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Your Voice, Heard: State of SEM Infographic

Published: December 19, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

3Q_SEM_Infographic Teaser

After an exhaustive polling process, the results are finally in! Our comprehensive infographic (available here) details what SEM practitioners value most, how many clients they tend to work with, spend, and tons more.
We asked some of our poll-ees to dish a little extra dirt on which SEM features and tools they especially thought useful (and useless) to gain more insight from the results. Here’s what they said:

– Twitter Lead Cards did way better than any other ad formats on Twitter for our clients doing direct response.
– I wish Twitter Tailored Audiences would work with smaller audiences (it’s not really tailored if you need to have thousands of folks on a list).
– I love RLSA because it seems to reliably double CTR and cut CPC almost in half for even the most stubbornly low-CTR keywords.
Facebook Email Custom Audiences is nothing short of a game-changer – the ability to target specific individuals is radically changing how I think about executing PPC marketing strategies. Larry Kim, Wordstream, Founder 

In terms of features I rated highly, RLSA and geo are especially important – RLSA because it enables us to bid up otherwise expensive keywords and on broad match with a much stronger ROAS than on non-RLSA keywords, and geo because we are able to adjust our bids for well/poor performing areas. Geo is also essential for franchise advertising, where in some instances due to budgeting, each franchise has a separate campaign with a restricted targeted area.
I didn’t give anything a super-low rating, although I would say that I find extended sitelinks frustrating in that there is no place to view whether the extended sitelink was shown vs. just the headlines for the  sitelink. -Heather Scott, 3Q Digital Account Lead

Geo-targeting is huge; being able to adjust bids at the state/region/level is a huge bonus.  You find that for other targeting options like demo, there are inconsistencies, e.g. 18-35-year-olds are more apt to use mobile driver services like Uber & Lyft, but said services are not available in all cities.  Whereas with geo, you can layer on demo targeting, but really it’s the geotargeting that makes it possible to get that granular. -Liam Mbuthia, 3Q Digital, Account Director

Google Shopping is absolutely essential for eCommerce clients – the SERPs real estate can’t be passed up.
Geo-targeting and geo bid modifications are essential to my clients because I work with franchise businesses. We need to be able to control exactly where their ads show down to the zip code. It’s then very helpful to see performance within that targeting to adjust as necessary for the best possible return.
Demographics for search are the worst – while I think everyone should apply demographics for search to collect the data, for all of my clients the data is far too sparse to make any decisions or optimizations.
Secondly, Bing Shopping is far more expensive than Google Shopping so the returns just aren’t there. It also requires mandatory monthly feed updates, which are annoying to maintain when volume is so low. Caitlin Halpert, 3Q Digital, Account Lead

There you have it. According to our experts, Twitter is great, RLSA is great, Geo is great, other things… not so great. Any killer features you love not getting their due here? Let us know in the comments.

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