This sponsored post is produced in association with Boost Media.
Search engine marketing (SEM) data is teeming with invaluable insights to make better, more cost-effective decisions. With more than 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone, the potential yield from your investments of time and money into SEM are significant. The challenge lies in knowing what the ad should say in order to optimize ROI.
Consider these A/B tests performed by real clients of Boost Media. (For privacy purposes, they can’t be named, but you’ll see the types of businesses they’re in.)
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In the first, two ads for a sports gear etailer are compared in terms of their Click Thru Rate (CTR). Here, the A/B test, shows how providing the viewer with options (T-shirts, Jerseys & More), and a clear call to action (Shop online Now!) nets a CTR that’s 2x greater than the less well-formed ad.
Or take the side-by-side comparison in the second example where the ad for a company that offers education for Event Planning that uses descriptive, persuasive language far outperforms the alternate option at 4.3x the CTR.
No question, A/B testing is critical in fine-tuning winning ads.
Insights drawn from testing SEM creative are also key in researching new product viability, determining target pricing, and more. Here are a few common scenarios where insights from SEM testing can be game-changers, and some tips to get you going.
1. Kill the competition
Look at SEM data this way: nowhere else, under any circumstances do you have access to the same level of detail into your competitor’s strategy to beat you. Info on who, how, when, and what they market – and how much they are spending to do so – is all right there in search engine data. It’s like Goliath providing David with a schematic that says, ‘Hit me right here and you’ll win.’
Even if you’re not a ‘kill the competition’ kind of marketer, something as simple as creating a Google Alert that monitors your competitors’ brand names and products and comparing the triggered alerts to changes in cost per click (CPC) rates on ad campaigns where you’re bidding competitively can be very helpful in managing budget and optimizing returns.
2. Research product viability
The search engine results page is a great place to begin when you want to study the viability of potential product offerings. From here, you can easily assess the market in terms of who the competition is, their approach to messaging, and their comparative strengths and weaknesses around pricing and such.
Drill down a little deeper into SEM data and you can also learn about how your target consumers use search phrases to discover and compare your product or service with others. Get good at using search for devising optimal market entries and you’ll gain better traction and higher ROI on new products, thereby reducing cost of acquisition.
3. Figure out pricing
The ideal price point for your product or service must take into account order volume and return on your ad spend investment. An easy way to get started is to launch ads with identical copy where the only difference is price point and measure how results differ. A variation on that technique is to set up ads with identical price points and somewhat different messaging to learn the best way to position prices and discounts.
A pointer to get you started: It’s better if your ads state price outright, and to use ‘$s’ to represent discounts or savings, rather than ‘%s.’ Want to know why? Head over to the Boost blog and find out.
4. Test messaging
Testing ad copy not only helps to determine the ideal price point, as is evident in our examples, it’s also an excellent way to test brand messaging. The opportunity is to align the ‘softer’ side of the sweet science of ads (e.g. the word choice and tone of your copy) with hard results data.
For the best results, use multiple metrics, including CTR, Average Order Value, Conversions, and Visits Frequency that will provide a yardstick for you to measure ad copy performance and tweak your brand messaging.
5. Pinpoint location
In the age of mobile, it’s more important than ever to tap geographic data in your search engine marketing. Study search volumes in conjunction with your existing store locations to identify pockets of deep engagement for your brand. Use that to craft geo-targeted ads or promotions, or even to identify ideal placements for a new store or guerilla marketing tactic.
Thanks to advancements in how Google Maps records and tracks location data from both fixed and mobile web connections, it’s even possible to tie together clicks on your ads with in-store traffic and sales and create local-area campaigns that find and message your ideal customers when they are nearby and searching for what you have to offer.
A/B testing, product research, pricing, and competitive strategy are just a few examples of how to use search engine insights to good effect as a digital marketer. Make it a habit to study SEM data as part of your professional routine and you’ll find a number of practical ways to improve tactics and generate better ROI from your ad spend.
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