Are you wasting your search engine advertising spend?

It may come as a surprise, but we tell many of our forty or so Google AdWords clients that they’re spending as much as they need to. The problem with specialising in supporting industrial and scientific companies, as we do, is that there are many businesses whose market sector is so niche that there simply aren’t going to be that many searches for their product in a month. We once advised one prospective client not to use us, after he explained that there were probably only a dozen potential customers in the UK. Spend your money on camping outside their door, we suggested. If you do want to be in their face if they ever use Google to source a supplier, then by all means set up a simple AdWords campaign with a massive bid to ensure you’re right at the top, every time the search results show. But you don’t need us for that.

There are two types of search terms for AdWords advertisers. There are the big generic search terms, like “blue widgets”, which are relatively expensive to advertise against (although still often decent value). They’re expensive because of the competition: the majority of AdWords advertisers, managing their campaigns in-house, just pick a few terms, rather than the hundreds which experienced AdWords professionals research. So while there might be twenty UK suppliers of cheap blue widgets advertising against searches on “blue widgets”, there will only be two or three advertising against searches on “cheap blue widgets in the UK”. The resulting difference in the bid required to be at the top of the page is enormous.

This second type of search term (known as the “long tail”) doesn’t get typed into Google nearly as often, of course. But if you find 100 of them, the total number of searches can be as much as the big generic one they’re based on.

For advertisers whose budget is limited, these long tail searches are the ones to begin with. If you can afford it, move on to the big generic search terms too, which still trounce other types of advertising for value. Sorting all this out is a lot of work, which is why we’re so busy beavering away every day for our clients. But it’s worth it.

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