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The 3 Most Important Components of Your SEM Strategy

For all of its complexities, the core of a successful paid search campaign is simple:

  • Create the right ad.

  • Deliver it to the right person.

  • Make sure it’s at the right time.

You will quickly discover the details of the campaign — when you work with a strategic agency — through the use of other tools to understand local searches. By understanding what queries drive the most impressions and analyzing the intent of the search, you can create a tailored experience that will deliver more clicks at lower bids.

The Right Ads

Structure

Account structure is the foundation for serving the right ad. It’s important that you organize a lot — possibly hundreds — of keywords in a way that’s granular enough to ensure it matches the search intent, which can vary quite a bit.

A lease ad for lease keywords. A vehicle ad with prices for price keywords. A service ad with service keywords.

Once you’ve structured your account properly, it’s important to write unique ad copy that compels a conversion. There shouldn’t be duplicate ads for different accounts, and it’s one of Google’s best practices to create four different ads per ad group.

Mobile-First

As of August 2018, more than 70% of all searches across our nationwide network of dealers were completed on mobile devices.

The more users who switch to mobile, the more important it is for you to focus on structuring and creating mobile-friendly ads. You’ve likely heard the term “mobile-friendly” more often than you’d care to remember, but it’s vital to winning in this space. Ads and landing pages look different on mobile devices than on desktops or tablets (we’ll soon get to the importance of landing pages for paid search).

Now, it’s important that you preview ads on mobile — and later troubleshoot them in the same manner.

Google has placed so much emphasis on mobile content that it has launched a brand new reporting metric: mobile site speed.

Do you know if your mobile site speed is good or bad?

That’s an important answer for you to have.

Quality Score

We’ve written at length about Quality Score (QS), but here’s the basic gist.

Quality Score is essentially another word for “relevance.” Is your ad relevant to the actual search? If so, does your landing page mirror the language and intent of the ad? You may have a high QS because all of the other ads in your auction are terrible, or you may have a low QS because the other ads are very good in a competitive market.

It’s important to track your Quality Score over time to see how your ads and ad groups have been trending.

The Right Time

Every site visitor falls somewhere in the customer journey. While some channels effectively create stimulus, you want to make sure that your paid search captures intent traffic — shoppers who are ready to buy.

Not that we’d even recommend it, but most dealerships don’t have a sufficient budget to run ads 24 hours per day. It’s critical that your budget and goals for impression share line up. Because if your budget runs out, your competitors’ ads may continue running and capture those new intent shoppers.

Consider only running ads during office hours, setting impression shares by the hour.

Did you know that many businesses still show up as open 24 hours even though they are not?

Mistakes with simple fixes like the example above cause dealerships to miss out on possible prospects.

The Right Person

There are a few approaches that you can take to hit the right audience.

Remarketing

When car shoppers visit your website, some of their information is acquired. This information lets you bid to deliver ads to them even when they’re off your site — that’s called remarketing. Since they’ve already interacted with your dealership, you can set a higher bid amount for this list.

Targeting

Where are the people you want to target located?

You can target shoppers in your own backyard to capitalize on those nearby shoppers. It’s also possible to target your competitor’s backyard to conquest shoppers. You could even target specific zip codes.

Tools like Google Analytics can help you understand what keywords your ideal audience is using in the targeted area you’ve chosen.

Targeting is also largely influenced by impression share. If your impression share is 50%, that means you’re still missing out on 50% of potential car buyers.

We can’t emphasize it enough: Budget and impression share must align.

Reunion Bonus: A Few More PPC Tips

First, a few quick ones.

Constantly Optimize and Experiment

You can A/B test ad copy, automated bidding strategies, and different extensions.

Conversion Tracking

You need to ensure that you’ve chosen the proper goals to measure. If you don’t know what your paid search company reports as a conversion, you may want to look into that.

Communication

What are your business goals? What are you trying to accomplish with paid search? Are you trying to stimulate your primary marketing area (PMA) or your competitors’?

The better you communicate your business goals, the better your paid search team can align tactics to meet them.

Prioritization

You can prioritize your ad optimization in a few ways:

  • By the greatest search volume, so it has the greatest impact.
  • By Quality Score, so you save more money.
  • By performance, so you can replicate success.

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Tags: Digital, Marketing, PPC, Paid, SEM, Search

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