If you think of your campaign as one that delivers clicks, you're probably making some mistakes that could cost you revenue and profit. You aren't buying clicks; you're not even buying position. These are just means to an end. You're buying the opportunity to get your message (text ad) in front of people, human beings who've shared something special with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Ask. Each searcher is an individual who volunteers what she's interested in at a specific moment when she clicks that search box.

Though the keyword tells you more about a searcher's immediate needs and interests than could be revealed by anything short of a psychic, each searcher is a person, definable by much more than just that keyword. Microsoft is first among the search engines to provide incremental targeting of searcher segments identified through voluntary user profiles. Profiles aren't an intrusive Big Brother tactic, they're a potential win-win. As marketers, not only do we know who our best customers are, we're willing to pay more for these customers because we're confident, based on all our other customers, that we have a great product or service.

Often, marketers have more than one target market segment, so good campaign structures aren't simply about boosting bids against a particular demographic (the optimal segment). An optimal campaign structure might be one where different campaign segments (based on demographic or other profile data) receive different user experiences. Some of my team's more sophisticated and successful data-driven strategies rely on re-segmentation of the searcher audience into more than just keyword-engine combinations.

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