing inventory levels across different channels, leading to overselling or stock discrepancies, indicates a need for better feed management.

How to Do Product Data Feed Management

Effective product data feed management is a multifaceted process, requiring attention to detail, strategic planning, and the right tools. Here’s a comprehensive approach to managing your product data feeds efficiently and effectively.

1. Assess Your Current Data Feed Status

  • Audit Your Product Data: Begin by evaluating the quality and completeness of your current product data. Identify gaps, inaccuracies, or areas lacking optimization, such as missing product descriptions, poor-quality images, or inadequate use of keywords.
  • Understand Channel Requirements: Each sales channel has its own set of requirements for product feeds. Familiarize yourself with these specifications to ensure your product data aligns with each channel’s format, data fields, and quality standards.

2. Optimize Your Product Data

  • Enhance Product Titles and Descriptions: Make them descriptive and keyword-rich to improve search visibility and relevancy. Tailor content to match the search behavior of your target audience.
  • Improve Image Quality: Use high-resolution images and ensure they accurately represent the product. Consider multiple angles and use cases to provide a comprehensive visual overview.
  • Standardize and Enrich Data: Ensure consistent use of categories, types, and attributes across your product range. Add any missing information that could enhance the listing, such as dimensions, materials, or special features
  • Map Your Product Attributes to Channel Specifications: Create a mapping document that aligns your product attributes with the requirements of each sales channel. This ensures that critical product information is translated correctly and efficiently into each channel’s specific format, minimizing the risk of errors and omissions.
  • Utilize High-Quality Data Sources: Ensure your product information is being pulled from high-quality, reliable sources within your organization. This might involve integrating with your ERP or inventory management system to access the most up-to-date and accurate product data.
  • Implement Rich Media: Beyond standard images, consider incorporating videos, 360-degree views, and other rich media into your product feeds. This can significantly improve engagement and conversion rates by providing a more immersive product experience.
  • Optimize for Mobile: Given the increasing prevalence of mobile shopping, ensure your product feeds are optimized for mobile platforms. This includes mobile-friendly images, concise and impactful product titles, and descriptions that are easy to read on smaller screens.
  • Adopt Schema Markup: Utilize schema markup for your online store’s pages to help search engines better understand and display your product information in search results, potentially increasing visibility and click-through rates.
  • Ensure Cross-Channel Consistency: Regularly review your product feeds across all channels to ensure information is consistent and up-to-date. Discrepancies in pricing, availability, or product details can erode customer trust and hurt your brand’s reputation.
  • Regularly Refresh Promotional Content: Update your product feeds to reflect current promotions, seasonal offers, or limited-time discounts. This keeps your listings fresh and encourages repeat visits and purchases.
  • Implement Dynamic Pricing: Where possible, use dynamic pricing strategies within your product feeds to remain competitive. Adjust prices based on market demand, competitor pricing, and inventory levels to optimize sales and margins.

3. Select the Right Product Feed Management Tool

  • Evaluate Features and Compatibility: Choose a tool that not only offers feed creation and optimization features but also integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform and preferred sales channels.
  • Consider Scalability: The tool should be able to grow with your business, handling an increasing number of products and complexity without performance issues.
  • Look for Automation Capabilities: To save time and reduce errors, opt for a solution that automates routine tasks like feed updates and inventory management.

4. Implement Feed Management Best Practices

  • Regularly Update Your Feeds: Ensure your product feeds are refreshed frequently to reflect inventory changes, price updates, and any modifications to product details.
  • Monitor Feed Performance: Use analytics to track how your products are performing across different channels. Identify trends, such as top-performing products or channels, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Test and Optimize: Continuously experiment with different aspects of your product data (e.g., titles, descriptions, images) to see what resonates best with your audience and leads to higher conversion rates.
  • Conduct Competitive Analysis: Regularly review your competitors’ product listings on key channels to identify trends and strategies that may be effective. This could include promotional tactics, use of specific keywords, or presentation styles. Understanding what works for competitors can offer valuable insights to refine your own product feed strategy.
  • Engage in Continuous Learning: Stay informed about the latest trends and best practices in e-commerce and product data management. Participating in webinars, following industry blogs, and joining professional groups can provide ongoing education and insights into how to manage your product feeds more effectively.

5. Stay Compliant and Up-to-Date

  • Keep Abreast of Channel Updates: Sales channels often update their feed requirements and algorithms. Stay informed about these changes to ensure your feeds remain compliant and optimized.
  • Adapt to Market Trends: Be responsive to shifts in consumer behavior and market trends. Update your product data to highlight relevant features or benefits that meet evolving customer needs.

Product Data Feed Management Tools and Services.

There are many companies who offer some form software that aids the potentially laborious process of product data management. Some only work for certain marketplaces, others are limited to certain ecommerce platforms like shopify or woocommerce.

Amongst them you should be able to find a suitable partner to manage your product data feed though.

Feedonomics (https://feedonomics.com/) offers a leading full-service data feed management platform that optimizes and syndicates product data across a wide range of digital marketing channels and marketplaces. 

Their service emphasizes improving feed quality for better ad performance and e-commerce success.

Adsmurai (https://www.adsmurai.com/) provides advanced marketing technology solutions with a focus on optimizing social media advertising campaigns. 

They offer tools for creative management, campaign automation, and performance analysis across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

FeedSpark (https://www.feedspark.com/) specializes in data feed optimization and management, helping businesses improve their online presence and sales through better product visibility across shopping channels and search engines.

ShoppingIQ (https://www.shoppingiq.com/) offers a technology platform geared towards optimizing e-commerce operations, particularly in managing and optimizing product feeds for shopping comparison engines and marketplaces to enhance ROI.

DataFeedWatch (https://www.datafeedwatch.com/) is a comprehensive data feed management tool designed to help merchants and agencies optimize and customize their product feeds for over 1000 shopping channels and marketplaces to improve campaign performance.

WakeupData (https://www.wakeupdata.com/) provides a powerful feed management platform that allows e-commerce businesses to transform, optimize, and automate their product data feeds to increase sales and performance across multiple marketing channels.

Channable (https://www.channable.com/) offers an e-commerce tool for feed management, PPC automation, and order synchronization, helping online retailers and marketers streamline their sales and advertising operations across various platforms.

Feedoptimise (https://www.feedoptimise.com/) provides services for managing and optimizing product feeds for e-commerce businesses, focusing on maximizing product visibility and performance across shopping channels and marketplaces.

SellerApp (https://www.sellerapp.com/) specializes in e-commerce analytics and intelligence, offering tools and services that help sellers optimize their presence and sales on platforms like Amazon with data-driven insights and strategies.

Scale Insights (https://scaleinsights.com/) is platform focused around Amazon PPC which helps their customers scale and automate their advertising campaigns on the mega successful ecomerce marketplace.

Arthy (https://www.getarthy.com/) is another Amazon focused tool. It’s broader than just feeds offering functionality around managing reviews, inventory etc.

Adverso (https://adverso.io/) is a platform to manage, optimize and track your Amazon campaigns smoothly with a solution designed for Amazon teams & agencies

ExportFeed (https://www.exportfeed.com/) specializes in creating and managing product feeds for e-commerce businesses, ensuring their products are listed across multiple shopping channels and marketplaces efficiently.

Lengow (https://www.lengow.com/) provides an e-commerce automation platform that helps merchants optimize their product listings and manage their sales across various online channels, including marketplaces, comparison shopping engines, and affiliate platforms.

Rithum (https://www.rithum.com/) came about from the combination of CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor and claim to be a company providing end-to-end platform and network capabilities that create more durable, sustainable, e-commerce businesses to the leading brands, retailers, and suppliers of the world.

Baselinker (https://baselinker.com/) offers an integrated e-commerce platform that connects online stores with marketplaces, couriers, and sales support tools, automating sales processes and order management to increase efficiency.

Versafeed (https://www.versafeed.com/) provides a managed service for optimizing and managing product data feeds, focusing on enhancing product visibility and performance on search engines and shopping channels.

GoDataFeed (https://www.godatafeed.com/) offers a cloud-based feed management platform designed to simplify and automate the process of syndicating product data across a multitude of shopping channels, improving reach and efficiency.

AdNabu (https://www.adnabu.com/) specializes in Google Ads automation, offering software solutions that help e-commerce businesses optimize their Google Shopping campaigns for better performance and higher returns.

Relayter (https://www.relayter.com/) Simplify your marketing production for promotions and products. Automate creative work and streamline content workflows.

Adcore (https://www.adcore.com/technologies/feeditor/) provides a suite of marketing automation tools designed to help advertisers streamline their digital advertising efforts, with a focus on simplifying campaign management and optimization. Feeditor is there feed management tool.

Productsup (https://www.productsup.com/) offers a leading cloud-based platform for product content integration, syndication, and feed management, empowering businesses to manage and optimize their product data across various e-commerce channels.



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PPC

Advanced Google Ads Techniques To Master In 2024

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Advanced Google Ads Techniques To Master In 2024

We’re nearly halfway through 2024, and already we PPC heroes have experienced a plethora of changes to get our heads around. How can we cut through the noise and focus on the specific tactics that will make an impact for the better?

Today we’ll take a look at a few advanced Google Ads techniques tips and tricks to master in 2024 – everything from making account management easier to tailoring your messaging at scale, and making your campaigns as effective and efficient as possible.

1. Auto-apply (some) recommendations

Fighting those pesky ‘optimization score’ reminders can be time-consuming – especially when they’re not always applicable. With targets to hit and maintain for Google’s partnership and support, it’s important to keep our optimization scores high at 80% or above.

Google’s optimization recommendations are split into the following categories:

  • Ads and assets
  • Automated campaigns
  • Bidding and budgets
  • Keywords and targeting
  • Repairs
  • Measurement

Each of these will have a unique score that will affect your overall optimization total for each of your accounts. Repairs are usually critical fixes, while minor keyword tweaks may come further down the priority list. (You can dismiss recommendations if they’re irrelevant, but I recommend reading the details behind each of them before rejecting them.)

To save time on manual campaign management, you can ask Google to auto-apply some of these tweaks for you – with a thorough ‘auto-applied recommendations’  history as well as optional email alerts. 

I recommend adding these four as must-have auto-optimizations:

  1. Removing redundant keywords (keywords that have a close match within the same ad group and bidding strategy that performs better)
  2. Removing non-serving keywords (keywords with no impressions over a set period)*
  3. Updating keywords bids to meet ‘top of page’ bids etc. (You can still set an upper limit on this)
  4. Use optimized ad rotation (to show the best-performing ads more often instead of all ads within the same ad group equally, despite performance)

*As of June 2024, Google will automatically pause low-activity keywords: “Positive keywords in search ads campaigns are considered low-activity if they were created over 13 months ago and have zero impressions over the past 13 months.”

To opt-in to certain auto-applied recommendations:

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon 
  2. Click Recommendations.

At the upper right-hand corner, click Auto-apply, and select which recommendations to auto-apply.

2. Drive personalization through audiences

One way to drive personalization via search ads is by leveraging Google’s audiences. While marketers of yesteryear used to rely on keywords and geotargeting, today Google has a multitude of interested audiences to exploit across search, performance max, display, video, and demand gen campaigns. Don’t forget, audiences can be applied with both the observation setting and the targeting setting. Consider adding audiences to the observation setting first, adjusting to targeting once you have sufficient data.

By applying the following audience types to your campaigns and ad groups, you can double down on efforts to reach your target audiences through search.

Custom audiences

Create your own custom audience based on signals such as interests, behaviors, website viewing history (by URL), and app history. Think competitor brands or products, industry-related websites and apps, and recent relevant Google searches.

You could use custom audiences to personalize your ad copy on campaigns where you’re targeting customers of your competitors. For example, by encouraging them to ‘switch’ to your brand, product, or service, rather than treating them like a first-time purchaser. You could focus on the benefits of your product or service over the one they currently have, rather than focusing your ad copy on educating the audience from scratch.

In-market audiences

In-market audiences are a must-have in 2024. Curated by Google, these audiences actively research a specific product or service and are actively considering their options ahead of purchasing. 

While there isn’t a master list of in-market audiences (because many of these are hidden!), head to the Audiences tab on your current Google Ads campaigns. Click “Edit Audience Segments”, then the Browse tab, and navigate to In-Market Audiences. You can look at all available groupings by industry, and add the most relevant ones to your campaigns. You can also use this function to type in keywords under the Search tab, and type in relevant keywords to find relevant in-market audience suggestions to apply.

Knowing these audiences are already convinced of the benefits of the general product or service you’re advertising, you can use your ad copy to highlight the USPs of your brand.

RLSAs

While the use of RLSAs (remarketing lists for search ads) has dropped since their arrival in 2013, they still have a place in an effective PPC strategy in 2024. By creating an RLSA, you can personalize your ad copy at scale.

The use of RLSAs is particularly applicable for brands with lengthier sales cycles, or longer customer consideration and comparison stages. Your brand could be 1 of 5 that a consumer is considering buying a hot tub from – it’s uncommon that a hot tub is an impulse purchase decision. A user may use Google to search multiple times for generic hot tub terms, and may whittle this down to certain brands based on their needs. Once a user who is actively looking for a hot tub has visited your website without converting, upon their next Google search, your ad may contain a coupon code, a complimentary gift item, or other differentiating ad copy to encourage them to purchase through your website.

It’s important with RLSAs to ensure that you have separate ad groups or campaigns. Also to separate RLSA audiences from other custom, in-market or demographic-based audiences.

Remember to test all new audiences by adding them as ‘observation’ audiences, before switching to the ‘targeting’ setting.

3. Harness your data

One of the more critical elements of a top-performing PPC campaign is data. You can have the best keywords, ad copy, and landing page in the world, but you need the right data to meet your goals.

A big data piece for 2024 is the perfection of conversion tracking, conversion events, and key events. With enhanced conversions also forcing their way to the fore, Google is no longer letting a lack of data confuse the attribution story.

At one time it was best practice to aim for a single conversion goal across all campaigns. In 2024, it’s important to measure a mixture of lighter conversion events too. For example, measuring PDF downloads and highly engaged video views on the path to a lead form submission. Or tracking customers who have abandoned their carts. Not only do these signals give you a clearer picture of the path to conversion, but these lighter goals can better guide Google’s machine learning and automated bidding strategy efforts.

Not only is conversion tracking crucial to success, but your conversion settings are key. Review the conversions list on your Google Ads account and check each goal for whether it’s a primary or secondary, or account default conversion setting. Having multiple account-default primary conversion goals will make it harder for Google to auto-optimize conversion-based bidding strategies. Choose one or two must-haves to keep as your primary conversion goal, and set the rest to secondary conversion goals.

4. Stop working on your Google Ads in isolation

One of the most valuable traits of a top-performing PPC manager is their knowledge of where PPC fits within the marketing funnel and wider marketing mix. Traditionally, PPC tactics have been assigned a bottom-of-funnel or lower-funnel position in the marketing mix. 

In 2024, we need to adapt our thinking. Google Ads is no longer a BOF-only strategy. In fact, Google Ads can generate upper-funnel, mid-funnel, and lower-funnel results with the right strategy, campaign type, and goal tracking in place. 

Not only that but Google Ads can support a multitude of cross-channel activities. You can use Google Ads to:

  • Drive brand awareness and consideration on YouTube and other video partner platforms
  • Capture brand demand generated from activity on social platforms such as Meta, TikTok, or Snapchat
  • Similarly, capture brand demand generated from offline or traditional channels such as TV advertising, billboards, or print media
  • Remarket to website traffic (from all sources) to generate conversions
  • Boost brand loyalty, cross-sell, and up-sell opportunities using current customer data

This is another reason why data-driven attribution is a must-have in 2024. Today, Google Ads can influence multiple customer touchpoints. Last-click attribution is no longer an effective, representative, or scientific way of measuring the success of Google Ads activity.

5. Perfect your exclusions

For peak efficiency, exclusions are a must-have throughout your account. Particularly with the increased push for automated campaigns and campaign management that we’re experiencing. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re only running search or performance max activity. Exclusions are almost always a part of an efficient campaign structure. The exclusions on your account might include negative keywords, specific audience exclusions (such as remarketing and already-converted audiences), brand exclusions, geotargeting exclusions, or placement exclusions.

Common negative keywords to consider may include:

  • Free
  • Jobs
  • Download
  • Cheap
  • How to
  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Sample
  • Guide
  • Logo
  • Resource
  • DIY

Without exclusions, you may find your ads are appearing to the wrong audiences, next to questionable or harmful content, or even that your ads are being triggered by irrelevant search terms entirely. 

Summary 

In 2024, there is a lot of noise in PPC advertising. By getting to grips with the above fundamentals of a healthy Google Ads account – targeting, personalization, data, simpler campaign management techniques, and adding relevant exclusions – you’ll be able to successfully navigate the complexities of managing your accounts at an advanced level.



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