How entity-based strategies can contribute to PPC success

While the concept of entities for SEO has been around since 2012, it hasn’t been a widely adopted in PPC. Entities are essentially unique people, places, things or concepts that provide context and relationships for keywords. 

As AI becomes more prevalent in digital marketing, incorporating an entity-based approach into your PPC campaigns is a way to get ahead of the competition. This article dives into how leveraging entities can significantly contribute to PPC success. 

1. Entities for PPC keyword expansion

If you’re struggling to expand your keyword list, taking an entity-based approach could expand your horizons.

Entities are important because of their relationships with other entities. Thinking about these relationships can help you uncover ideas and insights that resonate with different groups of people based on their intent. In short, consider the context and assumptions behind searches and use that to brainstorm new keywords. 

Here are some questions to consider when brainstorming entity-based keywords:

Activities: What are people doing in relation to my product/service?

  • Entity identification: What specific activities or interests are associated with my business and product/service?
  • Entity relevance: How does my product/service relate to these activities as entities?
  • Entity pain points: What challenges do people performing these activities typically encounter?
  • Entity solutions: How does my product/service address and solve these pain points?

Location: Where are people who may need my product/service? 

  • Entity scope: What geographical locations are relevant to my business as entities?
  • Entity presence: Where are the majority of my customers located and how does that relate to location-based entities?
  • Entity associations: What local landmarks, neighborhoods or events can I associate with my business to enhance local entity relevance?
  • Entity impact: How do geographical entities influence consumer behavior and preferences in my target locations?

Season or event: When would people need my product/service? 

  • Entity timing: What seasonal trends or events are relevant to my business?
  • Entity impact: How do seasonal or event-based entities influence my potential consumer behavior and preferences?
  • Entity integration: How can I integrate seasonal or event-based entities into my copy and imagery to enhance relevance?
  • Entity promotions: What special promotions or offers can I create to capitalize on seasonal or event-based entities and drive engagement?

By incorporating these entity-based principles into your PPC keyword expansion strategy, you’re building a more comprehensive advertising approach that closely ties into your site’s relevance and authority. 

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2. Entities for improved PPC quality scores

In PPC, it’s relatively easy to determine if your website accurately presents the entities and relationships you want it to; simply check out your quality scores

If your website follows an entity approach and the accompanying PPC campaigns are aligned with that approach, you will see high quality scores, which mean lower costs-per-click and higher click-through rates. 

Quality Score is calculated by Google based on three factors that are heavily influenced by entity recognition:

  • Expected click-through rate (CTR): Entities influence the click-through rate of your ads by ensuring that your campaigns align with the interests, intents and preferences of your audience. When your ads resonate with users based on their search queries and interests, they are more likely to click through to your website, resulting in a higher expected CTR.
  • Ad relevance: Entities ensure your ads are relevant to users’ intent, not just matching keywords. By optimizing your ad copy to relevant entities, you increase your chance of delivering ads that match what users intend to find, which boosts ad relevance.
  • Landing page experience: The entities on your landing pages directly impact the landing page experience. When your landing pages provide relevant content that aligns with the entities highlighted in your ads, users are more likely to have their expectations met by your website and a positive experience with it. 

Essentially, the more cohesive the journey from search term to delivered ad to landing page is, the more positive the user experience will likely be. 

Quality score is the search engine’s attempt to evaluate whether you’re delivering content that users want to see. Giving them something that perfectly matches their intent with the final result is a quality search experience. And it’s much easier to account for intent with entities than keywords alone. 

3. Entities for strategic PPC audience targeting

Traditional audience segmentation lets you identify key demographics to target, such as age, device and location. But when you combine those insights with the contextual relevance of entity-based targeting, you hone in on who your audience is and who your audience could be. 

For example, you may be working on the PPC campaigns for a local restaurant. Sure, they may only want to target the local geographic area, but don’t stop there. 

Using entity-based PPC strategies, you would have a campaign targeting the local geographic area and targeting users’ interests, behaviors and relationships with entities across the broader geographic region. This could be a campaign targeting all audiences interested in a local food festival or a campaign targeting users searching for a tourist activity nearby. 

AI-powered targeting options, such as behavior and audience-based targeting, have been used in ad platforms for some time. Custom combination segments can make them even more effective. 

Admittedly, they are a respectable attempt by search engines to find relevant consumer segments that are connected but that may not be directly related to your product or service. If you’re not taking advantage of these audience options, you’re wasting potential. 

The real beauty of entity-based targeting is in the numbers and information it provides, even if it “fails.” Remember that you always learn something from a well-designed experiment. 

By analyzing the data on different audience segments, you can refine your targeting strategy to identify the high-performing segments that deliver the best ROI. You may also discover new consumer groups and behavioral insights that can guide your broader marketing strategy. 

In our earlier restaurant example, they may find that adding a new dish to their menu directly referencing nearby tourist attractions increases the number of out-of-town visitors. I can guarantee they will not discover this by limiting their reach to only a local campaign sourced from Google’s Keyword Planner. 

Optimizing your campaigns with an entity-based approach

I like to think of entities as AI’s attempt to codify the human penchant for assumptions, undertones and subtleties in our communication.

If you’re looking to get ahead of your competition, tailoring your PPC efforts to account for entities is a great approach because so few companies are investing time in it right now. 

Whether you’re a global brand or a local restaurant, incorporating entity-based strategies into your PPC playbook will help future-proof your marketing efforts and drive performance.