PPC marketing can be one of the most effective tools in your marketing kit. In order to use it to maximum effect, however, you need to be able to employ the power provided by Google’s amazing system.

Integral to success in this media channel is how precisely you can target the ads to your desired audience, using Google’s criteria. Here is a breakdown.



Keywords icon, with key in magnifying glassWe use this term guardedly, as it actually gives the wrong impression. More accurate would be “topic-based word phrases.” Because given the sophistication of today’s Google, you should be thinking like your audience does.

For a more complete explanation of this entire concept, see our article “Are keywords a thing of the past? Actually, yes.” However, in brief, we can use Google’s powerful language targeting system to reach people who, although they may type it in in a variety of ways, are looking for the product or service you provide.

And it only gets better over time. As the data shows us what people are looking for and how they are actually thinking about it, we can continue to refine the approach to more and more efficiently reach the right potential customers.



Location icon, with a map pin on a sheet of paperBusinesses with a local reach are best served by narrowing the geographic focus of their marketing campaign to include only those areas in which they have an actual presence.

But that’s just the beginning. Based not only on the historical experience of the business itself, but also on the data that is continually coming in through Google’s system, we can improve the campaign’s performance over time.

And it’s not just a simple matter of picking a few areas. We can use ZIP Codes, city, county, and state names, distance from certain points, and other methods to target the areas most likely to perform well.



Icon of a birthday cake with candlesWhile Google’s data regarding age is not perfect, it is getting more accurate all the time. And what a valuable way to speak to your desired audiences. Age plays a great role in life experience and motivation.

Of course the ability to present different messaging to different age groups is paramount. What motivates people at one stage in life, is often completely different from what speaks to them at another period.

And like many other criteria, the way different age groups react can be quite different from the way you expected them to. On our end, we always let the data make the decisions.



International symbols for man and womanIn some instances this is more of a critical factor than in others. But it nearly always makes a difference. And crafting your message according to the gender of your audience is certainly a good choice to have.

Of course similar to the way companies perceive the age of their ideal customers, they are often taken by surprise when presented with the actual data of how different genders react to their messaging. Either way, it’s always good information to have.


Household Income

Icon of a house with a dollar signHere as well, Google’s information is not complete. However, their success rate in this demographic is astonishingly high — especially when household income is broken down into ranges.

Any business trying to reach a certain financial segment will find this feature amazingly effective. (NOTE: we have been asked more than once how Google has this information. Like many things in today’s complex world, there is no simple answer. Working from a variety of disparate information sources, Google is able to assemble an overall picture of each of their users.)


Recent Search History

Icon of a page of text, with a magnifying glassBased on the types of sites they have most recently visited (according to their browser history), Google can identify viewers who would be more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

One of the newer features rolled out by Google, this is potentially one of the most powerful. It’s part of the “interest-based” marketing strategy that lets you speak to people in certain spheres. It’s obvious why this would be useful.



Computer, tablet and phone iconsWhether they happen to be on their desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone — people access and use the Internet in a variety of different ways, depending on the device they’re on.

For example, a common trend we have seen is that while many will do research on their cell phones, they will wait until they have access to a computer with a full screen in order to make more detailed transactions, like purchases.

With this in mind, you can more effectively design your website to take advantage of how users operate it. The more you can tailor your site to benefit the user, the more successful you will be in encouraging them to take the kinds of actions you would like them to.


Time of Day / Day of Week

Icon of a calendar with a clockWithout a doubt, this is not only the least understood, but also the most under-utilized capability of Google’s system. More than any other feature, this is brushed off by businesses. But if you don’t use it to its full extent, you are missing a wonderful opportunity.

As with many of the other tools provided to you by Google Ads, Time of Day and Day of Week scheduling often defies the power of logic. And thus, it works against the intuition with which you would like to control your ad campaign.

However, should you be willing to start with some basic guidelines, and then carefully track the data to refine your scheduling, you will begin to appreciate the subtlety of this approach.

NOTE: If you try to “understand” why certain times of day and days of week work more effectively than others, you may drive yourself crazy! The important thing is that it works. Trust the data, and you won’t be sorry.


Previous Visits

Icon of a browser back arrowIt should come as no surprise that people who have already visited your site once are more likely to be potential customers then first-time visitors. Marketers have known for years that focusing on people that have shown an initial interest is one of the best strategies you can employ. Whether you know it as “Remarketing” or “Retargeting,” you are likely familiar with this technique, based on your own experience.

Wrapping it all up

While each of these techniques is effective on its own, the ability to combine all of them together into a functional whole is what makes a good campaign great.

If doing that seems overwhelming, that is for good reason, as it is incredibly complex. Being able to integrate these to work most effectively together — as well as being able to analyze the data to continually improve the strategy — is what you can expect from an experienced PPC marketing company.

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