SEM Strategies for Conversational Search and Enhanced Campaigns

The impact of Enhanced Campaigns is beginning to be felt, not only from the perspective of CPCs but also in terms of the new opportunities and capabilities for search marketers. One of the areas that has been impacted is conversational search.

Conversational search has always been available, but as of May 2013 users can click the microphone icon on their phones or tablets and Google will repeat the query back and subsequently provide an answer. Conversational search is available on the newest version of Google Chrome and it is certainly influencing how search engine marketers expand their keyword list and manage bids alongside enhanced campaigns.

Enhanced Campaigns Bidding

There’s no doubt that people rely on smartphones and tablets daily for basic needs such as finding restaurants, nearby retailers, local offers, etc. Mobile search, along with the use of apps and mobile websites, has dramatically increased and continues to upsurge right in line with technological advances and sophisticated search engine algorithm updates. According to Google’s “Bid Like a Pro” whitepaper, upwards of 38% of our daily media interactions occur on a mobile device. Mobile search generates desired outcomes for local businesses such as phone calls, live visits and actual purchases. Google has conducted several studies to better understand user behavior and interaction with their mobile devices; therefore it is imperative that search engine marketers (SEMs) apply bid multipliers to mobile devices strategically to account for both online and offline conversions.

Since mobile searches typically occur while users are on the go, we anticipate and recommend SEMs do the following in order to be competitive:

  1. Add long tail-keywords, such as “Where is…”, “Nearest…” “Directions to…”, etc. to their strategies. Queries beginning with the examples above would benefit clients who have brick-and-mortar and physical locations because those types of queries can lead to store visits, phone calls and even purchases. Since conversational search is still relatively new, Google has not yet released any updates to its search query reports that would allow SEM specialists to understand where a users’ query originated (was it conversational or typed?); however, I would keep this update on your radar.
  2. Apply bid multipliers on location-based keywords within a 5 or 10 mile radius of the actual physical location of the store front. For example, if you’re running an AdWords account for a retail store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a bid multiplier can be set for a keyword such as “Nearest retail store in Park Slope” within a 5 to 10 mile radius of the store.

Once your legacy campaigns have been upgraded to Enhanced, it would be beneficial to start off with one bid adjustment (mobile, desktop, time or location), then, based off of learnings collected from your initial bid adjustment, you can apply more.

For example:

Initial Bid Adjustments for Location-Based Keywords

Initial Bid Adjustment Keyword Bid Adjustment
Location (all devices) Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20%
Mobile Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20%
Desktop Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20%

Testing Opportunities

Initial Bid Adjustment Keyword Bid Adjustment
Location (all devices) vs Location (mobile) Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20%
Time (all mobile) vs Time (desktop) Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20% during store hours 9 am – 5pm
Time (desktop) Nearest retail store in Park Slope +20% during after store hours 7pm – 11 pm vs +20% during store hours 9am – 5pm

Check back soon for an update on the impact of these tests on our campaigns and new insights. Please let us know your experience with these types of tests in the comments section below.

Charlene Veras, SEM Specialist

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