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Getting a Leg Up On The Competition by Using Search Funnels

Spending a lot of time reviewing PPC conversion data is common for most B2B search marketers. They monitor and change their bids to make sure that their top converting keywords are funded adequately.

This method makes sense and is common among B2B marketers, but it may not be the most effective method. Savvy B2B marketers look outside the “conversion box”, understand their prospects’ search process, and optimize campaigns based on ROI (not just immediate conversions). Explore more PPC management options.

Google Search Funnels
Tucked away in the Reporting and Tools section of your AdWords interface is information on Conversions and specifically, Search Funnels.
In general, search funnels provide insights into searcher (customer) behavior – over time. Search funnels give you an in depth look at what campaigns, ad groups and keywords are helping you get conversions.
Used correctly, these reports provide nuggets of information that help you manage bids and budgets more effectively, increase your overall ROI, and outsmart your competition.

Understand Customer Behavior
If you want your campaign to be successful, you must understand how your prospective customers are searching especially if your product or service is complex. Business buyers engage in a research, comparison and buying process.

A long term multichannel sales process is fueled by the Internet, search engines and your company’s website. B2B companies that sell complex products and services can benefit greatly from search funnels and the important customer behavior data they provide.

B2B marketers who are new to search funnels should start by looking at these 3 reports:

1.Path Length
2.Time Lag
3.Assisted Conversions

How Many Clicks Are Needed?
First, familiarize yourself with the average path length. How many clicks are typically required before your prospect/customer converts online?
Searchers who are early in their buying process may not be ready to register for a white paper the first time they click on one of your PPC ads.

For example, you could find out that your average prospect is clicking on 5 ads before they decide to “convert” and fill out a form.

How Much Time is Spent?
Second, look at the Time Lag Report. This report can show you about how long it takes for prospects to convert.

Quite a few consumer-focused campaigns call for inexpensive, impulsive purchase decisions. For these types of campaigns, paths are short and time-to-conversion is quick.

Conversely, if your product or service is a complex business decision, through all of the impressions and clicks it could take months or years to get users to convert. Get more information on PPC management services.

What’s A Common Search Process?
Next, take a look at the Assisted Conversions Report. It will give you some insight on what your prospects are searching for prior to conversion.

In the case where there are a bunch of impressions and clicks before users complete the desired action, you should dig in and find out what prospects are doing prior to conversion and adjust bids to favor high converting keywords.

Reviewing Reports At Least Once Every Month
At this time, assist data is not included in the AdWords interface at the keyword level. B2B marketers should use Search Funnel Analysis, review all of that data, and then decide where they want to make changes to campaign based on the information from the report.

Not many people have the time to check these reports every day or weekly, but you should be checking them at least once a month to become more in tune with you customers and how you should set your bids and budgets.

Ensure You Provide The Correct Funds To High Converting Keywords
Specifically, look for keywords that assist conversions, but do not necessarily convert themselves. Without the benefit of the search funnel reports… you are likely under-funding these critical keywords (and your competitors are too).

Concentrating on keywords that assist in the conversion as well as the top converting keywords should give you a leg up on the competition and create a strategic advantage.

In many cases, these less obvious keywords command cheaper bids than popular top converters. Explore more PPC management options.

Looking At Your Campaign as a Whole
Virtually all B2B marketers will concentrate on conversion info provided in their PPC accounts. Today, this has become a baseline, “must-do” PPC optimization task.

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