Something interesting happened over the past two weeks. Two events that I thought were completely unrelated, turned out to be closely related the more I thought about and reflected on them.
These two events came from attending the recent Toronto show hosted by Yahoo and an internal discussion spawned by one of our clients regarding a specific filer for Google Adwords data inside of Google Analytics.
They both showed how important it is to understand your online audience. While my own audience tends to be those involved with pay-per-click, both events are important to those involved in internet marketing.
Yahoo's Thought Leadership Series
Back on April 1, Yahoo hosted "Who's Zooming Who? Marketing to Boomers" at the Toronto Board of Trade. As the title indicates, this session covered the topic of marketing online to the Baby Boomer audience, dispelled myths about their online activities, and filled us in on stats about this demographic that made everyone think about reaching out to this group.
Boomers are those people born between 1946 and 1957. For a lot of us, that is our parents' generation. This demographic can also include "Shadow Boomers"-those born between 1958 and 1964.
This Yahoo! seminar taught me some very interesting facts.
Did you know that there are 78 million Baby Boomers in the United States, and they are considered the wealthiest generation in history? They posses almost $2 trillion in spending power alone. And the 52.3 million Boomers who are online spend an astounding $7 billion! This is an incredible amount of money that many businesses are missing out on because they are mistaken in thinking the younger generations are the ones spending money and time online.
I'll bet you didn't think Baby Boomersa spent that much time or effort doing things online like shopping, researching, and communicating.
Knowing they do means we have a whole new understanding of this demographic, one that is an important target market to certain clients.
I'll admit it. I was one of those misinformed about this generation. But with the information provided by those presenting at the 'Yahoo! Thought Leadership Series', it certainly forced me to rethink some of the advertising methods we use for some of our clients, including those in home improvement, personal health products, and finance. From simple keyword additions to re-thinking ad copy, our advertising has been reshaped thanks to this knowledge.
Discovering Actual AdWords Phrases
I recently came across a blog from last summer over at Get Elastic-The eCommerce Blog about revealing the exact word or phrase visitors have entered before clicking on your AdWords ad.
The blog entry by Jason Billingsley, entitled 'Stop Google Analytics From Stealing Your Valuable AdWords Keyword Data' comes across somewhat as a 'Google is evil and steals your money' post, and got the desired reaction from a client who also happened to read it. He seemed a bit uncomfortable and wanted to know 'what this was all about'.
But evil it is not. The headline was designed, in our opinion, to draw readers in. And I'm sure that it did. But when you read between the lines, the post addresses a simple shortcoming with AdWords reporting in Google Analytics and shares a great profile filter that allows Analytics accounts to reveal true AdWords phrases. In short, by setting up this filter you can reveal lots of metrics about your Google Adwords account in Google Analytics.
Google isn't 'stealing' anything. When they link an AdWords account with an Analytics account, Google shows what keyword, and not actual phrase, triggered the ad to show. By adding the filters from the above post, we reveal true phrases alongside the keyword that triggered the ad and click. Without these phrases, a keyword may trigger your ad to appear for searches that you do not wish to be associated with, wasting the money you spent on that click.
And this allows us, as PPC advertisers, to get a better handle on the words we use versus those entered, by optimizing campaigns in order to better spend a client's money while attracting only highly-qualified visitors.
How These Two Events Come Together
In the first example, understanding a demographic lets us better target them through appropriate keywords, ad copy, and demographic-specific landing pages, to name just a few of the ways we can better target them. We have been supplied with a wealth of information about a specific group of people who may be the target market for a product or service, or may be one of many groups that would require unique ways to attract them through online advertising.
We are thinking about the people themselves and how they act. We are thinking about how they spend their time. Most importantly, we are thinking about how they spend their money.
In the second example, we get a better understanding of what all visitors young and old, male and female, rich and poor, are thinking when they search for your product or service. We gain this understanding through the words they use. Are they looking to buy or request information? Are they comparison shopping? Are they angry or upset and want to vent or request a refund? Are they looking to shop locally?
Data driven decisions!
Words carry a lot of weight. Knowing what words our visitors use means that we can filter out the words that visitors don't want (if you are selling, do you really want your money spent on people looking for the Complaints Department)?
Both elements give us awesome ways to understand different segments of a target audience. And the better we understand that audience, the better our marketing efforts work for our clients' online presence.