Yesterday I looked at how search advertising leads you to view your advertising the wrong way round. However, plenty of advertisers have always worked backwards in this way. They choose the advertising medium, then select the type of advert they’re going to use, and finally decide what’s going in the advert. What irritates me is how Google encourages this behaviour. The search results page for ‘blue widgets’ is just a static advertising medium. It should only be chosen as a last step in the process.
Here’s how things should work (and I told you this was obvious). First of all, you decide which product needs to be advertised. Then – crucially – you ensure you have a good enquiry response available. Next, you decide the message you want to get over about the product. Finally, you choose the appropriate advertising medium.
This is easy to visualise in terms of a magazine advert. You decide to advertise your blue widgets. You ensure you’ve got a good brochure to send enquirers. You sort out the message, and the most appropriate type of advert to get this message over. Then you pick the magazine with the best combination of audience and value for that specific advert. Easy.
In search advertising, the process is similar. You choose the product you want to promote. You ensure there’s a suitable web page where you can send people to find out about that product. You decide on the advertising message to appear in the search results. Then you select the appropriate search results pages where your prospects are likely to be looking. Apart from tweaking the advert wording to match the specific search, that’s the right way to do things.
We believe in this so strongly that we also report back on AdWords campaigns from the right end. What the responders did is what matters, not how they got there. I’m quite horrified by advertising agencies whose idea of a campaign report is a list of keywords which they chose and clickthrough rates on adverts. Who the heck cares about that? What matters is the website analytics report showing how many people arrived on each of the selected pages on your website, and what they did when they got there. It’s about the ends, not the means.