How building an audience framework can improve your PPC campaigns

PPC advertising has always been about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Even today.

But how do you ensure that you are targeting the best people and that the messaging is outstanding?

Audience definition and development should be at the core of every PPC strategy

All of your tactics, including account structure, keywords, bidding, and everything else, should support your audience framework. 

Consumers are overwhelmed with a barrage of advertising. Americans see thousands of ads per day.

Brands are constantly clamoring for more attention. At some point, all of this becomes noise to overwhelmed consumers who are being bombarded daily across their digital devices. 

Marketers have to break through the noise to establish a connection with their audience. GWI released a study in March 2021 that aimed to understand what consumers across generations (Gen Z to Baby Boomers) want from advertisers. According to the authors:

“All in all, younger consumers have a more diverse list of expectations when it comes to advertising. Most notably, they show signs of wanting to connect with an ad on an emotional level. Their older counterparts, on the other hand, are drawn to the functional, more tangible, benefits of ads.”

What do people want from advertising? Four themes emerged: 

  • Be entertaining.
  • Give me product information.
  • Provide discounts and offers.
  • Be relevant to me and my identity.

The target audiences for your brand likely have similar traits. They see advertisements everywhere all the time.

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Messaging that breaks through and makes a connection includes relevant information with entertaining concepts and discounts/promotions to inspire action.

Making a lasting connection with your audience is already difficult, but brands also need to maintain that connection to build brand loyalty and lifetime value. 

  • 34% of consumers tried new brands during the COVID pandemic, according to a report from Retail TouchPoints.

Brands need to segment their consumer profiles so they can deliver relevant messaging, analyze performance and optimize tactics. This includes segmenting:

  • Current customers from potential customers.
  • Customers with high LTV.
  • Customers who purchase frequently.
  • Those who haven’t interacted with your brands recently.

Better understand your audiences and your business 

Segmenting audiences requires answering bigger questions about your business.

Arbitrary audience segmentation is arguably worse than none at all.

Think about attributes shared across large sections of your audience and group them together. Here are a few come attributes that can help create targeted audiences:

  • Aware of your brand, visited your website but have not purchased
  • Not aware of your brand or have not interacted with your website previously 
  • Individuals who have engaged with your brand (request info, emails, etc)
  • Previous customers who purchased your products/services 
  • Customers who have made multiple purchases or large purchases
  • Customers who have not purchased in a long time 

This segmentation process should shed light on your sales cycle, messaging at each stage of this cycle, and how consumers engage with your brand. Audience segments for your brand should be personalized for your marketing and sales needs but these attributes listed above should kick-start your brainstorming.

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Audience definition should not happen once. Regularly review your audience framework to ensure that the segmentation is still aligned with your core business objectives.

Craft messaging that stands out from the noise 

Every audience segment is different. They have varying relationships with your brand and they each have unique needs and interests.

Messaging is a qualifying measure of your audience framework. Each audience group should have targeted messaging. 

As you build your audience framework and the corresponding ad strategy, you may find that some of the messaging sounds similar. This may indicate that your audiences are not as unique or defined as possible.

If you craft an audience strategy but deliver similar ads across your segments, your strategy will not be as impactful. Make sure that your audiences are large enough to drive impression volume but unique enough to require customized messaging. 

With your defined audiences and targeted creative, you can focus on crafting messages that stand out from the noise. You can gain each audience’s attention but you can also establish a connection that will hopefully resonate and inspire action. 

Build better paid media plans

Building an audience framework allows you to understand how to reach these people.

You may have audiences that are considered upper-funnel with low awareness of your brand. Likely, you will want to target audiences who are current customers with a very high awareness of your brand.

These attributes will influence how you build a paid media plan to address these audiences. 

When many folks think about Search Engine Marketing, all they consider is keyword-based paid search ads. The PPC ecosystem is much larger than paid search now. Within Google and Microsoft you have a wide range of distribution channels:

  • Paid search 
  • Search Partners (Google)
  • Search Ad Network (MSAN, Microsoft)
  • Display Network
  • YouTube and Video 
  • Discovery
  • Shopping
  • App Campaigns
  • Local Campaigns
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These channels provide differentiated opportunities to discover and converse with your target audience. For example, for an audience that has a low/no awareness of your products, you will need to reach out to introduce your brand potentially via Display or YouTube to generate interest. 

A robust audience framework will help sharpen your messaging and target your media buying.

Hopefully, all of this sounds great and you are ready to build or review your audience strategy!

Next time, we’ll get into some technical specifics around PPC audience building, segmentation and management. As privacy becomes a priority, access to audience profile data will tighten. We will make a plan for the future together!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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About The Author

Joseph Kerschbaum is Senior Vice President of Search & Growth Labs for 3Q Digital. During his 20 years of experience in digital marketing, Joseph has worked with businesses of every size from SMBs to enterprise-scale. Joseph has been a regular speaker at digital marketing conferences for over a decade. Joseph is co-author of the Wiley/Sybex book, “Pay-Per-Click SEM: One Hour a Day,” which was published in 2010. For the past four years, Joseph hosted a podcast, 3Q Digital Download, where he discussed digital marketing strategies with industry leaders.

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