Your Paid Search Strategy, In Real Time

A recent study noted that a staggering 98% of marketers feel they get measurable return on investment from real time marketing. That’s a pretty vast majority! But there is still debate over what works and what doesn’t, and not a whole lot of spotlight ends up on the strategy we’re going to focus on for the next few minutes: paid search in real time.

Social Media – Or, What You Usually Hear About

We still often hear about Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” social media win in the 2013 Super Bowl; social media is rife with examples of real time marketing wins (and some losses) – from awards shows to live TV events and more, Twitter usually comes to mind when you think of real time brand interaction. In fact, in light of the success of “newsjacking” by brands, Twitter is creating a live events calendar to allow them to advertise on the platform in real time, too. A pretty cool indication of the value of real time – so here’s how and why it works in paid search, too:

Real Time Data Use in Paid Search

A 2014 Forrester study found that not enough marketers in the retail space are using real time data to inform their paid search strategies. The importance of understanding the context within which consumers are operating and responding to ever-changing needs is unparalleled. That study notes:

“But campaigns that rely on data that is several days or weeks old do not keep pace with empowered consumer demand. Nor are they adequate to manage responses to changing market responses.”

It also found that, of those surveyed:

  • 64% of retailers take days to plan for expected events.
  • 9% can respond within minutes to the unexpected.
  • 1/5 have access to real time click and conversion data and more than 50% don’t have access to data for at least one week.
  • “A Marketing Manager from one US retailer…lamented that it can take two days to access the data needed to react to immediate events like changes in the weather.”


A chart from the Forrester study that revealed that many retailers have trouble responding in real time via paid search.

Real Time Marketing via Paid Search

Though many large retailers may not be taking advantage of the positives of real time reactions in paid search (changing bids and text to better suit weather conditions, event changes, etc.), doing so can significantly improve click-through-rates and conversion rates. A combination of automation and manual Google Analytics monitoring can keep your business top of mind in real time.

As we’ve blogged about before, Ad Customizers are an important element of any real time search strategy. These customizers change your ads to suit the context of the search or webpage your potential customer is viewing at the time. They offer a real time elements to any sales or promotions you are running – you can use a real time countdown for any promo – and also offer hundreds of variations of ads for certain keywords to ensure relevance to a multitude of users. It solves the problem of reaching the right consumers at the wrong time by adjusting your strategy to work within many different peoples’ experiences.

Tips for Real Time Paid Search Strategy:

  • Keep a calendar of important events and create ad variations to suit them.
  • Keep an eye on your Google Analytics real time data and respond to this info.
  • Strongly consider AdWords Tools for Power Users like Ad Customizers, and let automation help you reach more people in real time. This is especially helpful when you’re advertising a large selection of products.

This is an extremely important and ever-changing topic. Did I miss something? Tell me on Twitter!

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