The recent controversy surrounding Facebook privacy was largely centred upon the way personal data was used to influence behaviour and gain information. Paid search campaigns generally work on similar principles, using data and information about audience personas to make such campaigns successful and ensure targeting is efficient. This has led to growing numbers of companies worrying about how ethical their paid search endeavours are in practice.
Nonetheless, ethical paid search remains worth its weight in gold for companies from all kinds of industries. Studies have shown that more than half of web users are unable to differentiate between organic and paid ads in search results. Read on for tips on using paid search as ethically as you possibly can.
Improve the relevancy of your campaigns
When you boost the relevancy of targeting, you can ensure your messages are only getting out to the right people and therefore avoid irritating those who are unlikely to be interested. You can use targeting factors like gender, age and location to reach the right potential customers. Although this may reduce click and impression numbers, it can enhance the quality of traffic you receive and ensure a larger percentage of your visitors are likely to be converted. When you adopt this approach, you can focus on showing your products and services to those who are likely to benefit from them and avoid becoming a source of annoyance.
Try to avoid misleading users with your ad copy. Don’t mention anything that you do not sell in your ad copy as this will only heighten bounce rates, damage the user experience and result in your company paying for useless clicks.
Cap your ad frequencies
Would-be customers can become incredibly frustrated when they see the same ads repeatedly. By capping your ad frequency and engaging in ethical paid search practices, you can reduce your viewable impressions to a more modest, suitable number. This will also stop you wasting your budget, as you can use your remaining allocation to show your ads to different people.
Comply with GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulations became law in May 2018. GDPR has reshaped the way companies can capture, manage and use information in the EU and mean you need to obtain permission from your users to collect their data. You need to explain to users what remarketing cookies will be used for as part of your campaigns, and if you fail to adhere to the new legislation you could be faced with a fine of either €20 million or 4% of your global turnover
Consumer anger has led to improvements in ethical paid search policies, reducing unethical and illegal practices. However, marketers still face a great deal of responsibility when it comes to paid search. Ethical marketing is all about audiences’ privacy, requirements and wishes being respected, with marketers facing greater challenges when it comes to protecting the reputations and obligations of the clients that they are working for. Businesses involved directly in marketing and carrying out advertising duties in-house also need to be acutely aware of what is expected of them. By adopting an ethical marketing approach, we can protect the reputation and integrity of paid search.