Ad Buying

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Getting More Life Out of Your SEM Campaigns

oliver-headshotAs we race to the end of the season, it’s not uncommon to find some additional funds that can and should be used quickly; in many cases, it’ll be best to have a wide range of ideas and options available to you.. One of the first options that springs to your team’s mind will be paid search – but alas, what if you’re already capitalizing on a robust marketplace with little hope of increasing spend?

Never fear – I happily contribute a few innovative ideas to extend the reach of your search campaigns and create joy for you and your client!

Native Ads

The past six months have seen both Yahoo and Bing’s native ads product continue to mature. Previously known as Stream Ads, Native Ads allow you to use your existing paid search campaigns and run them in placements across both the Y! and Microsoft digital property portfolio. Native Ads are a great way to target your audience in an uncluttered environment within which they may not usually encounter an ad. What’s more, Native Ads offer a less intrusive experience that is powerful when the right message is employed.

Native Ads offer ease of deployment and do not require alterations to your existing search campaigns. Simply consider your audience targeting parameters and choose the guidelines that make sense for your campaign. All that said, Native Ads do allow for the use of a small image to accompany the text ad if one is available – I recommend taking advantage of this if you have the ability to do it.

oliver-imageEndemic Search Ads

A new and exciting concept taking off for search marketers centers on the principle of serving keyword-targeted search ads within high quality endemic environments. Similar to Native Ads, these campaigns utilize your existing bulk sheets and target ads based on your keyword match types within a site list, allowing you to extend your campaigns beyond traditional search. While this may sound a bit like text ads in the Google Display Network or even programmatic display advertising, it’s completely different.

Endemic Search Ads don’t compete with other display programs and campaigns for creative inventory. Instead, your search ads appear within the content as the searcher scrolls through. Similar to traditional search, an algorithm powers relevant placement and ensures your ad only appears next to qualified content. Take a look at the example below:

Keyword Expansion

OK I get it – what if approval of new ad formats isn’t in the cards for 2016? No problem – consider deploying end-of-year funds behind a group of keywords you’ve likely overlooked. Often we fall into the trap of assuming that search should be as hyper-targeted and optimized as possible.  While that’s true it doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment to get creative.

Consider your core audience for a moment. What else do they do throughout the day? What other behaviors does your typical consumer exhibit? Do they participate in other hobbies or interests?  To extend the reach of your campaigns, try adding in keywords around these other interests your audience has and include compelling search creative to grab them where they least expect it. For a simple example, let’s say you’re advertising flashlights and have well organized campaigns centered on the types of flashlights you sell. What other activities do people who purchase flashlights engage in? I would consider camping as one – you might create a search campaign on some camping keywords with a headline reading ‘tired of camping in darkness?’

While it’s true that employing any of these tactics will require additional time to keep your campaign efficient and effective, expanding your range of tactics will allow you to extend your reach and put incremental dollars to good use. Try one or all three and surprise your audience where they least expect it.