Using search engines is a common practice for people and businesses looking for more information or recommendations before purchasing a product or service. Thanks to search advertising, you have a way of letting individual and business consumers know that you have something to offer, which aims to satisfy their need or provide a solution to a problem.
Also known as search engine marketing (SEM) - because you’re showing your ads via search engines - paid search can be a great marketing strategy if you’re doing it strategically. This means you have to be aware of the pros and cons in using paid ads to promote your business. By knowing the capabilities and limitations of paid search advertising, you can match your company’s objectives with a customized search ad plan.
The Benefits of Paid Search
Paid search ads are well targeted.
Targeting in paid search refers to the way you structure your SEM strategy to maximize the chances of getting your ads shown to the right prospects. Since SEM is keyword-based, there are plenty of opportunities to customize your campaign from the get-go.
In fact, platforms that let you use paid search advertising are laden with targeting settings, which let you plan how or when you want people to see your ads. And because different platforms have different practices in relation to search ads, you need to know which of those targeting tools can help you better capture the attention and interest of consumers.
An example of a targeting setting in a search ad platform is its ability to remarket to people who have visited your site or shared your content online, but did not convert at the time. Another group you could target with your search ads may be those who have previously bought a product or service from you, as you offer them with something related to their past purchase.
You get immediate results from paid search.
When customers type in a query on a search engine, it’s paid ads that they see first. This type of positioning is advantageous for your business as it places your brand front-and-center during the search process, which is great for driving brand awareness. Furthermore, being on the first SERP means that you’ll be getting more conversions, as most searchers don’t make it past the first page.
Even without searchers clicking on your ad, having your site on top of the SERP helps you build an online presence in real-time This makes paid search a great tool for when you want to instantly reach customers who are actively searching to buy something.
Paid advertising gives you more traffic.
There’s a tendency for people to correlate the efficiency of paid search with its direct opposite - organic search - especially when a site is already ranking organically at the same time that its paid search campaigns are giving the business a significant return on investment (ROI).
While paid ads and search engine optimization (SEO) complement one another, it’s a different case if you’re a startup trying to build an online reputation for your website. Between the two methods of marketing, it’s far easier (although potentially more expensive) to get on the front page.
So if your site isn’t ranking yet for SEO keywords, you’d do well to try out some paid search engine marketing first.
Paid search allows for conversion tracking and detailed data analytics.
Monitoring campaigns is a crucial ingredient to your marketing success. With paid search, you get access to detailed data analytics about your prospects such as their geographical information, the device they’re using to search the web, and the pages they viewed when they visited your site.
These types of information can help you determine if your ads are getting you enough leads to nurture and eventually convert or if your ad spend is where it should be. When you know how your campaigns are performing, you can take proactive measures to enhance the quality of your ads.
You have granular control over your marketing budget.
As an advertiser, you’ll want to make sure that you’re spending your budget wisely. The good news is that you can tailor your paid search advertising campaigns based on how much you’re willing to spend overall.
There’s virtually no minimum budget required in paid search advertising, and it’s up to you how you’ll set up your daily and monthly spend to help you stay within your means.
Obviously, if you’re operating a local business, it would make more sense if you kept a low profile in your campaigns. This means concentrating on your geographical area and a small set of keywords instead of bidding for ads meant for international audiences.
The Problems with Paid Search
Search ads are non-visual.
Today’s consumers find visual content highly engaging. Unfortunately, search ads - being text based - lack in visual elements that might reel them in to your campaign. This is true, especially if you belong to the retail industry where you want to be able to offer product visuals for better click rates.
Search ads don’t have a viral quality to them.
Unlike social media advertising, which thrives on content sharing, paid advertising has limited value for companies that are trying to get their brand name beyond their target market.
With search advertising, people have no way of sharing your ads across online platforms. This means you can’t really depend on your audience to help spread the word of your search ad.
It costs money to make money.
In paid search marketing, you have to pay each time a user clicks on your ad. Pricing varies depending on the competition in your industry as well as the algorithms that a particular search engine has set up.
As the most widely used search engine in the land, Google uses dynamic rank scoring to encourage advertisers to meet its standards for . Thus, you have to do a balancing act of making a competitive bid and developing high-quality ads before you could get a prime spot on the SERP.
Making the Case for Paid Search Advertising
There are many things to love about paid search advertising, including the quality of leads that you get – users in the information search stage show significant intent. Apart from making your brand known to serious buyers, there’s also a lot of good in showing your ads at the right place at the same exact time that someone is shopping for options.
Still, paid advertising does not come without limitations, especially in terms price and audience appeal. Knowing the drawbacks will help you understand what SEM can and cannot do, which is critical for making the right business decisions.
All things considered, you should make a thorough assessment of what type of search ad campaigns can support your business objectives. Not all campaigns are created equal and it’s up to you customize one that drives significant growth for your brand.