The paid search offering has many people torn over whether paid clicks are as valuable as free traffic. As the Paid Search department head at WebiMax, I see every day that when used properly, as with all marketing mediums, it is a great tool and can have a drastic impact for a business. From a common perspective, one can easily say that “I just glance over the ads,” but if you saw a text or display ad published that had an offer that you just couldn’t refuse (sorry for being cliché) or an ad that reminded you of something that you were looking into last week and were just pulled away from researching the first time, tell me that you would not be engaged at all.
In the example above, I was simply referencing ads potentially positioned by keyword or remarketing targets, but that only scratches the surface of what you can do with paid search. This is an offering that has resulted in consistent spending growth. In fact, the latest Convario report shows an 18% growth from 2011 to 2012.
With 90% of the overall ad spend last year, Google remains the largest player in the paid search space, with Bing/Yahoo! coming in second. eMarketer also reported in Q3 2012 that the major search engines paid search revenue will account for nearly two-thirds of all digital ad spending, which is estimated just over $37 billion for 2012.
If you are not currently promoting your business through a paid search plan, you may be missing out on some valuable opportunities. With over 12 years of existence, paid search has come a long way, and there are options to fit all marketing budgets. If you would like to discuss some options from strategy, consulting or a full management plan, just let us know and we will be happy to help.
Already have a paid search marketing plan?
Keeping up with all of the enhancements and opportunities to grow your business and increase brand awareness from paid search may be difficult. This not only applies if you are the owner or president of a SMB, but also if you are working within a marketing department of a larger corporation. If this sounds very familiar to you, I can assure you that you are not alone.
Some critical areas that are sometimes overlooked, but may have a drastic positive impact on your paid search planning/accounts are:
• Ad Extensions
• Tablet Optimizations
• Mobile Optimizations
• PLAs and CSEs (for e-commerce sites)
• App ads
• Video ads
In addition to the focuses listed above, I cannot stress the importance of proper metric tracking from the start of any marketing initiative. With digital mediums, tracking can be pin-pointed more accurately than traditional media. If you do not have your tracking set up properly, you may be missing a piece of the puzzle when accessing and optimizing your plan. Whether you are currently working with an agency or handle your marketing in-house, I am sure that you have the basics in place regarding tracking, specific targeting, account structure, enticing ads and great user-experience landing pages. If this is not the case, or you would like to learn more about our team of paid search managers, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Many business owners who are new to the world of online marketing often consider pay per click as their main channel of advertisement. As what is essentially the internet’s oldest form of direct marketing, PPC ads continue to be one of the most prevalent methods of inorganic link building. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every search engine website displays its own custom PPC ads on every SERP it shows. Although PPC usage remains constant across the web, the prominence of this popular marketing method is not even across all ad networks.
Recent reports indicate that paid search activity is up year after year yet still dwindling in some markets. According to an article from Search Engine Land, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 15% increase in PPC campaign activity for American companies. At the same time, Google’s cost-per-click rates have been following a downward trend that continues its decline from 2011. While Google’s CPCs are down another 5% from last year, the Yahoo-Bing adCenter network is up by nearly 20%. Google is quick to defend its low CPCs as not being indicative of the overall health of their company, but many SEO industry analysts are quick to claim otherwise.
The Cause of Google’s CPC Decline
Although the declining popularity of AdWords may make some business owners question their PPC relevance, the fact is there’s no concrete reason to doubt the effectiveness of a Google ad. Even though Microsoft continues to push its own search engine along with its advertising partnership with Yahoo, Google still remains at the top of its game when it comes to user activity – especially on mobile platforms. Some SEO experts have seen the company’s recent CPC decline as being a result of businesses trying to go where the competition isn’t.
adCenter, being a relatively newer PPC network than Google AdWords, has a greater draw to it due to the relative lack of market saturation. This isn’t to say that Bing’s PPC results will yield dramatically better results than those ads hosted on Google’s SERPs. Rather, the chance of securing better conversion rates when using adCenter is slightly higher for certain search terms. Of course, regardless of whatever network you go with for your PPC campaign, nothing beats having a strong keyword.
The Best Outcome with any Ad Network
If business owners want to run a pay per click campaign that gets the results they want, they need to implement excellent PPC behaviors instead of fretting over which network they should pick. In particular, there are a few choice guidelines to live by when it comes to solid cost-per-click campaign management.
- Research your campaign keyword thoroughly. An excellent selected keyword is one that is not too broad so as to get overshadowed by other ads but also not needlessly specific either. Always consider using negative keywords to help narrow your focused campaign term for best results.
- Determine the budget of your PPC campaign prior to getting involved with the keyword-bidding process. If you find that the search term you want to use is out of your reach, decide whether or not it’s worth it to simply select a term that is lower ranked.
- Choose an appropriate platform for your PPC ads. As I mentioned before, Google AdWords carry more weight on mobile devices that Microsoft adCenter. If you feel that the good or service you provide would appeal more to a mobile market (ie. cell phone covers, rechargeable batteries), then choose what you feel your ad network based on that.
As always, I encourage our blog’s readers to reach out to us and contact us with any questions they may have regarding PPC ads. We have extensive resources regarding PPC management along with other various PPC services. I can also be emailed directly at email@example.com.
Lately, we’ve been covering pay per click and paid search topics as reports illustrate the surge in demand for these advertising services. Amongst the data that have recently been published, new data released today by ZenithOptimedia (advertising and communications firm), states Google owns 44 percent of the global advertising market. That number represents a 10 percent increase over the past 5 years. Not only does Google own the majority of this market, the industry titan also accounts for 85 percent of all searches.
With Google’s dominating presence in these key areas, it is important for marketers, advertisers, and search marketers to accept their guidelines and play by their rules. Google has made excellent strides forward this year with cracking down on unscrupulous search firms utilizing black-hat optimization methods. Although there is no such thing (yet) as black-hat paid search, as a marketer looking for a PPC company, it is vital to contract with a Certified Google AdWords Partner. These companies demonstrate the understanding and expertise of how to properly leverage and design paid search for their clients.
Online ad expenditures are expected to continue to climb over the next 4 years, as models end at 2016. A recent analysis by WebiMax founder and CEO Ken Wisnefski states that there is a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines right now illustrated by the dramatic upsurge in Thanksgiving holiday expenditures. Although advertisers are being cautious right not, including those in Europe who are presently dealing with debt-ceiling uncertainty, one thing is clear; Paid search is booming and Google is leading the industry with second-place (Microsoft, 4 percent) far behind.
Paid search has more or less taken over as one of the leading forms of advertising on the internet. Traditional techniques including mass-media (newspaper, television, radio, etc.) have been suffering over the past couple years as challenging economic times have caused advertisers and marketers to be cautious and even abandon their marketing initiatives. A recent report by the Newspaper Association of America projects newspapers will achieve a new low in advertising sales in 2011. The Association expects ad revenue to be $24 billion, almost 50 percent less than its peak of $49 billion in 2005. While this sharp decline in newspaper advertising certainly includes concerns over the economy, at the same time, cost-efficient advertising including paid search has been surging.
Paid search includes the implementation of pay per click services to create targeted ads on search engines including Google, Yahoo! and Bing. While PPC is still a relatively new concept to marketers, its results thus far are astounding. Google release their Q3 earnings report in October and posted a $10 billion increase in revenue, 23% of which is due to a surge in paid search revenue. While this is a small piece of the puzzle, truth is research indicates paid search is expected to continue its upward trend thru 2016 (*important note models end at 2016).
As paid search becomes the new era of advertising, marketers should pay attention to the reputation of PPC companies. Ensure your PPC firm is a Certified Google AdWords Partner. Also, make sure the firm has a reputable list of clients and has demonstrated their expertise in the field.
As a follow up to yesterday’s WebiMax Blog, Michael Stewart, Senior pay per click manager, discusses the pros and cons of Google’s new Ad placement.
The new placements, previously having been shown on the top and side of search results, will now be shown beneath search results to create a more consistent viewing experience. They have started rolling out the new layout since last week and will continue until fully deployed sometime over the next month. Until these changes are fully implemented, ad placement can vary by search query.
Google testing has shown many cases of click-through rates improving with ads under the results versus the side. This supports Google’s reasoning stating they want to create a more consistent and top to bottom viewing experience. The new ad placement can help low budget advertisers compete with the top dollar advertisers. In addition, it can help capture clicks otherwise lost from result clicks as searchers scan the page from top to bottom. It is up to finding the best PPC company to leverage these changes to the clients advantage.
Inversely, however, it is possible that the additional clicks accrued from the lower positioned ads may cannibalize the top positioned ad clicks. That being said, well-funded aggressive advertisers may face added competition as a whole. This will undoubtedly mean that more intensive management of such accounts will be needed to analyze the ad position placements and optimize them properly.
About the Author: Mike joined WebiMax in March of 2010 with over 10 years’ experience in managing PPC accounts. He brought his Google Qualified Individual credentials to initialize WebiMax as a Google AdWords Certified partner. Helping clients of wide ranging budgets, Mike works across all teams within WebiMax from Sales, SEO, Social Media, Web Design, and Executive Management to insure that clients meet and exceed their advertising objectives by acting as the lead in the PPC management process at WebiMax.
Google announced last week that they are changing the position that ads will show on their search engine. Ads that use to appear above search results have been moved lateral to the right side and some will be moved to the bottom of the page, below search results. The company has been making changes to the appearance of their search engine for quite a while now as they announced last Spring that important layout and design changes will be taking effect.
Google stated they felt displaying the ads below search results provides a more consistent viewing experience on their search engine. They have provided a useful tool Top versus Side that will help evaluate the performance of ads placed at the top versus the side (and bottom) of search results.