How to Use PPC Ads For Market Research

The following is a guest post by Bryant Jaquez of BrewSEO.

Imagine a world where you know exactly what your customer wants, what they want it to look like, and what they want it to be called?  Can you make money in that world?  If you can, then keep on reading.

Pay Per Click advertising has received more press coverage in the past decade than any other form of “do-it-yourself” advertising.  Google built their search empire off this multi-billion dollar advertising strategy.  The most impressive thing about their ad network is the fact that it simultaneously helps both Google and countless other companies make a lot of money (after all, making money is the whole point of advertising).

Before you get bored, do not worry!  I am not going to bore you with another article on optimizing your CTR or decreasing expense.  There is enough written on those topics already.  Instead, this article is going to introduce you to a much more innovative method of using the Google’s Ad Network to grow your business.  This article will teach you how to use PPC ads to conduct market research, and A/B tests.

Questions: How does Apple know that their products are going to be popular before they are released?  A: Because they know what people want, and they make products that fulfill their needs. Well, news-flash, Apple isn’t the only company in the world that is able to make innovative products that people want to use.  The hardest part of market research, (which Steve Jobs claimed not to use) is that people do not always know what they want either.  If you sit me down in a room and say, “do you want our new ice-cream to be called strawberry jam, or Jam-A-can berry, I am not going to know which answer to choose, so I will just pick one, but that does not make my answer valuable.

How Use PPC Ads For Market Research:

Step #1: Pick A Test Subject.

First, decide what you are going to test.  Timothy Ferris tested the title of the book that eventually became The 4 Hour Work Week.  You can test the name of your new product, a new service, keywords for your website, or even the name of your new company.  One company that I work with tests the conversion rate of the keywords “macbook stickers” vs “macbook decals.”  The idea is to have a solid concept in mind before you start this process, and it will make your experiment more successful.

Step #2: Decide On The Variables.

Second, hold a brainstorming session.  If you have decided to test the name of a new book, come up with at least 5 good book titles.  Make sure they are options that you are going to be happy with, because believe it or not, you’r “first choice” might not be the one that performs the best.

Pro Tip: During this phase of the project make sure you keep your target market in mind.  Create a customer profile of the person who is most likely to buy your product.  If you are targeting married women from the ages of 35-50, DO NOT name your product something that attracts teenage boys.

Step #3: Set Up Your AdWords Campaign. 

Next, you need to set up your Google Ad-words campaign.  You can do this for free by signing up through Google’s special offers page, and they will give you $100 of free ads to get started.  There are thousands of blog articles written on how to set up a Google ad-words campaign (The search engine journal has a lot of good information on that topic.) This will take you through every step of the process from logging in for the first time, to hitting the publish button.

Use each of your variables as alternative ad copies.  Google will automatically figure out which ad has the highest conversion rates and start showing that ad more (this is almost too easy.)

You should already have a good idea of your target market so start targeting keywords that they are interested in.  The author of the 4 hour work week targeted phrases like “401K.”  If you are testing the name of a new travel company, then you should target words like, travel, popular travel destinations, variations on the word vacation , and your competitors names (if you can afford it).

Step #4: Rinse And Repeat. 

Once you have your results, there is no harm in running a second test to confirm your results.  You can even throw the test up on a second platform like, or Facebook’s advertising services.  Once you test the name of your product, you can even use this strategy to test different product designs.  The ideas are limitless, as are the ad platforms.  Once you are sure that you are sure, start manufacturing and marketing your new product like it’s a bookmark in a book store.

Bryant is the founder of BrewSEO, an innovative search marketing and web design company in Redding, California. He expertly uses inbound marketing to help his clients grow their sales.  
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