Paid search advertising provides the ability to target consumers using a variety of criteria, including the device they are using, the keywords they are typing, and their location. These paid ads—which are shown on the top, bottom, and side of Google search results—can capture the attention of local and mobile searchers, influencing their purchasing decisions. With almost every American using search engines and billions of searches made yearly, this visibility and targeting ability makes paid search advertising a unique and powerful opportunity for restaurants.
Before putting any strategy into action, restaurants should consider the following best practices which have been proven to maximize the ROI of paid search advertisements.
1. Start with Keyword Research and Strategic Content
Google search ads are based on keyword bidding. Restaurants can optimize the ROI of these ads by being smarter about the terms being bid on through the use of keyword research. Keyword decisions should be based on the terms that are searched for most often, are most relevant to the landing page content, and that have the highest chance to convert a searcher into a paying customer.
Restaurants should build target keyword lists based on analyzing the actions of target audiences. For instance, are they searching for “pizza restaurant” or “pizza parlor?” While the difference might seem small, it can make a big difference in the visibility and effectiveness of an ad. The Keyword Planner Tool in Google Adwords is one way to determine a keyword's frequency of use and popularity. Restaurants can also use it to find new keyword combinations and phrases that can be used to generate even more web traffic.
When it comes to the content in the ad itself, it’s vital to remember that searchers will engage with ads that are relevant and simple to understand. Digital advertisements should be easy to understand, succinct, informative, and include a clear call to action.
2. Ad Extensions Improve Performance
Search engines allow businesses to customize their search ads using extensions. For businesses looking to capitalize on moment of interest, local and mobile searchers, extensions that include ratings and reviews, links to maps, and “click-to-call” options can provide tremendous value.
Sitelink extensions allow restaurants to link to four different subsections of their website, such as the menu or the reservations page. This option also allows restaurants to increase the vertical space the ad occupies, pushing competitors farther down and increasing overall search result visibility.
The click-to-call extension allows mobile users to click a button and have the phone automatically dial a restaurant’s number. Surojit Chatterjee, Google’s head of global mobile search ads, confirms that “AdWords advertisers have typically seen a 6 to 8 percent average increase in click-through rate after adding call extensions.” From a user experience standpoint, it’s much easier for consumers to be able to immediately click in order to make a reservation.
The address extension works similarly to the click-to-call extension, allowing users to immediately access a restaurant’s address, as well as a map and directions. According to Google, “Ads with location extensions can see a 10 percent higher click-through-rate on average compared to ads without location extensions.” As users search for restaurants on mobile devices while they're on the go, address extensions are becoming increasingly important to connect users with local restaurants in the very moments of their search.
3. Think Local and Mobile
According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find information about businesses in their area, with 90 percent of that population using their cell phones. This means that the vast majority of consumers see paid search ads. Google’s research also shows that local searches lead to purchases, with nearly 20 percent of local smartphone searches leading to a purchase within a day.
Of those searching locally, more people are searching for restaurants in their area using mobile phones. As restaurants put together a search engine advertising strategy, they should specifically create content and ads that target local consumers and mobile devices. To do this, restaurants can take advantage of the options within Google’s Adwords that allow businesses to focus their campaign by the searcher's device and location. Restaurants can enhance these local ads by creating local specific offers, which can help restaurants tie ads to in-store customers.
One chain that found success with local and mobile targeting is Roy’s Restaurant. Roy’s created a mobile-specific campaign that directly targeted local customers. The restaurant achieved an 800 percent ROI on the mobile-only campaign. The ads also helped drive a 40 percent increase in calls, all while being 67 percent less expensive than previous desktop campaigns.
With Google search advertising, restaurants have an opportunity to increase sales by connecting with consumers who are actively using search engines. Paid advertising should be a part of every restaurant’s digital marketing strategy. When combined with website design, search engine optimization, and social media, restaurants can influence consumers and drive additional sales.
The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.