Uncovering The Benefits of Paid Search
Consider the search query: a fragment of a thought, the most general of ideas, a question to be answered. Search is the initial point of reference for accessing information, and it is present across a variety of devices – smartphones, desktop computers, laptops and tablets. The discovery process usually begins with a single search query.
In a world that is oversaturated with information, the tendency is to rely on the big three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo!) to filter through the noise. The most popular of these is Google, which currently holds approximately 68 percent of the market share in the U.S. and averages over 100 billion searches a month. For any given number of queries, search engines will deliver a results page that can include both organic and paid results. Acquiring visibility on a search engine results page (SERP) for general keywords is essential in brand building since a customer’s discovery process typically begins with non-branded search terms. This is an example of a standard Google SERP:
However, building a reputation on the organic search results can take a lot of time and effort across a variety of marketing disciplines. In the short term, advertising on the paid results is an ideal option for brands who want to gain instant visibility for keyword phrases they are currently not ranking within the organic results. These search terms can be highly general or very specific, depending on where a brand wants to exert its influence in the consideration funnel.
Paid search (also known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC) is a form of online advertising that provides brands the opportunity to generate website traffic by buying ad space on a search engine results page. Paid search campaigns are comprised of keywords, phrases and ads that are focused on generating awareness for a central topic or service offering. Search engines facilitate virtual auctions whenever a target keyword phrase is used, and serve ads based on content relevancy for the user, competition for the term and the campaign’s bidding guidelines. Once clicked, these search ads deliver users to a landing page wherein they can learn more about the topic or take a specific action on the site (ex: filling out a form). One of the best things about paid search is that it utilizes the pay-per-click model, which means that brands are charged only when an ad has been clicked, not on the volume of ads served. Moreover, it is a cost effective way to reach an interested audience at ideal times in the decision making process.
At Fahlgren Mortine, our approach toward paid search is centered on putting brands in the minds of consumers. When creating campaigns, we strategically pair keyword phrases and messaging with relevant landing pages in order to deliver the best overall user experience. From an awareness standpoint, this means choosing a wide variety of non-branded queries that will capture users in the initial stages of their discovery process. The intent is to attract users who are more likely to spend time on the site, interact with the content and perform specific actions on the landing page. It’s difficult for a brand to become part of a user’s decision without initial exposure, and paid search has been shown to have a measurable impact on brand awareness.
Advertising as a practice is focused on the convergence of messaging, delivery and timing. Already ubiquitous in daily life, search will only continue to rise in importance. Staying current on search trends and behaviors will allow for greater insight in the ever-present challenge of reaching and influencing consumers at key points within the customer journey.