Send As SMS

Sponsored B2B
Converting visitors into customers one click at a time...  

In the B2B market, an efficient PPC campaign needs to capture and motivate prospects throughout the decision-making and sales cycles; while always understanding that intent and CTR are not always uniquely matched with either the research or buying phase.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Long Tail Thinking

Everybody over the past year or more with any type of involvement in buying clicks, be it PPC, CPM, or any other type of keyword associated traffic purchase, has been talking about the long tail of user intent. In other words, those 80-90% of words that people search for, but that do not possess the individual volume to be highly competitive.

For example: let’s say you are running a campaign for Detroit’s latest sports car. First and foremost, you try and buy up all the branded queries because it will take time for your website to get some natural traction and you don’t want to be mugged by any squatters or direct competition. Second, you try to buy all those reasonable search terms that you think your target market is using when they are looking for your product; words like, “sports car”, “fast car”, and “hot car”. But odds are that these keywords are very competitive. Why... because you aren’t the only guy trying to market a sports car. And no matter what your budget is, these words are going to cost you. At this point, somebody says, “lets look at the long tail. Let’s focus our buy on all those words that are less competitive, have a lower CPC, and may not have the same high impressions, but combined, could drive us a lot more traffic at a more reasonable cost level.” And you say, “what a great idea!!! Let’s do that… but what are those words?”

Sound familiar?

The tough part with long tail thinking is that it is not always the right thinking. Sometimes there isn’t a wide variety of keywords that people use when making niche purchases. In other words, if somebody is looking to buy an iPod, they are probably going to only use a handful of search queries… “cheap mp3” is not really a long tail term. What’s more, sometimes long tail thinking opens you up to other types of competition that may not be specific product competitors. For example, if you are looking for long tail words to direct traffic to your family magazine on dealing with kids and allergies, the more varied you get in your keyword purchases, the more likely you are going to eventually start competing with big pharmaceutical companies and trying to reach an intent that doesn’t necessarily match what you are offering.

In short, long tail seems like a great idea on paper, but it very rarely exists, and if you are lucky enough to find some untapped words, the return is far less than what statistics and theory would have you think otherwise.

So what should you do?

First and foremost, focus on language. Synonyms are the biggest net return investment when it comes to sponsored advertising. You would be crazy to focus on “car” and forget “auto” or “ride”. Use online tools to find those synonyms that Keyword tools may not suggest because of low search volume. Don’t forget that all keyword tools are based on an algorithm that does not report Google’s numbers – because Google never shares those numbers. So even though WordTracker says it is a dog, Google might show you it is a Star. Here are some useful tools.

Second, focus on popular culture. Culture influences language, why else has “idol” become synonymous with “rock star” when it used to be considered a sin. Pay attention to what is around you. “Ride” wouldn’t have been a good exchange for “car” ten or twenty years ago, because in the 80s nobody used the phrase – there was no Fast and Furious or MTV pimping – now it is very much a vernacular or the buying generation. These tools can help you find some popular search terms that may be an opportunity for your product.

Third, and this is the most important… listen to your audience; what’s more, ask them directly. If you are in the B2B market, have direct sales staff ask clients about search terms they use. Maybe try a survey – there are a lot of free tools out there – or try making it a part of you newsletter. Either way, if you want to know what words people associate with your product, the best way to find out is to ask them point blank.

The only way long tail words can ever be effective is if they are actually used by your target market, otherwise, you are just throwing money away on impressions and useless clicks – no matter what the book tells you.

Save to: Digg | | Yahoo | Furl | Reddit


Post a Comment

<< Home