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our team’s top 5 paid search tactics

As a digital agency that focuses on paid media through and through, we’re home to many experts and we like to hear what they’re currently loving in the paid media world.

In this blog, we share our five top modern paid search tactics from our PPC executives and technical account managers. Covering first-party data, DSA campaigns, keyword match types and more, they give insight into what has been driving performance.

1) use first-party data

The cookie-less world is closing in and it’s time to get prepared. When Google announced that they will be removing third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023, you may have wondered what the impact on your paid media efforts is going to be.

The lack of third-party cookies is likely to have the biggest impact on paid search tactics such as programmatic display as tracking is mainly used for audiences. As such, first-party data becomes all the more important and nobody knows this better than PPC Technical Account Manager, Emily Perrons:

“I’d say one of my favourite tactics at the moment is using first-party data. It’s surprising how many businesses don’t make the most of this data and this is something we work on implementing across all our clients. With the cookie-less world fast approaching, having the learnings and data insights already in place is pivotal to future performance. Marketers need to prepare themselves for this now, ensuring the collection of data is appropriate to be used for optimisation in paid activity.”

Gathering good quality data on users visiting your site has become key to preparations. This first-party data can then be used to model audiences for prospect marketing, alleviating the effects when Google gets rid of third-party cookies for good.

2) fill the gaps with a DSA campaign

Dynamic Search Ad (DSA) campaigns involve tailored and interchangeable headlines and landing pages that help you reach relevant customers as they search. Even better, DSA campaigns are generated using content from your website which not only saves you time but also keeps your ads relevant and up to date.

The easiest way to find users searching for what you offer, DSA campaigns use your website content to target your ads and can be used to fill the gaps of your keyword-based campaigns just like Farah Radford, PPC Technical Account Manager does:

“I like filling the gaps with a DSA campaign as they are brilliant for keyword mining. Although they can be used as search remarketing campaigns, my preferred tactic is to run them as a normal campaign while layering remarketing audiences within the campaign. This allows us to bring in new customers while increasing bids for those users who have already been to the site. DSA campaigns are definitely worth testing if you have a large account and want to expand/drive additional traffic to your site.”

Without DSA campaigns, even the best-managed accounts may miss relevant searches or experience delays in writing content for new products and ads. However, when used improperly, DSAs can impact your campaign performance in a negative way.

To find out more about how you can see impressive results with this campaign type, take a read of our blog: the highs and lows of dynamic search ads.

3) be brave with keyword match types

Keywords are used to match ads with the terms people use when searching on Google. The keyword match type you choose influences how closely the keyword needs to match the search query before your ad can be considered for the auction.

There are three types of keyword matches which Google summarises below:

Many businesses fall into the trap of fearing broad match but Jasmine Mapp, PPC Technical Account Manager, explains why this doesn’t need to be the case:

“Being brave with match types is key. It’s difficult to switch your mentality away from fearing broad match, however, when paired with an automated bidding strategy and consistent search query audits, switching your strategy to broad match campaigns can have a positive result. You’ll find that Google picks up highly relevant search terms, allowing you to serve ads for searches you may not have done previously to generate a larger number of conversions.”

If you want to take it up a level, you can use Smart Bidding with all keyword match types so that Google can automatically optimise based on your performance objectives. However, Smart Bidding often works best with broad match as it can leverage the wide set of search terms it allows you to learn what works best for you and your users.

4) launch performance max campaigns

Performance Max campaigns are a goal-based campaign type that allows advertisers to access their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. Designed to drive performance in real-time based on your specific conversion goals, Performance Max uses Google’s automation technology across bidding, budget, audiences, creative and attribution to create the best result.

Ideal to complement your keyword-based campaigns, using Performance Max, you can find more users to convert across multiple channels including YouTube, Discover, Display and even Maps.

“Recently, I’ve been launching Performance Max campaigns for a few of our retail clients. These are campaigns which work by optimising performance in real-time and across channels using Smart Bidding, driving performance based on the goals that we set. This campaign type is great for identifying new converting audiences, using real-time data and the audience signals we provide. We’ve seen great results after implementing them.” – Jasmine Mapp, PPC Technical Account Manager

5) leverage mix-match campaigns

When it comes to paid search, best practice used to involve putting each keyword match type (broad, phrase or exact) into its own campaign. However, with the evolution of Google’s algorithm, it’s now recommended to keep all match types in one campaign.

These unified campaigns have commonly become referred to as mix-match campaigns and Micaela Lizardo, Senior PPC Technical Account Manager is a big fan of them:

I’ve moved towards mix-match campaigns where all match types now live in the same campaign and ad group. This approach not only makes our daily account management more straightforward, but it also takes full advantage of Google’s most recent algorithm updates. This considers semantics and is now able to automatically select the best match for each search query regardless of match type or wording.

Alongside this, it allows us to mine for new keywords and expand presence on the search results page while optimising the bids and thus efficiently utilising the budget.”

making the most of modern paid search tactics

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to golden nuggets of insight from our paid media experts. To find out more about the way we work, how we can support your digital marketing activity or to pick the minds of our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

read next

the importance of monitoring your ad campaigns

the impact of google’s cookie-less world

the highs and lows of dynamic search ads