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Guide to growth: Mining for inclusive keywords

Woman sitting at a desk at work, looking at three monitors and running an analysis.
As outlined in Guide to growth: Four strategies, there's an opportunity to grow your business in the face of constant change through Marketing with Purpose. By being more inclusive of your customers’ values and lived experiences, you can increase trust and improve advertising performance. 85% of people will only consider a brand if they trust  it. Mining for inclusive keywords and using them authentically is one actionable way to increase trust and drive growth.

Creating inclusive advertising strategies is more important than ever. It's no longer enough only to advertise product features to a target audience because people’s expectations have shifted according to generational values, and people will buy from brands when they stand for something more than just their product, and when they align to their values. 50% of adult consumers actively consider company values when making a purchase. 63% of global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that have shared values. There's a clear need to shift from merely focusing on the usual search terms for products, features, or services to mining for inclusive keyword sets as a key strategy for growth.

Mindset shift towards values

Values-led search queries are driving a change in the marketplace, as consumers identify companies that align with their priorities as part of their research process. 88% of people want brands to step up and help them with societal problems and their environmental footprint in daily life. Our research also found that inclusive advertising improves brand perceptions around trustworthiness, market leadership, and the likelihood to recommend a brand.

If you want growth, you must start to rethink not only how people are shopping, but also how your campaigns consider a values-based purchase journey with evolved ad copy and keywords. Advertisers who can try on a new mindset with inclusive advertising can expand reach and will uncover more opportunities to connect with people. Shift from product-centric to human-centric to uncover keywords and expand your reach.
Diagram illustrating advertiser mindset shifts from product-centric to human-centric. Product-centric leads to brand value, which leads to human-centric, which leads to purchase, versus human-centric, which leads to brand value, which leads to product-centric, which leads to purchase.Source: The Psychology of Inclusion and the Effects in Advertising phase 3 study, Microsoft Advertising, 2020.

Shared values drive growth

Any good advertising effort begins with rich, relevant content rooted in product truth, but there's more needed to make good advertising great. People’s trust, respect, and loyalty for a brand grow when its advertising, product truths, and mission statement are aligned. It’s worth reflecting the beliefs, needs, and ​values of people in your advertising, but only when it's aligned to your brand values as well. When mining new keywords to build trust by looking for shared values between people and your brand, it's important for you to create ad experiences that make people feel your brand “is for someone like them.”

How to get started: 

80% of people believe brands should play a role in solving societal problems, but many companies aren't prominently featuring their mission statements nor their corporate responsibility efforts on their websites, which could be used to demonstrate how they engage with the world, or how they take a stand. This is a missed opportunity.

If you don't already have an established mission statement, now is the time to identify your company’s core values. Consider the following:
  1. Does your brand mission focus on values, responsibility, and inclusion? If not, consider doing so as these are the core building blocks of trust.
  2. How are your brand values important to people?
  3. Do your brand values align with people’s values to build trust, love, and loyalty?
  4. Do you know what people are actively searching for? If not, examine search query trends.
Questions 3 and 4 above are the key to keyword mining for inclusive marketing. With some simple analysis of your Search Query Report (SQR), you might be surprised to see how your audience is engaging with values-led search queries.
Graphic with research results as follows: I have stopped purchasing from a brand because it did not represent my values. 48%25 of all respondents, 50%25 women, 46%25 Men, 53%25 Ethnical minorities, 44%25 White
Source: The Psychology of Inclusion and the Effects in Advertising phase 3 study, Microsoft Advertising, 2020.

Inclusive keyword mining

Mining inclusive keywords can make your brand appeal to new potential customers or make your current customers more loyal, but you might be wondering how you can do this. The process is outlined below, but since keyword discovery will vary between verticals, marketplaces, products, and services, let’s first calibrate some of the levers we have to pull with inclusive keyword mining.
• Diverse set of keywords: Reflecting a full range of human identities and/or organisational differences, both visible and invisible (e.g., beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, ages, abilities, socioeconomics, faiths, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, languages, nationalities, and more)
Inclusive set of keywords: Comprehensive; open to everyone; not limited to certain people; enclosing. Embracing inclusion is the act of intentionally creating a respectful, supportive, and empowering environment by engaging each other's strengths, experiences, and perspectives to achieve a common objective.

Now let’s dig into how to build and expand a diverse and inclusive keyword list. There are three basic tools to use:
While all three tools can help you expand your inclusive keyword lists, let’s focus on using the SQR, as it shows which keywords people are already actively searching to trigger your ads. Once you know these queries are already being used, the goal is to maximise opportunity by identifying queries on which you're not currently bidding.

Step 1

Confirm if you're bidding on all value-based phrases that are in your mission statement or related to your brand values. If not, add them to your list for keyword expansion.

Step 2

Pull a 60- or 90-day SQR.

Step 3

Filter for any search queries that have values-based keywords and variations you would like to identify. For example, but not limited to:
  • Accessible
  • Adaptive
  • Authentic
  • Black-owned
  • Community
  • Eco-friendly
  • Equality
  • Equitable
  • Ethical
  • Gay-friendly
  • Genuine
  • Inclusive
  • Pet-friendly
  • Progressive
  • Supportive
  • Sustainable
  • Unique
  • Valued
  • Vegan
  • Women-owned

Step 4

Do a Microsoft Excel VLOOKUP to compare the filtered search queries (new inclusive keywords) to the existing keywords on which you're bidding. Anything in the search query set that's not currently being bid on is a new keyword opportunity. And that can mean new connections with people.
  • As for the look-up, look for the term within the keyword (i.e., “IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH())” ) so you can identify whether the term is included anywhere in the keyword

Step 5

Pivot the keywords to get a clear view of value-based search trends.

As an example, we performed an Inclusive Search Term Analysis for the prior 90 days for a shoe brand on 15 October 2020. It contained the following phrases in frequency: “black owned” appeared 143 times, “ethical” 254 times, “gay” 158 times, “LGBTQ” 72 times, and “sustainable” 557 times. The following chart shows these data across a sample of the various search term phrases where these inclusive keywords appeared, like “what are durable but ethical basketball shoes,” “usa sustainable sneakers,” and “waterproof sustainable running shoes.” Sustainability value-based search terms are a clear front runner to add to the keyword list for this brand, with ethical considerations second, gay and Black-owned next, and then LGBTQ. This is just one simple exercise that can help guide your growth with mining for inclusive keywords.

A list of search terms with frequency of inclusive keywords across search terms and a bar graph showing the frequency of types of inclusive keywords. The results were described in the paragraph preceding the graph.

Step 6

If you want to take this process one step further, use an n-gram analysis (contiguous sequence of words from a given sample of text). N-gram analysis is a great tool for sorting through thousands, or even millions, of keywords to find your best and most significant opportunities; it allows you to get actionable insights through aggregating keyword data.

Bringing it all together

Brand trust is more important than ever, and meeting consumers with values-led, inclusive, and diverse keywords should be part of any advertising strategy, because inclusive advertising increases purchase intent by an average increase of 23 points. Language discovery with values-led purchasing is only a start to an inclusive marketing strategy. Also consider how imagery in your ads reflects people’s lived experiences. Imagery is as important as words, as images can speak a thousand words. To learn more tips and tactics for more inclusive keywords and marketing strategies, review the “Role of Inclusion” in the Marketing with Purpose Playbook. It gives you the fifty words that signal inclusion, the nine feelings of inclusion for product marketing, and the three metaphors for inclusion that you can apply to your images and ad copy.

This is a journey of learning, and as marketers we have great opportunity in considering, understanding, and supporting the broad spectrum of human experiences. We hope these inclusive keyword strategies help you unlock the enormous potential — within your teams, and for your clients and their customers.

Additional resources

If you would like to learn more about accessible and inclusive marketing, check out these additional Microsoft Advertising resources:
  • Download the Marketing with Purpose Playbook for detailed guidance on accessibility strategies and inclusion’s impact on advertising performance, plus free open-source technology to help you evaluate and fix your website for accessibility.
  • Use our key takeaways from the Modern Marketing is Accessible Marketing webcast to understand the business case for inclusive design and accessibility in your marketing, advertising, and overall customer experience.
  • Download our Modern Marketing is Accessible Marketing eBook for comprehensive tips and checklists on how to build accessibility into your marketing to reach, resonate with, and serve more people.
  • Stay up to date with our latest growth strategies automatically by signing up for the biweekly Microsoft Advertising Insider newsletter.