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Check out our latest Blog

How to Win at Paid Search in 2021 & Beyond

Paid search operated under a simple model for many years. However, times are a-changing’ and brands should understand the driving forces behind the shift and what the landscape looks like now. So, how do you win at paid search in 2021 and beyond? Learn these concepts and you will be sure to find success.

The Winning Search Approach

So, what is the best way to succeed? The winning search approach is a combination of audiences and select keywords:

  • Audiences: First, it is important to consider who your ideal customer or audience is – do they spend their time on specific devices, fall into certain interest-based categories or demographics? Thinking about these attributes will help you determine where to find success in paid search. Overlaying these audiences across campaigns will allow your brand to go after segments more aggressively or less depending on goals. What works for one channel could be entirely different elsewhere.
  • Keywords: Second, and I cannot stress this enough, select keywords are the correct approach to take for paid search in 2021. Because of Google’s keyword updates over the last few years, plurals, misspellings, and synonyms are no longer necessary. They are captured by close variants and inclusion will be flagged as a duplicate keyword and thereby hurt your account health. Additionally, word order only matters in phrase match keywords.  Broad match modified keywords have always captured different word order but now exact also does with close variants. It sounds confusing at first, but the major point to get here is bigger does not equal better.
How do you work to achieve good account health? Strategic coverage is the name of the game! Through testing, Chacka has demonstrated lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and higher quality scores by having smaller keyword sets. This allows for more traffic per-keyword and therefore increases click-through-rates (CTRs) which help your quality score. 
– Sarah Kernan, Chacka Associate Director of Paid Search

Now that you understand the new approach, let us explore the fallbacks of the old mindset and why this change is necessary to thrive in the current digital space.

The Problems with the Old Way

In the beginning, paid search was all about volume. The goal was to create as many keywords and variations as you possibly could. For instance, say you are a brand that sells area rugs. There would be keywords like “rug” and area rug,” as well as “rugs” and “area rugs,” and similar variations. You would also have variations on different word orders for your keyword phrases, like, “Persian area rug,” and “area rug Persian,” along with plurals, synonyms, and misspellings for each of those as well. This was accomplished through multiple keyword types: exact, phrase, broad, and broad match modifiers.

As a result, your keyword list would be a great, hulking behemoth, consisting mostly of duplicates and near-identical variations of the same few words. The goal was full coverage, for every conceivable variation of every conceivable keyword, so you would never miss a potential customer who might be looking for your product or services. This is not an efficient use of time, resources, and lacks advanced strategy.

Final Considerations

Lastly, I believe are a few other reasons to consider shifting to this new paid search approach. For starters, Google (along with other leaders in the industry) have progressed their stance to improved user privacy. We are seeing them eliminate some of the information shared with marketers and advertisers. Second, the industry is motivated to adopt automation as a new standard, thus eliminating the need for large manually created keyword lists. This will free up the marketer’s time to focus on strategic planning with audience segments rather than being ‘in the weeds.’ Thirdly, with most search queries being unique daily, it becomes impossible to have a keyword variance for every possible query a user could search to find your product or service.  Over time, Google has adjusted its match types to mitigate that need to improve the user’s experience and help them find what they are seeking.  For an advertiser, this means less digging into variations of search patterns and more focus on who your users are and the need that you fill for them.

Need help improving your search account health and driving better results? Let us help you create a media plan that uses the new search approach – fill out the form below today!

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