In July, I offered to review Google AdWords accounts for free, and 58 business owners took me up on my offer.  My goal was to make sure accounts were set up properly for the new Enhanced Campaign structure that AdWords rolled out on July 22.  A lot has changed recently so it was a good time to take a step back and audit your AdWords campaigns.

Needless to say I’ve been VERY busy combing through advertising campaigns and documenting recommended edits.   I expected to find the typical mistakes like using Broad match keywords and no conversion tracking.  And of course I did see a lot of that.

But I also found something really interesting.  In some of the accounts, I saw businesses trying to use interruption marketing in their search ad campaigns.  I had never seen that before, but it’s obvious now that there’s a lot of confusion around the difference between search marketing vs. interruption marketing.

What Is Interruption Marketing?

Even if you’ve never heard of interruption marketing, I’m sure you could take an educated guess to answer this question.  Interruption marketing interrupts your prospects from whatever it is they are doing.  For example, when you’re relaxing on the couch watching your favorite Seinfeld episode, and suddenly there’s a gecko talking about car insurance, then you just experienced interruption marketing.

Or in the online world, you may be surfing around your favorite news website and see some banner ads picturing Mr. Mayhem promoting more car insurance.

In both examples, you are not actively looking for car insurance.  The advertising catches your eye and if you do in fact need car insurance, then you may click or call to learn more about the offer.

Now let’s compare this to search marketing…

Search Marketing vs. Interruption Marketing

Search engine marketing is the process of promoting your website in search engines like Google.  The two tactics are search engine optimization (SEO) and search advertising (aka PPC, or pay per click).  For this article I’m focusing on advertising in Google AdWords.

With Google AdWords, you’re not interrupting your prospect. You’re actually helping your prospect find what she’s looking for.  See the difference?

People go to search engines like Google to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.  For example, tonight I may search “indian restaurant upper west side” to find some spicy Vindaloo for dinner.  Advertisers can target that search phrase to show me their best offers.  Think of it like the old Yellowpages.  People used to grab the Yellowpages to find a business to help solve a problem.  The same is true with search engines today.

Don’t Try to Interrupt In Your Search Ads

OK, now on to the point of this article.  I mentioned earlier that I found many businesses trying to use interruption marketing tactics in their Google AdWords campaigns.  For example, a spa was advertising on the keyword, “bachelorette parties.”

Sure, a spa may be a good bachelorette party location, but are most people searching “bachelorette parties” really looking for a spa?  Clearly, the answer is no.  When someone types in “bachelorette parties” in Google, she is simply doing research.  She’s not looking to buy anything from a spa.

If you try to use interruption marketing tactics like this, then you’re setting yourself up to waste a LOT of money in Google AdWords.  The best part about search marketing is the fact that you can position your business as the best solution to the searcher’s (your prospect’s) problem.  So stay laser focused with your targeting to get the biggest bang from your search marketing.