Google Ads allows you to promote your products and services when and where people are searching for them. Google receives over 5.6 billion searches per day and over 59% of shoppers use Google to research a product or service before purchasing. Unfortunately, Google Ads provides few standalone capabilities for account-based marketing. By properly integrating 6sense with Google ads, you can implement an account-based marketing strategy which will significantly improve performance and give you a leg up on your competition!
It all begins with audiences
All tactics enabled by 6sense technographic and firmographic attributes begin with audiences that are built in Google Analytics. Before you begin, ensure that your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts are connected. You can then start building audiences using the 6sense attributes that are pulled into Google Analytics, which is generally stored in the Custom Dimension fields. This could be anything from users who are only in a decision or purchase buying stage, to users in a specific industry like Software or Education. Any 6sense attribute is fair game for audience creation as long as you remember three things:
1. Size matters: to target specific audiences they must be a certain size which varies by the ad network:
- Google Display Network and Gmail must have a minimum of 100 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
- Google Search Network and YouTube must have a minimum of 1,000 active visitors or users within the last 30 days.
2. Don’t use or associate PII with the remarketing list (Google’s Personalized Advertising Policy).
Now that you have your audiences built, you can start enabling new capabilities within your Google Ads account!
Customize banner creative and landing pages
Why: By customizing the banner ad creative and landing page based on 6sense attributes, you can create much more relevant ads leading to higher click through rates, lower cost per clicks, and increased conversion rates. Google Ads offers the unique opportunity to retarget at a user level.
How: Create a display campaign ad group for each audience that you want to use unique creative and landing pages for. Add the corresponding audience as targeted to that ad group and upload the appropriate ad.
- Customize your banner ads to previous site visitors based on their interests as defined via segments (e.g., site personalization versus lead generation) and buying stage (e.g., awareness versus purchase).
Eligible Campaign Types: Display
Why: Successful bidding is one of the most important factors to account performance. The price you pay for a click or impression should correlate to the expected value of that user. 6sense uses predictive AI to classify a user’s buying stage, which in addition to the other attributes, is a strong predictor of a user’s value.
How: Add audiences that are expected to have better or worse performance to either the campaign or ad group level. If you are using a Smart Bidding policy for bid automation, you do not need to complete any additional steps as audiences are one of dozens of signals evaluated during the real-time bidding process. If you are not using a Smart Bidding policy, you need to create manual bid adjustments at the audience level. (Smart Bidding will perform significantly better than manual biding or third-party bidding technologies and is strongly recommended.)
- Increase your max CPC by 50% if a previous site visitor is part of your Ideal Customer Profile segment.
- Increase your max CPC by 30% if a previous site visitor is in the decision or purchase buying stage.
- Decrease your max CPC by 20% if a previous site visitor works at a company with fewer than 50 people.
Eligible Campaign Types: Display, Search, Video
Block specific audiences from seeing or clicking your ad
Why: Reduce wasted ad spend by preventing traffic from low-value prospects.
How: Navigate to Audiences > Exclusions and add the audiences you want to block (more info).
- Prevent previous site visitors from seeing and clicking your ads if they work at companies with an annual revenue less than $10 million.
- Prevent competitors who have been to your site from seeing or clicking your ad again.
Eligible Campaign Types: Display, Search
Customize text ad messaging and landing pages
Why: By customizing the text ad language and landing page based on the 6sense attributes, you can create more relevant ads at scale, leading to higher click through rates, lower cost per clicks, and increased conversion rates.
How: Add each audience that you want to customize ads for to a unique ad group. Ensure that the audience is targeted and not listed as observation. Write an ad specific to that audience and set a relevant landing page. Be careful not to include PII.
- Modify your text ad to say “Sales management software for construction companies” when a user searches Google for “sales management software” and they are in the construction industry audience.
Eligible Campaign Types: Search
Target a broader set of keywords (higher up the funnel) for high-value audiences
Why: There are certain upper-funnel keywords that are relevant to your business but would be unprofitable to target all available search volume. You can limit your exposure on these keywords to only top audiences which will reduce wasted ad spend while expanding your reach to valuable prospects.
How: Create a separate search campaign containing the upper-funnel keywords and add your top audience(s) as Targeted.
- Your business sells CRM software however you can’t afford to bid on the keyword “marketing software” because of budget and profitability constraints. You can create a new campaign with keywords like “marketing software” but only target previous site visitors who are in your Ideal Customer Profile segment.
Eligible Campaign Types: Search
Through the implementation of these tactics, you will increase engagement with high-value prospects and reduce spend on the low-value ones. It will also put you in the small minority that have adopted an advanced ABM strategy in their Google Ads account. Lionhurst’s implementation of these tactics with 6sense has led to a large improvement in Google Ads performance. Visits for users with a “Weak” profile fit are down 29% while visits for users with a “Strong” profile fit increased 116% and conversions from that group increased 203%.
I want to target all people at a certain company when they search “software” on Google.
This question, and similar iterations of it, are common. One of the most important concepts to understand with all of this is that third-party data (in this case, 6sense attributes) can only be used to segment first-party data for targeting on Google Ads. This is why most of the examples above cite “previous site visitors”. More information here.
The audience that I want to target is too small.
This is an unfortunate consequence of only being able to use third-party data to segment first-party data. Because search audiences need to be greater than 1000 users and display audiences need to be greater than 100 users, you can not get overly specific in your targeting.
How often do I need to update audiences?
Audiences that are built in Google Analytics are dynamic. When a new user comes to the site and matches the criteria for a specific audience then they are automatically added to it.
This all seems too complex.
While the methods may seem complex, this can be advantageous as fewer companies are able to implement them. Google is notorious for catering more to B2C than B2B advertisers. At the time that this article was written (8/20/2020) Google Ads did not have many standalone ABM capabilities, however it is an ever-evolving platform. Keep an eye on their official features and announcements page to stay updated on the latest products and targeting options!
This article was written by Jim Vaillancourt, owner of Lionhurst, a digital marketing agency with expertise in Google Ads and account based marketing. Lionhurst manages Google Ads for 6sense.