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What Drives Online Searches And How Knowing This Can Improve ROI

Jonathan Hudson

April 14, 2021   PPC, Strategy, Thoughts

Knowing the motives of your audience is key in search engine paid marketing ads and SEO, as it determines what ad copy is relevant and, therefore, what content you need to be offering to be of use to your audience. This then leads to an increase in ROI.

This article will show you:
1. What actually drives searches in search engines.
2. How Top-Of-Funnel (TOFU) search term targeting can lead to sales.
3. How to use data to drive this targeting.

 

At Fountain we are obsessed with data, and so understanding the performance of things like paid search through data is in our DNA. One of the areas that remains slightly less data driven for marketeers is one of my favourite questions – “What drives the search”? 

What we mean by this question is to understand the drivers, the stimulants, what is it that we see, hear, read, think that causes us to reach for our mobiles or to ask a question via a voice assistant.

At a simple level we often conduct a search to answer a question we have:

“What’s the weather going to be like today?”

“When are Arsenal playing next?”

“How do I remove a splinter?”

 

More often in today’s world of the digital voice assistant, we find that searches are driven by content – and so the location of the voice assistant device becomes interesting, and could be increasingly a valid data point:

For example, lounge based searches are often triggered by what’s on the big screen in the room, a Netflix show, a snippet of music, the news, a football game:

“Where is Bridgerton filmed?”

“Who are Norwich City playing next?”

“How long does it take to fly to Tokyo?”

 

And in the kitchen we might conduct different searches:

“How do you cook mussels?”

“What’s the best way to cook rice”

“How do you make an Espresso Martini?”

 

These searches may be driven by the products around us, but there is also a second part of these searches which becomes even more fascinating, which is an emotion or feeling, and these can often be tied into a mobile device search:

“Where is the nearest McDonalds?”  – I’m hungry

“How do I get to the nearest tube station?” – I’m lost

 

Ultimately, what drives the search are things around us – the situations we find ourselves in. The challenge for marketers is often joining the dots… for example..

I’m scrolling through Instagram on my phone, I see a post from a band saying we should support musicians in lockdown by buying physical products like vinyl or a cd.

I open my laptop the next day, and order a CD via the bands website.

 

What drove the search was a post on Instagram, but the data journey is fragmented, but there is little doubt that seeing that piece of content stimulated a sale, and one of the things that keeps marketeers awake is how we believe in the power of great content, with the belief that it drives the desired outcome from our audience. And it takes ever increasing levels of data and insights to drive these things together, and sometimes it’s reassuring when the data backs up our gut instincts, and invaluable when it doesn’t.

 

So, we advise you to look at your search engine optimisation now and take these three steps:

  1. Research and analyse your audience by identifying what they want and what search terms they are entering in. Tools like Keyword Planner in Google Ads can be helpful to this process.
  2. Do the terms you’re targeting match what your audience might be searching? If not, then alter them, adding in more relevant terms and questions, and removing any that are too broad.
  3. Make sure that your ads and landing pages are relevant to the searched terms, to show your audience that you can offer them value. This will position you well in their minds and they will continue to listen to you, and then, buy from you.

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