3 Ways To Save Money Using Negative Search Audiences

By , Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

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If you’ve got your site tagged with an AdWords remarketing tag, you can build out audiences in AdWords based on URLs from your site. You can see estimated audience sizes for Google Search based on audiences you’ve already built out, if you have any currently built out. I’ve found when I create new audiences based on URLs, the estimates for audience size are at least there by the next day.

When most people think of using Remarketing for Search, they think about targeting audiences with search keywords. Generally, this could include using more broad keywords than what’s in the rest of your account to a more qualified audience. It could also just mean using the same keywords in your account, but adding qualified audiences to bid up on. However, in this strategy, I’m going to talk about how to use negative audiences through Remarketing for Search to funnel traffic in your account, allowing you to better target and optimize.

Blocking Site Members

For an example, let’s say we have a monthly subscription service site. It’s not surprising that this client doesn’t want to pay for clicks when someone is currently a paying member. Any website that has paying members will likely not want to continue paid advertising through PPC to that audience. Before Remarketing for Search, the best I would have to prevent this would just be to block their brand name and hope for the best, even though that would leave our brand wide open for competitors to bid on and get top ad position for.

However, now, we can develop a strategy that will help out tremendously with this issue! You simply create an audience in your shared library for the URL of the first page your members see after logging in, and then add that as an audience exclusion to all your search campaigns. This would prevent your ads from showing to anyone who has logged in to your site in whatever number of days you set your audience to include. When you’ve got your exclusions set up, they’ll look like this:

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Blocking Career Page Visitors

This same strategy can also work if you’re trying to block people who use a part of your site that doesn’t make you money. As an example, let’s say you have a retail or lead generation portion to your site, but you also have a careers page that gets quite a bit of traffic. This would be really relevant to large employers like big box retailers.

If you build an audience in your shared library that targets the URL of your careers page, you could add an exclusion for people visiting your careers page at the campaign level in your branded campaigns. This would prevent any one that’s visited your careers page and is searching on your branded terms from seeing an ad. If you’re a very specific type of lead generation, let’s say B2B, then you could block people who have visited your careers page from all of your campaigns. It’s very unlikely that someone looking into your careers page is also someone who works for a company that wants to hire you.

Blocking Past Converters

The final negative audience strategy I’ll get into is blocking visitors who have already converted on your site. This is relevant to those who have a very straight forward lead generation site in which a second lead form being filled would never be beneficial. In other words, a visitor could only fill out one lead form and have it be valuable. This takes some consideration as to whether this describes your site or not.

For instance, if you are advertising for an education client, you may collect leads and aggregate them for each program. Therefore, someone could be valuable if they submit a lead form for each program. You wouldn’t want to block this visitor that’s converted, then, from all of your campaigns. However, if you have or could add something to the URL to signify which program they came from—you could block this visitor from campaigns related to the program they’ve already signed up for. This would involve building an audience in your shared library for the URL that a user gets after registering for each program and then adding it as a negative audience for each campaign targeting keywords around that program.

If you have a more general lead generation site, you may be able to block converters in all campaigns. For instance, if people are filling out a lead form for a free consultation for plastic surgery, then you could exclude that person from your campaigns. You already have their information, it’s such an expensive product they’re not likely to need the service again within the cookie window, and therefore aren’t valuable on a second lead fill.

 

 

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  • http://www.thesofaandchair.co.uk/ Tom Goodwin

    Can’t say I’m 100% behind these suggestions. Seems like the savings extracted would be minimal and it almost assumes their is no role for PPC in maintaining repeat business. Ultimately, if you are not there, your competitors will be

    • Amanda West-Bookwalter

      They definitely require you to think about your site and what makes sense for your business model! They won’t be good ideas for everyone.

      For instance, I have a client that’s a subscription-based service and they have the biggest brand presence in their industry, so blocking members from PPC has increased new visitors and non branded conversions, which has lead to more revenue on their back-end! However, I have plenty of clients that none of these strategies would make sense for, like eCommerce sites! Their careers page doesn’t bring enough traffic to worry about and we certainly wouldn’t want to prevent people who have bought from us before from coming back!

      The area between those two sites can be harder to tell what’s a good idea, for sure! That’s why you’ll have to put a lot of strategic thought into what’s a good idea for your site. If you’re torn–that’s what testing is for!

      Thanks for reading!

    • Joe L

      Actually this works very well if you have a product that has predetermined mean lengths of time between purchases. You can set up the membership duration to filter them for a specified period of time like 30 days.

      If you know for a specific site people are only going to convert once, or once every x days/months, you can exclude them for the appropriate time period. When that expires they go back on the list.

  • HS

    Hi Amanda
    Thanks for the post.
    Does this strategy only apply to remarketing campaigns or if I work on lead gen, can I exclude people who have previously subscribed from seeing my general search ads?
    Thanks
    Harley

  • Ben

    How is this different from just creating a custom combination from the shared library and just making sure to select “none” of specific audiences?