In today’s competitive, crowded and often copycat online advertising environment, advertisers are continually looking for new, innovative, cost-efficient ways to get their message though to target audiences. They’ve studied and implemented all the standard best practices into their ad copy—strong calls to action, keywords in the creative, trademark symbols and even dynamic keyword insertion—but many still experience challenges driving their unique value proposition through the “clutter” of similar messages and formats that have been implemented by competitors.
So what is a search marketer to do? Luckily, you now have the option of leveraging Google’s ad parameters, a relatively new feature that allows advertisers to dynamically insert and update up to two numeric or currency parameters in ad creative. By linking their database to Google’s API, advertisers can update these parameters in their creative on fly, without loss of history, allowing prospects to see up-to-date information about products. But most importantly, this gives advertisers an effective way to differentiate their ads from their competitors and drive more qualified traffic to their site.
Are ad parameters right for you?
In general, search marketers have been slow to adopt the Google offering (which was first introduced in July of 2009) due to the sometimes burdensome steps associated with the implementation. But, the slow adoption of ad parameters has left the door open for innovators and leaders in a new, dynamic type of search marketing. The feature is particularly relevant for companies with a large or dynamic product catalog. Specifically, advertisers who promote product prices, discounts, inventories or days left on sale in advertising can all benefit from using ad parameters to dynamically serve compelling and relevant search creative.
With the right set up and campaign strategy, ad parameters can provide significant value for companies in the travel and retail verticals who launch short term “weekend” or “one-day” sales, providing them with an easy way to advertise and dynamically update their promotional messages to Google searches. Additionally, companies that advertise a multitude of products with specific inventory levels can leverage ad parameters to keep searchers apprised of the number of items remaining in stock.
Strategic urgency marketing 101: Fitting ad parameters into the “bigger picture”
From a strategic marketing perspective, ad parameters gives search marketers the ability to engage in “urgency” marketing, a messaging approach that has proven to be successful for advertisers in many offline channels, including television, radio, direct mail and email. Urgency marketing involves creating a sense of alarm within a target audience by presenting prospects with deadline or limited inventory-driven messages to encourage an immediate response.
In the offline marketing world, advertisers have found that urgent messages can lead to increased levels of online purchases and foot traffic in brick and mortar stores. “offer ends in 5 days”, “save up to 25% on store products for a limited time only”, or “only 100 items left in stock” are examples of urgency marketing messages that, as consumers, we’ve all seen, and probably been driven to purchase a product as a result of seeing. Search marketers should use ad parameters as a tool to facilitate the “bigger picture” of their marketing strategy—to stimulate increased levels of conversions through deadline and limited inventory-driven messaging.
How to leverage ad parameters to drive urgency marketing
Promote current pricing. Internet consumers appreciate transparency. Presenting promotional pricing up-front can increase the appeal of an ad, driving higher click-through rates. More importantly, by presenting accurate pricing to consumers before the click, brands can avoid unqualified traffic from shoppers looking for bargain basement discounts.
Advertise the number of items left in stock. For merchants with unique products or limited-time offers, messaging inventory scarcity can help to accelerate sales. Try incorporating ad parameters into a product-specific ad group and dynamically updating the quantity of items remaining in stock based on actual availability.
Promote the number of days left in a promotion. Limited time offers are a frequent marketing tactic of television and brick and mortar advertisers. Including a “number of days left” message in your paid search ads can help you align search programs with offline promotions as well as drive urgency in searcher response.
Offer dynamic discounts. Retailers frequently follow a standard discount schedule to ensure sell-through of seasonal inventory. By promoting current discounts in your ads, you can better align paid search with current pricing and capitalize on discounting to increase click-through rates.
Urgency marketing has been a successful offline approach to stimulating sales, and ad parameters provide marketers with a means implementing similar urgency marketing strategies on Google. Marketers should view ad parameters as an opportunity to innovate and increase their campaign ROI, but must also realize that the approach isn’t for everyone. There is a significantly higher chance of experiencing success with ad parameters if marketers view the feature as one component of the larger strategy and use it in conjunction with a holistic, well-planned urgency marketing plan.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.