Why we tested the Display Network Search campaign and left it forever

We already talked about working with this client at the end of 2017. Then we described in detail how we audited running campaigns, looked for growth points and optimized advertising on search and in the display network. Today we will tell you about an experiment that lasted one and a half years.

Customer: a leading telecommunications provider.

Advertising type: contextual advertising in Google Ads.

Competition: high.

Region: Ukraine (target regions).

Period: September 2017 – March 2019.

goal – receive as many conversions as possible – applications for connecting the service. The client is ready to allocate additional budget to attract a new audience and increase brand awareness. Accordingly, we can experiment and test different types of campaigns to get the maximum number of conversions.

Problems

Here are some features in promoting this client:

  1. High competition in search. Accordingly, the cost per click on the first positions for general (category) queries in large regions reaches UAH 30 ($ 1.11).
  2. Due to the high competition, it is not possible to work on all the requests of competitors in all regions. To maximize the reach of the target audience, campaigns were connected only for the main large competitors.
  3. Due to the low quality indicator, the cost per click reaches 40 UAH for display at the request of competitors. At the same time, the cost of conversion from campaigns with competitors’ keywords is three times higher than from regular search campaigns.
  4. Despite various experiments with targeting in the display network to get traffic from high-quality sites, the cost per click grows and can reach UAH 10, and the number of conversions is falling.
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Unusual solution

We decided to test a campaign of the type “Search Network with the ability to display in the Display Network” (hereinafter abbreviated as “Search + Display Network)”.

These campaigns run in the same way as Search Network campaigns: you set up a budget, select broad match keywords, create ads (expanded text, responsive, image, responsive), and set bids.

Ads will be placed on Google search and on search partner sites if the user’s search query matches the keywords. Also, advertisements can be shown on relevant pages in the Display Network. At the same time, placement on sites in networks is possible only under certain circumstances, and rates are selected automatically. Google Ads gives preference to users who are most interested in the advertised offer.

Simply put, ads are primarily displayed on the search network, and can also be displayed on the Display Network if, as Google Ads predicts, the budget is not fully used up. You can read more in Google Help.

Strategy

In order for this type of campaign to work both in search and in the display network, and at the same time in search it does not compete with the main search campaigns, the purpose of which is to be in the first positions, in the Search + Display campaign we did the following campaigns:

  1. We added the same keywords as in the main search campaigns, but in a wide match. This is necessary to get traffic both for competitors’ requests, which are not taken into account in the main campaigns, and for more general requests, since in the main campaigns it is inappropriate to be in the first positions for such requests.
  2. We used manual bids and set bids that are 10 times lower than actual cost per click on major search campaigns. This is necessary in order not to receive expensive traffic from the CCM and to exclude competition for the main search queries.
  3. We added branded queries to the list of negative keywords so as not to compete with the client’s brand campaign.
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We had a lot of campaigns because of the division into regions. In each campaign, ad groups were divided by service. Competitors were selected by the system independently, for example: by the broad request “connect the Internet” we were shown at the request of competitors.

Result

Over the entire period of the campaigns – one year and seven months – we received the following results (compared to the main search campaigns, excluding brand traffic):

  • the budget is 87% lower;
  • the number of conversions is 74% lower;
  • conversion rate – 1.12% (in search engines 3.02%);
  • CTR – 2.71% (in search engines 7.48%);
  • CPC is 81% lower;
  • CPA is 49% lower.

case results

findings

  1. With a budget less than 8 times, conversions from campaigns of the type “Search network with the ability to display in the display in the display” were received only 4 times less. Accordingly, the cost of conversion from this type of campaign is 2 times lower.
  2. Due to impressions in lower positions (if you look by regions, the average position is 2 and below), the cost per click turned out to be 5.5 times lower than in the main search campaigns. If we analyze the queries, the main traffic came from competitors’ queries, and the cost per click for them was 10-20 times lower than in standard search campaigns.
  3. The percentage of impressions received in the Search + Display campaign is 20%, and in the main search campaigns – 90%). Thus, the new campaign at lower ranks received cheap additional traffic.
  4. After analyzing search queries, we obtained additional keywords for campaigns based on competitors’ queries. Each region had its own popular local players, which we previously did not take into account.
  5. The Display Network in this campaign generated 14% of the total conversions. At the same time, the cost of conversion is the same as for the search in this campaign, and the average cost per click did not exceed 2 UAH.
  6. We didn’t notice much of a difference when we looked at display placements in the Search + Display campaign and compared them to placements in regular display display campaigns. Those. We will not argue that this type of campaign receives traffic from higher quality sites, but the fact that the result from the same sites turned out to be better is a fact.
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Now we continue to test the Search + Display Campaigns in our projects, if this does not interfere with achieving the main goals of the client. For which business topics it will still be useful and which strategy is better to choose, we will tell you in the following materials.

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