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If you’ve been working with Google Ads/AdWords for a while, you know that it’s great for targeting intent.

But “the almighty keyword” is losing its potency.

Not because keyword targeting isn’t effective, but because Google Ads is pivoting away from contextual and keyword targeting in favor of audiences.

As we lose control of precision matching, we have two (seemingly) less-desirable options: Get better at audience-first targeting, or lose market share to those who do.

But, done right, Google Ads audience targeting is a great way to reach – and generate demand among – your target market.

So, let’s look at what’s changing and how to win in the new “audience first” landscape – even if you’d prefer to stick with keywords.

The Upside Of Audience-First For Alphabet

Whether or not a keyword-less approach is in your company’s best interest, it’s certainly working well for Google’s parent company Alphabet.

This chart shows reported annual revenue (in billions), with an overlay of the release of non-keyword products.

Google’s success is obviously due to more than just keyword-less ad offerings. But the expansion of its inventory is non-trivial.

Our prospects spend far less time Googling a product than they do not Googling a product.

Your audience at any given time:

This expansion is great for Google’s bottom line, but how about yours?

Here’s a step-by-step look at how to build an audience-first strategy that keeps you competitive.

Create An Audience-First Strategy

An audience-first strategy isn’t entirely different from an intent-first strategy, but you’ll need to reframe how you target your prospects.

Define Your Campaign Objectives

The campaign’s goal reveals the best approach to take with strategy and targeting. Consider this frequently-asked audience question:

“Should I exclude remarketing from the audiences in my campaign?”

If the purpose of your campaign is to reach new audiences, then it would make sense to exclude prior visitors or customers.

If, however, the objective is to reach people who are familiar with your brand, then this exclusion would be fatal for that campaign.

Knowing your objective will make successful audience selection much easier to think through.

Define Your Audience And Segments

No, we’re not going to imagine a specific user avatar, what color shirt they’re wearing, and what they ate for breakfast this morning.

Instead, consider the attributes that make your audience unique in how they shop for, value, or use your product or service.

Consider things like:

Who they are.

Why they’re that way.

How they’re solving their problem today.

You generally won’t find these answers in your Google Ads data.

It requires work outside of the platform (such as surveys or interviews) to research the characteristics of your customers.

Let’s say you’re selling plant-based (vegan) burgers.

Your audience might include multiple segments:

Beef-lovers who need to reduce their red meat consumption or want to try something new.

Devout vegetarians who want an alternative to dry black bean patties.

Those two groups have different desires, motivations, and alternative options.

They’ll respond best to different messages, and possibly different landing pages and offers.

We’ll need a segmented message strategy for the best results.

Build Your Audiences And Segments In Google Ads

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you need a plan to reach them.

To reach vegetarians who might enjoy our plant-based burgers, we could target:

Screenshot from Google Ads, April 2023

The audience segment types available in a specific campaign will depend on the campaign type or network you use.

For example, you can target Life events (such as marriage, graduation, or moves) on Display, but not Search.

You can create new segments from Audience manager or directly in your campaign or ad group from the Audiences tab.

Create Distinct, Specific Ad Groups And Campaigns

An exception to this rule is Search campaigns, where intent is strong, and audience segments can be layered into keyword targeting without separating them completely:

But for non-Search campaigns, your audience segments are filling-in for keyword intent, so you’ll want to keep distinct segments separate.

Create Ads Targeted For Your Segments Track And Optimize Your Segments

You can stack multiple, similar segments within an ad group.

If the same person matches more than one segment, Google Ads uses this hierarchy for which audience type gets the credit:

You’ll also find a lot of audience segment data in Audience Manager.

Segment members.

Match rate.

Network eligibility (including segment size).

Segment distribution.

Segment use.

Evaluate your audience performance and edit your settings to optimize and improve your campaigns.

“Don’ts” Of Audience-First Targeting

Don’t target arbitrary attributes. Build audience segments and targeting around meaningful attributes, not arbitrary observations. Categories like age and gender are easy to track, but typically won’t define your market.

Don’t “set it and forget it.” Just like keyword optimization, audience optimization is an iterative process. Pay close attention to overly-broad terms in your custom segments.

“Do’s” Of Audience-First Targeting

Do expect a learning curve. Google Ads has been evolving its functionality and terminology over the last several years, making it feel new and unfamiliar. Be patient with yourself as you (re)learn the ropes.

Do know the rules. Your industry, government restrictions, and other requirements will impact whether and how you can market. Review Google Ads support documentation and updates regularly, so you can stay in the loop.

Conclusion

An audience-first strategy for Google Ads will help you prospect and reach your target market.

Knowing how to group and speak to individual market segments will improve your performance and increase your chances of success.

More resources:

Featured Image: Alones/Shutterstock

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How To Link Google Ads To Google Analytics Step

🚨 Note: All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. That’s why it is recommended to do the GA4 migration. We’ve also created a GA4 version of this post.

Google Ads and Google Analytics are both powerful marketing tools on their own—but what if you could get the best of both worlds by connecting them?

In this guide, you’ll learn why you should link Google Ads to Google Analytics, how to do it, and how to make sense of the collected data. 

An overview of what we’ll cover: 

So let’s start!

Why Connect Your Google Ads and Google Analytics Accounts?

Linking your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account has two major benefits that you wouldn’t be able to leverage from these tools separately. 

Observe the Behavior of Google Ad Traffic

Firstly, you’ll be able to track the behavior of the users that visit your website from a Google Ad.

For example, did the user visits other pages on the website? Or did they leave immediately? Are they more likely to convert than users who arrived from other sources?

You can answer all of these questions by importing Google Analytics metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, and Average Session Duration into your Google Ads account.

Thus, linking these two accounts extends your ability to track traffic and user behavior. It also tells you about the quality of traffic that you’re buying with Google Ads.

Google Analytics Retargeting Audience

Secondly, you can retarget an audience from your Google Analytics account using Google Ads. 

Depending on your requirements, you can create different types of audiences in Google Analytics and target them using Google Ads.

Apart from this, you can also import Analytics goals and Ecommerce transactions into your Google Ads account for better goal tracking. Similarly, you can import cross-device conversions into your Google Ads account when you activate Google signals.

So let’s see how to connect these accounts!

Log In with the Same Email Address on Both Accounts

We’ll start by logging into both of our accounts.

🚨 Note: Make sure you are logged in with the same email address on your Google Ads account that you are logged in with your Google Analytics account.

First, find your Google Ads email address at the top right-hand side of the screen.

Your Google Analytics email address will be found under your account name.

Next, we’ll need to check whether we have the correct account permissions set for connecting. 

Check That You Have the Right Account Permissions

One major thing we need to take care of is to grant correct permissions. 

Let’s see how!

Google Ads Permissions

Then, check your access under Access level. You need to have Admin access level set up with your email address.

Google Analytics Permissions

Go over to the Admin section at the lower left-hand side of the platform.

Under User Management, you need to have edit access to the account.

Link Your Accounts Together

Check the compatibility of your Google Ads IDs.

Choose and input an account name in the Link group title field. This way, if you have multiple accounts that you connect to your Google Ads account, you can determine where this is coming from. 

Choose where you want to pull data from. You are allowed to choose multiple views. 

Enable auto-tagging to automatically pull data from your Google Ads account into Google Analytics. 

You may also want to leave auto-tagging settings as they are, especially if you are utilizing UTM tags and you want to avoid mixing it up with the auto-tagging feature.

You may also want to try to link Google Ads and Google Analytics through Google Ads’ linking wizard.

So let’s go ahead and see how the data will look once the two accounts are linked! 

Looking at Live Data

Open the homepage of your Google Analytics account. You’ll be able to see all the campaigns and reports under Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns. 

On the top of the screen, you’ll see the sales charts. It will show the number of Users vs. Transactions report of a particular timeframe for your campaign.

Going further down on the Campaigns page, you’ll see the different metrics of your campaigns. 

For example, you’ll find the Cost and Revenue in this report. You’ll also see the Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, Sessions, etc. for your campaigns. 

Similarly, you can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to increase their effectiveness. 

For example, the bounce rate of a smart campaign can be considered good even if it’s around 80%, but the bounce rate of a shopping campaign will be considered good only if it’s really low.

You can definitely obtain revenue-related information from your Google Ads account. But when you analyze the reports with your Google Analytics account, you can make more informed decisions as you have a holistic view of data. 

FAQ What account permissions do I need to connect my accounts? What data can I see once my accounts are linked?

After linking your accounts, you’ll be able to see more data in both Google Ads and Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns to view campaigns and reports. You’ll see sales charts, metrics like Cost, Revenue, Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, and Sessions. You can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to optimize their effectiveness.

How does linking Google Ads and Google Analytics help with decision-making?

Linking the two accounts provides a holistic view of data, allowing for more informed decision-making. While revenue-related information can be obtained from Google Ads, analyzing reports in Google Analytics provides additional insights and a comprehensive understanding of user behavior, enabling better decision-making for ad campaigns.

Summary

So that’s all you need to know about linking your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account. 

Have you started doing keyword research for your Google Ads campaign? Check out our handy guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner for SEO keyword research.

Atlas Stumbled: Why Humanoid Robots Are Still A Brilliant, Bumbling Mess

In the controller interface that MIT uses for its Atlas robot, the humanoid shows up as a 3D model within its environment. The red line rotates in time with the spinning head-mounted laser rangefinder. Erik Sofge

When the six-foot-two, 330-pound humanoid robot falls, no one is surprised. In part, that’s because this is what Atlas does. Like the nearly identical Atlas models loaned out to other teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and the ones that have lost their footing on camera in the past, this bot tends to go down. In fact, the researchers at MIT’s CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) predicted exactly when it would fail—three paces into its aggressive stride. And, true to form, Atlas steps, steps, steps and goes over, rescued from a face plant onto the concrete floor by the cable attached to the roll cage that serves as its skull.

None of this is new, or news. Humanoid bots are notoriously unwieldy machines that struggle to ape the dynamic sense of balance and constant, minute adjustments that keep most humans effortlessly upright. What’s interesting is why this version of Atlas is losing control so quickly.

At the beginning of this demonstration for media, CSAIL postdoc Scott Kuindersma blamed the problem on a “bug in the code,” some mysterious side effect of the team’s effort to strip out all of the code provided by Atlas’s maker, the Google-acquired Boston Dynamics, and instill the robot with all-new control algorithms.

But it isn’t the software that’s making this Atlas tipsy. It’s the robot’s hands. One of the most sophisticated robots on the planet is repeatedly toppling itself because it can’t account for the marginal weight of its own three-fingered grippers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more succinct example of what makes humanoid robotics so exciting, and yet so deeply unprepared for use in the real world.

MIT CSAIL’s Atlas demonstration was part of a day-long lab tour on Monday to kick off National Robotics Week Erik Sofge

What’s cool is that Atlas can do anything at all on two legs. As explosive as robotics R&D appears to be, with Amazon, Facebook and Google all investing heavily in the field, the successes of humanoid systems are weighed against other humanoids. Five of the eight best-performing teams in the DRC’s first physical trials this past December were using Atlases (CSAIL came in third). The robot powered through a battery of disaster response-themed tasks, their hydraulic actuation outclassing most of the competition’s electric motors. Compared to the majority of the field, Atlas was pure grace under fluid pressure, the synthetic equivalent of a pro athlete.

Compared to most humans, however, Atlas is a barely mobile mess. During the same demo at MIT, it needed multiple tries, spaced over various minutes, to pick up a single two-by-four. It walked to the board without failure, but at a pace so slow and cautious, you had to suppress the urge to help the doddering thing across the converted garage (its imposing, weightlifter-like bulk and rotating warning light notwithstanding). When it got there, a researcher monitoring the robot’s physical intentions—the on-screen interface is mesmerizing, with a detailed 3D model of Atlas and its surroundings, and color-coded indicators of where it plans to step or reach—had to intervene, ordering it to use the other hand, to avoid colliding with its own body. If Atlas were a person, it would be confined to a wheelchair, and cared for by a live-in nurse. (Note: The following video is short, but not very exciting.)

And that’s without considering those pesky hands. “It’s the hands!” someone says while Atlas is swaying on its safety tether. The researchers huddle at the nearby bank of computer monitors, and break up looking pretty triumphant. As Kuindersma explains, the robot was originally shipped to competitors bearing stumps. Teams were provided with two choices of generic hands, including models built by iRobot. MIT ran through those and other options, finally settling on its own combination of gripping and sensing, attaching a camera and a tactile sensor to an existing three-fingered manipulator. Atlas still thinks it’s all stumps, and isn’t factoring in the weight of its enhanced hands.

Those enhancements don’t seem entirely legal to me—the point of giving an Atlas to qualifying teams was to provide baseline hardware, and focus their efforts on control software. Doesn’t adding sensors amount to a significant hardware change?

According to Kuindersma, DARPA has cleared teams to add components as they see fit to Atlas, from the wrists down. By boosting its sensing features, CSAIL unwittingly created a stability bug. Offsetting the hands’ weight probably won’t be a serious challenge, but other bugs will invariably pop up, such as the redistribution of weight when Boston Dynamics replaces the huge, ungainly power and hydraulic tethers on all of its Atlases with battery packs, effectively unplugging the bot for the first time (those overhauls should happen within six months).

If you’re still reading this, then congratulations: You clearly like robotics. While robots themselves are neat, wiggling and shuffling and making for neat clips and GIFs, the appeal of robotics isn’t necessarily in the machines that are ultimately produced. Robotics is troubleshooting. Robotics is merciless, and hard, and humanoid robotics is probably hardest and cruelest of all. Atlas and its ilk could remain functional invalids for years or decades to come. That’s fine. It’s the high degree of difficulty, and the fact that even the best humanoids are bumbling underdogs, that makes it so easy to root for them.

One of the offending hands—the glowing red panel is a tactile sensor that helps detect when and how the robot is gripping an object. Erik Sofge

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool For Predictive Keyword Research

The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a useful tool; there’s no doubt about that.

Whether you’re starting your first Google Ads campaign or your hundredth campaign, having a plan or forecast is critical.

But have you ever thought of using the Keyword Planner as a way to forecast trends in the future?

Staying ahead of the curve by predicting demand can set you apart in any competitive market.

In this post, I’ll walk through how to use the Keyword Planner tool and how to use it so your PPC and SEO efforts can work together.

What Is The Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool?

It’s one thing to know what’s trending now.

That’s a valuable asset for any digital marketer.

But what about what will be trending tomorrow or farther into the future? How do you even predict that?

The Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool does just that.

It’s an awesome option for anyone looking to up their SEM and SEO game by narrowing down the future potential for any keywords or groups of keywords.

According to Google, it updates its forecasts daily with data from up to 10 days past.

This data includes market changes that occurred throughout this time.

It also considers seasonality, so you’re not confused by natural market fluctuations.

In short, Google Ads Keyword Forecast is a pretty cool tool.

How (& Why) To Use The Forecast Tool

The forecast tool is a multifaceted part of Google Ads, and it just goes to show how useful the Ads platform is as a whole.

It goes well beyond today’s data and delivers insights for the near future.

It can even help inform other future efforts or initiatives, as well as benefitting other channels like SEO.

So, what does this forecast tell you?

The forecast tool will help you figure out how your keywords will perform in optimal settings.

You can:

View a chart of your estimated performance.

See projections for individual keywords or grouped keywords.

View how these estimates change when you adjust your max CPC or bidding strategy.

Your forecast has a date range, and you can change the time frame to see how it affects your forecast.

There are two ways to see forecasts on Google Ads, so let’s break down the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool for you, step by step.

How To Use It For Forecasting

Within the Google Ads Keyword Planner, you’ll find something called a forecast.

Once you’re here, you can enter an individual keyword or a group of keywords that are separated by commas or line breaks.

The three tabs are Forecasts, Saved keywords, and Negative keywords.

For the forecasting side of things, you’ll obviously want to stay under the first tab.

You’ll see a selection of forecast data based on the keywords you entered.

Automatically, Google Ads will forecast on a defaulted monthly basis:

Impressions.

Cost or your average projected spend.

Conversions.

Average cost per acquisition (CPA).

Here’s an example of what the aggregated forecast looks like based on your inputs:

You can update the date settings if you’re looking for a shorter or longer period.

In the end, you’ll be left with a pretty nifty graph and data chart that showcases future predictions (or forecasts) for your selected keywords.

This helps you determine the best plan of action for campaigns to come and even lets you know if you should adjust existing campaigns based on consumer queries and behavior.

Remember that the numbers you see associated with each metric are what you’re likely to achieve for your keywords or a group of keywords based on your ad spend.

These numbers will change if your budget changes, proving just how holistic Google’s approach really is.

However, Google clearly shows that spending more doesn’t necessarily equate to better conversions.

When you’re done, take one or all of these steps:

Download your forecast. To do this, select the download button on the page.

Think about how this fits into your paid media, SEO, and content marketing roadmap.

Is This The Only Way To See Forecasts On Google Ads?

Short answer: No, it’s not!

When you use Discover new keywords, you can:

Discover new ideas for keywords.

Edit an existing list of keywords based on what the data shows.

But in addition to these, you can also see a performance forecast once keywords are on your plan.

As an optional measure, you can create a new campaign based on positive forecasts.

Or, you can use them to beef up your existing campaigns.

If you want to add keywords to your plan from Discover new keywords so you can forecast their performance, you can follow a few simple steps:

Choose either Add to plan or Add to existing campaign.

Select Add keywords, and voila!

How To See Keyword Trends In Google Ads

The best way to see keyword trends in Google Ads is within the “Saved keywords” section from the left-hand navigation.

Average monthly searches.

Three-month change.

YoY change.

Competition (low, medium, or high).

Ad impression share.

Top-of-page bid (low and high ranges).

An example of how this would look in Google Ads is below:

Combine this historical data with forecasted projections from your Google Ads account, and you’ll have a comprehensive picture of keywords for your industry!

Note: While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool accounts for things like bid, budget, and seasonality, historical data doesn’t. Just keep this in mind during your comparisons.

How Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool Fits In With The Overall Paid Media Mix

Paid media is best served holistically. PPC should not be operating in a silo.

While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool should be a well-used component in your marketing repertoire, it’s not your only friend.

By using all these tools combined, you can craft a well-planned, holistic marketing strategy.

Identifying core keywords and trends can help inform marketing areas such as:

PPC strategy and realistic budget.

Content and copy creation.

On-page SEO.

Fuse the Google Ads Forecast tool with other tools, like:

Google Trends

Search traffic by any given term or company.

You can compare terms and entities, plus visualize data by location, related topics, and breakout terms.

Use Google Trends to answer the question: What are some recent changes in the landscape?

Google Benchmark Report

This report lives inside Google Analytics.

The Benchmark Report looks at your individual traffic and compares it to the industry benchmark.

Remember that this benchmark comes from the overall industry, not necessarily a particular niche within that sector.

You’ll see how you stack up against national players in the game.

The most useful part of this report for you is comparing your own historical and current data, so you can see just how far you’ve come.

Google Ads Automated Insights

This is a recent development from Google.

Using the power of Google Trends, it imports relevant data into your Google Ads account.

With that data in hand, you can see breakout terms and their forecasted growth.

It’s a super-powerful addition that can potentially improve business and marketing planning by a landslide.

If there were ever a way to slide into a new category before the competition, this is it.

Semrush Data

Learn today’s keyword search volume and compare it monthly for the last six months.

You’ll know what the search volume used to look like and use that data to determine what keywords you should be focusing on now and in the future.

Their keyword planner also offers forecasts, so that’s another tool you can add to your toolbox.

Google Intelligence Events

Using artificial intelligence, Google Intelligence Events tells you if there’s a marked change (either up or down) in your site traffic.

You can even select your own events to automate tailored insight.

A cohesive combination of tools will help you boost your business like the pro you are.

Keep in mind these are just a handful of tools — you’ll find plenty more to back you up along the way.

Conclusion

The Google Ads Keyword Planner Forecast tool has a wealth of information.

Whether you’re looking to add new keywords to your campaign mix or understand future trends for your existing campaigns, this tool has it all.

Not only are the forecast trends important, but what’s even more important is how you use the data.

Forecasting trends helps more than just identifying competition and potential budget; when coupled with other tools, it helps you create a powerful, holistic marketing plan.

Use these tools to help you stay ahead of the game and keep a leg up on your competitors.

More Resources:

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

Google Ads Pulls Plug On Dedicated Support For Many Premier Partners Starting April 1

Some Google Premier agencies began receiving a surprise message yesterday: they will no longer have dedicated contacts for their accounts.

We were made aware of this later yesterday by Jeff Ferguson via a post on Twitter:

What Information is Google Ads Providing?

Is This Happening to All Google Ad Partner Agencies?

According to follow-up questions, this will be happening to the majority of agencies, but not all of them.

The rep did not further clarify the criteria for which agencies are and are not experiencing this.

When Will Dedicated Service End?

When pressed as to whether an increase in spend would reverse this, there was no direct answer, just a reiteration that service will cease tomorrow, April 1.

Agencies affected by this can expect to receive these notifications today from their Agency Development team, if they have not already.

Why Is Google Ads Pulling This Service?

No reason was given, though the form letter stresses it has nothing to do with the upcoming changes to the Google Partners program slated to launch in June of this year.

They are encouraging affected agencies to rely on the support line moving forward, noting that “things may change in the long run.”

This indicates this may not be permanent, but currently it’s the direction Google Ads is going.

How Will This Change Likely Affect Agencies?

The hands-on relationship with assigned reps meant a dedicated person to contact for things like ad appeals, white listing into beta offerings, and a direct line for client questions.

This comes on the heels of Partner qualification changes announced in February, which included increased required spend levels, certification requirements for staff, and utilization of Google’s Recommendations in a given account.

We will continue to monitor updates as they become available.

UPDATE

A Google spokesperson provided Search Engine Journal with the following statement after publication:

“We recently made changes to Google representative support for our small and mid-sized agency partners. These changes are not related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. They are part of a routine review where we evaluate our support level for all agency partners. Status as a premier partner does not impact their agency representative status.”

Dynamic Search Ads: Uncover Purpose

As search marketers, we spend a great deal of time analyzing search query data. And for good reason!

That’s how we recognize when we’re matching to irrelevant queries and can add negatives. Or how we discover new queries that we never even imagined.

Are we always looking for the right things though?

Often we are scanning our SQR reports looking for intent, product types, themes, and more. What deeper layers are there? What about clues to gender, age, or even sexual orientation?

Have we considered what values instilled in our brand that customers might be searching for?

What I’m alluding to is the concept of marketing with purpose.

The ideal of building trust and meaning with customers. The mindset shift from product-centric to people-centric.

Before we discuss tactics with Dynamic Search Ads, let’s cover the basics of marketing with purpose.

Why Consumers Trust Your Brand

Trust sits at the intersection of Values, Responsibility, and Inclusion:

Focus on Responsibility: How are you responsible to your employees, customers, community, and how you execute your marketing?

Lead with Values: How can you shift focus from products and services to what the people you serve value?

Trust is essential to driving business results and it’s essential to beginning a relationship with a customer. 85% of consumers say they’ll only consider a brand if they trust the brand

Building brand love and customer loyalty comes with authenticity. That’s right, the most important attribute in trust is authenticity.

Why Marketing with Purpose Matters

Stated simply: marketing with purpose forces you to think beyond what and who you know.

Are you set up to prevent data bias? Are your assumptions limiting growth?

There are numerous ways bias can enter ad campaigns.

It could be as simple as your assumptions – what you were taught or thought you understood to be true. Maybe you are using predictive analytics and the modeling forms a stereotype market segment of an ideal customer.

Over time your campaigns are optimized to this model and missing out on growth opportunities by not appealing to additional market segments.

Food for thought:

Men make car purchase decisions… Challenge that assumption! Women make these decisions, too. And how males and females arrive at that decision can and does differ.

Only women buy luxury handbags… Challenge that assumption! Could be a boyfriend shopping for a gift. Or a non-binary gender expressing woman buying for a partner.

Gender. Age. Sexual orientation. Geography. And much more.

The onus is on all of us to truly understand our customers and how our campaigns include or exclude them in keywords, ad or landing page copy, imagery, etc.

Use Dynamic Search Ads to Uncover Purpose-Themed Search Queries

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) are a great tool for keyword discovery – especially within the scope of marketing with purpose.

DSA is a double-edged sword here, too.

Because DSA contextually matches to search queries based on the content of your website, you are discovering new search queries and learning how well your content speaks to your brand’s responsibility, values, and inclusion.

To get started:

1. Do Your Homework

What words define purpose for your business and brand?

Some examples:

Responsibility: trusted, respected, compliant, transparent, ethical, secure.

Values: sustainable, eco-friendly, black-owned, minority-owned, charitable, gives back.

Inclusion: accessible, LGBTQI, male/female/non-binary, gay friendly.

2. If You Haven’t Done so Already, Set up DSA Campaigns & Auto-Targets to Match Against Your Products or Services

Best practice for Dynamic Search Ads auto-targets is to start with a catch-all “all webpages” target.

Then proceed to add auto-targets that allow for more granularity.

For example:

Top-level categories (Shoes).

Sub-categories (Dress shoes).

Promotion/seasonal pages.

Pages that contain a specific word or phrase.

Pages that you DO NOT want DSA to match against (use as excluded auto-targets).

Leverage DSA page feeds to get even more granular.

3. Review the Search Query Data for Your DSA Campaigns Using N-Gram and Bigram Analysis

Start by filtering the search query data using the purpose words you pre-defined.

What relevant queries are surfacing that you are not currently bidding on?

What potential group of people is actively searching for your products and services that you previously had not considered in your marketing efforts?

What queries are not surfacing, but should be? This is a red flag for you to review your website content!

To start matching against desired purpose-themed search queries:

Make adjustments to existing content.

Create new content.

Adjust product and/or service names (more extreme, but may need to be considered!).

One additional step you can take with DSA performance data is to take a look at the dynamically generated headlines.

Is the headline message that was served a good match to the matched search queries?  Are they reflective of your values, responsibility and inclusion goals?

In Microsoft Advertising, there are 3 different reports you can pull for Dynamic Search Ads campaigns – by auto-targets, by category (your website), and by search queries.

You can add Headline, Final URL, and even Landing Page Title to all of these reports to better understand the relationship between website content, search query, and dynamic headline:

Dynamic Search Ads provide a powerful vehicle for keyword discovery and for putting marketing with purpose into practice in your workflow today.

How can you carry this into other marketing workflows? Into other channels?

It’s a big world out there full of ideas and a wide range of people and perspectives.

Marketing with purpose puts us a step closer to ensuring we reach them on their level and build trust together.

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