Have you ever wondered if there’s anything else out there? Something besides the regular ol’ search network of text ads, or the forever dying banner ads we see on the display and content networks?
Maybe you’re using remarketing as a yo-yo in your pay-per-click campaigns, or Bing Ads to scoop up that targeted (and cheaper) traffic. But as a marketer, you always want that extra advantage over your competitors.
While this is nothing brand new, search companion marketing is still one of those betas that Google is keeping on the hush-hush. It’s ridiculously awesome to the say the least, so what’s the real reason? I have my ideas. But that shouldn’t deter you from learning more about this potential fountain of eternal marketing youth.
What Is Search Companion Marketing?
Search companion marketing is a way for you to place text and image ads on the Google Display Network (GDN) to anyone performing a search query on ANY of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!). The qualifier then is based off of the search query, and not the topics, interests, placements, or keywords that appear on the GDN site. Are you drooling yet?
So not only does a visitor get to see your search network text ad upon performing a search, and not only would they receive remarketing ads after visiting your site. Now they’ll be targeted with your ads on the GDN based on the intent behind the keyword they typed into the search engine, whether it be a paid or organic site they land on.
Heck, you might just start feeling philanthropic like Oprah. But instead of giving away cars, you’ll be giving away ads left and right like never before.
Let’s just consider the power behind this for a second. What is your average CTR on the search network? Between 2-6% I hope, right? So that means that 94-98% of potential customers are seeing your ad, but just not clicking on it.
With search companion marketing, you have the ability to target those people who fear your paid ads, again!
So How Does Search Companion Marketing Work?
There are referrers in the URL that tell what search query led you to the GDN site. The system then uses this keyword information to link to your search companion marketing campaign in AdWords, and if there’s a match, your ad will be entered into the auction for placement.
By duplicating your current search campaigns, you’ll be able to keep the exact same structure of keyword and ad relevancy to then show on a display site. Hardly any work involved!
Search companion marketing will be especially interesting for the highly competitive industries where CPCs are through the roof. You might be able to get highly relevant and targeted clicks for much less that still convert at a high percentage.
This beats the workaround of having to advertise on the display network based off the current options we as marketers have. If you sell coffee, and your keyword targeting for the GDN is “java” then you’ll probably end of advertising on sites that have to do with java programming, java updates, java scripts, etc. And if you’re lucky, java coffee.
But someone searching for coffee on Google, Bing, or Yahoo! will ultimately be more specific as they narrow down what they want. So if you’re bidding on those keywords on the search network, then voila! You’re in business on the display network!
You’ll then be able to exclude placements (notice how you can’t add placements) and increase or decrease your bids based on the keywords.
Here’s what it looks like:
Notice how nothing is different compared to a regular AdWords display campaign. Search companion marketing is something the AdWords team enables on their side.
Now it won’t be necessary to manually enter all the organic listings that have to do with your keywords, hoping that they’re opted into the display network (if you were doing that before). Search companion marketing does it automatically, and with a more precise way of targeting.
The Fine Print
Search companion marketing is not like remarketing. There are no cookies or pixels given off as it only works within one browser session while the person is visiting sites on the GDN.
There’s no minimum budget. Search companion marketing allows you to spend as much or as little as you want.
Finally, a dedicated rep from Google must whitelist your account for the beta. If you don’t have a dedicated rep for your AdWords account then you’ll be hard pressed in getting access. But don’t let that stop you! My sweet talking has opened closed doors before (not the way you’re thinking).
Already tried search companion marketing? What were your results? Let us know!