Contact
15/09/21 Ben Owst

Using PPC to discover what users search on exit

How frustrating is it to see people leave your site with no rhyme or reason? Why did they leave? What was missing from my site? Will they ever come back? Who Knows? Well, you can.

Understanding some of these key questions can be essential to plugging gaps in your offering that keep visitors on site and taking actions that result in enquiries or sales.

Sounds good? We’ll show you how PPC campaigns can help reveal some of these key insights, and how we’ve directly impacted revenue for our clients as a result of finding the data.

Preparing the campaign

Remarketing is a powerful tool for any PPC Marketer, and it’s essential for this approach. A common PPC technique is to build search campaigns specifically targeting existing visitors of your website, we’re going to use this approach here to reveal what someone searches for on Google after they’ve visited your site.

To do this, you’ll need to have at least 1,000 visitors to your site within a 30-day period to have an audience size sufficient enough to launch the campaign.

With this, we need to create a search campaign with Google Ads and on creation select your remarketing audiences and change the audience targeting option from observation to targeting only, this will restrict the campaign to your remarketing audience only.

Because your campaign is naturally constrained by the audience size, we want to use broad match keyword targeting to capture the whole manner of different searches that can happen after someone leaves your site, for example, with a supplement client we created 5 ad groups with the following keyword in each one:

  • Supplements
  • Protein
  • Creatine
  • Pre workout
  • Vitamins

Setting these to broad match will pick up all the different ways and means your previous visitors can then search for.

At this stage, you can also create some really enticing ad copy specifically for this audience, generally, this can be more commercially led and price driven, for example, ‘10% Off With COMEBACK10’ could be enough to bring a visitor back on site and make that purchase they were considering. Then push your campaign live and start collecting your data.

How to find out what users search for after leaving your website

Our recommendation is to leave this campaign running 30-days to gather enough statistically significant data, unless you have some seriously hefty traffic levels then you may get this down to a fortnight.

Google Ads

All your juicy insights can be found in any PPC’ers pivotal report, the fabled search term report. Jump into your campaign and go to keywords > search terms ensuring your date range is tracking back long enough. Sort by impressions high to low, you then have a complete list of searches that have happened by your visitors on Google after they’ve left your site.

Using exit search data to inform stock/website decisions

As you can see from the above image we have used this approach with a supplement based client. On the search term report we could see some of the most frequent searches after leaving their site were heavily weighted around ‘pre-workouts’ and different brands our client currently didn’t have available.

After bringing this report to them and combining it with their superior understanding of their own industry, it transpired there was a demand for some stronger pre workouts on the site. They broadened out their pre-workout offering to reflect this and as a result they have seen:

  • Revenue: +20%
  • Sales: +16%
  • Conversion Rate: +5%

Comparing: July 1st - August 31st 2021 to Previous Period


Ultimately, these insights helped make a tangible impact on real revenue for the client by supporting the understanding of customers wants and needs, we hope it can help your business have the same impact.

Ben Owst

Self-confessed PPC nerd with over 10-years of experiencing everything the digital marketing world has to offer.