Managing the search ‘tail’ – low volume but highly targeted search terms – can increase the performance of search campaigns by as much as five times, according to a new white paper from performance marketing company, Efficient Frontier.
In a typical search campaign, 80 per cent of search volume is dominated by 100 or fewer generic but frequently-used search terms (such as ‘cheap flights’). The remaining 20 per cent – the ‘long tail’ – comes from the more rare, but highly-targeted search terms (such as ‘cheap flights to Estonia’).
The paper, ‘The Tale Behind the Tail’, outlines principles and strategies for managing the long tail of search; and demonstrates through examples how these strategies can increase revenue from search. Tail terms are described as individually very volatile, but, when managed together, potentially very profitable (Efficient Frontier cites one example of a case where four per cent of budget spent on tail terms generated 19 per cent of revenue). However, on the flip side, poor management of these terms can drag down the performance of a search campaign (and be costly).
The guide takes marketers through the options for managing long tail search, including the pitfalls of automated bidding based on average cost-per-click rates or individual ROI rates; how to assess the risk versus reward of a long tail strategy; and the benefits of an algorithmic approach (which Efficient Frontier has developed).
Efficient Frontier’s approach is to aggregate data to predict the ROI of a search term, where not enough historic data is available. It also takes marketers through the process of managing search terms at a tactical level, including:
– Ensuring that tail keywords spend effectively performing close to a campaign’s goals
– Exposing keywords with low click volume to learn more about the behaviour of keywords
– Exploring keywords in the campaign that have not seen any impression, either because of low bids or low search activity.
Its algorithmic approach also allows advertisers to predict the risk of investing in tail terms, and the potential return they could achieve from what level of spend.
Jonathan Beeston, Client Services Director for Efficient Frontier, says: “Managing the long tail of search is a complex process, but can have great results if done properly. Our job is to make sure marketers can reduce the risk involved, and we do this through highly sophisticated predictive modelling systems.”