What is Paid Search in Marketing & Does it Still Work?

  • 4
    Shares

In this post, you’ll get to know what paid search in marketing is and how it can help you reach more clients.

Today, the opportunity from search to the marketer is growing rapidly.

Recent statistics published by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) recorded search spending above $4bn for 2004.

With over 280,000 advertisers reported by Google (cited in the San Francisco Times) in 2004 and an expected 378,000 in 2005 the number of companies taking advantage of “paid search” is growing rapidly.

This is still a new industry and many of the marketers operating within the space aren’t aware of the necessary approaches to getting the most from the space.

paid search in marketingWith a reported 25 per cent of all advertisers actually engaging in
some form of strategy or bidding technique the industry is filled with companies facing poor performance and limited direction.

Search Marketing

In my own words, search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid ways.

Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search.

So What is “Paid Search” in Marketing?

Paid search, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Advertising (SEA) is an online marketing system that aims to generate traffic on a website, upon payment of a certain amount each time a user clicks on the ad that lead them to it.

Although there are other referencing platforms (such as Yahoo Sponsored Links or Microsoft AdCenter), Google Adwords is the most popular one.

It is through this system that you see a list of ads appearing under the search bar on Google.

Relevance and Paid Search

As with most aspects of business, money makes a difference and the search industry was no different.

Around the turn of 2000 the search engines and directories realized that making advertisers pay for listings would not only increase the relevance of search results but would act as a very welcomed revenue stream.

Looking back now it seems somewhat unimaginable that search was free at one point but introducing a payment mechanism improved the search space dramatically and elevated search into a fully fledged online advertising mechanism.

But how did paid listings make search ‘better’ for the
advertiser?.

Quite simply, the interjection of an investment into search resulted in an accountability for action once a visitor hit a website.

Why would you pay for traffic that had absolutely no chance of being converted into a sale or lead?.

Additionally the engines, after being chastised for driving such poor results in the past, created a
process of auditing listings and ensuring relevancy was
always maintained.

So much so that some engines declared that only one listing per page of a website could be submitted at any time to prevent multiple search terms directing the searcher to the same page.

As the search engine marketing continued to grow, the fast pace of ‘paid’ search and its subsequent cost implications (i.e. every click has a cost) resulted in marketers having to think more about the strategic application of search into a marketing plan.

As the industry is settling down and maturing, the three major types of search engines are as follows;

  • Paid For Placement (PFP) – these engines allow advertisers to bid for position and obtain a position at the top of major search portal listings by paying a penny more than their competitor regardless of the quality of their sites’ content for search engine spiders.
  • Paid For Inclusion (PFI) – this type of search allows an advertiser to pay to have their site included within a search engine index or directories listings.
  • Organic Search (SSO) – This is the remaining area of search that has a zero cost per click but an upfront optimization cost.

Is Paid Search Really Effective?

Paid ads are placed based on the bids on specific keywords and their relevance to the topic.

1. Keywords

Before you start setting up your ad, you must do extensive keyword research. There are numerous websites and plugins that can help you with this.

You can even use google suggestions – just type one word in the engine and see what phrases are used with it.

Look for the keywords that are closely related to what you want to sell – you don’t want to bid for a keyword that will be deemed irrelevant for your content.

When choosing your keywords, you will probably feel drawn to some general keywords, but they are highly competitive and the chances of your ranking for them are pretty low.

It’s much better to focus on the so-called “long-tail keywords”. These are more specific phrases, usually over 4 words. For example, instead of bidding for “SEO”, try “SEO best practices 2019”.

2. Bidding

Once you have chosen your keyword(s), you can start bidding for them. Your aim is to get as high rank as possible for your keywords. The higher you rank, the better will your placement be on the results page.

First, you will need to state how much money you want to spend to have your ad shown alongside search results relating to your keyword.

The rank is determined based on two factors: your maximum bid (per click) and the relevance of your content to the topic.

3. Locations

If you are running a local business, it is a good idea to use geo-targeting, also known as location targeting.

That way, you can make sure that your ad will be shown only to the people who live in your area, or you can exclude locations that are not relevant to your business.

4. Ad Copy
  • Paying for an ad is usually not enough – Your copy must be attractive too
  • Always include the proposition value – Show your potential customers why they need your product or service.
  • Be clear and concise
  • Use the right keywords, but don’t overdo it – search engines don’t like it when there are too many keywords.
  • Use your industry jargon.
5. Measuring Effectiveness

Don’t forget to measure all the important metrics. Analyse the impressions, click-rate, and return on investment.

If you are a beginner, start with lower bids, test several keywords and copies, and then invest more in the combination that works best.

SEM Benefits:

  • Instant Results
  • Better Ranking
  • Reliable Conversions
  • Analytics and Tracking
  • Exposure to Local Search

Strategies for Reducing The Costs of Your Paid Search Campaigns

There’s certainly a science to creating an effective and efficient paid search campaign to win clients.

Here are some tips on maximizing your campaigns and driving those costs down:

1. Optimize for Mobile

More than half of your PPC clicks will take place on a mobile device, so make sure that you adopt an effective mobile strategy early to get the jump on your competitors.

For mobile, it’s important for your ads to place in positions 1–3 or else they likely won’t be seen.

Try segmenting your data by device to give you a good feel for whether or not your PPC strategy works better or worse on mobile.

2. Retarget

Retargeting allows you to place a cookie on the browser of your traffic. Using that cookie, you can make sure your brand stays in front of the visitors that did not convert. Since retargeting usually costs next-to-nothing, virtually every paid search campaign performs better when you add it. Retargeting ads also have a 2–3x higher CTR and a 33% lower CPC.

3. Use Social Media

Paid search is usually a weak funnel tactic that targets people who know they have a problem and are searching for a solution, but they only represent a small portion of the people who might benefit from your offer.

To target other potential buyers, use paid social promotion to build awareness for your brand, and use retargeting to stay in front of them until they finally convert.

4. Bid on Your Competitor’s Terms

People who search for your branded terms are a great source of paid search traffic – for both you and your competitors.

Bidding on your competitor’s terms allows you to get in front of your competition’s potential customers and win them over with your superior offering.

5. Don’t Pay for ads that aren’t Producing

Regardless of your strategy, you need to track and evaluate campaign performance continuously. Reducing non-productive spend frees up a lot of money that you can use to improve both click volume and sales.

Now let’s focus on where you’re driving all of this traffic that you’ve earned.

There’s only one logical place to send your paid search traffic: an optimized PPC landing page.

To truly maximize your ad spend, use a landing page to persuade visitors to take action in a way that your homepage cannot.

As soon as your visitor clicks on your ad, he or she should be directed to a landing page where there is a clear conversion goal.

Like this article?

Share and don’t forget to subscribe for updates. Follow us on facebook for more.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer