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SES: Things To Do When You SEM

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Search engine marketing is not limited to SEOing your site to get respectable organic results. Advertising through these engines is also a very effective medium when it comes to getting noticed and capturing traffic. However, there are some ideas and hints you should keep in mind before embarking on any SEM endeavor.

First and foremost, be sure and test the ads you intend to run. Test to see which one will be the most effective and will generate the most response. There are a number of ways to go about testing ads, and thanks to the Chicago SES conference, I can relay a few of these methods to you.

During the Ad Testing: Research and Finding session, Anton Konikoff, CEO of Acronym Media revealed a number of ideas that should assist with any search engine ad testing. Initially, Konikoff reminded the attendees that search engines provide the perfect platform for ad testing and to further this point he discussed a case study and demonstrated how a minor change in a client’s ad copy paid measurable dividends. The change? Adding the phrase “award winning”.

Konikoff also reminded the audience while an ad’s CTR is an important result, the ultimate success of an ad comes from its conversion rate. This means, if you are only successful in attracting clicks, but cannot close the deal, you need to test the effectiveness of your ad’s landing page. These are as important as well-written, catchy ads because what good is an effective ad if the landing page is so bad you can’t close the sale?

There were some other pointers discussed by Konikoff:

1. When testing, sample at least 100 clicks. Ideally, you’d like to shoot for 1000 clicks, but budget constraints may prevent this from happening.

2. For smaller budgets, limit your testing to 3 or 4 ads. However, companies with larger budgets should test 5 or more.

3. Test your ad’s title, which should closely match the content of the ad itself. Keep your title line consistent with the descriptions.

Concerning ad descriptions, develop a number of descriptions to test. Obviously, these should contain the keywords you are targeting, however, there are other ad content ideas to consider during the testing process. For instance, use time sensitive descriptions – phrases like “Act Now” or price point information like “All Time Low Price”. If the product has a coupon, let you audience know.

Once these descriptions have been developed, test them. Find out which one performs the best and run it. However, your job isn’t done once this has been accomplished. Konikiff made sure to point out that ad testing is not a “test it and forget it” endeavor. It is a continuous process and you or your marketing department needs to approach it as such.

Other ad testing considerations (provided by Hugh Burnham of Rare Method):

- create ad groups for general terms as well as specific industry keywords
- shut off campaigns on the weekends to save money
- expand targeted keyword base to include plurals and like terms
- pick client’s brain for a better understanding of their industry’s terms

If you can follow just some of these ideas, it can have some vast, positive effects on a search engine marketing campaign. Do not be afraid to experiment.

SES: Things To Do When You SEM
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