Online advertising keeps changing. And some of these changes make it easier for marketers to track their results and possibly improve their performance. This guide will walk you through all you need to know about PPC ad targeting options.
The different targeting options discussed in this article will give you an overview of your ads’ performance for a specific group of users.
You can adjust your bid modifiers to either increase or decrease your bids on these user groups from such overviews.
It’s a more calculative approach to PPC advertising. And will help you spend less and get more results.
By the time you finish reading this guide, you will fully understand the different targeting options for search, display, and remarketing campaigns.
You will also learn how to use these different PPC ad targeting options to engage your potential customers.
Here’s what you should know – the different targeting options create a unique way to help you reach your target audience effortlessly.
And with different advertising platforms like (Google ads, Microsoft Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), you can create targeted messages to your audience based on their search behavior, the content they are interested in, the behaviors they exhibit, and many more.
So, we will start by discussing the different targeting options for Search, Display, and Remarketing campaigns.
The essence is to help you understand how to use these different targeting options to engage your potential customers.
Are you ready?
Great! Let’s start with search targeting.
The first set of PPC ad targeting options we will discuss is search targeting.
Search advertising is one of the most popular and effective campaign strategies for business owners and marketers.
The good thing about this targeting option is that it allows you to reach your potential customers or audience actively searching for information.
And most of the time, your ads will be relevant to whatever information your audience or customers are searching for.
This puts you in a position to answer that person’s query and possibly convince them to purchase from your company or brand.
But you have to be strategic in your approach and be smart with your targeting. Otherwise, your ads may not be showing up proactively on these SERPS.
It all starts with bidding on keywords.
Keywords are phrases you use to tell advertising platforms like Google and Bing the searches you want your brand to show up for.
These phrases are among the PPC ad targeting options for marketers.
Let me explain this properly.
When someone types “digital marketing course” on Google or Bing (depending on the advertising platform you are using), the platform will scan your account to see if you have the keyword “digital marketing course” in your account.
If you have the keyword in your account, your brand will show up for the query. Otherwise, it won’t show up.
Of course, several other factors may influence the tendency of your ads to show for a certain search query or not.
The devil is in the details when using keywords to target your audience on search engine result pages (SERP).
That is why it’s advisable to do your keyword research, its relevance, and how often people search for it.
Dynamic Search Ads
Dynamic search ads are also one of the PPC ad targeting options for search ads. It’s often written as DSA.
There’s a gradual paradigm shift in the PPC campaign environment. Marketers are gradually moving from keyword targeting and are embracing DSA campaigns.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that keywords targeting is no longer relevant. Just that, the DSA targeting gives marketers a smarter option to reach their audience.
Marketers that opt for dynamic search ads don’t need to provide the PPC platforms with a list of keywords to target.
All you have to do is submit your website, and the PPC platform (in this case, the search engine) will match your website with your audience’s queries related to your site content.
DSA campaigns allow you to either allow the advertising platform to scan all your website pages or specify lists of pages it can scan.
However, the ads your website will show in SERP will depend on your site content.
The DSA campaign is perfect for marketers or business owners who want to expand their current search campaign reach.
And that is because it helps you match relevant queries you aren’t currently bidding for.
Audiences are the last PPC ad targeting options for search campaigns. This targeting option helps you separate your audience depending on their interests, hobbies, and known demographic data.
Once you understand your audience, it’s easy to create a PPC campaign strategy on any advertising platform.
Marketers who take time to study their audience tend to align their advertising strategies with their audience’s lifestyle and preferences.
And this will help to improve the performance of your campaign.
You can easily narrow the focus of your search campaign when you understand your audience.
Generally, typical demographic data to consider when analyzing your audiences are;
- Their age
- Average income
- Interests, etc.
The more you research about your audience, the better you understand them. And the more focused your search ads will be.
That’s all for search targeting. Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to drop it in the comment section if you have.
If you are using Google Display Network (GDN), you will have quite a few different PPC ad targeting options.
However, the two main categories are the content and audience.
Contextual targeting is a targeting option that focuses on the content your audience is interested in.
Once you choose contextual targeting, you notify Google that you want your brand to display on websites with relevant content.
Similarly, when you choose audience targeting, you notify Google that you want to display your brand to people who exhibit the behaviors you preset in your campaign. It doesn’t matter what content they are viewing.
Depending on your campaign goal, the following Google Display Network (GDN) targeting options can help you tailor your campaign accordingly.
The contextual targeting under the GDN targeting has the following PPC ad targeting options;
- Placement targeting
- Keyword targeting
If you want to narrow your targeting option on the Google Display service, placement targeting is a perfect option for you.
All you have to do is provide Google with a list of specific websites that you would like your ads to show up on.
And, of course, your ads won’t just show on these websites unless they are in partnership with Google’s ad network (AdSense).
Keyword targeting is also a contextual targeting option under the GDN targeting. However, their functionality is a bit different from that of Search Network.
Here’s how keyword targeting works on Google Display Network.
You will provide a list of keywords to Google, and the search engine will then find content that matches the keywords.
Once Google identifies such content, they will display your ads on them. But again, the website must partner with Google’s ad network (AdSense).
Topics one of the PPC ad targeting options for context targeting under the Google Display Network (GDN).
Of all the contextual targeting options, topics have the widest reach. This targeting option allows you to choose a list of topics your ad will display.
The topics range from enterprise software to gardening, sport, medical research, relationships, etc.
And each of these topics has subcategories to help you narrow your audience focus.
Audience targeting is the second category of PPC ad targeting options on the Google Display Network (GDN). It includes the following;
- Life Events
- Detail Demographics
- Custom Intent Audiences
- Affinity Audiences
- Similar Audiences
In-marketing audiences and topics targeting have a lot in common, just that In-marketing audiences are predefined.
Google segments this audience based on what they are researching or the product they want to buy.
There is a long list of In-Market audiences on the Google Display Network. You can browse them just like Topics target and choose the option that best describes your audience.
In the past, In-market audiences were exclusive to the Google Display Network. However, Microsoft now gives advertisers this option.
The beauty of adding In-Market audiences in your targeting option is that it allows you to focus on those users who exhibit research behavior.
A life event is also one of the PPC ad campaign options on the Google Display Network.
It allows you to target an audience that exhibits indicators of major life events. This option has been there for a while; the list keeps getting longer.
With this option, you can target your audience based on business creation, college graduation, job change, marriage, moving, purchasing a home, retirement, etc.
Whatever option you choose, try to be creative about it.
Detailed demographics it’s also one of the PPC ad targeting options under the audience targeting.
It’s more like Life events. You can use it to target your audience based on the information Google presumes about them.
This information could be parental status, marital status, education level, homeownership status, etc.
Custom Intent Audiences
Custom Intent Audiences are among the newest audiences on the Google Display Network.
The targeting option allows you to use keywords and URLs to create an audience based on the products or services your potential customers are actively researching.
It’s a bit similar to contextual targeting as it involves you adding keywords that Google will use to find users interested in whatever you are offering.
More often than not, Google may provide its list of custom intent audiences by reviewing another aspect of your campaign account.
If you can’t reliably identify your audience in the In-Market lists or you want to narrow your focus, you should consider this targeting option.
Affinity audiences give you the broadest reach on the Display Network. This targeting option was initially designed to mimic TV audiences.
It creates an audience who may have an affinity towards a particular industry or product. The audience could be social media enthusiasts, Beauty mavens, Fashion lovers, etc.
This targeting option is a great choice if you want to reach a very large audience for high-level calls to action.
Interestingly, you have the option to create your affinity list on the Google Display Network. All you have to do is add keywords and URLs to create custom themes.
Similar audiences are the last kind of PPC ad targeting options we will discuss under audience targeting.
This option depends on your remarketing audiences. Google regularly reviews user profiles within a particular remarketing list to look for patterns.
Once the social media giant detects a pattern, it will create a Similar Audience or list of users with similar behaviors in your remarketing list.
And once the list is created, you can apply it to your campaign and target these similar audiences.
However, it’s important to note that Google may not detect a user pattern in a Remarketing list if the list is either too large or too small.
And when this happens, a Similar Audience can’t be created.
So, to increase the chances of Google creating a similar audience in your account, you should have a marketing list with a meaningful segmentation.
This will help Google to create a meaningful pattern.
Remarketing is one of the most popular PPC ad targeting options. It helps you engage those audiences you have come in contact with in the past.
You have different options to put your remarketing list together and use them to reach out to your audiences.
The different targeting options under remarketing are;
Remarketing Pixel Audiences
Remarketing pixel is a snippet of code on your website to cookies users who visit your page.
The cookies allow you to create lists of users to target again on advertising platforms.
Pixel allows you to create requirements for these lists to include a particular segment of your audience.
To better track your campaign performance, you can create a converters list. The list contains everybody who either buys from your e-commerce platform or submitted a lead to your lead generation website.
Depending on your campaign goals, you can further create a campaign targeting your converters list or as an exclusion.
Customer uploads are a popular kind of remarketing list among marketers. It is the list of your potential customers’ emails you import into Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Whatever ad platform you are using will match the imported email addresses with the users on their email provider and give you the option to target them.
If the goal of your campaign is to retarget users in your CRM or those who might not have been cookied with your pixel, this targeting option is a great fit.
Google Analytics Import
Google ads give you the option to link your Google analytics and Google ads accounts. With this combination, you can import audiences based on Google analytics metrics.
Of course, Google analytics has a broader range of audience criteria. This allows you to leverage your website engagement, sequencing, and other factors to create your unique list.
Again, this approach to remarketing your audience is only available for Google ads. Other advertising platforms don’t have it yet.
Furthermore, you can apply remarketing audiences to your campaign as the only group of users to target or as a bid modifier layer (observation).
You can also apply remarketing audiences to all campaigns, including Search and Dynamic Search ads on the Search Network.
Demographic targeting is one of the best PPC ad targeting options for Remarketing. It helps you to target your campaign to your ideal audience.
The different targeting layers used in demographics targeting are determined by the information you gave to the advertising channel when creating your profile and your audience’s behavior.
Most times, marketers don’t use the demographics targeting option alone. They leverage it as incremental layers to modify other targeting options.
Age and Gender
Age and Gender is a targeting option that allows you to see how your campaign is performing for a set of users.
If you aren’t pleased with the performance, you can decrease your bids on these groups, and if you are happy with the performance, you can also increase your bids.
Interestingly, each targeting option is available at the ad group level. And you can adjust it in the setting tab if you are using Bing as your advertising platform.
But if you are using Google ads, you can adjust your age and gender targeting in the Demographics section.
Users living in the United States can target their audience with the household income targeting option.
Data from this target audience is based on the location’s average household income. So, it’s not 100% accurate.
But if you are trying to target an audience based on their income, you can leverage this PPC targeting option.
Again, this targeting option is under the Demographics section of the Google ads platform. And you can adjust it just the way you did with age and gender segments.
Parental status is also one of the PPC ad targeting options you can use under the remarketing audiences.
But it’s reserved mainly for Display campaigns. It’s similar to other target ads; you can find it at the ad group level.
You have the option to adjust your bids based on your targeting preferences.
Now you understand the different PPC ad targeting options that marketers can leverage.
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What is the Difference Between Search Ads and Display Ads?
We have discussed the PPC ad targeting options already. Now, let’s quickly look at the difference between Search ads and display ads.
Generally, advertisers and business owners find it challenging to determine whether to use search or display ads in their campaigns.
And one of the reasons why you have to decide before launching your campaign is that the wrong ad format could affect your campaign performance.
So, in the next few sentences, I will help you understand the difference between search and display ads.
You will know when to use any of these ads and how you can use both to maximize your results.
Let’s start with the Average Metrics for Search and Display Ads.
Average Metrics for Search and Display Ads
Conversion rate and cost per click are the two major metrics discussed in this section.
Average Conversion Rate
The average conversion rate for search campaigns across the industry is 4.40%, and that of display campaigns is only 0.57%.
Source: Google Apis
From the above capture, you will realize that the highest display conversion rate (1.12% for hobbies and leisure) didn’t even reach the lowest search conversion rate (2.77% for apparel).
And the reason for this is because search networks connect advertisers to people actively searching for products with higher intent. So, they tend to convert more.
The Average Cost Per Click for display ads is lower than that of search ads. For instance, the average Google ads CPC for display networks is $0.59, and that for search networks is $.2.41.
The truth is, people are willing to pay more if they see results. That is the underlying principle of marketing. And that explains why CPC for search networks is higher than display ads.
But the question is – when exactly should you use these PPC ads Targeting Options?
Although search ads may seem very effective and produce better results, you can’t use them for all situations.
So, in this section, we will discuss the different scenarios marketers can use for search and display ads.
Generally, Google and other advertising platforms encourage marketers and business owners to set up both search and display campaigns to get more reach.
But the goal of advertising goes beyond reaching more audience. Your primary focus should be how to put your products and services in front of the people who genuinely need them.
So, here are 6 Reasons why you should use search ads.
6 Reasons to Use Search Ads
#1. It Helps to Supplement Organic Traffic
You can leverage search ads to grow your business by supplementing your organic traffic.
It may take a while for your business SEO effort to pay off. And that is because organic search results focus on comparative content.
However, search ads don’t focus on comparative content. Rather, it brings people directly to whatever product or services you are offering faster.
So, while search advertising is an excellent short-term strategy to grow your business, you still need to build your organic presence.
#2. To Capture High-Quality Leads
One of the reasons people regard search advertising as one of the best PPC ad targeting options is that it captures high-quality leads.
You have the option to use different keyword match types to trigger your ad. You can also identify negative keywords so that your ad won’t come up whenever someone searches for keywords that aren’t relevant to your business.
Interestingly, you can create ads that precisely match your audience’s search intent with this approach.
#3. It’s a Great Advertising option when Targeting a Local Audience
Search ads are a perfect option if your brand offers local service and hopes to reach a nearby audience.
Display ads can help you reach a global audience. But you tend to get more value and better results when you use search ads.
That is because the audience you will attract through search advertising tends to have high intent.
#4. Search Advertising is Perfect for Business with a Short Sales Cycle
Search advertising is perfect for you if your product or service has a short sales cycle.
So, you may not need to do continuous advertising or remarketing to people who previously engaged with your brand.
#5. Great Strategy for Promoting Emergency Products
If you offer urgent or emergency services like plumbers, locksmiths, tow trucks, emergency veterinarians, electricians, etc., search advertising is one of the best PPC ad targeting options for you.
People don’t order these services on impulse. They only search for these services when they genuinely need them.
For instance, when someone gets locked out of their car or their dog suddenly falls ill, they tend to search for service immediately.
And when they make such a search, your business will come up as an ad on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
#6. If you Have a Smaller Budget
If you are a startup with a slim advertising budget, search advertising is a great way to start. Experts consider search advertising as budget-friendly because;
- PPC advertising gives you the option to pay per click or pay per 1,000 impressions.
- You can bid on highly relevant keywords, which gives you control over the audience you can reach, thus generating more qualified leads, higher conversion rates, and better ROI.
- You can easily measure and justify your PPC efforts using search ads. And once you master it, you can now consider using display ads.
These are some reasons why people may consider search ads first before any other PPC ad targeting options.
Now let’s check some of the reasons why you should use display ads;
4 Reasons to Use Display Ads
#1. When You Sell a More Visual Product or Services
If you sell a more visual product or service, display ads are a perfect option for you. That is because you can include images and videos to showcase your product or services.
So, if you are promoting consumer products or services like apparel, home décor, vacation packages, adventure/entertainment, etc., that requires visual demonstration, display ad will give you better results.
Furthermore, if you promote digital visual assets like video, E-books, infographics, etc., display ads will be more effective.
Interestingly, advertisers can easily create video campaigns on Google platforms, especially to leverage existing video creative.
Video is an incredible advertising option because it’s easier for your audience to interact and engage with your video content than text and image ads.
#2. Create Awareness Among Those with Passive Intent
Display advertising makes it easier for you to create awareness among your audience who already have passive intent to buy.
Ordinarily, people who see your display ads on the website they visit may not be actively searching for a product or service.
It could be that they are in the discovery or awareness stage of the marketing funnel and still researching their options with passive intent.
So, display ads will further help these people to cultivate a feeling of wants and needs.
Once your display ads appear on websites that your target audience visits frequently, it’s easy to build awareness for your brand before you move on to search advertising.
It’s easier for someone with high intent to buy from you if they already know about your brand.
#3. Perfect for Longer Sales Cycle
If you sell products or services with a longer sales cycle, display ads are a great advertising option for you.
Any PPC ad targeting options under the display network will perform excellently for you.
So, if you sell large, expensive products or services like automobiles, higher education, enterprise software, etc., display ads tend to get you better results.
One of the key strategies for ensuring that your brand stays in your audience’s mind during the consideration process is Display ads.
You can use any of the following to achieve a long term sales cycle;
Cross Channel Marketing
It involves disseminating paid messages to potential customers across multiple devices on different marketing channels. The essence is to convince a prospect to buy a product or service.
This is another excellent strategy that can help you close a longer sales cycle. It provides a seamless user experience across the channels relevant to the buyer’s journey.
With this, the potential buyer can move through the entire marketing funnel without distraction.
Retargeting is another great display advertising strategy that can help you close a longer sales cycle. It involves showing your ads to anyone who has interacted with your brand in the past.
The essence of this strategy is to keep the brand in front of these customers and top of their minds even after they leave the website.
This strategy works better for e-commerce businesses.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you abandon a shopping cart on an eCommerce platform, the product will start showing as display ads on any platform you visit?
That is retargeting ads at work.
#4. To Reach Niche Markets
It’s easier to reach a niche market with display ads. Perhaps, it’s because they are found on websites or platforms where potential audiences spend most of their time.
It’s easy; Google matches your keywords and ads to relevant web pages across the pool of websites on the Google Display Network.
So, it’s a bit easy to target a niche audience who may be interested in your products or services.
We have discussed the different PPC ad targeting options and how Display advertising is different from search advertising.
If you need help with your PPC campaign, Tycoon can help you manage your PPC campaigns to attract more leads and gain maximum brand exposure.