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The Marketing Edge - Understanding paid search advertisements

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Paid search advertisements are a form of marketing within the sponsored listings of a search engine. These can be charged in one of two ways: by paying each time your ad is clicked or each time your ad is displayed. Pay-per-click, also known as PPC, is the most common form of paid search advertising and charges advertisers each time their ads are clicked, while cost-per-impression charges advertisers each time their ad is displayed.

Paid search advertisements are an effective way to market your business online, but if you’re not sure how they work, how to set them up or how to track their effectiveness, this is for you! 

Here are the three key points to know:

What are paid search advertisements?

Paid search ads are usually called pay-per-click or PPC, and they fall under the umbrella of search engine marketing (SEM). Their main purpose if to drive traffic to your website and increase your sales.

Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay the search engine a fee. When the method works correctly, the fee itself is of no consequence because you recoup the loss by selling a product or service. The cost of these ads is often referred to as “cost-per-click.”

Cost-per-impression stands for the cost per the number of times a person sees your advertisement. Some choose to use this form of paid search advertisements as well, mostly for brand awareness initiatives.

How do I set them up?

Setting up a pay-per-click campaign starts with considering what you want to achieve. Do you want more people to see your website? Do you want to increase sales of a particular product or start building an email list by soliciting subscribers? These goals are important to consider before you start, because you should select keywords that are related to them.

Next you should decide where exactly you want to advertise. Google, Yahoo and Bing all have advertising options. Google’s is called “Google AdWords,” Yahoo’s is “Yahoo! Gemini” and Bing’s is simply “Bing Ads.” To answer this question, determine what platform your main audience searches with online. Once you’ve decided which you’d like to use, you’ll need to create an account and select keywords. When selecting these keywords, make sure you keep in mind what a person might type into a search bar when they’re looking for your product or service or something similar to it. When selecting keywords, you also want to be as specific as possible so that you don’t waste money on unqualified clicks. If you need help, you can use a keyword planner. AdWords has one, and they’re relatively simple to use. These planners make it easier for you to create new campaigns.

After selecting keywords, categorize them into specific ad groups to help the search engine segment and index your terms. This practice will help the search engine determine your ad’s relevance. Within each ad group, create a unique ad that summarizes your services or products and provides a clear call-to-action. There are text limits, so be selective with your language. Once the ad groups and keywords are in place you can add additional information about your business such as location, store hours, and any third party awards.

You’ll have to bid on certain keywords and select your budget, then write your advertisements and link to a landing page on your website. Finally, you can activate your advertisements and wait to see how effective they are.

How do I know if they’re effective?

Yahoo! Gemini and Google AdWords both come with insights tools to help you track who is clicking on your ads, what devices they’re using, time spent on your site and more. If your advertisements aren’t performing as well as you’d like, consider changing your keywords or adding to your budget to help reach more people.

Paid search advertising isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Try it out for your own business and see what it can do for you.

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