While AdWords has the potential to be an effective and profitable customer acquisition strategy, the fact is that many advertisers fail to generate the results they expected. So they may get some clicks and customers, but they typically do not maximize their potential ROI.
What’s behind this AdWords inefficiency and underperformance? While there are several potential triggers – everything from poorly crafted ads to bad landing pages – a common root cause is that keywords are not strategically selected. This is especially the case when advertisers accept Google’s suggestions. Frankly, for all of the billions of dollars that Google has poured into its AdWords product, its keyword suggestion tool remains staggeringly flawed.
The problem, of course, is that Google’s keyword suggestion tool – and all other such tools – does not, and cannot, make decisions based on market research. Instead, they churn out a list of “best guesses” based on extremely limited information, such as:
- The content on an advertiser’s website (whether it is on-message or even accurate is beside the point).
- The snippet of words in an ad (which is like trying to create a business plan from a fortune cookie).
- What an advertiser believes their target market is searching for (which puts business owners and decision-makers into the role of SEO expert, which is something they categorically aren’t, because if they were, they would NOT completely reliant on Google’s suggestion tool in the first place!).
To be fair, Google is trying to help here. Or rather, they probably discovered many years ago that if they don’t provide some kind of keyword suggestion tool, then many advertisers will get stuck and won’t start launching ads at all.
Yet while that explains the existence of keyword suggestion tools, it certainly does not defend, justify or endorse their use; which is why the most successful AdWords advertisers, and ALL big enterprises that use AdWords (Apple, Dell, eBay, Amazon, etc.) would not even consider basing their keywords on what Google suggests. Rather, rely on what generates profit: market research.
Below, we highlight 3 key reasons why market research is not just important for choosing the right AdWords keywords, but is essential for taking the shortest path to ROI:
1. Market research ensures that advertisers are reaching ALL potential customer groups, and not just those that are known.
For example, a business in the residential alarm space may be (obviously) trying to reach prospects who are searching for home security. However, they may also find it effective to target people who are searching for home renovations, or people who are thinking selling their home (a “for sale” sign on the lawn or a listing on a website can be a magnet for burglars). Market research validates these possibilities based on hard data.
2. Market research ensures that advertisers understand both WHAT their target customers are searching for and WHY.
When advertisers understand what their target customers are searching for, they create more detailed lists of keywords so that their ad only pops up at the right moment. When advertisers understand why their target customers are searching, they can craft targeted ad copy and say what the target customers want to hear on their landing pages to make a conversion.
Overall, knowing what prospects are thinking and feeling is critical to delivering a tight, relevant message that ushers them forward on the buyer’s journey. Remember: getting the click is not the same as making a conversion and market research is about results and outcomes.
3. Market research ensures that advertisers are not chasing the wrong keywords.
The biggest complaint that unsatisfied AdWords advertisers have is not that they failed to get clicks; it is that they did not get conversions. Sometimes, this is a matter of writing better ads and having more optimized landing pages (which as noted in #2 is something that market research directly supports).
Other times, however, the problem is that some keywords should not be on the list; either because they are attracting the wrong types of visitors, or because they are forcing advertisers to compete with large enterprises that have significant advantages for that specific keyword. Market research dramatically improves keyword list hygiene, and helps advertisers steer clear of keywords that may “feel right,” but are virtual money pits.
At Communications For Research, we help AdWords advertisers get the market research intelligence they need to make the right keyword choices, and maximize AdWords ROI. With 20 years of experience, we conduct over 500 market research projects annually and have experience with a multitude of unique industries and research situations. Contact our team today so we can help you with all of your market research needs.
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