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A Beginner’s Guide to Paid Search Campaigns

Being online is now as unremarkable a part of life as watching TV or driving around town. On average, people will spend hours every day on all of those things, and the actual event isn’t worth mentioning. This is what makes digital marketing such a fantastic opportunity for brands who want to get closer to their audience. With digital marketing, they’ll get to share the same online space as their community without it ever seeming like they’re trying to force things. 

This is what digital marketing is all about, and it encompasses everything that organizations do to connect with current and potential customers. Here, we’re going to look at the largest element of digital marketing: paid search. 

What is paid search?

Paid search has a number of different elements but can ultimately be boiled down to paying a search engine to put you at the top of the list for a certain word or phrase related to your business. 

For example:

Billy’s Sportswear specializes in selling hiking boots in the busy nature-trail town of Madeupville, Colorado. Their marketing department recognizes that as most potential customers are not from the area (they already have appropriate footwear), their shop needs to be getting in front of the eyeballs of people who are visiting, which they’ve heard from the local tourist office is about 50,000 people a year.

They set up a Google Ads account and start a campaign using the keywords “hiking boots” and focusing on their geographical area. Now, when someone in the Madeupville metro area enters “hiking boots” into Google, Billy’s Sportswear comes up at the top of the page. When someone clicks through to their website from the ad, Google is paid a pre-agreed amount, which is known as the Cost Per Click (CPC).

As can be seen from this basic example, paid search advertising has the power to massively transform a business’ success, which is why it has also become the most significant area of marketing spend in the world. Paid search accounted for over 1/5 of all advertising spending in 2018, coming in at around $100 billion with that number growing about 10% per year

What you need to know before starting a paid search campaign

As there’s a lot of terminology, targeting, and metrics to understand, getting a paid search campaign underway can be a bit daunting. Apart from enlisting help from some experts in the field, there are many other tips that can make your campaign a success.

Understand what you want

The simple answer might be obvious (more customers), but the reality is that paid search advertising can perform a wide variety of marketing roles so “more customers” might not necessarily be right for you. For example, with a Google campaign, you can set the goals as being Leads, Sales, or Website traffic. It’s worth taking the time to evaluate and plan what’s the best use of your marketing dollars and what you want to achieve with the campaign.

Set your bar for success

Once you know what you are looking to achieve with your paid search campaign, it’s important to establish what will be viewed as a success. For example, if your site gets 10,000 visitors a month, then higher click through rates of 1,000 or 1,500 will represent a 10% – 15% increase in visitors. 

Aligning your business goals with your marketing plans is a sensible plan in any situation, but with digital marketing, it can also help to track progress and understand what can actually be achieved.

Take time to understand keywords

One of the most common words in paid search and all Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is “keywords.” These are the words that people type into their search bar. In the example above, it was “hiking boots” but it can be any and all words related to your business. 

The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to rank highly for the keywords on the first page of results (which 90% of people never look beyond), but with paid search you skip the hassle of having to optimize your page and can rank on Page 1 right away in the ads section. 

When starting your campaign, Google Ads will give you information on the keywords related to your business, such as how often they are searched for, how much it costs per click to claim a paid search spot, or what the level of competition is like for that word.

Implement a holistic approach

While it is possible to just pay to be displayed on the top of Google’s results page and leave it at that, it is obviously also a good plan to back this up with efforts based around the campaign. 

For Billy’s Sportswear this might include a landing page (i.e. where the user goes after they click the paid search ad) dedicated to “hiking boots” or making sure that there are plenty of quality blogs and content related to the subject on their website. It is also important to utilize Ad Extensions, which are opportunities that Google provides to offer more information about your business which can improve your click through rates.

Keep user experience in mind

Not only does this thinking make sense from a marketing perspective, e.g. people searching for “hiking boots” being sent directly to the page that sells them, but Google also rates the user experience of ads with a Quality Score

Watch your quality score 

Google’s goal is to constantly improve the chances of users finding exactly what they are looking for with as much ease as possible. The Quality Score that they advertisers thus measures their users’ experience through metrics like expected click through rates, the quality of your landing page, and how relevant your ads and pages are to users. The better this score, the more favorably Google will treat your ads, including through lower prices and better positions.

Paid search advertising is a huge area with many niches, metrics, and strategies for achieving the best for your business, all of which can be a bit overwhelming. Yet, it’s also absolutely unavoidable for basically any organization. That’s why, when it comes to planning and executing campaigns, a good place to start is with a team of experts in the field, who know exactly how to walk you through a new campaign. Bloom Ads is full of just those type of people, who know precisely what you need to maximize your ROI on your marketing spend.  Get in touch with us here.

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