Making Search Marketing Work in 2019

I have seen massive and wide sweeping changes to the paid digital landscape over the past decade, with an ever growing list of channels, strategies and tactics that digital marketers use on a day to day basis.

One of the biggest areas of change has been in paid search, with many business owners and entrepreneurs (as well as experienced marketers) watching their once profitable streams of traffic slowly dry up and turn into expensive money pits.

Many of us dream wistfully for the golden early years of search marketing. Click costs were low enough that even a moderately well setup campaign would generate a ton of business with a super high return on investment. It has gotten far harder to just setup an account, follow Googles recommendations to create your campaigns and not see your hard earned budget spent without seeing a huge impact. Some business find that the cost to keep campaigns running just isn’t justified, and eventually think that PPC is just not for their business.

This brings opportunity however, as every business that abandons PPC opens up new opportunities for smart marketers to capitalise on. Just look at the search results and you can see that there are companies that are thriving and continue to run ads, even in most competitive and high cost industries.

So how are these marketers still doing so well in the harsh conditions of 2019? They have discovered a winning tactic, and leveraged and exploited this to keep their campaigns profitable.

Not to get too technical, but search marketing is much like any other ecosystem. For the ecosystem to support life (advertisers in the case of AdWords) it must be able to supply enough food (paying customers) to feed that life, at a cost lower than the price of getting that food (which is the cost per click). Animals in the ecosystem will die if there is not enough food, or if they need to use more energy getting that food than they get back when they consume it.
I hope I am not losing you here with this analogy, but thinking of Adwords (or other digital marketing ecosysytems) as a living system is a really useful way to get your head around what I am going to discuss next.

You see, the advertisers that are still doing well have found a niche or strategy that they can exploit, providing them with lower cost conversions (or a more profitable sales pipeline after conversion) than the competition. When this occurs, the advertiser can afford to keep their budget and bids higher than the competition, effectively taking over that industry in the search results.

If you want to learn even more, keep reading this blog or give us a call.



So what are some of these hidden ways that successful advertisers are still working the system to produce that sweet revenue?
Here I am to lift the lid on some of the biggest secret tricks that pro PPC managers are using at the moment. Not the stuff you normally read on blogs. This is the real, behind the curtain “Stonecutters Only” type of hardcore moves that you should be rolling out ASAP.

Dynamic Search Ads combined with Search Remarketing

I have been using this amazing targeting combination for the past 5 years, after I discovered it while looking for novel ways to apply search remarketing to clients AdWords campaigns. I saw that the DSA (Dynamic Search Ad) campaigns that we were running alongisde our traditional keyword campaigns were working extremely well. A light bulb went off, as I started to comprehended the immense AdWords power this combination of targeting would unleash on all of my accounts into the future.

So what is this magical targeting combination? We are layering Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).

In a standard DSA campaign, all you need to do is provide Google with your domain (you can specify only certain sub pages if you like) and it then categorises the content and determines a list of keywords that it will match your ads with when people search. You also give Google control of what the headline of these ads will be, which has the effect of boosting the click through rate significantly. When a user searches, Google will find the best matched landing page, and use that as a Final URL for the ad. While not often used these days, it is a great campaign type to get people quickly into the Adwords game.

For RLSA campaigns, you are able to use your remarketing lists to alter the way that your Search campaigns funtcion when people have previously visited your site. You can bid on an expanded keyword set, or increase your bids on specific keywords etc. to get people back to the site. It’s another fantastic way to retarget your site visiors.

The true power however when you create the hybrid campaign DSA + RLSA to create a monster of a PPC campaign that provides the following benefits.

– Lower cost traffic
– Highly engaged search traffic
– Get’s Google to perform ongoing keyword research on your behalf. As they are picking the keywords essentialy AND they are people in your target market (as they are on your remarketing list and have been to your site before) all of the new keywords they find are super relevnt.

What you should then do is mine this new search query list for keywords, and even entire keyword areas, that you had never considered before. You can make these decisions with confidence, as you have both the AdWords data and GA engagement / conversion data to back up your decisions.

When you combine these two, you are creating a hybrid campaign, RDSA or Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads, and the results are magical. As always though be cautious, and test this campaign with a smaller budget and expand upon it pending results. You will also need to have 1000 people on your search remarketing list to start off.

Numbers Don’t Lie
I looked at 72 accounts running DSA, RLSA, or the hybrid of RDSA campaigns with data from the past 2 months. When comparing this hybrid campaign with DSA, RDSA campaigns had a 109% higher CTR, at 8.1% vs. 3.9%. Also, these campaigns produced a 52% lower CPA and a 156% higher Click Conversion Rate.

Advanced Remarketing

Most people will be familiar with the Remarketing Grid concept, however this level of fine control only works with very large lists, and even then there seems to be questions on it’s effectiveness. It makes sense in theory, but in practice the results are rarely worth the setup and maintenance effort required. You are far better experimenting with some different segmentation options, such as using Analytics remarketing lists to remarket back to people based on their traffic source. For example, people that are currently interacting and visiting the website from your email marketing (but have not yet purchased) will be some of the warmest leads/potential customers that you have.

If you dig through your analytics data, you will be able to find other great traffic sources and people who are almost ready to purchase or enquire but have not done so yet.

  • They could be people that interected with a specific type of Facebook post or ad.
  • They might be people that have visited the site more than 3 times from any traffic source over the past 14 day.
  • It is quite often people that have accessed the site from 2 or 3 different traffic sources, no matter what they are.

Some of this takes some basic segmentation in GA, and familiarity with the Cohort reporting, but there is a lot of help out there online (or experts like us) to help you out with that. Once you have identified a segment, Google Analytics makes it easy to create a remarketing list, which you can then use to pursue these prospects with more targeted messaging and landing pages.

With all remarketing, remember to also focus on filling up the conversion funnel. There needs to be effective general search, display and other traffic channels to fill your remarketing lists Unless you have plugged all the holes in your attribution modeling, this traffic will not show the ROI of remarketing and direct search, but it is still vitally important to introduce new people to your service or product.

Analytics remarketing has a couple other gems that are under utilised such as using Similar audiences for people that have purchased / converted, using remarketing to target your Youtube ads, showing App ads to remarketing lists and of course using Facebook remarketing.

With an effective remarketing strategy, you can give your brand the maximum possible omni channel coverage without spending a large budget. These platforms are CPM, Cost per view or CPC, so you are only paying relevent to your audience size.

If you have tried Search or Display marketing before and struggled, or are looking to hit 2019 with your best foot forward please reach out for a no obligation chat.

Why You Should Try Bing Search Advertising

When most business owners think about search marketing, it is quite rare for them to think past running Google Ads.

It really does seem like Google has the monopoly on all search traffic, as it is the default search engine that nearly all of us use every day.

I say nearly all, because even in 2019 there are still some people that can’t access Google search, or choose to use another search engine. This may sound strange to you if the name Google is synonymous with search, but there are valid reasons why some people are not.

These reasons are mainly

  1.  They have a corporate device, or are inside a corporate network so their IT department has locked them into using a Microsoft browser. The searches on these browsers default to Bing.
  2. Older or less tech savvy people that buy a Windows device, and just search using the default browser or internal windows search features.
  3. People that are using voice search on non-Google devices.

While this may not seem like a lot of people, from our research, experience running campaigns and information gathering we can see that this is around 15% of all searches.
Most advertisers have doubled down on Google Ads, and continue to fight for the premium positions (paying premium CPC’s) in competitive industries. Click costs have increased year on year, and it takes careful management from experts to see a strong return. But not as many have made the jump over to Bing, which means there are still rich opportunities to tap into. While Microsoft has greatly improved the advertisers experience and ability to place ads over the past year, it is still a much less intuitive experience than Google Ads.


Here at Bluewave we were early to the Bing advertising platform, and it is now the second or third channel that we expand our client’s campaigns into. We get great results due to the lower competition and higher quality (on average) traffic that is generated. The demographic is skewed older, and actually a bit higher in socio economic factors meaning you generate quality leads / sales at a lower cost. The key to remember though is that the volume will not be the same as Google ads, so while there is treasure to be found, it is not an expansive channel and traffic is limited.

While some features on the platform are limited, more are getting released and all the major capabilities are there, such as remarketing, automation and display ads via the Yahoo ad network.
You can also import your entire Google Ads account into Bing ads, and have this setup as a regular synchronisation job if you like. This is a great way to get started, however we recommend

If you have not trialled Bing ads, please reach out and we can run you through  a trial campaign to demonstrate the potential for your business.

Move your display campaigns to programmatic advertising

Has your digital marketing agency opened up the power of programmatic advertising for your business? Here at Bluewave, we are experts at this cutting edge method of using data and machine learning to better target your ads towards people who are in your exact target market, and ready to buy right now.

Large brands have already moved a significant percentage of their spend across to programmatic advertising in 2018, and 2019 will see that move go as high as 80% of all display spend.

Why have they chosen to do this? From our experience, programmatic advertising gives ten times better control to advertisers and publishers over their ad placements and targeting when compared to standard methods.


Why are they doing this?

Traditional digital advertising has a few issues that programmatic advertising can overcome. The Google display network does a great job of buying advertising space on your behalf on individual websites, and also provides targeting to make sure these ads get in front of your intended audience.

This is far better than the early days of the web, where people had to setup each of these deals individually. Programmatic advertising takes this into overdrive, pinpointing exactly what audiences to target, dependent upon browser algorithms generated through demographic, geographic, psychographic and time data points. Programmatic advertising allows audiences to be automatically bought, and allows you to show them to the right consumer with the right message, in the proper context. It can save thousands per month in wasted ad clicks.


How does programmatic advertising work?

Programmatic advertising places your ads through a massive online auction system, where websites and advertisers bid in real time to get the best price and most precise targeting for the placement of your ads. Similar to items bid on, bought and sold via eBay, programmatic advertising seamlessly bids on, buys and sells ad space to advertisers using acquired knowledge about the advertiser’s target market, and makes optimisation changes on the fly to improve performance.

What to Look For In a Programmatic Agency

When you look to engage with an agency to run a programmatic campaign, it is important to find an agency who can work with you to define a clear strategy for each campaign. It is good to know the objectives of each campaign (leads, ecommerce sales, opt ins to a mailing list), have clearly designed creative’s to meet this strategy that will resonate with the target audience. You also need to ensure that you have landing pages in place that match and work with your ads to achieve these objectives.

There is also a variety of creative’s to consider. You are not just buying display placements on advertiser’s websites. You can also buy place ads on YouTube videos, Facebook in-stream advertisements, and mobile ads, catch up TV, digital radio and every other form of advertising available online.

The choice of advertising platforms and creative’s that you develop is guided by knowing in advance the audience that you are targeting. A good digital agency can work with you to identify and target these audiences, showing you what the potential of each audience may be, the potential costs and also which platforms are most effective at engaging them.


It All Starts With Audience Focus

When we look to start a programmatic campaign, the first step is to define a number of different audiences for each campaign, and then develop creative’s for each. For example, you may have a remarketing list, a lookalike list for people that have purchased the product before, and then people within certain demographic and interest categories. We will trial at least 2 different calls to action of each audience, and make sure we have display ads, videos and audio assets if required, dependent on the channels we are going to advertise on.

These buyer personas that you develop then go onto inform different landing pages that you create, as well as different marketing automation sequences that you can bring into play.


Build Out Your Creative Mix

For an effective programmatic advertising campaign, it is ideal to have a mix of each creative. Not just the different sizes for each medium, but also static and animated versions of display ads, or multiple video creative’s for AdWords. This allows A/B and multivariate testing of each message, so we can quickly evolve your campaign to only show the ads that are getting the best engagement and ROI.

This is a great way to gather intelligence on your unique audience, and provide valuable feedback and information which you can use to improve all future digital advertising campaigns.


The Secret is Ongoing Monitoring and Optimisation

The most impressive element of programmatic advertising for an agency is the massive amount of analytics and data that is available for each and every ad that your run. This is the primary reason to move your display advertising spend across to programmatic advertising. We recommend daily maintenance and monitoring of your programmatic campaigns, and this is our methodology when we run campaigns for our clients.

Keeping a close eye on the actual performance of your ads will help you quickly remove the ads that are not performing well, conserving funds and diverting your budget towards the ads that are working best.

It is this ongoing optimisation, with proactive suggestions and feedback that we provide for our clients, enabling them to drive massive returns from their programmatic spend.

Are you thinking of giving programmatic advertising a go in 2019? Give us a call or fill in an enquiry form to see how your display advertising spend could work so much harder.

Conversion Bidding for Display Campaigns

Earlier in December Google announced that we can now use conversion based bidding for Display Network campaigns. The Google Display network is one of the most misused and under utilised of the whole Google Ads ecosystem. Luckily for our clients, here at Bluewave we have been using the Display Network for over a decade to strategically enhance and compliment the search marketing that conduct via AdWords and other PPC networks.

So many advertisers have all campaigns set to “Search Network campaigns with Display Expansion” rather than having separate search and display campaigns. This always leads to display campaign data being mixed with search campaigns, making results hard to assess for business owners that manage their own accounts, or inexperienced account managers. It also leads to issues like call extensions being shown on display ads, which quite often results in a lot of clicks being made that do not result in phone calls or website visits.


We recommend running completely separate search and display campaigns, as allows you to optimise traffic from both networks separately, and get the best results from each.

Once you have distinct search and display campaigns, then we recommend trialling conversion-based bidding for display campaigns called “Pay for conversions”.

With this new bidding option, you are charged when visitors convert from the ads rather than clicks or ad impressions.

This is already available for search campaigns, where you can set it up to pay by conversion at a Target CPA (cost per acquisition) in the Bidding section of campaign settings. This does require that meaningful conversions are being used(such as a purchase or lead) and that you have already generated some leads using manual settings (see the thresholds below), so the machine learning that fuels these auto bidding rules has some data to work with. Once this has been setup, Google provides the following example of display CPA bidding, “Let’s say your target CPA is $10, and you drove 30 conversions over the weekend. You’ll pay exactly $300, with an actual CPA of $10.”

Pay for conversions uses the same machine learning as CPC payments. Google has stated that you’ll never pay above your target cost per action.”, however in practice for the accounts that we have worked on some guidance in placements and ad copy is still needed. What they will do is have a red hot try at generating as many conversions as possible at that target CPA.

What do you need to turn this on?
Currently, this conversion based bidding for Display has some high requirements for conversions needed before this can be turned on. Your Google Ads account needs more than 100 conversions in the past 30 days to be eligible for pay for conversions. In addition to this, the time between click and conversion must be shorter than 7 days for at least 90 percent of those conversions.

There are a few restrictions, and this strategy is most appropriate for campaigns that have a high volume of display traffic, and also campaigns that have similar margins of sale. The upper limit for target CPA is also $200, so for high priced industries the machine learning may struggle.

Also, for people that have Adwords tied closely to their CRM or call reporting, this strategy does not work for conversions imported from calls or Salesforce or for cross-device conversions. Also , it won’t work with shared budgets.

If you are spending too much on Display with little result, or are not sure if your campaigns are mixing Search and Display traffic then contact us for a friendly chat and see how we can make display campaigns work for your business.

Google Analytics Services

We all want out business to be more effective online, but without trustworthy and reliable data there is no way to truly know the performance of your site. Having a well configured analytics setup allows you to gain vital insights related to your customers, and make decisions will actively increase revenue.

The ability to define and measure success, as well as use data to drive further refinements on your website and marketing rely on having a strong analytics installation on your site.

Google Analytics provides you with the data you need to manage your business online and drive your marketing campaigns. It allows you to answer questions such as “Which website changes had the maximum impact?”, “Where do we get our traffic from?” and “What else can be changed to boost sales?” With Google Analytics and expert help, you can find these insights, measure your results and set the future direction of your online marketing.

How do you know if you need Google Analytics help?

  • You haven’t installed it.
  • You have it installed, but are not sure it is working as intended. Having a correct configuration is important and needs to aligns with your business goals.
  • You don’t know how to interpret the reports and dashboards.
  • You can’t decide what information is related to your goals, and are not sure if everything is being measured.

By engaging with Bluewave to fix these issues, or help with implementation and training you will have information around your customers and their behavior at your fingertips. You will be able to define what’s working and what needs to be improved, and you will see clearly the impact of site changes on online performance.

How We Can Help

  • Google Analytics Setups. We can install GA from scratch on your site, and then setup goals, events, and funnels tracking, custom dimensions and metrics implementation.
  • GA Audit. If you already have analytics installed, we will audit the current settings and fix any issues to get things 100% up to scratch. We also check inbound traffic tracking is correct and if necessary fix or improve it to provide understanding on effective channels and what is not working.
  • If you have several domains (for example, when you use third-party service for checkout process), we can check your cross-domain tracking for potential problems and solve it if needed.
  • If needed, we will also integrate Google Analytics with other tools, such as Google Adwords or Google Search Console.
    We can also provide a full day of training that incorporates Google Analytics, Google Data Studio and Google Tag Manager for individuals, or for full marketing teams. Please contact us if you are interested.

Next Steps

If you are interested in getting Google Analytics working correctly for you business, please contact on the form to the right, or call on 0407 402 011. Full configuration services start at $800, and a full day of training starts at $2000 for up to 5 people.

Bluewave Online Marketing is based in Melbourne, and provides expert digital marketing campaigns to businesses of all sizes, both in Australia and across the world.

Over the past 18 years we have helped hundreds of businesses, large and small, with innovative and cutting edge online marketing strategies that drive low cost sales and leads.

Please contact us for a no obligation chat about just how we can help you grow your business and dominate your industry.