If you have used the internet, you have definitely encountered search engine marketing (SEM) – perhaps without even realising! Every time you use a search engine to find information, or perform an activity online; a variety of ads in different formats are triggered. Our SEM specialists generate digital ad campaigns which target highly relevant prospects and deliver a positive return on investment.
SEARCH MARKETING EXPLAINED
Many digital marketing professionals consider search marketing as an umbrella term that encompasses both SEM, whether paid or unpaid, and unpaid SEO practices. In some circles within the digital space, SEM has almost become synonymous with paid search, or Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords). However, not all SEM activities necessarily require paying for advertising space, like free directory listings. Search marketing is incredibly effective, especially compared to traditional, offline advertising models, because the cost of advertising is entirely dictated by the market and therefore fluctuates accordingly.
Seeing as SEO practices don’t require a budget to spend on ads, you may well be wondering why businesses engage in SEM. The reason is, ranking highly in organic search results isn’t actually free; when you consider the investment made in resources and time to consistently produce content. New websites often find it difficult to appear on the first few search engine results pages (SERPs); as it takes time to establish domain authority.
Plus, most users don’t click through to the succeeding page results – so not everyone performing a search will see your content! This means engaging in paid search can actually prove to be more cost effective and ensures your brand is highly visible.
THE HISTORY OF PAID SEARCH
While a few search engines like GoTo (eventually acquired by Yahoo) dabbled in the introduction of paid search listings in the late ‘90s, the paid search landscape we know today effectively began with the launch of the Google AdWords model (rebranded as Google Ads in 2018) in 2000. This model paved the way for other paid advertising platforms including Microsoft’s Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini, which has recently rebranded to Oath Ad Platforms Native & Search.
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH SEARCH
Paid search, pay per click (PPC) and cost per click (CPC) are terms frequently used almost interchangeably in reference to SEM campaigns. Technically PPC refers to the type of advertising platform being used, like Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), or Facebook Ads Manager in a social media context. Whereas CPC is a method of billing on an advertising platform, meaning you only pay when the audience you are targeting actually click on your ads. Ad budgets are monitored daily and our clients are only billed for the monthly amount they specifically budgeted for – even if Google exceeds the monthly charging limit! Our Specialists can assist you with budget forecasting based on seasonality and search volumes.
Cost per thousand impressions, known as CPM, is an alternative SEM billing practice, to CPC. Advertisers are charged once, every one thousand times their ad is served and therefore considered viewable. It is most commonly associated with ads shown on the Google Display Network.
These ads typically consist of strong visuals, from static images, to rich media with animations or interactive elements, expandable ads within Gmail inbox tabs, or even video ads on YouTube.
Advertisers may target websites or apps within a particular interest category, thereby raising brand awareness within their target audience. Display ads are also a great format for remarketing campaigns, serving as a visual brand or product reminder to past website or YouTube channel visitors.
SEM is powerful because your ads can appear at the moment a potential customer is actively searching for your service or products online. These customers are at the decision stage of the buyers funnel and are therefore ready to make a purchase. Ecommerce sites can implement Shopping Ad campaigns, which depict a product image and price, linking directly to your online store.
These ads can also be enhanced with reviews, ratings and special offers. Products can be grouped together in categories, along with lifestyle images to form Showcase Shopping Ads. The advertiser is charged on a cost per engagement basis (CPE) when the ad is either expanded for ten seconds or clicked upon.
Whether your customers are shopping online, using an app, watching a video, visiting a popular site, or conducting a search; the Clearly Digital team can devise a campaign to target your customers. triggered to appear based on keywords used in your search query, or other targeting factors.
We don’t merely focus on setting keyword bids, because we understand the outcome of ad auctions are determined by a combination of factors. Successful lead generation encompasses purpose-built landing pages; to ensure as many conversions as possible at an affordable cost per acquisition (CPA). We track a variety of conversions, from online purchases to signing up for an email newsletter.
By monitoring conversion rates on a daily basis, we optimise campaigns by utilising negative keywords, saving you money on irrelevant clicks. Location targeting can help drive in-store visits, whereas dynamic remarketing encourages visitors to complete a specific purchase online, while call-only ads appear exclusively on mobile devices.