Use Long-Tail Keywords to Boost Your Advertising ROI

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Let’s face it: we can only predict consumer behavior with so much accuracy. When it comes to pay per click advertising, many established practices are based on predicting how users will phrase their keywords, and then testing those practices.

In the past few years, marketers have been adding long-tail keywords to their campaigns in hopes that more specific phrasing can save them ad dollars and get a higher percentage of relevant customers to their sites.

What is a Long-Tail Keyword?
Even if you don’t know what a long-tail keyword is, chances are you’ve searched with one yourself.

While basic keywords like “promotional magnets” or “accounting services” are how we think of setting up search keywords sometimes, “long-tail keywords” are typically more detailed strings, like “how to fix a bicycle tire” or “bakeries near downtown Chicago.” Why have these keyword phrases been so coveted in the past? Their specificity drives down cost per click while also targeting users looking for specific content. Although advertisers’ attention to these keywords has waned in recent years, it’s still a highly effective strategy that can net great results.

“Talking To” vs. “Searching For”
As pay per click search engines continue to evolve their product lines and search algorithms, users are also beginning to treat them less like online tools and more like people—consumers are increasingly “talking to” search engines, and search engines are adjusting accordingly.

Here’s an example: Go ahead and search for “What ad network should I use?”…in a new window of course – we want you to keep reading! Because there are many choices for Ad Networks, we want to make sure potential customers see our brand when they search for these options. Here’s a likely search result when we ask that question to our search engine:

Long-Tail in Action

Using a long-tail keyword phrases, we can help our target audience find us when getting the answer to their question, “What ad network should I use?” The search engine answers with an ad from

And as mobile phones increasingly come stocked with voice commands, users are encouraged to use this functionality and “talk to” their phones. In fact, we think the evolution of voice-command mobile search—and how this behavior influences search habits—is one of the primary reasons why long-tail keywords are becoming more valuable for advertisers today.

Relevance Drives Conversions
In most cases, your ultimate goal with pay per click is to drive conversions while improving your overall advertising ROI in the process. So with long-tail keywords, not only can you present more relevant content to your potential customers, but you can also face less competition for those keywords. This can all lead to higher click rates, more conversions, fewer bounces, and better in-page engagement at a lower cost.

Don’t Forget to Test
Long-tail keywords are a great addition to your advertising keyword list, but don’t forget to test these options alongside your other targeted search keywords. Test for click-through rate, impressions, and especially your conversions. Most likely, your best results will come from a combination of shorter keyword phrases and super-targeted long-tail keywords. But you’ll get to be the judge of that when you test your ads and review your analytics!

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
As mobile apps like Siri and Google Now become more of a companion than a text-driven tool, users will continue to change how they search. By implementing a well-researched list of long-tail keywords, advertisers can realize more conversions and reach untapped audiences who are literally asking for the answers you can give them. But one thing is for certain—change is always coming and you must keep your eyes and ears open for trends like these. It will help you do business smarter, faster, and more cost-effectively!

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