Paid Search Basics for eCommerce Marketers: How to Target the Right Audience


Paid Search Basics for eCommerce Marketers_ How to Target the Right Audience

Regardless of industry, all eCommerce marketers are all aiming for one thing: figuring out how to target the right audience effectively.

If you’re new to the game, you might be thinking that effectively engaging consumers online is much like finding a needle in a haystack. After all, you have 1.5 seconds to gain someone’s attention. With a zillion other web properties competing against you, that can seem like a tall order.

Truth be told, ensuring your efforts reach the right audience is no easy feat. But by understanding what your ideal consumer looks like and putting together an effective paid search campaign, it’s possible to target your audience with accuracy and precision.

In a previous post, we outlined the basics of paid search, how it differs from organic search, and some of the reasons why it’s beneficial. For the purposes of this one, we will drill a little deeper and examine eight of the more popular components of paid search. The more familiar each of these terms becomes, the easier it will be for you to connect with your audience online.

1. Keywords

Simply put, keywords are words or sets of words that you suspect your audience is trying to search for. To illustrate, a landscaping company in Secaucus, New Jersey, might choose “landscaping Secaucus” and “landscaping company in Secaucus” as keywords because that’s what their customers will be searching online.

Not sure which keywords to target? Use keyword research tools like SEMrush to help you zero in on the highest-impact keywords to incorporate into your campaigns.

2. Custom Intent Audiences

If you’re running paid search campaigns, you’re using Google because Google is the biggest search engine by far. 

Using Google’s custom intent audiences feature, you can create groups of consumers and target them based on what they’re searching for and what products they’re researching.

If you’re an up-and-coming power tools brand and want to sell leaf blowers, for example, you can use this feature to target folks who are in the market for the product based on their recent search habits.

3. Geolocation Targeting

Let’s say you’re a startup spirits brand that only sells to customers in New England at the moment. You probably don’t want to waste money advertising to people in Europe or on the west coast.

Using geolocation targeting, you can make sure that only users who live in New England see your ads, increasing the chances of conversion.

4. Lookalike Audiences

If you know what your audience looks like, you can create Lookalike Audiences on Facebook to target folks who share the same interests and have the same habits. For example, you might create lookalike audiences based on age, gender, or zip code.

By using Lookalike Audiences, you can improve the performance of your campaigns by engaging folks who are more likely to be interested in your offerings.

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5. Dynamic Search Ads

Google also offers Dynamic Search Ads, which automatically create ads based on searches that are close to the keywords you’re targeting—but not quite exact copies.

Here’s how it works: Google crawls your website and figures out what search terms match the copy on your site. Once that’s done, Google automatically creates landing pages and headlines based on the search term in question.

It’s an easy way to fill in any gaps that might exist in your paid search strategy.

6. Targeted Display

When you use targeted display, you’re aiming to engage consumers based on a specific set of criteria—like age, demographics, or location. The goal here is to generate as many impressions as you can.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay on a cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) basis, which tends to be more affordable than other methods, such as pay-per-click.

7. Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is the process of serving up ads that are closely related to the content on the website.

For example, a blog post about DIY projects around the house that require hammers and nails might be accompanied by an ad for the local hardware store or Home Depot’s eCommerce site.

8. Remarketing

Google Remarketing is a product that enables your campaigns to “follow” consumers as they hop around the web. 

Not only does this help you raise awareness of your products and brand, but it also increases the chances of conversion as audiences are reminded, once more, about your offerings.

The best campaigns use a variety of these methods

Keep in mind that there’s no rule stating you can only use one or two of these tactics. In fact, by combining several of them together—or even using all of them—your results can compound over time.

If you like tips like these, sign up for our newsletter to keep your fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of eCommerce marketing.

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