How to Optimize your Paid Search with Social Media

We used to learn about who our audience was by putting cookies on our website and waiting for traffic to come so we could learn more about our visitors. For example, before people visited our site, perhaps they visited So we potentially have a large sports audience as a segment of our brand, right?

The search process has become broken because the data landscape has become more fragmented and complex. If we know consumers attach certain keywords to our brand and that certain topics are becoming important to them, we can probably buy those words as search terms before they become expensive, and we can probably own them not only from a paid standpoint but also from a natural standpoint. But how do I find those keywords (see “Why Topic Discovery Beats Search”)?

When I put a search term into Google, typically eight of the top 10 results are social because consumers are creating enough content for that to happen. If I can discover the trends and themes consumers are creating, then I can put myself in the mix by building content to show up in that top eight to 10 results as well. As a media planner, I need to know the top trends and themes my consumers care about, so I can buy those terms and then optimize based on those terms as well.

Consumers today don’t search with long phrases. They search once and if they don’t get what they want, they tend to add to it and keep adding to it until they find what they want. The great thing about using social media data for topic discovery is you can see all of those searches connected together. For example, you can see the result is first “social,” then it’s “social media,” then “social media analytics,” and then “social media analytics paid.” This is what we call knowing the hierarchy of search, which can only be accomplished with topic discovery.

To read about more clever ways to strategically plan media using social media, check out this FREE eBook on the 5 new tricks for media planning.

6 comments to How to Optimize your Paid Search with Social Media

  • Social media can also give you great ideas for words that you may never have even thought of before. By looking at words that people are using in social media in conjunction with your topic you can get great ideas on the words people use to describe your brand or your industry and then optimize around those words.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • @Sheldon – Agreed and they can be very insightful too!

  • I agree with the fact that social media can help glean information when doing keyword research, but I have two points of contention/caution.

    1.) I disagree that “consumers today don’t search with long phrases.” With the amount of internet content created over the last 5 years, the relevancy of search results has been challenged. Mixing in things like social and local often times gives the avg user less options to choose from. Search engine users over that last several years have moved to longer and longer tail keywords to increase the likelihood of that top result being exactly what they are looking for. The roll-out of Google Instant increased this by suggesting those longer terms to people who may not have typed them on their own.

    2.) You have to take social keyword data with a grain of salt. It may give you clues as to themes in your hierarchy of search, but it may also lead you to more broad, short-tail keywords that are less likely to convert. People tend to abbreviate or use different terms in social than they may in search due to a limitation of characters in a tweet for instance. That broad term will be more competitive and cost more than a long-tail term that you can keyword target for someone further into the purchasing lifecycle, i.e. “[product slang]” vs. “[full product name] on sale.” That longer term is more likely to convert and give you better bang for your buck, but now we are talking conversion optimization.

  • @JT – Sorry I couldnt get right back to you yesterday – I was at a trade show and wanted to consider your comment rather than making a quick reply

    So …

    1) I think we are saying the same thing here which is because of social consumers need to search with longer phrases to get to the optimal result. Social is gumming up the shorter phrases. My point is they dont naturally start with a long phrase (observing my wife and kids) they start short and go long to get to the result (which is a shift we are all having to learn! – special thanks to Google Instant as you mentioned)

    2) on the Social keyword side – more point was more along the lines of “whats trending about your brand” in social – this is something you cant get from Google since the act of searching pre-disposes you to the answer!

    Great comment and thanks for sharing your insights!

  • […] How to Optimize your Paid Search with Social Media by Paul Dunay […]

  • […] How to Optimize your Paid Search with Social Media by Paul Dunay […]

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