When is a failure not a failure? When it’s market research. Google Adwords are a very effective way to reach your target audience – assuming you know what search terms your audience is likely to enter. The challenge is determining which keywords to chose for your campaigns. There are a number of tools available that can help you narrow your choices but these tools tend to be less effective in the B2B space as the search volume for a particular keyword is typically low. It’s in these cases that I like to use Google Adwords to help me determine which keywords to select for my clients.
Here is how you use Google Adwords for market research: run a Google Adwords campaign and measure its success. Keywords that don’t perform have just told you either you have the wrong keywords entirely or the keywords didn’t match your offer. In either case the campaign failed to drive traffic but it did tell you what won’t work. You can use this information to refine your approach by either selecting better keywords or refining your pitch. The best part is that the information was free! With Google Adwords you only pay if the viewer clicks on the ad. Just displaying the ad is free.
Here is a real world example – I have helped a number of companies in the Records Information Management industry. To the participants in that industry the term ‘document destruction’ is synonymous with ‘shredding’. The reality of search is a little different. People searching for ‘shredding’ do not immediately make the association with ‘document destruction’. By running various Google Adwords campaigns it is possible to MEASURE the difference in perception.
Google Adwords uses a sophisticated matching system to match ads with keywords entered. To help advertisers control this matching process Google Adwords provides three matching types: broad, phrase and exact.
Broad: matches keywords in any order – searching for milk chocolate or chocolate milk will return ads for companies that have either ‘milk chocolate’ or ‘chocolate milk’ as a keyword.
Phrase: matches keywords in a specific order – searching ‘cold chocolate milk’ or ‘chocolate cows milk’ will return ads for companies that have ‘chocolate milk’ as a keyword but not ‘milk chocolate’.
Exact: matches keywords exactly – searching for ‘chocolate cows milk’ will not return ads for companies that have ‘chocolate milk’. Only companies that have ‘chocolate cows milk’ will have their ads displayed.
By using matching variations it is possible to determine certain aspects about your market. Do searches look for my term exactly or do they modify it in some way? By cross-referencing searches that match with actual visits to your site you can determine which keywords or word order drive visits. You can also find discover variations that can be used to develop long tail content.
Google Adwords can also give you a sense of how big your market is. Google Adwords provides statistics on the number of times your ad was displayed, the number of times it was clicked and some other helpful information. In most cases we want the clicks to views to be as high as possible. It doesn’t always happen that way though. In some cases there are a lot of impressions for your ad but few clicks. Don’t be disheartened. You can always fix your ad but you can’t always find a keyword that will generate a lot of impressions. The number of impressions is a rough way to gauge the size of your market for that particular keyword. This isn’t an exact science but the price is right!
I’m not advocating you purposely create poor performing ads, quite the contrary. What I’m suggesting is that you learn from what isn’t working in order to improve your business. Google Adwords provides almost instant feedback on what your market is thinking.