Connect with us

SEO

Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World

Published

on

Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World

2023 was a particularly transformative year for search, witnessing significant advancements in search engine algorithms, artificial intelligence integration, and user experience enhancements.

Understanding the mechanics of each search engine goes beyond mere theoretical knowledge; it’s a strategic imperative for anyone looking to enhance their website’s visibility and drive traffic.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the seven leading search engines that dominate the market, offering an insightful look into the latest AI advancements reshaping the search landscape.

Additionally, the article features curated links to top resources and articles, offering valuable strategies for effectively marketing to and monetizing these platforms.

This well-rounded approach ensures readers gain a thorough understanding of the current state of search engines and how to leverage their potential in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing.

1. Google

Screenshot from Google.comScreenshot from Google.com

With over 81.74% of the search market share, one hardly needs to introduce readers to Google. However, it clearly needs to head up any list of search engines.

Created as a research project in 1996 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, they offered to sell their engine in 1999 to Excite for a whopping $750,000. The offer was rejected, putting that decision at the top of my list of “bad business calls.”

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is now worth about $1.764 trillion as of this writing.

Apart from powering its own search results, Google also provides the search results for a wide array of other engines, including the old favorite Ask.com.

Pros & Cons

The big appeal to ranking on Google is the massive potential traffic.

The downside is that everyone else wants this traffic, making organic search on Google the most competitive and paid search often much more expensive than on other sites.

Further, many argue that Google is moving searchers away from clicking through to websites and toward fulfilling their needs and intents directly on the Google website via SERP features like:

  • Featured Snippets.
  • Instant Answers.
  • Local Pack.
  • Image Pack.
  • People Also Ask.
  • Google Ads.
  • Shopping Ads.
  • Product Comparisons.
  • Top Products.
  • Related Searches.
  • Carousels.
  • Tweets.
  • Google Hotels.
  • Google Flights.

Thus making the competition more costly with less potential reward.

Additionally, the recent introduction of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is poised to create more challenges for marketers, as it will provide an interactive and dynamic search experience by using AI to generate content and answers directly within search results.

This could include synthesized text or composited images that are created in response to specific queries.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable resources on marketing on Google can be found at:

2. YouTube

Screenshot from youtube.comScreenshot from YouTubeScreenshot from youtube.com

YouTube was founded in 2005 by veterans of PayPal and purchased just over a year later by none other than Google, giving it control over the top two search engines on this list.

YouTube is the second largest search engine, with over 2.5 billion logged-in users per month and over 1 billion hours of video watched on the platform each day.

If you’re curious about the first video uploaded (which has over 300 million views), it’s a 19-second clip of co-founder Jawed Karim at the zoo.

Not exactly MTV playing “Video Killed The Radio Star,” but it got the job done.

Pros & Cons

As with Google, it’s easy to see the allure of such massive traffic, but that’s also a pitfall for marketers.

Using YouTube as a vehicle for traffic cannot be underestimated in its impact – if successful.

However, considering that more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it can be challenging to stand out.

With paid opportunities under the Google Ads system, it can also get pricey to compete on that front.

That said, if you can get the attention of your target demographic on YouTube with amazing campaigns such as those by MrBeast or Blendtec, you can get incredible exposure.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable pieces on marketing on YouTube can be found at:

3. Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon.comScreenshot from AmazonScreenshot from Amazon.com

Amazon was launched in 1995 and is considered one of the first large companies to sell goods online.

It started out selling books online but expanded rapidly. In 1999, founder Jeff Bezos won Time’s Person of the Year for making online shopping popular and accessible.

So successful is Amazon that almost half of all online shopping searches begin not at Google (31%) but at Amazon (50%). Amazon’s A9 algorithm is tailored for ecommerce, focusing on purchase intent and user behavior.

Amazon’s acquisition of Cloostermans, a leader in supply chain mechatronics, significantly enhances its warehouse automation capabilities and, coupled with the acquisition of iRobot, a robot company, this suggests we’ll continue to see the company’s influence and expansion further in the future.

Pros & Cons

The pro, as with Google, is obvious: scale.

If you sell blue widgets and you want to be where people search for them, then you want to be on Amazon.

In fact, some can argue, based on the numbers, that having a ton of great and useful content might help you rank on Google and get all those folks trying to figure out what blue widgets are and which one they need – but unless you’re on Amazon, you won’t be where they are when they’re actually looking to convert.

The downside is that the competition is fierce, the pricing and other details are easy to compare vs. competing products, and the cost of selling on Amazon can get pretty high at times.

Your unique value-adds are difficult to convey in a product-centric system. And developments such as Amazon’s decision to slash affiliate payouts introduce additional challenges.

Entering early can be difficult if you don’t have a unique product, as sales and reviews are important for rankings.

For the same reason, well-established companies with good products and reputations can hold their placements well.

There are also CPC options for product promotion. It can be pricey, but you’re also getting the searcher at the buy end of the cycle, so what engine isn’t?

Alexa’s impact on searches and sales is also an area to watch.

To prepare yourself for the possible scenario where Amazon wins (or at least does well in the personal assistant race), the third article below discusses it further.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable pieces on marketing on Amazon can be found at:

4. Microsoft Bing

Screenshot from Bing.comScreenshot from Bing.comScreenshot from Bing.com

Bing replaced MSN Search as Microsoft’s answer to Google launched in 2009. It currently has 3.38% of the search market share worldwide and 7.73% in the US.

In recent times, Bing has made significant advancements, particularly with the introduction and development of Bing Chat, recently renamed as Copilot. It allows users to engage in a dialogue with the search engine, posing questions and receiving responses in a conversational format.

Bing has been making a lot of plays in the advertising space in their effort to catch up with Google, adding a number of features to Microsoft Ads and launching pubCenter, an analog of Google AdSense – though they are generally all in efforts to play catch up or bring its system in line with Google’s for import ease and manager familiarity.

Pros & Cons

While Microsoft Bing has innovated with AI chat capabilities and offers unique features, its growth in market share is hindered by the dominant position of Google.

One of the key factors influencing Bing’s market position is the browser ecosystem. Google Chrome, being the most popular web browser globally with 64% market share, naturally drives users towards using Google Search.

Safari, the default browser on Apple devices, also plays a role in Bing’s market challenges. As Safari comes pre-set with Google as its default search engine, the majority of Apple device users are more likely to use Google Search.

While Microsoft Bing doesn’t have the market share that Google has, it is respectable in many markets, including the US and the UK.

Organically, its algorithms aren’t as sophisticated as Google’s.

This gap in sophistication tends to make them easier to understand, predict, and optimize for. While this won’t be an indefinite state, it’s likely to be true for the short-term future.

Due to the lower traffic, fewer SEO pros are vying for the top 10 positions and studying algorithms, providing good ROI for those who do.

On the ad side, there are less sophisticated systems to work with. Due to the lower volume and ease of setup from existing Google Ads campaigns, the lower traffic can easily be made up for by the lower CPC.

Though from experience, I do have to warn you, its understanding of close variants would be laughable if it didn’t bleed so much money. That aside, I have found the ROI can often be better on Microsoft Bing, though the number of conversions is often far lower.

Note: This isn’t to say to simply copy your Google Ads campaigns into Microsoft Ads and be done with it. Each engine needs to be managed individually for its CPC and demographics (resulting in different conversion rates, etc.). However, copying campaigns can greatly speed up the setup process.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable pieces on marketing on Bing can be found at:

5. TikTok

Screenshot from TikTokScreenshot from TikTokScreenshot from TikTok

TikTok, with over 1.6 billion users worldwide, is increasingly being utilized as a search engine, as an increasing number of Gen Z individuals are now using TikTok for their search needs.

It is the leading social media platform in terms of the duration users spend on it.

Statistics show that, on average, users globally who have an Android device dedicate approximately 31 and a half hours each month to browsing and engaging on TikTok.

Globally, users are turning to TikTok not just for entertainment but for information and discovery, challenging the traditional dominance of search engines like Google.

Pros & Cons

TikTok’s emergence as a search engine is characterized by high user engagement, with its visually appealing and trend-centric content resonating particularly with younger audiences.

Its adaptability to current trends allows TikTok to provide timely and relevant information.

However, the platform faces challenges regarding the reliability and depth of information, with less transparent search algorithms compared to traditional search engines like Google.

Additionally, while TikTok’s ad capabilities are engaging, they might not match the advanced targeting and analytics offered by Google’s established advertising system.

Optimization Tips And Resources

6. Baidu

Screenshot from Baidu.comScreenshot from BaiduScreenshot from Baidu.com

Baidu was founded in 2000 and is the dominant search engine in China, with over 66.52% market share, where Google comes in at 2.34% and Bing at 13.42%.

A pivotal moment in Baidu’s AI journey was its showcase at the WAVE SUMMIT 2023, where it announced substantial enhancements to ERNIE Bot, its knowledge-enhanced large language model (LLM), which has 100 million users as of now.

Outside of China, Baidu holds little influence. Within the country, Baidu powers 3.3 billion searches per day.

Pros & Cons

The downside to Baidu is that it only gives access to one market. The upside is that that market is huge.

That said, it’s critical to understand that accessing the Chinese market is not like accessing any other (such is the curse of international SEO).

The visuals, verbiage, and customs are entirely different than other markets, and Google Translate isn’t going to help you win any customers over.

To access the Chinese market via Baidu, you need someone on staff who speaks the language and understands marketing to the culture (not just “someone on my team who took two years of Mandarin in high school”).

Overall, the organic algorithms are more simplistic than Google’s, and its paid systems can be easier once you’re set up – but that setup is more difficult if you reside outside China.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable pieces on marketing on Baidu can be found at:

7. Yandex

Screenshot from Yandex.comScreenshot from YandexScreenshot from Yandex.com

Yandex has its roots in a project started by two Russian developers to aid in the classification of patents in 1990 under the company Arkadia.

The term Yandex was adopted in 1993, standing for “Yet Another iNDEXer.” The Yandex.ru domain was launched in 1997. It currently powers about 69.79% of all searches in Russia and 1.78% globally.

On January 27, 2023, approximately 44GB of Yandex’s source code was leaked, providing an unprecedented look into the inner workings of the search engine, including its algorithmic structure from A to Z.

This leak was significant not only due to its size but also because it exposed over 17,800 ranking factors used by Yandex for website ranking in search results.

Pros & Cons

As with most smaller engines (compared to Google, at least), there is less traffic on Yandex – but the competition is lower, both organically and in paid.

The algorithms used by Yandex are less sophisticated than Google’s and well known; thus, easier to assess and optimize for.

Now the bad news: While Yandex’s algorithms are less sophisticated than Google’s, they have elements that make it difficult for outsiders – including a higher weighting on geolocation.

The paid system is obviously more flexible in this regard, and compared to Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Bing, it tends to be less expensive per click.

For example, ranking #1 for “casino” would cost over $55 per click in the US and only $0.82 on Yandex. Of course, that’s an English word, but even the Russian “казино” is only $1.54.

Optimization Tips

A few valuable pieces on marketing on Yandex can be found at:

Conclusion

Understanding the nuances of different search engines is essential for effective digital marketing and SEO strategies.

Platforms like YouTube and TikTok are redefining what it means to online search, extending beyond traditional text-based queries to multimedia content.

Meanwhile, engines like Baidu and Yandex cater to specific regional markets with tailored functionalities.

As we continue to witness technological advancements and shifts in user behavior, the landscape of online search and advertising will keep evolving.

Marketers and SEO professionals must stay informed and adaptable to leverage these platforms effectively.

Those interested in exploring further insights can read our article about Google alternatives.

This resource offers a broader perspective on the diverse range of search engines available, providing valuable knowledge for those looking to expand their digital marketing vision.

More resources: 


Featured Image Credit: Search Engine Journal/Paulo Bobita



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Google Dials Back AI Overviews In Search Results, Study Finds

Published

on

By

Photo of a mobile device in mans hand with generative google AI Overview on the screen.

According to new research, Google’s AI-generated overviews have undergone significant adjustments since the initial rollout.

The study from SE Ranking analyzed 100,000 keywords and found Google has greatly reduced the frequency of AI overviews.

However, when they appear, they’re more detailed than they were previously.

The study digs into which topics and industries are more likely to get an AI overview. It also looks at how the AI snippets interact with other search features like featured snippets and ads.

Here’s an overview of the findings and what they mean for your SEO efforts.

Declining Frequency Of AI Overviews

In contrast to pre-rollout figures, 8% of the examined searches now trigger an AI Overview.

This represents a 52% drop compared to January levels.

Yevheniia Khromova, the study’s author, believes this means Google is taking a more measured approach, stating:

“The sharp decrease in AI Overview presence likely reflects Google’s efforts to boost the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI-generated answers.”

Longer AI Overviews

Although the frequency of AI overviews has decreased, the ones that do appear provide more detailed information.

The average length of the text has grown by nearly 25% to around 4,342 characters.

In another notable change, AI overviews now link to fewer sources on average – usually just four links after expanding the snippet.

However, 84% still include at least one domain from that query’s top 10 organic search results.

Niche Dynamics & Ranking Factors

The chances of getting an AI overview vary across different industries.

Searches related to relationships, food and beverages, and technology were most likely to trigger AI overviews.

Sensitive areas like healthcare, legal, and news had a low rate of showing AI summaries, less than 1%.

Longer search queries with ten words were more likely to generate an AI overview, with a 19% rate indicating that AI summaries are more useful for complex information needs.

Search terms with lower search volumes and lower cost-per-click were more likely to display AI summaries.

Other Characteristics Of AI Overviews

The research reveals that 45% of AI overviews appear alongside featured snippets, often sourced from the exact domains.

Around 87% of AI overviews now coexist with ads, compared to 73% previously, a statistic that could increase competition for advertising space.

What Does This Mean?

SE Ranking’s research on AI overviews has several implications:

  1. Reduced Risk Of Traffic Losses: Fewer searches trigger AI Overviews that directly answer queries, making organic listings less likely to be demoted or receive less traffic.
  2. Most Impacted Niches: AI overviews appear more in relationships, food, and technology niches. Publishers in these sectors should pay closer attention to Google’s AI overview strategy.
  3. Long-form & In-Depth Content Essential: As AI snippets become longer, companies may need to create more comprehensive content beyond what the overviews cover.

Looking Ahead

While the number of AI overviews has decreased recently, we can’t assume this trend will continue.

AI overviews will undoubtedly continue to transform over time.

It’s crucial to monitor developments closely, try different methods of dealing with them, and adjust game plans as needed.


Featured Image: DIA TV/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

10 Tips on How to Rock a Small PPC Budget

Published

on

By

10 Tips on How to Rock a Small PPC Budget

Many advertisers have a tight budget for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, making it challenging to maximize results.

One of the first questions that often looms large is, “How much should we spend?” It’s a pivotal question, one that sets the stage for the entire PPC strategy.

Read on for tips to get started or further optimize budgets for your PPC program to maximize every dollar spent.

1. Set Expectations For The Account

With a smaller budget, managing expectations for the size and scope of the account will allow you to keep focus.

A very common question is: How much should our company spend on PPC?

To start, you must balance your company’s PPC budget with the cost, volume, and competition of keyword searches in your industry.

You’ll also want to implement a well-balanced PPC strategy with display and video formats to engage consumers.

First, determine your daily budget. For example, if the monthly budget is $2,000, the daily budget would be set at $66 per day for the entire account.

The daily budget will also determine how many campaigns you can run at the same time in the account because that $66 will be divided up among all campaigns.

Be aware that Google Ads and Microsoft Ads may occasionally exceed the daily budget to maximize results. The overall monthly budget, however, should not exceed the Daily x Number of Days in the Month.

Now that we know our daily budget, we can focus on prioritizing our goals.

2. Prioritize Goals

Advertisers often have multiple goals per account. A limited budget will also limit the number of campaigns – and the number of goals – you should focus on.

Some common goals include:

  • Brand awareness.
  • Leads.
  • Sales.
  • Repeat sales.

In the example below, the advertiser uses a small budget to promote a scholarship program.

They are using a combination of leads (search campaign) and awareness (display campaign) to divide up a daily budget of $82.

Screenshot from author, May 2024

The next several features can help you laser-focus campaigns to allocate your budget to where you need it most.

Remember, these settings will restrict traffic to the campaign. If you aren’t getting enough traffic, loosen up/expand the settings.

3. Location Targeting

Location targeting is a core consideration in reaching the right audience and helps manage a small ad budget.

To maximize a limited budget, you should focus on only the essential target locations where your customers are located.

While that seems obvious, you should also consider how to refine that to direct the limited budget to core locations. For example:

  • You can refine location targeting by states, cities, ZIP codes, or even a radius around your business.
  • Choosing locations to target should be focused on results.
  • The smaller the geographic area, the less traffic you will get, so balance relevance with budget.
  • Consider adding negative locations where you do not do business to prevent irrelevant clicks that use up precious budget.

If the reporting reveals targeted locations where campaigns are ineffective, consider removing targeting to those areas. You can also try a location bid modifier to reduce ad serving in those areas.

managing ppc budget by location interactionScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

4. Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling also helps to control budget by only running ads on certain days and at certain hours of the day.

With a smaller budget, it can help to limit ads to serve only during hours of business operation. You can choose to expand that a bit to accommodate time zones and for searchers doing research outside of business hours.

If you sell online, you are always open, but review reporting for hourly results over time to determine if there are hours of the day with a negative return on investment (ROI).

Limit running PPC ads if the reporting reveals hours of the day when campaigns are ineffective.

Manage a small ppc budget by hour of dayScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

5. Set Negative Keywords

A well-planned negative keyword list is a golden tactic for controlling budgets.

The purpose is to prevent your ad from showing on keyword searches and websites that are not a good match for your business.

  • Generate negative keywords proactively by brainstorming keyword concepts that may trigger ads erroneously.
  • Review query reports to find irrelevant searches that have already led to clicks.
  • Create lists and apply to the campaign.
  • Repeat on a regular basis because ad trends are always evolving!

6. Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding is a game-changer for efficient ad campaigns. Powered by Google AI, it automatically adjusts bids to serve ads to the right audience within budget.

The AI optimizes the bid for each auction, ideally maximizing conversions while staying within your budget constraints.

Smart bidding strategies available include:

  • Maximize Conversions: Automatically adjust bids to generate as many conversions as possible for the budget.
  • Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): This method predicts the value of potential conversions and adjusts bids in real time to maximize return.
  • Target Cost Per Action (CPA): Advertisers set a target cost-per-action (CPA), and Google optimizes bids to get the most conversions within budget and the desired cost per action.

7. Try Display Only Campaigns

display ads for small ppc budgetsScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

For branding and awareness, a display campaign can expand your reach to a wider audience affordably.

Audience targeting is an art in itself, so review the best options for your budget, including topics, placements, demographics, and more.

Remarketing to your website visitors is a smart targeting strategy to include in your display campaigns to re-engage your audience based on their behavior on your website.

Let your ad performance reporting by placements, audiences, and more guide your optimizations toward the best fit for your business.

audience targeting options for small ppc budgetScreenshot by Lisa Raehsler from Google Ads, May 2024

8. Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max (PMax) campaigns are available in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

In short, automation is used to maximize conversion results by serving ads across channels and with automated ad formats.

This campaign type can be useful for limited budgets in that it uses AI to create assets, select channels, and audiences in a single campaign rather than you dividing the budget among multiple campaign types.

Since the success of the PMax campaign depends on the use of conversion data, that data will need to be available and reliable.

9. Target Less Competitive Keywords

Some keywords can have very high cost-per-click (CPC) in a competitive market. Research keywords to compete effectively on a smaller budget.

Use your analytics account to discover organic searches leading to your website, Google autocomplete, and tools like Google Keyword Planner in the Google Ads account to compare and get estimates.

In this example, a keyword such as “business accounting software” potentially has a lower CPC but also lower volume.

Ideally, you would test both keywords to see how they perform in a live campaign scenario.

comparing keywords for small ppc budgetsScreenshot by author from Google Ads, May 2024

10. Manage Costly Keywords

High volume and competitive keywords can get expensive and put a real dent in the budget.

In addition to the tip above, if the keyword is a high volume/high cost, consider restructuring these keywords into their own campaign to monitor and possibly set more restrictive targeting and budget.

Levers that can impact costs on this include experimenting with match types and any of the tips in this article. Explore the opportunity to write more relevant ad copy to these costly keywords to improve quality.

Every Click Counts

As you navigate these strategies, you will see that managing a PPC account with a limited budget isn’t just about monetary constraints.

Rocking your small PPC budgets involves strategic campaign management, data-driven decisions, and ongoing optimizations.

In the dynamic landscape of paid search advertising, every click counts, and with the right approach, every click can translate into meaningful results.

More resources: 


Featured Image: bluefish_ds/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

What Are They Really Costing You?

Published

on

By

What Are They Really Costing You?

This post was sponsored by Adpulse. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

As managers of paid media, one question drives us all: “How do I improve paid ad performance?”. 

Given that our study found close variant search terms perform poorly, yet more than half of the average budget on Google & Microsoft Ads is being spent on them, managing their impact effectively could well be one of your largest optimization levers toward driving significant improvements in ROI. 

“Close variants help you connect with people who are looking for your business, despite slight variations in the way they search.” support.google.com

Promising idea…but what about the execution?

We analyzed over 4.5 million clicks and 400,000 conversions to answer this question: With the rise in close variants (intent matching) search terms, what impact are they having on budgets and account performance? Spoiler alert, the impact is substantial. 


True Match Vs. Close Variants: How Do They Perform?

To understand close variant (CV) performance, we must first define the difference between a true match and a close variant. 

 

What Is a True Match? 

We still remember the good-old-days where keyword match types gave you control over the search terms they triggered, so for this study we used the literal match types to define ‘close variant’ vs ‘true match’. 

  • Exact match keyword => search term matches the keyword exactly. 
  • Phrase match keyword => search term must contain the keyword (same word order).
  • Broad match keyword => search term must contain every individual word in the keyword, but the word order does not matter (the way modified broad match keywords used to work).   

 

What Is a Close Variant? 

If you’re not familiar with close variants (intent matching) search terms, think of them as search terms that are ‘fuzzy matched’ to the keywords you are actually bidding on. 

Some of these close variants are highly relevant and represent a real opportunity to expand your keywords in a positive way. 

Some are close-ish, but the conversions are expensive. 

And (no shocks here) some are truly wasteful. 

….Both Google and Microsoft Ads do this, and you can’t opt-out.

To give an example: if you were a music therapist, you might bid on the phrase match keyword “music therapist”. An example of a true match search term would be ‘music therapist near me’ because it contains the keyword in its true form (phrase match in this case) and a CV might be ‘music and art therapy’.


How Do Close Variants Compare to True Match?

Short answer… poorly, on both Google and Microsoft Ads. Interestingly however, Google showed the worst performance on both metrics assessed, CPA and ROAS. 

Image created by Adpulse, May 2024

1718772963 395 What Are They Really Costing You

Image created by Adpulse, May 2024

Want to see the data – jump to it here…

CVs have been embraced by both platforms with (as earlier stated), on average more than half of your budget being spent on CV variant matches. That’s a lot of expansion to reach searches you’re not directly bidding for, so it’s clearly a major driver of performance in your account and, therefore, deserving of your attention. 

We anticipated a difference in metrics between CVs and true match search terms, since the true match search terms directly align with the keywords you’re bidding on, derived from your intimate knowledge of the business offering. 

True match conversions should therefore be the low-hanging fruit, leaving the rest for the platforms to find via CVs. Depending on the cost and ROI, this isn’t inherently bad, but logically we would assume CVs would perform worse than true matches, which is exactly what we observed. 


How Can You Limit Wastage on Close Variants?

You can’t opt out of them, however, if your goal is to manage their impact on performance, you can use these three steps to move the needle in the right direction. And of course, if you’re relying on CVs to boost volume, you’ll need to take more of a ‘quality-screening’ rather than a hard-line ‘everything-must-go’ approach to your CV clean out!

 

Step 1: Diagnose Your CV Problem 

We’re a helpful bunch at Adpulse so while we were scoping our in-app solution, we built a simple spreadsheet that you can use to diagnose how healthy your CVs are. Just make a copy, paste in your keyword and search term data then run the analysis for yourself. Then you can start to clean up any wayward CVs identified. Of course, by virtue of technology, it’s both faster and more advanced in the Adpulse Close Variant Manager 😉.

 

Step 2: Suggested Campaign Structures for Easier CV Management  

Brand Campaigns

If you don’t want competitors or general searches being matched to your brand keywords, this strategy will solve for that. 

Set up one ad group with your exact brand keyword/s, and another ad group with phrase brand keyword/s, then employ the negative keyword strategies in Step 3 below. You might be surprised at how many CVs have nothing to do with your brand, and identifying variants (and adding negative keywords) becomes easy with this structure.

Don’t forget to add your phrase match brand negatives to non-brand campaigns (we love negative lists for this).

Non-Brand Campaigns with Larger Budgets

We suggest a campaign structure with one ad group per match type:

Example Ad Groups:

    • General Plumbers – Exact
    • General Plumbers – Phrase
    • General Plumbers – Broad
    • Emergency Plumbers – Exact
    • Emergency Plumbers – Phrase
    • Emergency Plumbers – Broad

This allows you to more easily identify variants so you can eliminate them quickly. This also allows you to find new keyword themes based on good quality CVs, and add them easily to the campaign. 

Non-Brand Campaigns with Smaller Budgets

Smaller budgets mean the upside of having more data per ad group outweighs the upside of making it easier to trim unwanted CVs, so go for a simpler theme-based ad group structure:

Example Ad Groups:

    • General Plumbers
    • Emergency Plumbers

 

Step 3: Ongoing Actions to Tame Close Variants

Adding great CVs as keywords and poor CVs as negatives on a regular basis is the only way to control their impact.

For exact match ad groups we suggest adding mainly root negative keywords. For example, if you were bidding on [buy mens walking shoes] and a CV appeared for ‘mens joggers’, you could add the single word “joggers” as a phrase/broad match negative keyword, which would prevent all future searches that contain joggers. If you added mens joggers as a negative keyword, other searches that contain the word joggers would still be eligible to trigger. 

In ad groups that contain phrase or broad match keywords you shouldn’t use root negatives unless you’re REALLY sure that the root negative should never appear in any search term. You’ll probably find that you use the whole search term added as an exact match negative much more often than using root negs.


The Proof: What (and Why) We Analyzed

We know CVs are part of the conversations marketers frequently have, and by virtue of the number of conversations we have with agencies each week, we’ve witnessed the increase of CV driven frustration amongst marketers. 

Internally we reached a tipping point and decided to data dive to see if it just felt like a large problem, or if it actually IS a large enough problem that we should devote resources to solving it in-app. First stop…data. 

Our study of CV performance started with thousands of Google and Microsoft Ads accounts, using last 30-day data to May 2024, filtered to exclude:

  • Shopping or DSA campaigns/Ad Groups.
  • Accounts with less than 10 conversions.
  • Accounts with a conversion rate above 50%.
  • For ROAS comparisons, any accounts with a ROAS below 200% or above 2500%.

Search terms in the study are therefore from keyword-based search campaigns where those accounts appear to have a reliable conversion tracking setup and have enough conversion data to be individually meaningful.

The cleaned data set comprised over 4.5 million clicks and 400,000 conversions (over 30 days) across Google and Microsoft Ads; a large enough data set to answer questions about CV performance with confidence.

Interestingly, each platform appears to have a different driver for their lower CV performance. 

CPA Results:

Google Ads was able to maintain its conversion rate, but it chased more expensive clicks to achieve it…in fact, clicks at almost double the average CPC of true match! Result: their CPA of CVs worked out roughly double the CPA of true match.                 

Microsoft Ads only saw slightly poorer CPA performance within CVs; their conversion rate was much lower compared to true match, but their saving grace was that they had significantly lower CPCs, and you can afford to have a lower conversion rate if your click costs are also lower. End outcome? Microsoft Ads CPA on CVs was only slightly more expensive when compared to their CPA on true matches; a pleasant surprise 🙂.

What Are They Really Costing You

Image created by Adpulse, May 2024

ROAS Results:

Both platforms showed a similar story; CVs delivered roughly half the ROAS of their true match cousins, with Microsoft Ads again being stronger overall. 

 

1718772963 395 What Are They Really Costing You

Image created by Adpulse, May 2024

Underlying Data:

For the data nerds amongst us (at Adpulse we self-identify here !) 

1718772963 88 What Are They Really Costing You

Image created by Adpulse, May 2024


TL;DR

Close variant search terms consume, on average, more than half an advertiser’s budget whilst in most cases, performing significantly worse than search terms that actually match the keywords. How much worse? Read above for details ^. Enough that managing their impact effectively could well be one of your largest optimization levers toward driving significant improvements in account ROI. 


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Adpulse. Used with permission.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending