Why User Experience Is Important in Paid Search

April 16, 2019

Recent hunger cravings and a curiosity to try something new pushed me to go online and browse for some food services. A Google ad piqued my interest, so I clicked on it and browsed a restaurant menu. An interesting photo of “Harissa Udon Noodles” tempted me to place an order, and the food arrived shortly — within 20 minutes of checkout. So, in terms of prompt service, it scored a 10. But that’s where it all ended for me.

In terms of food presentation, it looked nowhere near like the picture I saw on the site, and when it came to taste, it left me dissatisfied. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t finish my meal and decided to not order again from the same service.

This experience is quite like what we face regularly when visiting websites. Pages loading quickly are akin to food being delivered promptly. Seeing the ad showcasing the same message on the site is similar to being served the same food as in a photograph. And you enjoying the product, post-purchase, is reflective of a good user experience.

User experience plays a very big role in paid search, too, by impacting account performance and optimization in the following ways:

1. Bounce Rate and Time Spent on Site

Imagine clicking on an ad that says “20% Off” only to find that the offer has already expired. What would you do? You would probably get off the site and crib about the bad user experience. You wouldn’t care to browse through the products because you no longer trust the site, thus impacting time spent on site.

But what does this all mean for your paid search campaigns? It all leads to unnecessary high spend and low conversion rates. By not validating whether the ad messaging matches with the landing page in terms of user experience, you ended up wasting a click that could have potentially led to a conversion. Therefore, it is highly important that you link your Google Analytics account with AdWords to pull this data in. By filtering for campaigns, ad groups and keywords with high bounce rates and low time-spent-on-site, you can quickly figure out if you need to make corrections in your ad copy or include a better landing page.

2. New Versus Returning Visitors

Paid search campaigns are an easy way of bringing in new visitors to a site because of the “discovery” aspect. Non-brand campaigns that target keywords which potential customers would be keying in can lead them to discover your website. So, even if potential customers don’t know your brand, you can target them in their moment of research/inquiry. However, that’s not the sole focus of paid search campaigns. Very few digital marketers use paid search efficiently to target returning visitors. Some visitors, who are already aware of your brand, may choose to visit it organically. However, for many others, it is highly important to keep reminding them of your brand. Remarketing plays a great role in that aspect. You can customize your messaging to them and possibly even reward them for loyalty.

Also, the cost of selling to a returning visitor is always far less than the cost involved in acquiring a new customer. Therefore, it is very important that a new visitor gets added to the pool of returning visitors because of a positive user experience the first time around.

3. Historical Data

This is the most obvious benefit of a positive user experience. Quality score is impacted by ad relevance, keyword relevance and landing page relevance. Quality score, in turn, impacts your account’s CPC and CPA. A high quality score can allow you to get better visibility with low cost-per-click. So, overall, your cost of acquiring a customer would be highly reduced with a better quality score.

4. Extensions

While most of the extensions we add to our paid search campaigns are based on what we choose, there are some that are user-driven. One of these is review extensions, which allow you to add quotes or rankings from published sources. A good recommendation on a popular online source is possible only based on positive user experience.

There are also automated extensions like seller ratings that showcase advertisers with high ratings. Google aggregates these from different sources like Google Customer Reviews and Stella Service (a company that evaluates quality of customer service), besides some independent review websites. Also, they mostly show only when you collect at least 150 unique reviews, with a composite rating of 3.5 stars or higher. So, you cannot fake these reviews. You have to offer a good user experience to be able to showcase these.

Clearly, there are a lot of reasons why you need to up your game when it comes to offering a good user experience on your site. This is even more important now, when factors like page load time and device compatibility make a huge difference. A small investment could lead to huge marketing dollar savings, both organically and inorganically.

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