Back in 2009, I looked at the standard of PPC ads being displayed on Google in Australia, using the Sydney hotel industry as an example. I found that the majority of PPC ads being presented on Google by Australian businesses were poorly targeted and unengaging, and concluded that considerable opportunities exist for Australian businesses who take the time and effort to develop tailored and effective long-tail Google PPC campaigns.
Years later, despite Google PPC marketing becoming more widespread among businesses in Australia (and arguably more competitive and expensive as a result), there still appears to be very few Australian businesses who provide high-targeted and tailored ad messages which cater from the growing long-tail of search. A huge amount of valuable keyword and search query data now exists for every PPC advertiser, but it appears that most PPC campaigns in Australia still consist of only a few hundred keywords and only a few hundred ad messages.
Due to the increasing popularity of Google, people are now typing a wide range of specific searches into Google, and are expecting more relevant and helpful search results and ads. However, when searching for these specific long-tail phrases, it appears that the general standard of PPC ads in Australia is very poor. For the search ‘sydney hotels near the rocks’, for example, notice how few PPC ads make any mention of The Rocks (a location in Sydney). The searcher has typed a specific phrase where location seems to be an important consideration, yet few Google PPC ads fully cater for their needs and requirements.
Similarly, looking at Google’s suggested searches for other travel-related phrases, it appears that the long-tail of search is very widespread. People are not only searching for holidays in a particular country, for example, but also searching for holidays from their town or city.
Notice below how the searcher has specified they are looking for Singapore holidays from Perth, yet only one PPC advertiser makes any mention whatsoever of Perth. Even the one ad which does, however, is promoting Perth hotels, which again is irrelevant and untargeted to the searcher’s needs and requirements.
The long-tail opportunity doesn’t just apply to locations. People are also searching by date, and expecting search results which are tailored to those dates. For example, notice below how not a single PPC advertiser make any mention of ‘October’ or ‘2012’ in their ad messages. I imagine most travel service providers provide different prices and deals depending on the travel date, such as October 2012, yet few seem to translate these date-specific prices and specials into their PPC ad messaging. Again, a missed opportunity.
The long-tail of search is massive. People are not just searching for hotels in Melbourne. They are searching for hotels in Melbourne with spas, parking, indoor pools, free wifi, smoking rooms, and breakfast included. I imagine a large number of Melbourne hotels meet these requirements, yet you would not think so when searching on Google.
Hotels in Sydney with balcony rooms really need to get their PPC campaigns in order. They are missing a great opportunity to connect with potential customers on Google.
The same is true for Tahiti holiday providers and resorts with a child-friendly offering, or those which offer packages departing from the capital cities of Australia.
As we can see with the above examples, people are increasingly using Google to specify their exact needs and requirements. This suggests there are considerable opportunities for businesses in Australia who take the time and effort to fully cater for Google’s growing long-tail of search. So instead of displaying only a handful of ads and only a handful of keywords, your PPC campaign strategy needs to contain thousands of tailored ad messages and tens of thousands of relevant and well-organised keywords.
Although such a tailored long-tail campaign structure will obviously take more time and effort to setup and maintain than a simple campaign consisting of only a few hundred keywords and ads, a long-tail PPC strategy can deliver fantastic results in terms of increased click through rates (CTR), lower CPCs, and higher conversion rates. Considering the poor standard of Google PPC competition in Australia, a highly-tailored and comprehensive PPC strategy can be one of the most successful and financially rewarding marketing investments any Australian business can make.