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3 Bottom-of-Funnel Strategies to Improve ROI Today

Marketers aren’t the only ones focused on bottom-of-the-funnel efforts these days. The PPC platforms themselves are introducing new features designed to promote more ROI-driven actions. Pinterest recently introduced a tool to help retailers automatically upload their product catalogs as pins, including real-time pricing and stock info. While not necessarily the golden ticket for us B2B and B2C marketers looking more for lead generation, it’s a hopeful sign that we’ll continue to see more of these bottom-of-the-funnel releases from the other platforms, too. But, we don’t need to wait for that to happen to start implementing some strategies that will help us get further down the funnel and affect ROI.

Match keywords to bottom-of-funnel shopping mentality

Marketing 101 teaches you about the awareness, consideration, and decision phases, but how much attention are you paying to the huge differences between each? And more importantly, the mindset at each stage, and therefore the different searches people are performing to get the answers and information they’re looking for? This screenshot from HubSpot does an excellent job of laying out the relevant terms and keywords as they apply to each section of the buyers’ journey.

  • In the awareness stage, buyers are realizing they’re in need of something: a fuel-efficient car, tips to get wine out of carpet, closed-loop reporting and automation software for paid media campaigns

  • In the consideration stage, buyers are starting to zero in on available solutions: a Prius vs a VW Golf, carpet cleaners you can make from common household items vs chemical-based grocery store solutions, AdStage vs any unnamed competitor.

  • In the decision stage, buyers are ready to plunk down the cash but want to make sure they’re making the best decision of the available options.

Marketers focused on affecting the company’s bottom line (which should be all marketers…) need to zero in on the keywords buyers are using in the decision phase: comparisons, reviews, pros and cons, etc. This will likely yield more long tail keywords (and save you more money in the long run - hooray!) As the buyer moves through their journey, they’ll collect more information, and be able to continue their journey through more detailed searches. In the example of a fuel-efficient car, the search could look something like this:




Fuel-efficient car

Is a Prius or VW Golf better for MPG

Buy 2019 Prius near Omaha, Nebraska

So how do you come up with your own list of decision phase keywords? Figure out what’s most important to your customers at that stage (most used search terms), and combine them with product and service offers. Decision phase keywords most often include:

  • Purchase-related terms: buy, purchase, sale

  • Branded and competitor terms

  • Requests for direct information: contact, call, sales, demo

  • Comparison, cost, and pricing terms

  • Location-specific modifiers

Load your list into Google’s Adword Keyword Tool or whatever other software you use to manage keywords, and filter as you would to find effective keywords at any phase:

  • High search volume

  • Low to moderate competition

  • High CPC (May indicate that other advertisers are seeing bottom-of-the-funnel traction)

Choose a handful you want to start testing and get them incorporated in your next campaign.

Create ad groups focused on a single keyword

Here’s yet another marketing acronym for you: SKAGs. Translation: Single Keyword Ad Groups. Further translation: overriding Google’s onboarding flow to create ad groups around one keyword as opposed to one ad group with many keywords. This is where match types come in. We’ve written about this before, but as a refresher, the different types include:

  • Broad Match - This is the broadest match type (obviously). It has high traffic potential but with less relevance. Important individual words could be omitted and certain words can be added (like “jobs”) that dramatically change the intent of a search. I recommend being very conservative in your usage of broad matched keywords. Use them sparingly, apply lower bids, and check your search queries frequently in order to fine-tune your keyword list.

  • Broad Match Modifier - This is similar to broad match. It has high traffic potential and words can still be added to the query. However, with broad match modifier, you can include a + symbol before individual words to require that they be present in the search query in order for your ads to be triggered.

  • Phrase Match - This is the happy medium between broad match and exact match. The keywords must be present and in that order for your ads to display, but words can still be appended before and after them. I recommend using phrase match for most of your keywords.

  • Exact Match - This is the most narrow of the match types. It results in extremely relevant searches because you are able to target an exact query, but the search volume is far lower. Make sure to include exact matched versions of your highest performing search queries.

Here’s a table from Google to show you when and how these matches could be surfaced depending on the search terms used:

Log in to your Google Ads dashboard and run a search terms report to find out what people are actually searching for. Sort to see what’s performing well already, and consider creating a new SKAG focused on that keyword.

Once you know the SKAGs you want to go after, it’s time to set them up. Do that by creating a brand new campaign, and then name the ad group in that campaign after your SKAG. It’s so much easier to decipher your reports this way later. Then, under the Keywords section, enter your keywords to mirror the match types you want to go after:

Modified broad match

Phrase match

Exact match

+keyword +keyword +keyword

“Keyword keyword keyword”

[keyword keyword keyword]

Finally, click “Continue to ads” and start creating your ads for this specific SKAG. Pro tip: create at least 5 different ad variants so you can see which of them perform best.

Now, instead of using blanket ads to try to encompass every existing interest a potential customer could have, you can use what you learned in the keywords section of this post to create individual ads that speak to the decision phase of a buyer’s journey.

Use remarketing + tailored creative to speak to readiness

Honestly, what did we do before remarketing? Oh, that’s right, obsessed over clicks and impressions and other metrics that it turns out weren’t doing us much favors. We’ve written about retargeting for Facebook, but the principle is largely the same regardless of the platform—someone visits your site so you capitalize on that interest my advertising to them again elsewhere on the internet. In the case of ROI, you can create tailored creative that speaks to the buyer’s bottom-of-funnel readiness. In the example of the fuel-efficient car, instead of ads that tout the benefits of the Prius, serve up ads advertising a Prius sale at your local car lot. Retargeting and the creative in the ads can be used to push a qualified lead down the funnel until they’ve reached the very bottom.

 The main theme all of these tactics have in common is understanding where your customer’s head is at when their finger is hovering over the buy button. Get that down, and you’ll see CTR and ROI skyrocket.

AdStage Team