Personalisation - The holy grail for Paid Search ROI

Ellie Burns
By Ellie Burns
16 Jun 2017

Relevance is the key to maximising the return on your paid search investment. Fine tuning your ads to the intent of an individual as they type specific words into a search engine has always been the aim. This is the route to more attracting clicks from people with a serious intent to purchase. 

Targeting keywords based on a user’s search terms can result in a highly focused and relevant ad. You know what that person is interested in at that exact moment. Lately though, these two pillars have evolved into something different. It’s no longer just keywords that narrow down which ad is used for each person. 

Location targeting has been available in Google AdWords for as long as I can remember, and there have been ongoing improvements to IP targeting.

Google AdWords targeting

Mobile specific ad copy was one of Google’s first forays into directly allowing ads to be targeted by something other than just the search term. Not long after, this was followed by Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). Advertisers were now armed with the ability to tailor ads for previous site visitors. Even better, it allowed ads to be made more relevant based on exactly what parts of the site had been visited and how long it had been since the last visit.

As RLSA evolved, limitations become apparent. Very advanced segmentation is normally just confined to bid optimisation strategies, such as setting negative bid adjustments for visitors returning on low converting screen resolution devices.

The lack of a dynamic solution is very restricting for the advanced ad copy strategies we need to achieve genuinely personalised ad targeting, but progress continues. Google can now map our personal universe with the support of Gmail. It knows who we are, our age and what we like. An income based targeting solution is also being introduced in America.  

There is a crossover with search and display as there is an ongoing need to improve the relationship between ad and keyword to improve CTR. The missing part of this picture has always been the user, Google and paid search specialists are continually trying to bridge this gap to make ads more personalised and increase client ROI.

Excluding different age brackets

At a simple level, if I know that people are more likely to click on my ad if they are aged 18 - 24, and are three times more likely to convert in this age bracket, I would clearly want to target more of spend to this ad group and exclude different age brackets. It seems inevitable that we will also see bid adjustments in the future for simple demographic data like this.

The ability to personalise the targeting and content of ads is constantly improving. The agencies and brands that are continually monitoring and testing these developments will have a clear competitive advantage.