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7 Advanced SEM Strategies That Make Your Ad Campaigns More Efficient

Paid Advertising

Your online marketing campaign can never be complete without search engine marketing (SEM) in your playbook. The reason is simple. SEM strategies can help achieve goals that other strategies such as content marketing and email marketing can’t meet on their own.

SEM allows your business to obtain increased visibility on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. When done right, it can help you reach your target audience in the right context. Because these searchers are often ready to buy, SEM can significantly help you achieve your marketing and sales goals, as it drives qualified traffic to your website.

How SEM Benefits Your Business 

Knowing the ways that SEM benefits your business helps appreciate this process better. It improves lead generation, helps cut down costs, improves your ranking on search engines, attracts prospects to your website, and it’s easily trackable so you can monitor progress. Let’s expound on each benefit::

1. Improves Lead Generation

There are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone, and SEM marketing strategies can increase your search engine visibility and gain traffic from people looking for information, products, and services. This, in turn, gives you more opportunities to get qualified leads to your business.

2. Cuts down costs

A well-executed SEM campaign is relatively less expensive than a typical advertising campaign, while giving you a better chance of successfully converting visitors into customers. Unless prospects click on your ads, it’s free. And this is what sets it apart from traditional advertising media where people can view your ads in exchange for big money.

3. Increases brand awareness

Targeting the right keywords in a SEM campaign will ensure the people who are looking for a product or service in your niche will get to see your brand’s name first in Google’s SERP (search engine results page), above your competitors. This allows you to position your brand at the to of your customer’s mind.

4. Attracts potential customers

People search for something they want or need in the moment, which means that the intent to buy or inquire is present. With convincing SEM ads, you can attract these prospects and drive them towards your sales funnel.

5. Eases tracking and monitoring

You can track and monitor your SEM campaigns, which makes it easier to optimize your keywords, content, and budget. This, in turn, helps brands make more informed business decisions based on historical data.

Advanced SEM Strategies You Can Implement for Your Business

We already know the basics such as writing compelling ad copy, A/B testing, and paying attention to negative keywords, among others. But if you’re developing an SEM plan and want to level up on marketing, then it’s time to implement these search engine marketing strategies. 

1. Create Urgency with Remarketing Sales Countdowns

No customer wants to miss out on a great deal. It’s called FOMO or the fear of missing out, and customers will almost always avoid the uncomfortable feeling of not getting what they want. It’s one of the many ways you can use psychology for your digital marketing campaigns

As marketers, you can add the element of time to create a sense of urgency with a countdown in your SEM ads. Ad customizers let you automate this.

You can use the countdown timer when you’re running a promo that will expire soon to inform customers how little time is left. If you have an event coming up, you can use fear-of-loss to encourage sign-ups. Countdown timers can make your ads more compelling to push customers to act immediately.

Here’s a sample ad using a countdown timer:

Advanced SEM Strategies Sample Ad Countdown Timer

2. Improve Prospecting Efficiency with AdWords Similar Audiences

If a certain type of audience has brought you good results, why not target those who share the same qualities with them? This is what Similar Audiences is all about.

Using Similar Audiences means looking at your existing remarketing audiences to target new prospects sharing the same interests with people on your remarketing lists. Because you’re technically advertising to people with similar behavior to your effective audience, the probability of obtaining relevant clicks and conversions is higher. In fact, according to Google, using Similar Audiences with Remarketing can result in 60% more impressions, 48% more clicks, and 41% more conversions.

Using the new AdWords interface, you can add a Similar Audience to your campaign or ad group with the following steps:

  • Select the campaign or ad groups you want to add a Similar Audience to.
  • Select “Audiences.” From here, you will see your existing audiences for your chosen campaign or ad group.


  • Click the blue circle with the pencil and choose the targeting that you want between Targeting (target and bid) or Observation (bid only).


  • Click the similar audience bar and choose your similar audience and then click save.



3. Personalize Ads by Device and Audience

Personalization is a big thing now. In fact, studies show that personalization cuts acquisition costs by up to 50%, increases revenues by 5-15%, and improves the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%.

Using AdWords “IF Functions”, you can tailor fit your ad copy for audiences who satisfy a condition. If the condition is not met, the default text will show. This strategy ensures that your ads have a higher level of relevancy to your target audience.

There are two effective ways you can use the AdWords IF Functions – by device or by audience.

The device-specific IF function enables your ads to be mobile-optimized so that a mobile version of your Expanded Text Ads will show to mobile users.

On the other hand, audience-specific IF function allows you to show targeted and personalized messages to different sets of audiences. For instance, if you’re advertising an e-commerce business, you can use the audience-specific IF function to offer a 30% discount to cart abandoners while new prospects and email subscribers only get a 20% discount.

4. Mix and Match Ad Customizer Parameters

If you’re offering several models, products, or services, you’ll know that it’s taxing and time-consuming to create multiple ads to promote each one. Well, thanks to ad customizers, you don’t have to go through this anymore. The tactic is to mix and match.

By mixing and matching ad customers parameters, you can create an ad campaign that is time-sensitive or inventory-sensitive to show prospects the best product at the most affordable price. Updating prices, product availability, or any other ad information is easy. You only need to re-upload your updated spreadsheet and the changes will reflect on all your ads in that group.

5. Improve Quality Score with a Consistent Theme  

According to Google, Quality Score is “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

Because high relevancy brings a positive user experience, Google grades your keywords to improve the chances that users only see relevant ads. Of course, good Quality Scores can put your ads in a better position, but it can also help reduce your ad spend with lower keyword bids.

Many factors can affect your Quality Score. Some of these are:

  • The relevance of your ad to your keyword
  • The relevance of your ad to your landing page
  • The past performance of your account
  • Expected click-through rate of your ad computed by Google

In short, relevance and organization are two of the most important things to obtain a high Quality Score. You can achieve this by creating a consistent theme with your keywords, searcher intent, ad copy variations, and landing page.

Here are tips you can do to improve your Quality Score:

  • Organize your keywords to structure your campaigns effectively and use searcher intent to give focus on your ad groups.
  • Make sure your landing page contains keywords relevant to those you use in your ad group and ad text.
  • Incorporate your keywords within the ad copy to make your ad text relevant.

6. Implement Ad Scheduling to Increase Efficiency

To further increase the efficiency of your SEM campaign, you should setup ad scheduling as it lets you pick specific days and time frames to run your ads. It’s one of the ways you can maximize your budget as the ads appear in front of your customers at exactly the right time you need them to see it. For example, B2B companies should schedule their ads to show up during office hours as this is the time that their main audience is active.

But ad scheduling also comes with some drawbacks. If you’re running Google ads in multiple time zones, it would be tricky to stretch your schedule to cover everything because Google ad schedules only apply to the time zone your account is set to and it cannot be changed.

In most cases, you will likely spend too much on Google Ad scheduling as well. But it can be lessened if you do the math properly.

7. Create Separate Landing Pages per User Intent

One of the best ways to utilize your website is to add multiple landing pages based on the user’s intent. This lets you tailor your products more effectively to different niche groups, increasing the possibility of generating a conversion

Having multiple landing pages with different offers helps segment your customers easier. When you gain an understanding of which offers your customers respond positively to, it becomes easier to eliminate the weaker offers and come up with better ones for your targets.

Final Thoughts

The internet never sleeps, and people will continue using search engines to find the products or information that they want/need. Give yourself a competitive advantage to capture searchers and turn them into profitable customers.

Implement these advanced SEM strategies and analyze your results. These are just a few of the many things you can do to improve your SEM performance.

Always be open to new learnings because a smart digital marketer should always be hungry for new knowledge and techniques. 

Want to maximize returns from your search ad campaigns? We’ve helped dozens of brands optimize their keyword selection and biding strategies to generate the best leads at the lowest cost-per-action (CPA). Ready to get started? Contact us today!

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