The digital space is competitive — especially when you’re trying to reach leads toward the beginning and middle of the sales funnel. 

That’s when customers only have a basic awareness of what they need or want. They’re not sure of what product could help solve their challenges, nor the brands that could offer those products and solutions.

Obviously, it’s important to be visible to customers in this stage of the journey (after all, your competitors are), but it can also be very hard to see results from your efforts. For one, most high-level keywords are incredibly competitive, but on top of that, they’re also not the best at delivering the qualified, ready-to-buy leads. 

“Buying generic keyword traffic requires a highly strategic approach in order to improve your visibility on key searches in your vertical and scale your acquisition performance profitably over time.” – Lewis Brannon, Sr. Strategist – Growth Media at Tinuiti

The solution? At Tinuiti, it’s a two-pronged approach involving dynamic search ads and unique strategy we call COGS.

Strategy 1: Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads allow you to circumvent generic, top-level keyword advertising altogether. Rather than choosing super competitive, expensive and hard-to-convert key terms, you target a broad audience instead — one based on geographic or demographic factors that make sense for your brand. 

Google and Bing then use those target descriptors, as well as your existing website content, to create viable search ads tied to your brand and offerings. To up your chances of success even more, we also recommend you:

  • Add bid modifiers for in-market signals and audiences. This allows you to align your most aggressive bids with the most qualified leads possible.
  • Include negative keywords. Specifically, you want to add the keywords from your other campaigns as negative terms. This allows you to segment and really gain insights from your efforts.
  • Take a low-bid approach. You don’t want to spend too much on under-qualified traffic. Make sure your dollars are going toward the ads that give you the best shot at conversion.
  • Group your ads by like value and content. This makes it easier to leverage the algorithms that Google and Bing have already perfected.

Dynamic ads alone can deliver serious results. Our clients that have used this approach saw an 18% uptick in conversion rate, 33% more in revenue and a 22% higher ROAS after just one year of use.

Strategy 2: Curated Optimized Generic Search (COGS)

This is an approach we’ve crafted ourselves in-house and have seen serious success with when implementing it with clients. At its most basic, it means using generic search terms — but being incredibly choosy about the ones you use, as well as working to dominate the search space on those terms.

Here’s how it works:

  • Have a bidding and budgeting strategy from the get-go. Choose what terms you want to dominate and allocate your budget accordingly.
  • Create tightly knit ad groups. You might even consider single-keyword ad groups, as this allows you to create the most persuasive, targeted copy possible. It also optimizes your CTR and increases your quality score.
  • Add bid modifiers on in-market signals. They may be generic terms, but you still want the most qualified leads coming in.
  • Consistently evaluate your reports and shopping data. What terms are seeing success on other campaigns? Which ones are driving sales and converting leads? Create an evolving bank of keywords to pull from.
  • Watch your conversion paths. Noting what pages customers enter and leave on can help inform your keyword strategy.

On its own, the COGS approach can help you stake a bigger claim in the search results crowd, but when coupled with dynamic search ads, it can have an even more significant impact.

Our clients that use both strategies in tandem have seen a 27% higher conversion rate, a 41% higher CTR and a 54% higher ROAS.

Below is an example of how we like to approach generic search:


Measuring Your New Results

As with any new digital marketing strategy, measuring your results — and acting on the insights they give you — is critical for long-term success.

To do this, we recommend:

  • Using custom channel groupings in Google Analytics. The default channels aren’t enough to truly reflect your exact campaigns and strategies. Always customize your channel groupings to be specific to your unique approach.
  • Running top conversion path reports. Analyze how effective your ads are at driving sales through your various channels. 
  • Comparing lack-click performance vs. first-click performance. How does each ad perform as a sale closer? What about as an opener?

The bottom line is that today’s search result space is at a premium. Throw in that ads are looking more native than ever, and it’s never been more important to have an advanced, granular strategy in place. 

For more cutting-edge customer acquisition strategies, email [email protected] or check out our latest webinar from our New Customer Acquisition Summit event.

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