Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be defined as the deliberate Internet marketing action taken by a business or marketers in order to increase a brand’s visibility through search engines.
Like any form of marketing, online advertising is not for every business, but it offers a number of advantages over other forms of advertising.
In today’s environment where dollars are tight, every dollar spent on advertising matters more than ever. Everything with paid search can be measured based on conversions (e.g. lead gen, sale) down to the ad and keyword levels so that you know exactly what’s working and what’s not performing.
Whether you want to reach potential clients in your own backyard or halfway across the world, you can target searchers down to their city level location (although that level of pay per click targeting works better in North America than other parts of the world). Choose to target a radius around a postcode, metro area, state, country, or add in regions of interest.
The levels of control over paid search with platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads are truly astonishing, giving you control over:
- What keyword searches trigger your ad
- Physical location of the searcher (geotargeting)
- Time of day
- Day of week / season
- Device type (e.g. computer vs. smart device – even by which type of phone)
- Network (e.g. Google only or its Search or Display Networks)
- Ad position
Pay Per Action
Paid search is commonly referred to as pay per click (PPC) advertising because the most common form of ad buy with paid search is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. We like to refer to traffic from paid search as “doubly targeted” because the person has to:
- Type in something related to what you sell, and
- Look at all the information on the screen before deciding to click on your ad because they expect it to provide the information they seeks.
The benefit of only paying when someone clicks on your ad in the ‘pay per click’ model is that you get all the additional views of your ad and company name for free. This is just one reason that makes paid search particularly valuable for branding campaigns.
Simply, It Works
The single most important benefit of paid search engine marketing is just that it works. That’s why U.S. advertisers spend more than $15 billion per year on paid search marketing, including advertisers spending over $10 million per month on Google AdWords alone.