Outer Banks Netflix Searches vs OBX Vacation Rentals: Q4Launch PPC Agency Uses Negative Keyword Tactics to Maximize PPC Results

May 14, 2020

Guy surfing at the beachThere are times when it’s important to lock in on trending topics to garner attention (and potentially increase revenue) for your business. And then there are times you should sit out. In this case, we’re talking about the new Netflix show Outer Banks and whether or not our vacation rental marketing customers in the Outer Banks of North Carolina should ride the wave of search volume surrounding the series. How do we feel about this as a PPC agency?

The series reached No. 1 on Netflix in the U.S., but when it comes to PPC ads, should we drop in on rad related keywords or bail? Let’s take a look.

The Situation: Teen Drama vs Real World

  • Q4Launch provides hospitality marketing services for clients offering Outer Banks rental properties. The new Netflix series Outer Banks is sparking a ton of search volume on those terms. But the people behind those searches are almost all looking for info about the cast, spoilers for season 2, and other fun stuff like shooting locations. Fun fact: Most of the series was actually filmed in Charleston, SC, where Q4Launch is based!    
  • It is also great to have more exposure and visibility for the Outer Banks courtesy of such a popular show.
  • Overall and long-term, the show’s notoriety will boost the whole region’s tourism numbers. 

But does all of this help our vacation rental customers when it comes to search results? That’s a great question.

PPC Agency Response: Focus on Intent

  • The nitty-gritty is that while seeing the pretty Carolinas in a teen mystery drama is good for tourism, we do not want our customers ads showing up for searches about the show. Why?    
  • Every budget is limited and searcher’s intent when looking up info about the show is to learn about the show; not to book a house for their annual vacation.   
  • Therefore, Q4Launch employs an extensive keyword blocking strategy to prevent our ads from coming up when there is no rental intent. 

Negative “Blocking” Keywords for a Positive Result

  • Negative keywords are used to block our ads from showing on certain searches. We always have about 10 times as many “negative” keywords as “positive” keywords in every account. This includes everything from all major website names like Facebook or Spotify to every major restaurant or retailer name and thousands of other things that are not about booking rentals or real estate.
  • All accounts have long had the words “TV show,” “movie,” “video,” and “Netflix,” blocked for ages. But as the Outer Banks TV show gains popularity, we need to add to that list.
  • Today we added “actors,” “cast,” “filming,” “trailers,” “spoilers,” “episodes,” “wallpapers,” and a few others to that list.
  • As a PPC agency, we monitor the Google Ads Search Queries data regularly to block irrelevant searches we might not have thought of in advance from showing ads.
  • This applies across all relevant accounts. If there is a future show or movie called “Hilton Head Island” on Netflix, our vacation rental customers in Hilton Head will be covered in advance from wasted ad spend!

Here are a few examples from within the Q4L negative keyword lists for ShorelineOBX: 

Negative Keyword Examples for PPC Ads

Results: Higher Return on Ad Spend

  • As a PPC agency, Q4Launch focuses our customers’ PPC budgets on searches that have booking intent like “Outer Banks rentals.”  
  • A search such as this would present our ads, assuming the user is looking at a good time of day on a device that would typically be used to book a vacation.  
  • Similarly, searches like “Outer Banks Netflix,” “Outer Banks TV show” or “Outer Banks cast” will not show our ads.   
  • The fact is, if our ads show up for OBX TV show searches, people will click on them, despite house rentals being totally irrelevant for that type of search.
  • If people see our customers’ ads, they’ll likely click. But then, they will bounce right away because our sites are not about the TV show, obviously. The people clicked and bounced, but we still paid for the ad. 
  • The result of effective negative keyword blocking is higher ROAS for Q4Launch PPC customers. Return on Ad Spend is the name of the game.

Here are a few examples of Q4Launch ads for ShorelineOBX: 

PPC Ad examples

Caveats About Clicks

  • Keywords are tricky as a result of multiple match types and different logic for the blocking and matching. 
  • Do it poorly and you waste oodles of cash on junk clicks, or you’re too focused and can’t find any audience at all to show ads to. 
  • Amateur PPC is notorious for not understanding the basics of keyword rule logic.
  • Competitors are spending money on clicks from folks seeking info about a sexy teen drama … while we save our cash for folks who also love the show, but are now including “vacation rentals outer banks” to their searches instead of just looking for TV show info tidbits and hot gossip. 

Let Q4Launch Help Turn the Tide for Your PPC Results

PPC can be confusing and time-consuming, but we can make sure you don’t wipe out! All you have to do is reach out to our team today for a PPC consultation to see how affordable, effective, and easy a PPC program from Q4Launch is. 

You can also request a Google Analytics Analysis with a member of our team to gain insight into what’s working – and what’s not, as well as how we can help!

PS: The show is pretty good, right? Do you like it?


Photo Credit: Outer Banks, Netflix