3 Ways You Can Make Your PPC Campaign More Personal

By Marty Schneck, November 18, 2015

Advertising is a tough gig. Some estimates say we see as many as 20,000 marketing messages every day. That’s one advertisement every 11.52 seconds. Crazy, right?

With so much advertising all around us, it’s hard to really stand out to the consumer. We’re conditioned to see ad, after ad, after ad, and move on.

Couple that with the rise of ad blocking. According to PageFair, 198 million people were actively using ad blocking technology in June 2015. This means that some consumers are being bombarded with ads, while 16% of the US online population may be seeing few ads at all. 


Source: PageFair

How do we improve as advertisers? When the digital advertising climate is part jungle and part desert, how do we stand out?

One possible option: ad personalization. Yahoo reports that 54% of people find personalized ads more engaging than standard ads, and 45% find them more memorable. While personalization may not be the end-all antidote for ad fatigue, it can definitely draw more attention to your campaigns and boost your ROI.

But if you want to personalize your ad campaigns, you have to do it right. After all, that same Yahoo report shows that some personalization has a negative effect, making you appear “too creepy.” Follow these three methods for effectively personalizing your campaign, and hopefully your ads can clear the jungle or desert and draw more conversions.

1. Go Local

With the rise of mobile internet, it’s easier than ever to pinpoint a user’s location and serve them the most useful local ads


Local ads are very effective at catering to a very specific group of people. They can be very effective at highlighting the specific needs of local customers, grabbing their attention, and driving PPC performance.

When the Saxbys Coffee at my alma mater temporarily closed down, it was obviously a sad day on campus. College students love their coffee, and we were honestly going through Saxbys withdraw. Even though I’ve graduated since, they targeted me with a social PPC ad promoting their reopening.

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This local ad hits all the right points. They tell you the exact location, they call out specifically to university students (“Yo UPenn” ), and they give you a reason to come visit (oodles of free stuff!). It’s very personal, and is built to cater to university students who lived in that area. In fact, I lived one street down from this Saxbys.

If you geotarget specific locations with localized ads, you can stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be this local either. If you sell auto insurance, try making a few ads that call out to specific states.

2. Be Current 


If you focus on what’s happening right now, people will be a little more likely to pay attention.

Imagine, if you see a general ad for T-Mobile, you might think ‘gee, I already know what T-Mobile is, I know what they offer, I don’t need to read this ad.’ Typical ad fatigue.

When T-Mobile announced their ‘Simple Choice Amped’ plans, I was happy to see they also updated their PPC ads to spark some promotion. Here, you might see the ad and think ‘What is this Simple Choice thing, that looks like a good limited time deal.’

Much like local ads, focusing on current developments or promotions, it calls out to what the user might need right now. After all, my search implies that I’m looking for a new wireless service, and I’m much more keen to pick one with an innovative promotion than one with the standard deals.

3. Retarget

Retargeting is a huge trend in pay per click advertising right now. And for good reason. 


People who once visited your site were probably once interested in your product. So if they didn’t buy, maybe all they need is a little nudge to come back to you.

Retargeting is a form of targeting that pinpoints those most likely to be interested in your product, those who visited your site before. Take a look at these Facebook ads that keep popping up on my news feed.

The top one is for a wallet I recently found on a “top gifts this holiday season” post. It looked pretty interesting, so I visited the product page. And hey, I’m still considering buying it.

The second one is obviously for a new mattress. A few months ago I was searching for a new bed set. While I did not buy one from Sleepy’s, I did a lot of searching on their site. And they’ve been retargeting me ever since.

These ads are inherently personal. They’re not advertising any old thing. They’re catering specifically to my needs, my browsing history. And this personalization translates into results. There’s a reason Larry Kim keeps talking about WordStream’s retargeting success.

Word of Caution

Don’t be creepy. The second retargeting ad above is verging on creepy, since it’s been following me for months. You have to assume if someone doesn’t respond to your ads, they don’t need your products. In the case above, if I’m not coming back to your mattress site, it’s probably because I already bought a mattress.

Also be careful that you’re not infringing on the user’s rights. Using too much of their data without their permission is a huge turn-off. Sure they’ll notice your ad, but they won’t click on it if they’re feeling stalked.

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Take it from Facebook. When people realized they were being shown mobile ads that corresponded with their spoken conversations, they realized that Facebook’s mobile app was listening to them through their microphones.

That’s so so so creepy.

Personalized ads can be a huge driver of PPC performance, but be sure to cater to what the user wants, not what you want them to want.

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Marty Schneck

Marty Schneck

Marty is the former Digital Content Specialist for eZanga and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied marketing. He thinks he’s a reality show superstar. (We think so, too.) Marty describes himself as a “foodie, beer ethusiast, coffee connoisseur, and Kardashian.” Not necessarily in that order. More Articles by Marty Schneck