You Are Not Your Audience: Why PPC Capabilities are Not Enough

There’s something to be said about being at the right place, at the right time. With options ranging from Social to Shopping to Display, PPCers have no difficulty getting their message to a targeted audience on virtually any digital touchpoint. We can reach students looking to travel abroad and visit a particular website page, serving an ad between 9am – 2pm, with the ability to bid up on Saturdays while they are searching at their highest amount of volume, for example.

PPC platforms give us information including time, location, gender, age, online behavior, whether they are long-time interest or short-term, and even more. As a specialist, this is your expansive arsenal when a client asks you to target a specific audience. We tout these insights to clients, assuming the capabilities of reaching our audience alone is sufficient.

So why won’t your audience respond, when you can meet them right where they are? Because the right message is just as important as their online behavior. We cannot dictate a winning strategy with only the metrics in our accounts – we need to get inside our audience’s mind.

Audience Insights is a phrase often heard in the Paid realm. It’s also the first phrase to be ignored, though.  I’m not talking about the Audience Insight report you can pull in AdWords (although this is useful!) I’m talking about the age-old question all marketers ask themselves; “what is my customer thinking?”. In the digital world, mining for this answer is easier than you think. Here are some ways you can tap into your audience members’ minds:

  • Repeat After Me. Go review mining and find out exactly what makes your customers rave or complain about your competitors. Use sites that ask for feedback (like professional events and Amazon reviews) or social media outlets. Then use that to your advantage by taking what the audience is saying and spoon feeding them their own line. Leverage their pain points in a headline, facing your audience head on with their issues. Answer a question in your call-outs by stating your 24-hour service, or free shipping policy.
  • Consumer See, Marketer Do. When a consumer reaches your landing page, your job is not done. From the first ad click to the Submit button, a PPCer is responsible for every action a user takes. There are plenty of data tools to quantify your landing page efforts and their usability. Use eye tracking, heat mapping, and click tracking tools to help you measure and optimize interaction. Learn where your audience is fixating, in what sequence they click on items, and what is too distracting on your landing page. Are they trying to click on something that looks like a button? Are they fixating on the image next to the CTA and being sidetracked?
  • Ask, Don’t Guess. You are a marketer, not a fortune teller. Unless you are clairvoyant, rely on your audience to tell you exactly what they want. Focus on qualitative data, using chat boxes, user testing, and even post-purchase surveys. Analyze your performance with the highest level of context you can glean. If your audience is asking questions in the chat box, can you be providing the answer on your landing page? Is the checkout process really as simple as you believe? The same way you would have someone double-check your paper in school, you should have a peer set reviewing your landing pages, too.

So, take a big slice of humble pie with your coffee the next time you build out a campaign. There is a difference between knowing who your audience is and knowing your audience. Let me know how you get acquainted with your target audience in the comment section below.


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Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.

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