Last month, I had the privilege of attending SMX East on behalf of the SEER Interactive Paid Search team. It was a very educational experience and I left with a ton of new knowledge and testing ideas, as well as a renewed excitement for PPC (think the Nintendo 64 kid). Of all the sessions I attended, the one that inspired me the most was the PPC Competitive Analysis session, particularly Lyena Solomon’s (@lyena) portion about personas. See, while I was familiar with digging into my competition’s keywords and landing pages, I realized that I never really dug into my searcher’s persona.
The first part of defining personas was to turn Lyena’s words into a custom template. Something I could easily fill in regardless of client, industry, etc. Since not everyone reading this was able to attend the presentation, I also decided to fill in the example, using a persona I could identify with- a dog owner looking for dog toys.
The six areas Lynea mention to evaluate ads on were:
1. Benefits – What problem does this product solve?
2. Features – What features are mentioned?
3. Urgency – Does the ad have a sense of urgency?
4. Tone – What is the tone of the ad?
5. Primary Message – What is the primary message the searcher is supposed to get?
6. Trends – What trends do I see in all ads?
For a clearer image of the chart, please visit here.
With these questions answered, particularly number six; you are ready to dive into the persona analysis, which is essentially linking these trends with personality traits. In case you aren’t following, I’ve included some additional examples of this:
• If you are seeing “limited number, exclusive” within the ad copy your competition may view the persona of that person as selective.
• If you are seeing “competitive deals, best price guarantee” within the ad copy your competition may view the persona of that person as a bargain hunter.
So let’s jump back to my dog toy example, in this case I needed to identify the persona of someone who cared about inexpensive and durable dog toys.
After identifying the persona, Lynea mentioned that there could be 2 possible scenarios as an outcome:
1. Your competitor nailed the searcher’s persona, so you need to offer the same thing differently. Instead of saying “wide selection”, say “Toys to fit your dog’s needs”.
2. Your competitor is way off on the searcher’s persona, and you need to be different. Instead of highlighting that toys are durable, maybe mention that they are made of safe materials.
While Lynea identified this for ad copy, I think her ideas about personas could be taken to the landing page level as well. Using the same ad copy, as to not skew findings, why not do an a/b landing page test based on the different personas. Plus, it’s definitely easier to differentiate when you aren’t limited to a mere 70 characters.
I hope that this blog and Lynea’s presentation inspire you to step away from the little pretty one (design aspects) and give some time to persona, just like I did. While that was a terrible stretch on the song, I think its important to not get caught up on just the looks of a landing page- It’s great if it looks nice, but does it work?
And yes, I do believe I can re-write My Sharona to be about PPC Personas. It’s just a knack I have. Bonus points, if you see what I did there ;)! Let me know if you have any additional tips on leveraging searcher persona to improve your ads in the comment section below!