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By Brendan Almack on 29 Jan 2020

Wolfgang Bites: Watch - The Evolving Role of Paid Search

Wolfgang Bites: Read - The Evolving Role of Paid Search

Hi everyone. My name is Brendan, and over the next two minutes I'm going to share with you a fresh perspective on the evolving role of Paid Search and how you can unlock future incremental growth within that channel.

The last decade has really been a race to the bottom of the funnel, and Paid Search has been the king of conversion. We got really good at measuring conversion volume and in particular conversion value, and that allowed us to devise this unbelievably transparent KPI that we called ROAS, return on ad spend. With that KPI, paid search marketers were able to optimise their accounts for a specific ROI, and the typical strategy might be to have a look at a paid search account and have a look at a keyword. If that keyword isn't hitting that ROAS target, hoof it out of the account, and add it as a negative keyword. We’ve been adding negative keywords like mad over the last number of years.

Some of our client accounts have over half a million negative keywords. These are search terms that our clients will never serve ads for. So what's wrong with that? Well that's a really good strategy except your focus on the bottom of the funnel could be shackling your future growth, because the reality is that the search landscape is evolving. Let me explain what I mean. At the time of shooting this video, the latest Alphabet Financial results I have access to are for Q3 2019, and within those financial results we can see paid clicks on Google properties are up 18% year on year.

Just to give that some context, in the same period in 2018 paid clicks on Google properties were up 62% year on year. So we've gone from 62% growth to 18% growth. Google's growth is slowing. Previously your growth in Paid Search will come from the fact that more people were using Google, and if you're there for relevant keywords, you'd get more clicks. That's not happening anymore.

So where's your growth going to come from? Well, the reality is it's going to come from right under your nose from that massive negative keyword list you've been cultivating for a number of years. Because the reality is that keyword relevancy isn't black and white. It's a spectrum. We can have highly relevant keywords that hit our KPI and our ROAS target, highly relevant keywords that don't hit our KPI, very relevant keywords, relevant keywords and irrelevant keywords. By focusing on the bottom of the funnel, we're only looking at this cohort over here - the highly retail keywords that hit our ROAS target.

If we start to think about the top of the funnel, we can expand the keywords that we're targeting. So you really need to ask yourself this question, which is a better investment for you, targeting these highly relevant keywords that are just missing your ROAS target or spending money on a large brand top of funnel campaign through press, radio or TV?

So our advice for 2020 is think beyond the bottom of the funnel for Paid Search, and think at top of funnel and how you can drive incremental growth. This is just one of the findings from the latest Wolfgang Digital 2020 KPIs study, and there's lots more findings. So before you execute your 2020 strategy, give it a read. Thanks a million for listening!

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