Why Your SEM Campaign Isn’t Working
By Ronald Dod
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most difficult customer acquisition channels to master for numerous reasons. It is made up of two sides: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click management (PPC).
PPC is an extremely technical customer acquisition channel where you are bidding and buying clicks from keyword searches in real time using a platform called AdWords and AdCenter. SEO is also very technical because you must know at least basic coding and understand how backlinks work. There are also over two hundred factors in Google’s search engine so you must know how to optimize for the main ones, at the least. What other marketing channel has those features or technicalities to them?
SEM is also very difficult to understand, at times, and requires a much different way of thinking about customer acquisition. Instead of following much simpler models to evaluate ROI, you must think about the lifetime customer value. This channel provides steady streams of customers, as long as you are ranking high and can buy your keywords at the same levels.
With it being so difficult, a lot of times it doesn’t work the way we want it to. Here are the main seasons that I have found SEM campaigns don’t work—and how to fix them.
Focused on Short Tail
This might be the number-one reason that SEM campaigns fail. Marketing managers, or those running the campaign, are too focused on the short-tailed phrase and not the long-tailed phrase. When we say short-tail, we mean a keyword like “shoes,” whereas a long-tailed phrase could be something like “Nike Men’s Running Shoes.” Here is a graph showing how the long-tailed focus relates to higher return on investment.
As you can see, focusing on the long-tailed phrase provides a better chance of conversion. When working on your SEM campaigns, make sure that you are buying keyword phrases which actually convert, and that your landing pages target and rank for longer-tailed keyword phrases.
Cannot Measure Results Accurately
Another issue which I see frequently with SEM campaigns is that of inaccuracies about measuring the data and being able to see if they are successful or not. If you are running an SEM campaign for a local business, and you cannot remove their branded search engine traffic, you are not providing very relevant data to them.
Say that local business runs a TV commercial; obviously, people are going to search Google for their name because they saw the ad. These searches then get put into Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics data and skew the results.
To combat this, I suggest removing branded searches from Google Webmaster Tools. I also recommend using Google Analytics and working with the client or employer to see the spikes in data from branded search to get more accurate information.
If you are running an AdWords campaign, I suggest you have complete conversion tracking set up as well. Even if you are not running a local campaign or lead generation, you can input goal conversion tracking in Google AdWords. You Go to the full article.