Google Instant – What does this mean for PPC?

Google Instant attempts to give the user their results as they are typing. Google tries to guess what the user is typing from their search query as they type, such as loa from loan and displays the results in real time. Changing from loa to loads of money displays different results each time a key is pressed and re-generates the search results. This in theory will start to diminish long tail traffic as users simply see the results they want from the short versions of their query.. A user looking for Nike 32Gs Trainers in Red will start by typing Nike, Google Instant starts to show them the results for Nike and if an ad pops up advertising Nike Trainers the user may leave the search box and click the ad! The user the disregarding the Nike match would then go on to type Nike 32Gs. Again Google Instant will be matching their half written query with results and displaying the new ads. Again if an ad pops up Nike 32GS Trainers for Sale it is very easy for the user to then leave the search box and follow the ad to the store.. And now when the user has completed their full query (Nike 32Gs Trainers in Red) they have been shown at least 21 different search results by Google that could easily entice them from the search box.

Now, Dont get me wrong.. this is great for the user and for Google! The user obtains their results quicker and Google gets a big pat on the back for reducing search times! But where does this leave the PPC advertiser?

Many advertisers rely on the long tail keywords to get a healthy ROI.. they know advertising on Nike or Nike trainers or even on red Nike trainers will cost hundreds of pounds per day and ROI is low (except for big corporations I am sure) so they bid on Nike trainers in Red 32Gs size 10. They get good healthy traffic, bids are low and conversion rates are high! HAPPY DAYS! well no longer.. The users searching for these are now presented with 29 pages of relative results before they achieve full expression! So the advertiser may now have to change their strategy and include the bigger volume terms where competition is higher and bid price is higher and possibly lose their ROI.

So! This is what we would say:

First dont panic!

Second Do you currently use short, high volume terms? If so then make sure you bids are set to the tightest possible margins, increased activity could mean increased traffic (possible bummer here)

Third ensure your long tail is as good as it can be do you have all your products and models listed? And are their bids strong enough to get exposure?

Fourth Monitor, Report, Monitor & Report a good PPC manager will notice any changes to overall performance instantly! make sure you are with the best agency to handle this! (such as Circusmedia )

Fifth Do some testing, if your traffic drops, go for some big keywords low bids, use ad scheduling, test for a hour or so, oh and monitor & report!

Sixth don’t panic.. remember everyone is going to be in the same boat as you!

Finally, this change will ultimately benefit Google & its users, its not going to change you can be sure of that! The changes may benefit big PPC campaigns or it may push them out of the market, so lets monitor the situation and remember: Report, Test and DON’T PANIC!

Rick Tobin
Managing Director

Over 15 years dedicated PPC experience working with some of the world's biggest brands.

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