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3 ways to scale your SEM efforts when you are hitting a wall

It happens to every AdWords practitioner at some point. We launch our campaigns, split out exact match and broad match, mine for queries, work on expansions, test different initiatives, run betas, etc. – and then we hit a wall.

What do we do next? How do we continue to push forward and scale our paid search accounts to capitalize on intent?

Below are a few strategies to break through the SEM wall and grow your account in an effective yet efficient manner.

Use Dynamic Search Ads for query mining

This is an obvious one, but many folks forget or tend to not use DSAs as they fear them going rogue and eating up spend without performing. First off, what are DSAs?

DSAs are a campaign type in Google that allows Google to crawl your site, matches ads in real time to shoppers, and directs them to the landing page most relevant to their query. (I have written in more detail about DSAs and the various targeting types in a previous article, ‘Capitalize on volume and long tail in Q4 with Dynamic Search Ads‘.)

Essentially, the goal I would recommend with DSAs is not to have that campaign as a volume driver but to leverage it for query mining. Cast a wide net, see what matches up and performs, then graduate those to keywords in your other campaigns where you can have more control over optimization, ad copy, and performance.

Use RLSA to expand keyword options

As you know, RLSA leverages your remarketing audiences for search ads. The great thing about RLSA is the fact that users who have visited your site are already familiar with you, your brand, and your overall offering.

With this in mind, you can create a campaign leveraging more broad, upper-funnel terms that you would normally deem to risky or wouldn’t expect to convert.

In addition, you can even include terms that you feel are somewhat relevant but may have been tested and paused for poor performance. Layering on RLSA audiences makes the same keywords less risky given that the audiences are already familiar with your brand – the goal is to get back in front of them, convince them to come back to your site, and convert.

A couple of additional tips on how to be more strategic with this strategy as you begin to test and expand:

  • Segment different audience types based on their interaction with your website to see how each performs (e.g. researchers, high intent, add to carts, etc.). By segmenting these audiences and layering in RLSA, you can bid more aggressively for segments performing well.
  • If you get significant traffic on your site and have fairly large audience list segments, you may actually want to create separate broad RLSA campaigns per audience segment. That allows you to customize your ads to each audience segment, along with customizing the LPs you would want to send them to – and of course you’ll have better control over budgets, so you can invest more of your dollars into the top-performing segments.

Pair a token analysis with broad match expansion

We’re all familiar with doing keyword expansions, whether that involves poring over search query reports to find converting terms or leveraging competitor keyword tools. However, it’s important to take a step back and look at your account at a high level. What are the core tokens that are not only driving volume but also performance?

A note on tokens if you’re not familiar with them: Tokens are basically the different stems in the keyword (essentially, you break up the keyword into its individual words).

For example, ‘Photography ecommerce website’ contains the tokens: photography, ecommerce, website.

Download your last 3-6 months of performance data across your keywords. Break down your keywords to their various tokens, and aggregate the data for each token. (You’ll want to look at Impressions, Clicks, Conversions, CPA, or Revenue/ROI.)

Once you’ve identified your top-performing tokens, you’ll want to build out long tail keywords and bid on them in broad match.

Note: it’s important to use broad match because the volume of long tail keywords is already fairly limited.

A bonus to the token analysis is that it can also help with efficiency efforts; if you notice bleeding or poor-performing tokens, add them to your negative keyword list and free up budget better spent elsewhere.

These three strategies should help you push past the SEM wall – but you don’t necessarily need to wait for a performance plateau to use them. Good luck!

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by Sana Ansari
source: Search Engine Watch

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