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Why do people click on your search ads?

January 10, 2019 Egan Montgomery


A transcript of the video is included below:

Egan:    Hey, everyone. This is Egan Montgomery, I am the Director of Marketing here at DemandJump, and we have another Flash Briefing for you. The topic today is what makes people click on paid search ads. Joining me, again, for the second time on the Flash Briefing series is Zach Treon. Zach is a Strategic Marketing Analyst here at DemandJump.

Egan:    His main job is to help our customers get the most out of the Traffic Cloud® platform. He brings all kinds of digital marketing expertise to the table across channels like search, display, affiliates, SEO, literally everything. Zach is an amazing asset to our team and to our customers.

Egan:    Zach, thank you for joining us today.

Zach:    Thanks for having me back, Egan.

Egan:    So Zach had sent me an article probably about a week ago, talking about some new data that had come out about why consumers click on paid search ads. So that's going to be the topic today, and we'll certainly include all the relevant links in the blog, and in the YouTube listing, and all that good stuff.

Egan: But Zach, the first stat from this study that really stood out to me is that three-quarters of consumers now say that they can recognize paid search ads, which is up from, it's up about 25% from let's say a year ago. What is significant about this new data?

Zach:    So I think the biggest thing with is, is that it validates some of the lighter things that we're going to talk about, knowing that people are clicking things intentionally, and it just makes us, as marketers, have to be a little bit more aware how we're treating paid search advertising.

Egan:    Absolutely. Okay, so kind of piggybacking off that stat, 75% of consumers agree that paid search ads make it easier to find what they are looking for, which I found interesting. Sometimes, certainly, going back three, five, 10 years ago, I think paid search ads had kind of a negative connotation around them. We see that sentiment maybe shifting in the marketplace. What's important about that?

Zach:    Yeah, so I think, again, going back to just being validated by the fact that people are recognizing them, now knowing that people are recognizing them and finding them helpful should be encouraging to paid search marketers everywhere. I mean, this really gives us a huge opportunity, and as technology is changing, and we're losing ways of reaching people and gaining their attention, the fact that people are really engaged and finding this as a useful medium represents a huge opportunity for us.

Egan:    Yeah, and I love seeing this kind of data come back in paid search. I think this is kind of core to what we believe, which is advertising, done right, really should be helpful. It should be a meaningful pathway or a connection between a brand and a consumer, and that brand is solving a problem for a person, and it's nice to see some data actually reflecting that.

Zach:    Yeah, I think that's one of the biggest things, just as different privacy laws are passed and things like that. For so long, we've had the, as consumers, that we don't want brands to know this information about us. This is one of those things where it's not as audience-based, it's keyword-based and people hear when it's keyword-based they're saying, "Well, yeah. I want it to be the most relevant experience as possible."

Zach:    So it's kind of, it contradicts the way that people are acting in other channels, so it's encouraging that people are like, "Yes, give me exactly what I want through this channel."

Egan:    Right. And we definitely see some promising signs here in paid search, but that certainly does not mean that it's perfect. There's still a lot to improve across brands, verticals, everything within paid search, as a whole. And so the next kind of phase in this survey was diving into what actually makes people click on paid search ads today. And I thought it was interesting that the, of the amount of people surveyed, 33% of them said the number one reason they click on a paid search ad is because it answers one of their questions. What is important about that?

Zach:    So as we're, again, with the technology advancements, we're kind of transforming as a society and becoming more of a question-based. So we have all of these smart devices that we carry around everywhere with us, and all of these things just sitting around that we can ask these questions to. So this is starting to kind of bleed into the searches, and the way that we're interacting with search engines, as well. So we start to ask full questions on search engine, or start to have really long-winded things that we type out with these, as we're kind of bringing in and changing the behavior from these smart devices.

Egan:    Yeah, it's interesting, the kind of impact that technology is having on just search, as a whole, and marketing, as a whole. I also think that it plays again to the relevancy factor. I mean, somebody is searching for something online, and if you're there at the right point in time, with the right message, and the right offer, and all that good stuff, good things happen for you, as a marketer. People are going to click on it whether, going back to the last stat, whether that's a paid search ad or whether it's an organic search listing.

Zach:    Exactly. We're putting a lot of thought, as consumers, into exactly what we're feeding into the search engines. So that, as marketers, gives us an opportunity to directly answer those questions with relevance.

Egan:    Perfect. Okay, the second reason, the second most popular reason for why a consumer would click on a paid search ad, is that it mentions a brand that they're familiar with. And this was 26 of respondents saying that they would click on it because it mentions a brand that they're familiar with. What's important about this?

Zach:    So this is a stat that should bring some comfort to brand marketers out there. So as we go into digital marketing, and everything becomes so high on the metrics, and we're really driving towards metrics, the fact that more than a quarter of people are interacting with brands that they're familiar with on even these last click channels, is important to kind of validate some of the things that we're doing cross-channel, that are familiarizing more people with our brand.

Egan:    Yeah, and this is something that's fueled, most people listening are probably familiar with a lot of the sort of hyper-growth that's happened in the direct to consumer movement. It's almost a revolution, you could call it. And I think that they got these two things right. Number one, you have to be relevant, and you have to use data and performance marketing tactics to be relevant. But number two, you have to have a great brand and a great story, or else people are not going to remember you, they're not going to want to connect with you, they're not going to want to engage.

Zach:    Exactly, and as increased competition happens, you really have to find a way to make yourself stand out, so this is really a way that branding can help you stand out.

Egan:    Perfect. All right. So the third most popular response, and there is a drop off here by about six percent, down to 20. So 20% of consumers responded said that they would click on a paid search ad because of positioning.

Zach:    So originally, when we started optimizing for these search engines, we were worried about having that top spot, and that's where all of the concentration on SEO happened for several years. Now, only a fifth of the people that responded in this survey said they cared whether you were in the number one spot, or you were in the number three spot. Now let's not get crazy and pretend like spot doesn't matter at all. If you're below the fold, then we still have a little bit of a challenge getting consumers' attention.

Zach:    But if we are showing up in those top three spots, the more important thing is that we're featuring our brand, and that we're giving them a message that's relevant to them. So as we're bidding on things that have high competition, we should be able to breathe a sigh of relief that we don't always have to pay for that top spot, in order to get consumers' attention.

Egan:    Yeah, I love that. Position matters, but it's not absolutely everything. Okay, and then the fourth and final response from the survey was, 19% of consumers said that they would click on a paid search ad because it's compelling. So that makes me think, "What is the offer? What is the sale? What is the copy?" All that kind of stuff, right?

Zach:    Yeah, and so that's, it just again, we have to be with our ad copy. Promote the things that really matter to consumers, and we're never going to get away from people loving that good deal, or that offer that we have. So constantly updating your ad copy to reflect some of these things, adding extensions, whatever we have to do to really get people to be interested in what we're selling, and that offer that we have at the time.

Egan:    Yeah, cool. So, all right, so I'm always trying to like bucket things together, and just get my brain around them, find some type of consistent thread. When we look at these four reasons, and I'll just recap them. Number one, they click on a paid search ad because it answers a question. Number two, because it mentions a brand that they know or are familiar with. Number three, because of positioning. And number four, because it's compelling.

Egan:    Is there anything that all those four things sort of have in common from the perspective of the marketer?

Zach:    Yeah, as a marketer, I think this, we should be excited because these are all things that we can control. We can give them something that's relevant. We can give them an offer. We can control being in the top or one of the top positions. And we can control how we're portraying ourself, as a brand. So it is exciting that we have power in this channel to really give consumers that positive experience that they're searching for.

Egan:    Right. So, obviously, we focus a lot of this on paid search. You mentioned just before we started talking about what you call the Amazon-YouTube effect. What is that?

Zach:    So when we look, most of these stats that we talked about here were based on just the traditional search engines. So almost all of it is going to Bing, or Google, sorry. A little bit of it is Bing and Yahoo. Some of those are kind of in the responses, as well. But the behavior is a little bit different on Amazon and YouTube. So what we see there is that the familiarity with the brand is the most important thing. So if we are a big brand, that's something that, again, should make us excited.

Zach:    People are going to some of these broad market places, and looking for some of those brands, and maybe they want that Prime, or they're on YouTube. Who knows what they're doing on YouTube, there's so many different things that we do on there, but they see a brand that they're familiar with, and that it gets them excited, and it still captures their attention. But as kind of maybe the smaller growth oriented companies, we want to make sure that when we're going and playing in these big environments like Amazon and YouTube, that we're focusing our spend still on the people that are familiar with our brand.

Zach:    So this could be strictly a remarketing retargeting audience. Or, it could be also kind of a lookalike, maybe somebody that we've targeted in a different channel. Some of those things, so it still is important to consider the cross-channel impact, and also the brand familiarity is the most important thing on Amazon and YouTube.

Egan:    Perfect. Okay, we are almost up on time. I do want to ask one more question. When thinking about marketing, digital marketing, more holistically, and then thinking about what we sort of read and learned in this study, what can marketers take away, who might be more focused on displaying programmatic or might be content marketers? What is the impact of this kind of on the broader scope of channels?

Zach:    I think the thing that goes across any channel, is that people aren't completely shutting themselves off from being marketed to. It's that, in order to capture their attention, you have to be relevant. You have to be compelling. And you have to be in the right spot. So what that means for display and programmatic is, there's certain sites that we can be on maybe that are when people are looking, and it's a part of that buyer journey.

Zach:    So those are the things that we have to continue to be aware of, is that we in the past, whereas people are starting to like, "Oh, display just doesn't work," it's because we gave them all of these different things, and we tried to flash these things in front of peoples' attention, and really just turned them off to advertising. So what we can see here in paid search, is that when we are relevant, when we are compelling, consumers still are looking for the shortest route to what they want to buy.

Zach:    And even as we're researching, if we find something that's like, "Yes, this is exactly what I was looking for," and we don't have to be creepy to do that, it still is something that gives us a huge opportunity, as marketers.

Egan:    There you go folks. Stay relevant, no matter what channel you're on, and that is the key to success. All right. That's all the time we have. Thank you for tuning in to another Flash Briefing. We will be back soon. Thank you, Zach, for being here. That was awesome. I'm really excited to share this one.

Egan:    If you liked it, please comment, please share. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us directly, and we'd be happy to answer those. Otherwise, I hope everyone has a great day.

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