Is keyword targeting better than audience targeting? That’s the question Kirk Williams, owner of ZATO, a PPC Marketing agency and someone who’s been involved in paid search since 2010, will try and answer and sway you in the direction that keyword targeting offers better results.
Williams believes there is genuine value in audience targeting and the insights about personas, which can be used to power ads are quite amazing, but it is the keyword that holds a lot more power. Targeting keywords in paid search is strong because it reveals individual, personal and temporal intent.
A keyword is such a powerful targeting method because it is written by a single person. Keywords are generally from the mind of one individual and because of that, they have potential. Remember, audience targeting is based off of assumptions. That means, you’re taking a group of people who you believe think the same way in a certain area, but does that mean they cannot have unique tastes? Say we’re talking about favourite shoe ware and one prefers sneakers and another heels, yet they’re the same age, gender, and have similar incomes. Audience targeting cannot find these differences, but since keyword targeting is demographic-blind, it just cares about what you’re individually interested in.
Keywords reveal personal intent. Whereas the “individual” aspect of keyword targeting narrows targeting from a group of people to a single person, the “personal” aspect of keyword targeting goes into the very mind of that individual. A keyword is a form of communication. It is a person telling you what’s on their mind and that’s something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
For example, if a person types “best air conditioners” into Google, this person genuinely wants to learn where they truly can find the best air conditioners. Paid search keywords officiate the wedding of personal intent with advertising in a way that previous marketers could only dream of. We aren’t finding random people we think might be interested based upon where they live. We are responded to a person telling us they are interested.
The temporal aspect
Anyone worth their salt in marketing will tell you “timing is everything.” This is why the temporal aspect, the final note of keyword targeting, cannot be underestimated. With keyword targeting, the timing in inseparable from the intent of the search. When a person is interested in the best type of air conditioners, they want to know exactly at the time they are searching.
You’re not blasting your ads into your users lives, interrupting them as they go about their business or family time hoping to jumpstart their interest by distracting them from their activities. You’re simply responding to their query, at the exact time they’re interested in learning more, says Williams.
The keyword is far from being on its deathbed and is still the most essential tool in the paid search marketer’s toolbox.