Seinfeld is one of my favorite shows of all time. Whenever I’m channel surfing on a random weeknight, no matter what episode is showing, no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I’ve gotta turn it on. Most of the episodes I’ve seen so many times, I’ll start laughing before the punchline is even dropped, or call my girlfriend over to watch this hilarious upcoming scene.
The other night I was watching an episode where Jerry’s “friend” Tim Whatley (aka Brian Cranston, aka Walter White...) didn’t directly extend an invite to Jerry for his party. In trying to figure out if Jerry was invited, they start breaking down Tim’s conversation with Elaine, “Why would Jerry bring anything?” Was the emphasis on ‘Jerry’ or ‘bring’? As that would completely change what Tim was saying. Elaine wasn’t sure, which as I knew, would result in Jerry going to the party when he wasn’t invited. After their exchange, I gave my normal chuckle and knowing shake of my head, “Oh Jerry…” When it hit me, PPC analysts are often in the position of interpreting intent!
Whereas Seinfeld in this case focuses on emphasis of certain words. PPC analysts often have to focus on the order of terms in a search, or the potential for a negative keyword to fall into the search, completely changing the intent.
Once I ran a campaign for a mini donkey farm looking to sell half their herd (no joke). The client didn’t have a huge budget. So using phrase match over broad match modified and monitoring the search queries became vital for the success of their campaigns. Broad match modified keywords can often trigger poor impressions if the order of the words are switched. A funny example we ran into for the donkey farm was the keyword ‘+miniature +donkeys +for +sale’ getting clicks from people searching for ‘sale of donkey miniatures’.
A strong negative keyword strategy was also an important piece of targeting the right intent. Upon launching the campaigns, I started to notice queries including ‘pictures’ in the search query report. Those ‘pictures’ searches had high time on site, but no conversions. Eventually after talking with the owner, we determined many people were just looking for a place to visit with the family and take pictures to post on Facebook. So we added ‘pictures’ to the negative keyword list.
In the end, the job of a PPC analyst isn’t easy. Intent can be hard to determine. Luckily, unlike Jerry who only had a vague memory from Elaine to go on, analysts have search query reports and concrete conversion data. Things didn’t end well for Jerry at the party because he misread the intent of Whatley. Learn from him.