Landmark PPC Strategies: The Importance of Audience Targeting and Personalization

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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When you run a PPC ad campaign, there are many moving parts. From ad copy to bidding strategy, the process can get confusing and overwhelming very fast.

Thankfully, there’s a “silver bullet” that’ll help you tie together the various components of your PPC campaigns – a clear understanding of your audience.

As sales and marketing strategies are becoming increasingly customer-centric, your PPC ads also need to revolve around your target audience in order to deliver an outstanding customer experience that converts.

Audience targeting enables your ads to show up in the right place at the right time and with the right message so you can optimize results. In addition, it provides the foundation for leveraging personalization technologies to increase the effectiveness of your PPC ads.

In this article, you’ll learn why you should incorporate audience targeting and personalization into your PPC strategies, tips for executing these tactics, and how to harness combine these two strategies to maximize your ROI.

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The Importance of Audience Targeting In PPC Advertising

Without knowing who you’re communicating to and what their challenges or desired outcomes are, you won’t be able to craft marketing messages that are most relevant to your prospects.

Knowing your audience is, therefore, the most important step to creating and distributing marketing messages that can maximize your ROI – whether it’s long-form content, website copy, social media posts, email campaigns, or online ads.

Audience targeting is particularly important in today’s PPC world, which has become increasingly competitive and therefore, expensive to run ad campaigns.

It’s no longer good enough to post a “one-size-fits-all” online ad since it won’t generate enough high-quality leads to maintain profits.

In addition, most advertisers focus their ads on top-of-the-funnel audiences and neglect to develop messaging to capture prospects further down in the sales funnel and therefore, more likely to convert.

Audience targeting gives you the ability to deliver ads with the right message at the right time to the right prospects so you can optimize your ROI.

In fact, audience targeting will surpass keywords as one of the key online advertising trends because it helps better manage the digital buyer funnel, lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA,) increase conversion rates, improve customer retention, and increase customer lifetime value.

audience targeting funnel graphic

It provides a contextual perspective of your customers so you can better understand their preferences, psychologies, and behaviors.

It also helps deliver cohesive and omnichannel online interactions that will improve customer experience, build brand loyalty, and increase conversion.

Here are some audience targeting strategies, depending on the market and the business objectives of your campaigns:

  • Customer lifecycle stages: create a custom audience with your own data or target audience segments by keywords that indicate purchase intent to deliver ads that match the users’ stages in the buying journey.
  • Behavioral-driven personas: use a scoring system to assign users a numeric score based on the content viewed or actions taken on your website.
  • Smart Lists: use the Smart List feature in Google Analytics for businesses that have a short sales cycle to help identify users that are most likely to convert based on your website data.

The Benefits of Personalization In PPC Advertising

After identifying and segmenting your audiences, you can then improve the effectiveness of your ads with personalized user experience.

In fact, personalization is essential if you want to deliver an outstanding customer experience that will increase conversion and retention rates:

  • 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company fails to deliver personalized communications.
  • 62% of consumers indicate that it’s acceptable for brands to send personalized offers based on items they have purchased.
  • High performing brands are 7.2x more likely than underperformers to show personalized content on their websites.
  • Personalized CTA converts 202% better than generic ones.
  • 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads tailored to their interests and shopping habits.

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Marketing personalization allows you to deliver the right message in the right place and at the right time to the right audience.

By incorporating a personalization strategy into your PPC campaigns, you can accelerate prospects’ progression along the customer journey, develop deeper relationships with your audience, increase engagement, shorten the sales cycle, build brand affinity, improve customer loyalty, and increase the ROI of your ad dollars.

Personalization also gives you the opportunity to gather relevant customer data and better understand what works and what doesn’t so you can apply the insights to other marketing strategies (e.g., content marketing.)

Here are a few ways to deliver a personalized experience with your PPC campaigns:

  • Use different targeting strategies, such as affinity targeting, contextual targeting, demographic targeting, in-market targeting, and topic targeting to deliver the appropriate content to the right audience based on a variety of criteria.
  • Try Google’s Customer Match feature to leverage customer data and show the most relevant ads to specific audiences, e.g., based on their interactions with your email campaigns or past purchases.
  • Use location targeting to deliver ads based on countries, areas within a country, or radius. You can upload a location targeting feed to deliver specific offers to audiences in different locations.
  • Use list-based or pixel-based remarketing ads to deliver the most relevant content or offers to consumers who have previously  shown interests in your products.
  • Increase the granularity of your targeting with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA,) which only shows an ad if users are on your remarketing list and using a specific keyword in their searches.

Combining the Power of Audience Targeting and Personalization

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Audience targeting and personalization go hand-in-hand to deliver a holistic, cohesive, and omnichannel customer experience that will build brand affinity, cultivate relationships, increase conversions, and improve customer retention.

The use of customer data is the foundation of these strategies. Such data-driven approach provides in-depth insight into your audience’s preferences and behaviors so you can craft the most relevant messaging.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do a whole lot of data wrangling on your own.

More and more PPC platforms (e.g., Google and Facebook) are incorporating AI-driven technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, to analyze a large amount of user data and offer automation options designed to increase your ads’ effectiveness. Here are a few examples from Google Ads:

  • Responsive search ads that use machine learning technologies to display the most relevant ad copy based on users’ searches. These ads can deliver up to 15% more clicks.
  • Automated bidding that adjusts bids in real-time to optimize your budget.
  • An optimization tool that helps merchants drive traffic to their physical stores by leveraging online ads across Search, Google Maps, and YouTube.

Tips To Increase the Effectiveness Of Your Audience Targeting and Personalization

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To make the most out of the latest PPC advertising technologies, you need to dial in the entire customer experience:

  • Develop relevant ad copy and creative based on audience segments’ buyer personas, customer lifecycle stages, and other attributes (e.g., location, interest, past purchases) so you can effectively accelerate users down the sales funnel.
  • Use an enticing CTA that’s contextual and relevant to the user’s next step in the customer journey.
  • Set up dedicated landing pages for each audience segment to deliver a seamless experience that will increase trust and conversion. These landing pages should be coherent with the copy and offer in the corresponding ads.
  • Set a realistic pace and frequency for your remarketing ads to avoid rushing the audience to the next step or losing a sale because you have missed the window of interest or intent.
  • Integrate the PPC campaigns into your omnichannel marketing strategy to deliver the most relevant content and offer to email subscribers and current customers. Doing so will not only improve retention rate but also increase average order value and customer lifetime value of these customers.

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Design the Right Audience Strategy For Your PPC Campaigns

Set a solid foundation for your PPC campaigns by getting a clear understanding of your audience so you can design a segmentation and personalization strategy to maximize your marketing ROI.

Your PPC strategy should cover everything from audience research and bid management to cross-channel advertising, as well as testing, tracking and reporting.

Our expert PPC management service is designed to help you dial in every aspect of your PPC campaigns so you can get the most of your ad dollars. Learn more and get in touch here.

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