PPC Keyword & Audience Discovery

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “PPC Keyword & Audience Discovery.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Are keyword research tools as important as they use to be? Why or why not?

  • I personally use broad mod as my keyword research tool. I do not trust any keyword research volume estimates. – Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
  • To start a new campaign, yes. But as the campaign evolves, the SQ report and data helps more. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • I must be the only marketer on earth who almost never uses a kw tool. However, will say that the AdWords tools have improved hugely. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Are they as important? Yes. Are some of the tools as useful as they used to be? NO! – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • I mainly rely on broad match/SQRs for keyword research. Tools are inaccurate. – Tally Keller (@tallykeller)
  • Sadly not anymore with organic term blackout. Will take longer to get to optimal terms now, I think as have to try & see. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
    • To follow up on that, the PPC data is even more valauble to SEO now. – Mark Kennedy
      • Agreed, these tools give us an idea of what keywords to start with. – Matt Umbro
  • Definitely. They at least give me ideas of where to go with KWs, don’t rely on them for data though. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • I don’t pay attention at all to volume estimates on KW research tools, just the actual KWs that are presented. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes and no.. Can’t trust keyword tools, but also don’t have organic keyword data anymore. – Matt Mitchell (@MattMitchell44)
  • I think KW tools can be very useful to start, especially if I don’t know the industry, but less useful moving forward. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • Raw query analysis is important as ever bcuz it always leaves you thinking “I can’t believe that wasn’t already in my account!” – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Using Broad Mod and Google Trends as a seasonality gauge makes more sense IMO. Most tools are mediocre and just waste time/money. – Andrew Bethel
  • No way. So many more outlets for keyword research than there used to be! Still important but not AS important. – Brittany Baeslack (@BaeslaBr)
  • I prefer mod broad match especially for the niche, low volume searches my clients look for. – Alison Wren (@PaprikaMktg)
  • I agree with broad matching doing most of the dirty work in finding new themes and converting terms. Although I do miss the Google WonderWheel tool. Thought that was a cool way to research new Kwd ideas. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Let’s put it this way, in this day and age would you pay to use a keyword research tool? – Matt Umbro
    • Never. Ever. Ever. – Andrew Bethel
    • Probably not. Especially with a few freebes out there to compare – SEMrush, ubersuggest, google, etc. – Mark Kennedy
  • I think they are handy for giving a rough guide, but as many say, take all findings with a large pinch of salt! – Jonathan Cottrell (@jcjrcottrell)
  • I use broad match modifiers more than actual tools. The SQRs they lead to are infinitely better. – Nate Knox
  • I will miss getting related ideas i.e. non-internal client way of describing their wares. Clients often not using customer terms. – Julie Bacchini

Q2: What tools/programs do you use to find new keywords (if you use tools)? Which one do you like the best? Why?

  • Hard to beat Excel and a SQR with both traffic and conversion data for keyword discovery. – Chris Haleua
  • I use the Google suggestion box when starting to type in a term! – Matt Umbro
    • Google Suggest is helpful/entertaining. – John Hollan (@ppathholla)
  • Seach query report for negatives and new terms and for content ideas. I use Ubersuggest a lot, too. More for SEO, though. – Mark Kennedy
  • Google Trends with REAL search data. The best research tool is TESTING! No tool is more accurate. – Andrew Bethel
  • It depends on your indepth usage of your own data. If you aren’t fully utilizing primary data, then tools should be secondary. – Ira Kates (@IraKates)
  • I use SpyFu as a basis especially their kombat tool. If 3 competitors are using a KW it might be worth researching. – Rory Witt (@Rory_Witt)
  • Mostly stick to SQA and google keyword tool. That usually covers bulk of good variations for me. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Since Google broke the KW tool…SQR’s. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • SpyFu kombat tool to get an idea of competitors keywords. Not 100% accurate but points in the right direction/suggestions. – Jeff McLean (@SEOJeffe)
  • Aside from SQRs, I love using Google Trends to get relevant rising search ideas. – Brittany Baeslack
  • We pay for Spyfu to get insights into competitions campaigns. Saves time & money. Can learn from their mistakes. – Luke Alley
    • SpyFu gets the gears turning but a lot of their “recommendations” are crap. I still use it though. – Andrew Bethel
  • A lot of people don’t like Dynamic Search Ads, but they do provide good suggestions for new keywords/ad groups. – Matt Umbro
  • Have tried quite a few, all had plus & minus factors. Would not pay for keyword data now though. – Julie Bacchini
  • SEMrush is worth paying for, but for lots of features other than kw research. Great competitor ad data. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • I often find benefit in snagging new kws from Client and Competitor sites and using those as starting points for new opps. – Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
  • I use SEMRush and it is really useful (transparency, they gave me the account). But we also mine a ton from our own accounts. – Ira Kates
  • Love my new natural language processing software (Clarabridge) – it mines SQRs for me – pulls out themes and trending modifiers. – Tally Keller
  • The Google suggest at the bottom of the SERPs are somewhat helpful. Can find some gems there. – Michelle Morgan
  • If i’m only looking for ideas, I use Uber Suggest and Scrapebox. Then I drill into SQRs from BBM keywords. – Nate Knox
  • Look up competitor terms via spyfu, google keyword tool, search queries. – Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
  • Talk to the customer service/sales reps at the company. They use same terms as customers (or know them). – Robert Brady
    • In my experience, you have to be careful. Staff often rephrase or quote concepts, not precise words. – Theresa Zook
  • Besides some competitive research tools, what paid keyword research tools are out there? Wordstream? – Luke Alley
  • My question is – do any of you pay real attention to search volume when doing KW research? – Nate Knox
    • No. – Matt Umbro
    • Not for specific volume, but for comparative volume, it’s a guide. – Mark Kennedy
    • I never thought actual figures were accurate, used more for relative volume – term A 5X volume as term B to prioritize. – Julie Bacchini
  • I like historical analytics data – captures actual customer search phrases even if they only got one click from being on page 3. – Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
  • Throwing a term we are already bidding on into the keyword tool usually leads to useful stuff I couldn’t think of on my own. – Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
  • AdGooRoo is also helpful when looking at related competitor keywords. – Tally Keller
  • I like to use Single Anchor & Dual Anchor modified broad match keywords to discover other variants. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
    • Nice, I use those too but never gave them a fancy name like that. – Timothy Jensen
  • Make sure not to only mine SQR for standard broad keywords, but also PLA product targets, and DSAs. – Chris Haleua
    • Yes! PLAs are a great source for new keywords. – Matt Umbro
  • Mining social mentions for customer lingo is sometimes helpful. – Tally Keller
  • I don’t trust specific numbers, but helpful to see what’s high vs. low volume. – Timothy Jensen
  • Scrapebox and SEMrush are a couple of my faves. – George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
  • Estimates are more of a “they have traffic or dont have traffic” tool. Not necessarily accurate by any means. – Andrew Bethel
  • The SERPs themselves can be helpful too, especially if you’re unsure about a potential keyword. Search and see what you get. – Dave Rosborough
  • Opportunities tab can occasionally be helpful as well. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
    • Agreed – much better than it used to be. – Matt Umbro
    • I find Bing’s opportunities section often more on target than Google’s, some good ideas. – Timothy Jensen
    • I’m really liking the new version. Some interesting stuff there. (I miss some of the old data, though.) – Theresa Zook
    • Good to know – was trained early on to ignore it and I have a bad habit of not circling back. – Jason Stinnett

Q3: How do modified broad match keywords play into your keyword expansion and overall account management?

  • Broad Modified is for keyword research, and catching unpredictable terms. I can only think of so many keywords! Important to avoid heavy use of DKI on Broad Mod. You can get some ridiculous ad copy when you do this. – Andrew Bethel
    • I can’t imagine using DKI with BMM (which is actually MBM and why do we call it BMM?) kw. – Theresa Zook
  • Unless it’s a very niche or low-volume campaign, I use BMM over broad. – Mark Kennedy
  • Invaluable for discovery and capturing “remnant” traffic. – Theresa Zook
  • Modified Broad Match KWs are like crack to me. I see so much success. They’re great for new ideas and ways to weed negatives. – Nate Knox
  • Use Mod Broad to test on new accounts/campaigns/products, helps with getting more keyword ideas as well. – Christina Hall
  • BMM > Phrase – first learned this tip from James Svoboda at the 2012 HeroConf. – Matt Umbro
  • Modified Broad Match FTW! Excellent source of new keywords and negatives. – Tally Keller
  • I tend to rely on Mod Broad a lot. However, my Bing Rep recently revealed that Mod Broad cuts out roughly 70% of reg broad. – Dave Rosborough
  • In most cases use MBM over BM. Much more control and fewer irrelevant searches. – Luke Alley
  • w/big accounts, BMM allows us to capture traffic we may have missed and build new keywords, ad groups or even campaigns. – Brittany Baeslack
  • BMM is a great way to do low(er) risk broad matching to get new keyword ideas. – Michelle Morgan
  • MBB is great for controlled expansion. Love it. – George Gilmer
  • Our accounts use mostly broad mod and exact. Phrase doesn’t perform as well and broad is “¦ too broad. – John Holland
  • They are the fuel for keyword expansion and setting up future restructures/expansions. We use them as a keyword tool in itself. – Ira Kates
  • BMM actually gives us more time to focus on management and strategy while still providing necessary keyword coverage. – Brittany Baeslack
  • Very important. BMM = maybe 50% of search imps, but only 20% of total keywords in an AG. Those 20% are crucial. – James Svoboda
  • BMM is the best of both worlds – provides more relevant queries with expansion and saves PPC management time. – Matt Umbro
  • BMM’s serve as the catch all for new campaigns. Also add them when testing SQA trends and volume for new adgroups. – Tyler Purcell
  • Broad match is Google’s default “give us all your money” setting for keywords. – Robert Brady
  • Anyone using the modifiers on parts of a keyword phrase, but not all? – Dave Rosborough
  • Yeah, broad only comes in if the keyword is long-tail and I’m looking for more traffic. Usually a very low bid. – Michelle Morgan
  • Remember, changes in CTR can impact just how “broad” your BM keywords can go. This is very important to realize. – Andrew Bethel
  • I dunno, sometimes you have use broad to hit a weird niche. Segment of a segment. – Heather Cooan
    • That’s definitely true. Just needs to be very relevant, qualified traffic. – Michelle Morgan
  • You know what’s fun? Taking over an account and seeing previous shop had conquest broad matching with no negatives! – Ira Kates

Q4: With Google Analytics not providing SEO keywords anymore, how can SEO efforts help to find new PPC keywords?

  • Use Webmaster Tools to fish out those organic qeuries. – Heather Cooan
  • Mine the SQR for new keyword ideas or contnent. Share conversion and volme data with SEO team. – Mark Kennedy
  • The “Paid & Organic” Report in AdWords Dimensions tab is great for this. – Dave Rosborough
  • Are your AdWords and Webmaster Tools accounts linked for most clients? – Matt Umbro
    • If AdWords & Analytics are linked, then you can activate Webmaster Tools easy enough. – James Svoboda
    • Yes, we just linked all of our accounts. Well, we tried. Some regions had issues. – Tally Keller
  • WMT data. Plop inbound links into a wordcloud and see how the world talks about the brand/client/site. You can use SEO outreach magic tools to fuel social ideas too. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Check your Google Places/Local Biz Listings for keywords if you’re working on a local campaign. – James Svoboda
  • Paid and organic report helped me discover inadvertent negative matching – blocking ME for Maine blocked “X near me” – Jason Stinnett
  • Pulling a 6 mo SQR and mining for KW / Content ideas. – Jeff McLean

Q5: How do you determine new audiences to create?

  • For RLSA campaigns I look at Analytics to see the top viewed pages. – Matt Umbro
  • What audiences are currently working? Can those be further segmented? Time triggers? Page exit triggers? – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • Use PPC to test snippets for SEO metadata or monitor kw conversion in PPC to inform SEO prioritization. – Tally Keller
  • Bing/other search engines/trawl historic data for a few opportunities as well as WMT. & don’t forget google suggests. – Dan Barker (@danbarker)
  • If you’ve got ecom tracking set up, look at page value. – Heather Cooan
  • Really, audiences can be anything you conjure up, from specific pages, to combos, to visitors viewing items over certain $ amount. – Matt Umbro
  • You should create audiences based off where they are in funnel & change messaging accordingly. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)

Q6: What are some unique audiences you have created? How did they perform?

  • Currently testing layering dynamic remarketing audiences with specific placements and topics – too early to tell. – Matt Umbro
  • About us & blog posts for B2B, returns & shipping for B2C. If they’re reading more about your co, chances are they’re 90% there. – Aaron Levy
  • I tried setting up timeframe specific audiences not too long ago using a custom combination of two different cookie durations. Unfortunately, the system tells you the audience is too small to target. – Dave Rosborough
  • Our maternity client has audiences for stage of pregnancy, season, and special occasions. Works like a charm. – John Holland
  • Combo: target audience with 45 day cookie duration, but not those with the 15 cookie duration, etc. – Dave Rosborough

Q7: Is keyword or audience expansion more imperative to profitable account growth? Why?

  • Audience expansion breeds keyword expansion, so focus on that. – John Holland
  • Trick question! new keywords should reach a new audience. So, both? – Aaron Levy
  • No answer. An audience is a finite number–sometimes you’ve gotten all there is to get. Ditto for converting keywords. – Theresa Zook
  • Keyword, because it would indirectly lead to new audiences. – Robert Brady
  • Audience. Keywords often = 90%+ new searchers all by themselves. New keywords often only marginally increases your reach. – James Svoboda
  • As of today, I think audience expansion is more important as I think paid search is moving more toward this end. – Matt Umbro
  • I think it is clear that both are important but marketers need more practice w/ audience expanansion. – Chris Haleua
  • Keywords will always be imperative for PPC, but audiences are becoming more and more important. – Matt Umbro
  • Keyword expansion b/c of better intent intel. Takes many audiences to find right ones to monetize. – Marc Bitanga (@marcbitanga)

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  • Shout out to our sponsor @MarinSoftware I use it everyday and love it! – Tally Keller


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Alison Wren (@PaprikaMktg)
• Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
• Brittany Baeslack (@BaeslaBr)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
• Cottrell (@jcjrcottrell)
• Dan Barker (@danbarker)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Ira Kates (@IraKates)
• Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
• Jeff McLean (@SEOJeffe)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• John Hollan (@ppathholla)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Marc Bitanga (@marcbitanga)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Matt Mitchell (@MattMitchell44)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Rory Witt (@Rory_Witt)
• Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
• Tally Keller (@tallykeller)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)


PPCChat Streamcap Discovery and Creation

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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