With more marketing channels now than ever before, businesses are constantly seeking effective ways to reach their target audience and convert them into loyal customers. One such strategy that has proven to be highly effective is paid search. But what exactly is paid search and why is it important to invest in it? Let's delve into this topic.
What is Paid Search?
Paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a form of online marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. These ads appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google and Bing, and on websites, social media platforms, and apps that are part of these search engines' networks.
How is Paid Search Different from Organic Search?
Paid search and organic search are two different strategies used in online marketing to increase website visibility and traffic. Paid search, as discussed above, involves advertisers paying a fee each time their ad is clicked. These ads are typically displayed at the top or bottom of search engine results pages (SERPs), marked as sponsored content. The position of these ads is determined by a variety of factors, including the amount the advertiser is willing to pay per click and the ad's relevance to the search query.
On the other hand, organic search refers to unpaid search results that appear in SERPs because they are relevant to the user's search query. These results are ranked based on a search engine's algorithm, which considers factors like the quality and relevance of the website's content, the number of inbound links, and the site's overall authority. While organic search results can take time and effort to achieve, they tend to generate more trust from users and can provide a steady stream of traffic over time.
In essence, paid search can provide immediate visibility and highly targeted traffic, while organic search is a longer-term strategy that builds credibility and can yield sustainable results. Both strategies are important components of a comprehensive digital marketing plan.
The Importance of Investing in Paid Search
1. Immediate Visibility
It takes time and skill to set up the Google Ads account and configure it to target properly with ads and landing pages that will convert. With that said, once your PPC campaign is live, your ads can start appearing in search results immediately, giving your business instant exposure to a targeted audience. This visibility can be important if you don’t rank organically for important non-branded keywords that can drive leads and/or sales for your business. If you do rank organically, the visibility of your ads for the same keywords can help drive stronger clickthrough rates (CTRs), leading to more traffic and conversions. With Google Display advertising, you can also gain visibility via banner ads on sites beyond Google’s search engine - further increasing visibility for your brand and your offerings.
2. Targeted Advertising
Paid search allows you to target your ads to specific demographics, interests, locations, and times of day. This means you can tailor your ads to reach the right people at the right time, increasing the likelihood of conversions. Paid search platforms like Google and Microsoft Ads also allow for remarketing - targeting audiences that have already interacted with your website.
By continuing to optimize your paid search ad campaigns, your ad targeting can become more precise and lead to higher CTR and conversion rates. This can lead to an increase in Quality Score, which can in turn lead to a reduction in costs.
3. Measurable Results
With paid search, you can track and analyze every aspect of your campaign, from the number of clicks and impressions to the conversion rate and cost per click. This data can provide valuable insights into what's working and what's not, allowing you to optimize your campaign for better results.
By linking your Google Ads account to Google Analytics, every aspect of your business’s digital marketing campaigns can be tracked. This creates a level of transparency and accountability if you are working with a digital marketing agency. Importantly, this tracking allows businesses to determine return on investment (ROI) and cost per customer acquisition (CPA).
4. Competitive Advantage
Investing in paid search can give you a competitive edge, especially if your competitors are not using PPC. Even if they are, a well-optimized PPC campaign can help you outperform them in search results.
For newer businesses trying to break into existing markets, paid search is often the first digital marketing strategy companies deploy, as paid search advertising is often one of the most cost-effective ways to drive traffic, leads and sales to a website.
5. Increased Brand Awareness
Even if users don't click on your ads, seeing them in search results can increase brand awareness. This can be particularly beneficial for new businesses looking to establish their presence in the market. And because Google and Bing typically charge on a cost per click (CPC) basis, your business doesn’t pay for ads that users see but don’t click.
These benefits are important if you are trying to advertise your local business with paid search or a regional, national, or even international brand.
Why You Should Bid on Your Brand in Paid Search
Bidding on your brand name in paid search is a strategy that can deliver significant benefits. It may seem counterintuitive to pay for clicks on your brand name, especially if you already rank organically for these terms. However, there are several compelling reasons to include brand terms in your PPC strategy.
First, bidding on your brand name helps you control the narrative. When you bid on your brand name, you have the ability to dictate what searchers see in the ad copy. This can be particularly useful for highlighting promotions, unique selling propositions, or any other key messages that may not be immediately visible in your organic listings.
Secondly, it helps to protect against competitor bids. If you're not bidding on your brand name, there's nothing to stop your competitors from doing so. This means that a search for your brand could result in a potential customer seeing a competitor's ad before they see your organic listing. By bidding on your brand name, you can help to ensure that you're capturing as much of your branded traffic as possible.
Finally, brand terms typically have higher Quality Scores due to their relevance, which can lead to lower costs per click. This means that brand campaigns can often deliver a strong return on investment, driving high-quality traffic to your site at a relatively low cost.
If you’d like a deeper dive, here are six great reasons to invest in brand paid search ads.
Investing in paid search can provide numerous benefits for businesses of all sizes and industries. It offers immediate visibility, targeted advertising, measurable results, a competitive advantage, and increased brand awareness. However, like any marketing strategy, it requires careful planning and management to ensure a good return on investment.
If you have an existing Google Ads account but aren’t sure you are getting a good return on your investment or you're brand new to Google Ads and would like to speak to a member of our team, you can start here.