Search marketing is a lot like the show “House Hunters”.
In the show, a couple buying a new home meet with a real estate agent and talk about the various attributes that are important to them – for example, having a home office to take work calls, a dining room to entertain guests, or a spacious backyard for their dogs.
More than just listing attributes, they talk about their life, goals, and future plans so that the agent truly gets to know the couple and can find a house that not only suits them now but for years to come.
Now imagine you’re on this show searching for your dream home, and the real estate agent is excited to show you a property that they think you’ll love.
You’re so excited about driving up to the house… only to step inside and find out that it’s a total dud. It doesn’t meet any of the attributes you had in mind!
That is the equivalent of search advertising that fails by delivering a poorly targeted and unwanted experience.
Like most consumers, I use search engines when I’m actively looking for answers to specific questions.
I want the response to be quick, effective, and spot-on.
In the above analogy, those house attributes are my inputted targeting parameters – and these parameters give me a base from which I can begin my hunt for a new home.
When I end up spending time looking at homes that don’t fit my needs, I am turned off and tune out.
This is why a data management platform (DMP) is so vital.
A DMP is – in essence – the consummate real estate agent, incredibly adept at ensuring the right person is matched to the right house, at the right time in their life.
So, how do DMPs help you match users to the right search ads?
1. By Optimizing Messaging & Bidding
When using traditional keyword targeting, you are treating every searcher somewhat equally.
A user who researched your product for hours may see the same messaging in the same ad position at the same CPC as a user who just heard about it from a friend and is interested in learning more.
When you’re looking at performance reports, you won’t be able to distinguish the first user from the second – all the performance metrics are muddled together, which makes optimizations really tricky.
Using a DMP, you can approach those customers differently.
Audiences that are rich with data – such as how many times the user has visited your website or whether they’ve contacted your call center – can help determine how much to invest towards that audience.
You can bid up on high-value audiences for whom you want to prioritize budget or create different campaigns for different audiences.
2. By Using Online & Offline Segmentation
Search engines allow you to remarket to your customers off previous site actions – for example, if a user has downloaded a whitepaper or looked at a product demo.
This is a great indicator of intent and can be used in search campaigns to streamline their buying journey.
But you’re still missing a big chunk of the puzzle.
What are your customers doing offline?
Industries like automotive – where most of the buying happens offline – would benefit from having this missing puzzle piece.
Using only remarketing tactics, the auto brand may be hitting a user with search ads for weeks or months after they’ve been to the website, with messaging around visiting their local dealership.
DMPs create a complete picture of where the user is in the buying journey by incorporating first-party, offline data – like dealership visits, test drives, or car purchases.
3. By Incorporating Cross-Device Insights
With the explosion of devices in the past decade, targeting a user throughout their buying journey can be tricky.
A user may search on their desktop researching vacations to the Bahamas in January. But, a search for travel insurance conducted later in January from that user’s mobile device may help a brand determine that the trip has already been purchased.
This is great news for a sunscreen company – not so great for an airline.
Chances are if an airline started targeting that customer with search ads for trips to the Bahamas, the consumer would find it incredibly frustrating.
DMPs are powerful when it comes to connecting users to their various devices, through both deterministic and probabilistic methods.
This methodology is more transparent and gives advertisers control, compared to search engines that often don’t disclose which signals or methods they are using to stitch devices together.
4. By Delivering Consistent Experiences Across Channels
Search is a unique channel. It’s low-funnel and high-intent, which can make the metrics very different from other digital channels.
But ultimately, advertisers want holistic marketing strategies and execution. They want their search campaigns speaking the same language as display and social campaigns.
When these campaigns are being managed by separate teams, each operating with unique audience database, that can be a challenging task.
DMPs help to simplify this challenge.
Instead of having each digital channel market to a set of users – who may or may not be the same users – you can use the same audience definition across all of your marketing efforts.
Having this unified audience definition means that your customers will have consistent experiences across search engines and other digital channels – even in channels outside of paid media, like email and site personalization.
5. By Keeping Privacy in Mind
We are now living in a post-GDPR world, and privacy concerns may be keeping you or your advertisers up at night.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your data close to the vest.
Using a DMP, which hashes and anonymizes all of your PII (personally identifiable information), gives you an extra privacy layer and added privacy controls.
By processing your data in a DMP, you are the only brand that has the insights needed to tailor your search campaign.
The last thing you would want is for a search engine to monetize and sell off the data you share with them.
Not only would the customer be furious, but your competitors would be given a strategic advantage by having the ability to access the data you carefully curated.
A DMP is the difference between a mansion and a roadside motel. It’s like moving into your forever home complete with top-notch security, cutting-edge upgrades and more.
By using data to inform and optimize search campaigns, brands can drive search campaigns that are relevant, interesting, and informed.
New audiences can be developed through hyper-targeting and the experience your potential client base has with your brand is ensured right from the first click.
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