Search Engine Marketing (SEM) &
Pay Per Click Management (PPC)
Search Engine Marketing is an umbrella term that covers PPC (pay per click or Paid Search). Oftentimes, SEM is used synonymously with Paid Search (PPC).
Paid Search drives online traffic to a website in the form of paid advertisements on search engines. This is completed by bidding on ad placements for user's search queries (people's searches on Google for example).
Platforms that conduct Search Engine Marketing are most notably Google Ads, Bing Ads, & Yahoo Gemini.
Let's see an example of PPC
To explain this simply, let’s say a person goes on Google and types “custom hats'' into the search bar. Let’s also say that your company sells custom hats. That sounds like a slam dunk sale, so you want your ads to be in front of this customer right? Sort of, as it depends on the person’s or user’s shopping intent. He or she might be researching custom hats for a friend, browsing for fun, or are ready to buy as soon as he or she sees the first hat result!
You can imagine the benefit of adapting your marketing strategy to intriguing an interested customer ready to make a purchase today versus a customer that is not ready to buy quite yet but will be in a few weeks.
In the meantime, let’s say your business that is selling custom hats wants to bring users to your site who are interested in custom hats. Great, but let’s realize that your competitors all have the same idea, and they will be competing against you for ad space during the search engine’s bidding auction. Since search engines use bidding auctions to determine which ad appears in each search result, it’s important to know how much money to spend in auction so you can get the highest ad placement for the lowest cost.
Why is SEM important?
Regardless of your familiarity or experience, Paid Search is a fantastic medium to use and understand if you’re looking to attract new and/or previous customers that are looking to make a purchase. Search Engine Marketing, or Paid Search, can target audiences all throughout purchasing funnels (low to high), and is favored for its measurement, and its ability to assist advertisers in distinguishing customers by their purchasing intent.
Paid Search is unique because it differs from how the majority of advertising serves customers. Most advertising is shown to consumers via a push mechanism, or in other words, an ad that is shown or placed in front of a potential consumer. A highway billboard, a newspaper ad, a commercial shown on television, or an ad post on a social media news feed are all examples of ads that a user did not go looking for but were shown instead.
Paid Search advertising is different because ads are being shown to people who are directly searching for terms related to your business. This is significant as there's definitive interest.
A great example is the difference between handing out posters about your new hat business to everyone on your block versus answering a caller’s request inquiring about a specific hat; the inquirer is much more likely to purchase. Now how can we be in front of customers that have this higher intent to purchase?
Yes, the way to capture users interest is through the use of keywords (a word or phrase that a person enters into a search engine in order to find a specific result). Businesses can differentiate their marketing strategy and budget depending upon what type of consumer they want to show ads to. For example, by leveraging keyword match types correctly, a business can bid more for a consumer who is ready to purchase and bid less for a consumer who will need more time to make a purchasing decision.
How do we know purchasing intent?
How can we tell which buyers are ready and not ready to buy? By understanding what people are searching for and how they’re searching. Also, just because users may not be ready to buy doesn’t mean they will never buy in the future and certainly doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be a part of your marketing strategy. It’s critical that your business serves it’s message to buyers that have a variety of intent levels as the correct message will gain trust with your future customers. This strategy will earn their business by intriguing them to investigate and learn about specific products or services that your business offers.
Overwhelming becomes simplified
Paid Search advertising is simple in context, but can often be overwhelming for those who are new to Search Engine Marketing. Even seasoned internet marketers struggle with Paid Search complexities such as keyword match types, automated bidding strategies, and the plethora of metrics associated with measuring the effectiveness of Paid Search advertising.
After years of experience assisting businesses with Paid Search efforts across a wide variety of industries, the Digital Difference Maker has simplifying Paid Search into 3 main principles.
DDM's 3 PPC steps to success
1. Research & Investigation
It's important to identify your current business goals and strategies, and then perform the proper keyword and market research to understand the industry opportunities while planning for your campaigns’ success.
2. Defining Metrics & Goals
With so many different metrics available to measure campaign performance, it is critical to select the right types of metrics. Establishing key performance indicators as benchmarks will directly translate into dollars and cents for your business.
3. Implementation, Consistency, & Transparency
After launching campaigns, regular maintenance needs to occur to keep your campaigns up to date and optimized. When results are obtained, it’s most beneficial for those results to be analyzed and interpreted. Practical insights and continued education is key, so you can make the most informed and practical decisions valuable to your business.
The differentiator is in the established relationship with your partners including both communication and education. DDM also believes in using time effectively and efficiently, which is why we support an agile customer success team.
We offer a free of charge no-obligation review of your current digital marketing tactics where a member of our client success team will be contacting you and begin to construct your business’s personalized action plan.
More about SEO
There are also other strategies to capture and grow user traffic to a website such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To find out more about the difference between SEO and SEM learn about SEO by clicking below.