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How to tailor content to improve your marketing

Key take-aways

To create the most effective online ad campaigns, it’s important to tailor the content of each ad to specific segments of your potential customer base. Learn how to provide clear and concise information that is aimed towards your most valuable prospective customers and will encourage them to take the actions you desire.

1. Why should I tailor my content?

2. What kind of content should I tailor?

3. What information should I include?

4. How do I know if my tailored content is working?

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1. Why should I tailor my content?

Research shows that 75% of online shoppers have taken action after seeing a message that they consider to be relevant to them. Ads that show clear product benefits and feature the appropriate keywords are good, but ads that communicate why a product is right for potential customers are even better.

For busy small business owners, creating and managing ads tailored to every type of shopper would likely be too time-consuming. Instead, it's best to create a few, focused ad campaigns for specific groups, known as segments. You can look at the results of other marketing activities and data from previous online ad campaigns to understand the characteristics of your most valuable prospective customers and then divide them into segments according to their characteristics.

With ads tailored to groups of potential customers who share similar interests or a need for a certain product, you can make your campaigns more relevant and increase the likelihood of users clicking through and making a purchase.

Keyword

Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your ad can appear. The keywords that you choose are used to show your ads to people. Select high-quality, relevant keywords for your ad campaign to help you reach only the most interested people, who are more likely to become your customers.

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2. What kind of content should I tailor?

Shoppers are likely to be attracted by different messages depending on which stage of the buying process they are in, and it's possible to create messages for any stage of that process — inspiration, research or comparison, for example. Using the tools in Google Ads and Google Analytics, you can find out what sort of users are browsing and then create ads that will reach them.

At the beginning

You can tailor your ads to potential customers who have never visited you before — those at the beginning of their buying journey — by using the audience tools in Google Ads. These tools let you create lists of internet users grouped by a general interest such as sports, cars or weddings. The ads you show to these lists are likely to perform better if they include details relevant to those interests.

Let's say a formal dress shop in Birmingham wants to reach wedding shoppers, so it includes the term "dedicated bridesmaids section" in one of its ad campaigns. Given that different ads appear to different users, these ads won't put off visitors who are seeking formal dresses for other occasions because those users won't see them. The wedding-oriented ads, however, could pull in a new segment who might have previously dismissed the store as only offering dresses for proms or cocktail parties.

After clicking through

Tailored ads can help bring more potential customers to your site, but they won't stay long if they don't find what they're looking for. For a successful online ad campaign, you need to tailor your landing pages — meaning the URL your ad links to — as well as the ads themselves. It can be tempting to link to the home page, so potential customers have the widest choice of places to browse, but visitors may leave a website if they have to hunt for the product mentioned in your ad.

To minimise the risk of prospective customers leaving before they buy, a specific ad should lead to a specific webpage. For instance, if a sporting goods store in Bristol shows an ad focusing on hockey, the landing page URL should take the user directly to the hockey goods page on the store's website.

Bringing prospective customers back

Not every user who clicks through makes a purchase the first time they visit. When a prospective customer visits your website, Google Analytics collects useful information about them, such as the pages they viewed and which products they added to their basket. This is a powerful indicator of which items they were most interested in, and once a user has spent time on your website initially, it may be possible to entice them to return.

Remarketing is a method of showing highly relevant ads to past website visitors with the goal of bringing them back to complete a purchase. For example, a potential customer browsing tents on a camping website may start seeing ads showing the types of tent they previously have viewed. Remarketing has increased sales by more than 600% for some businesses, so it's certainly worth considering.

Remarketing

Remarketing shows ads to people who've visited your website or used your mobile app. When people leave your website without buying anything, for example, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices.

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3. What kind of information should I include?

The more you know about potential customers, the more tailored you can make your ad content. In the beginning, when you only have a general idea about visitors' interests, this is the only information you have to create an ad. But as more people click through to your site, Google Analytics acquires more information about them. You can begin to use data such as which pages people have visited and how long they have spent on them to understand how strong their interest is.

You can use this information to tailor the content shown in your ads. For example, a financial advisor whose previous visitors spent a long time browsing ISA pages could create ads with the copy "Looking for a tax-free investment?" or "Confused about savings accounts?" to appeal to potential customers seeking relevant products.

Audiences

Adding audiences to a campaign or ad group helps you reach people based on their specific interests as they browse websites, apps, channels, videos and content across the Google Display Network and YouTube. You can select from a wide range of categories – such as fans of sport and travel, people shopping for cars or specific people that have visited your website.

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4. How do I know if my tailored content is working?

It’s important to track and measure the impact of every ad campaign. This is especially true when ads are tailored for different products, services or types of potential customers. In campaigns with general or tailored content, you can play with different ad elements until you know which option performs best for your business using a method such as A/B testing.

For example, a furniture store might see visitors abandoning their cart at checkout but isn't sure why. To find out, they could run two ads to test out a theory that it's a delivery issue. One ad might offer free delivery while the other promotes next day delivery. If the next day delivery ad has the most positive response, it might be worth promoting this speedy service in future ads. To encourage more people to purchase, the company could also feature this option prominently on its website.

Generic ads may reach a lot of people but, without speaking directly to what consumers want, they are much less effective than ads with tailored content that makes it clear how your business can meet their needs. To make the most efficient use of your ad budget and have the best chance of turning browsers into buyers, take a more detailed approach with Google Ads.

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