How to Leverage Consumer Intent to Maximize PPC Performance


Intention is a critical facet of the search landscape. The underlying intention of a user’s search begins the process of crafting ads and landing page content.

We need to truly understand what the user intended to receive upon searching in order to best deliver our services and information.

Search pros often talk about “mapping consumer intent to the search query” in order to better optimize campaign performance. While that sounds great in an elevator pitch, what does that mean really, and how do you really leverage consumer intent to maximize performance?

There are actually a few concrete steps you can take to begin leveraging consumer’s intentions to better your PPC campaign.

Step 1: Bucket Your Keywords

When we think about the traditional method of organizing keywords, we often look to the website’s content architecture for guidance. We’ll also look at campaign performance objectives and begin to refine our categorizations based on the ability to maximize ROI out of the campaign. While both approaches are valid, and recommended, you should also look to break out keywords into “intention” buckets.

There are three main intention buckets:

  • Research
  • Consideration
  • Purchase

After you’ve developed your keyword list, assign each term to one of the three buckets and move onto the next step.

Step 2: Assign Landing Pages

This step can become quite challenging, because often there is limited content available, and much of that content is dedicated to the “purchase intention.” We want so badly to push orders that we end up missing the opportunities to provide real value at the research phase, and more importantly, the consideration phase.

As search marketers, it’s our job to recommend content additions which map more effectively to the research and consideration phases. Rather than asking the consumer too much too soon (and likely turning the consumer off for life), provide the user the content they crave, and nurture that relationship to gain the sale in the future.

Step 3: Tailor Your Ad Copy

This one seems pretty intuitive, but must be stated. Tailor your ad copy to the consumer’s intention, and make sure your call to action maps to the assigned intention bucket.

If you’re writing copy for the “consideration” bucket, make sure you highlight your value propositions, and use words like “learn” and “research” rather than going straight to a “buy now” call to action.

Remember, it’s not always about the immediate sale. It’s about providing the right information to further the consumer along.

Step 4: Determine KPIs

Determining the KPIs for each intention bucket is both the most difficult and the most rewarding step.

It’s the most difficult, because many times, secondary KPIs and not readily available, are not the primary optimization point, and most likely don’t carry an established value to the client or internal stakeholder.

It’s also the most rewarding, because they provide the insights into the effectiveness of your dedication to providing a quality search experience across the full consumer lifecycle.


By understanding consumer intent and tying those intentions to specific content and KPIs, we are able to attract additional searches, create relationships with new prospects, and grow the value of search beyond a “bottom of the funnel” sales collection agent.

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