Advantages of Search Ads

When compared to other channels, search ads have a few distinct advantages. These include....

1) Proactive users
Unlike email marketing and other types of advertising, with paid search you are reaching users when they proactively showing interest in in your product/service.

2) Commercial Intent/In-Market
Some search terms have a high level of commercial intent. This means that the searcher is not just looking for information on a topic, but instead appears to be in the process of making a purchase decision. As an advertiser, you can focus your spending on these search terms.

3) Targeting Options/Controls
Google Ads has the most fine-grained options for precise targeting, controlling/allocating spend, and evaluating performance, of any advertising platform.

4) Start generating leads right now
By comparison, SEO requires a long time commitment with unpredictable results.



Focus on High Intent Search Terms

“In-Market” keywords have a high level of commercial intent. The search term indicates that the user is actively looking for a service provider. On the other hand, “Research” keywords are a more general inquiry into a topic. For Research keywords, it is either difficult to discern the user’s intent, or it’s clear that the user is only interested in learning about a topic. To maximize ROI, its best to focus the bulk of you spend on In-Market search terms. Here are examples of In-Market vs Research keywords....


Investment Advisor Example Keywords


CPA Examples Keywords



Precision Location Targeting

The following table is an example of how location targeting can be used in Google Ads to maximize ROI. In most cases, it makes sense for a local business to limit their ads to within 15-50 miles of their office, and for keyword bids to be higher for searchers who are closer to the office. Additionally, for some businesses you will also want to have higher bids in zip codes with a lot of high income residents. In the last column “Example Keyword Bid,” both location and IRS data has been used to adjust each keyword bid up or down. Likewise, every keyword should have its bid adjusted based on the zip code.

Instead of just drawing a circle around your office, you can get better results if you specifically target the locations where your clients are most likely to come from.



Long-Tail Searches are more Specific and Lower Cost-per-click (CPC)

For high volume terms like “tax services,” the user’s intent is less certain and there is more competition. This means you can usually get a better ROI by bidding more aggressively on long-tail terms that include 3-5 words. In the table below, the highest volume phrases usually have more competition and a higher than average minimum bid. At the same time, the other keywords in the table have less competition, and the user’s intent is more specific and clear. With this in mind, the strategy should be to bid more aggressively on long tail phrases and less aggressively on high volume phrases.



Other Targeting Layers

The following targeting options can be layered into your search campaigns. Customization of these options can help to insure you are only targeting the most qualified prospects.

  • Income Bracket
  • Age Bracket
  • Education Level
  • Homeowner vs Renter
  • Recent User Behavior/In-Market Audiences
  • Website Visitors