Campaign Crossover Strategies

By Alicia Whitehouse, Associate Director, Search

When managing paid search for a company that has several similar products, you sometimes find a lot of keyword crossover between campaigns. Although the search engines do a pretty good job of managing this for you, by not allowing two ads to serve at once, we have found there are multiple ways to control your crossover more strategically to ensure all campaigns are successful and don’t compete against each other.

First you need to identify the goals of your campaigns and if they do in fact share the same domain. We will outline best practices for both scenarios: sharing the same domain, and two different domains (in other words, same advertiser but two completely different value propositions and websites).

De-Duping: The most straightforward solution to keyword crossover is to avoid it altogether. Simply decide which keywords go to which ad/landing page, and then ensure the keywords only appear once in your account. Here are a couple examples:
- Brand vs Generic keywords: Both campaigns could have separate goals and landing pages so keywords can be unique.
- Product launch: If there is an announcement that requires a lot of awareness, you can prioritize the keyword list to one campaign vs another for a short amount of time.
- Synonyms: Sometimes there is no clear delineation between products or campaign goals and you simply need to split the keyword list in half. If there are a lot of similar terms (plurals, variations of the same word, synonyms) than you can divide the keyword list. Just be sure it’s an even distribution and you don’t use broad match.

Ad-Scheduling/Day-Parting: Setting up each campaign based on specific hours or days is another way to manage crossover. There are also advanced bid rules that allow you to adjust pricing for your ads during certain periods of time if you know when your consumers are more likely to purchase. This tactic is extremely helpful if you truly want even delivery across two accounts.

Creative Rotation: Highlighting different products within ad copy for the same list of keywords is another option only if your domain is the same. Let’s say you sell four different kinds of mp3 players that vary widely in price and features but are all searched the same way, thus sharing the same exact keywords (“mp3 player,” “music player”). You can create four different ads, one each for your four different mp3 players, and have them served within the same ad group. If you optimize the ad rotation, Google and Yahoo! will feature the one with the best click-through rate more often. If you’d rather all mp3 players get equal attention – or if you want to see which ad has the best conversion rate, set your ads to rotate evenly.

If your domain is different, you can create duplicate ad groups within your account containing the same keywords with the same match types and bids. However, one ad group ends up getting more traffic than the other due to quality score and the engines serve the ad that performs better.

Position Preference: Lastly, there will be times when you are managing two websites, with separate domains, and you want them to serve at the same time. It’s easier, of course, if they are part of the same company. Say for instance, an advertiser wants to drive traffic to their website and their Facebook page. To do this, you’ll need to create separate accounts and since they are the same advertiser you can set a priority for the duplicate accounts to manage the keyword position (one if first place, one lower down the page).

These are just a couple of ideas to help you tackle campaign or keyword crossover. If you have some other thoughts or strategies, we’d love to hear them!


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