The Importance of Paid Advertising and SEM For Any Business Today
Everyone knows that for a business or enterprise to be successful in today’s digital world, it will need to implement an effective digital marketing strategy. We have already talked about some aspects of this in our previous blog posts. We gave you a couple of tips to boost your digital marketing strategy, and we also emphasized the importance of inbound marketing as representing nothing short of a paradigm shift in contemporary marketing strategies. Today we will talk about another element which is an essential complement to a solid inbound marketing strategy: paid advertising.
The Different Kinds of Paid Advertising
There are several avenues where you can pay for advertisements and these work in different ways. In principle, display ads and social media ads are somewhat similar to the traditional forms of paid advertisement that still appear in traditional media: one has to purchase ad spots in order to attract potential clients (which in this case amounts to internet traffic). Display ads, the original form of online advertisement, are simply ads that appear on third party websites in the form of popups, banners, floating banners, and videos. In their most simple form, they work similarly to the ads in newspapers and magazines: you (or a marketing agency) chooses a third party website with a similar audience as the one you want to target and you pay to get visibility there.
However, this form of ‘static’ targeting is becoming increasingly outdated over the last decade in light of new algorithmic technologies for consumer targeting. One of the most successful targeting techniques nowadays (which we all know very well by now) was first implemented by social media platforms such as Facebook ads and Instagram. It consists in collecting and processing massive amounts of data about the preferences and behaviour of their users, which are then offered as highly curated audience segmentation tools which you can use to target your desired audience in a very precise and fine-grained way.
Another key tactic for consumer targeting today is that of retargeting. Retargeting involves collecting cookies from users’ browsers when they visit a webpage, and then using those cookies to follow them around the internet showing them ads from said webpage. Remember that time you visited the Nike website to look at trainers and now you keep getting Nike ads on other sites? That is retargeting in a nutshell. Due to its somewhat invasive nature, retargeting has been the focus of criticism in certain quarters, which is now evident in the fact that nowadays many webpages ask or notify you before collecting your cookies. Going back to our blog post on the topic of inbound marketing, perhaps we could say that retargeting is still somewhat tied to the strategies and general ethos of traditional outbound marketing.
Another kind of online paid advertising which is prevalent nowadays is Search Engine Advertising (also known as Search Engine Marketing, or SEM). As we know, search engines have become an essential part of everyday life and one of the main venues through which consumers connect with businesses and service providers. Before talking a bit more about SEM, let’s briefly look at some numbers.
The Competition in Search Engine Results
Research has shown the great importance of being well placed in search engine results. According to the Search Engine Journal, the first result in a Google search has a 25% click-through rate (CTR), which basically means that 25% of people who search for something will choose to click on the very first link that is shown to them. The CTR falls steeply from here on in: the third result has an 11% CTR, while the eighth only achieves a 3.2% CTR. The average user rarely ventures into the second page of results, which means that the links unfortunate enough to have been pushed all the way down there have to settle with CTR percentages lower than 1%. Considering that using the default settings a Google search will only display 10 results in the first page, this means that having your link displayed in this dreaded second page is really not that hard!
This might not be such a big problem when we are talking about websites that will be searched for by a very specific audience (the website of a university, for example). However, when it comes to businesses which depend on making their website visible as an essential part of their marketing strategy, being well placed in search engine results makes all the difference in the world. The competition for those first spots in search engine results is fierce, and you will want to put in all of the effort to reach them.
SEO and Pay-per-click (PPC)
There are two ways in which you can manage to climb up to the first page in search engine results. The first of them is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which happens to be one of the main pillars of any solid digital inbound marketing strategy today. Search engines rank web pages by quality, content, and click-through rate, and will use this ranking to decide which relevant pages will be shown first in every specific search. Getting a good ranking and visibility in organic search results requires expertise in SEO, which implies designing and implementing things such as keyword optimization, site content, user experience, and schema markup. Ranking factors change constantly, so this expertise is a must in order to stay ahead of the game.
SEO is not part of paid advertisement in a strict sense. Although for a web page owner an SEO strategy implies an investment, the ranking itself is done automatically by the search engine and will depend entirely on the craftsmanship of the SEO designer rather than, say, paying Google directly. This latter option is another strategy entirely which is called cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC). PPC is an efficient way to quickly bypass the strenuous competition for organic ranking and to achieve immediate visibility in the first search results.
As its name suggests, PPC consists of a quota which is only paid whenever people click on your ads, and you can usually place a limit on the number of clicks you are willing to pay for in order to maintain a budget. However, PPC does come at a higher price since the price of each click is dynamically determined by the demand of the desired keywords. Bidding for the first places in the most sought-for keywords can be quite pricey. To give yourself an idea, you can take a look at the three most expensive keywords in Google Ads: “Business Services”, “Bail Bonds” and “Casino” have an average PPC cost of 56 USD. This means that the top bidders for this keyword have to pay Google 5,600 USD for every 100 clicks on their webpage! This, however, is an extreme example. Bidding for a more specific key phrase such as “Pet shops in Sidney” will have a much more viable PPC cost for a smaller bidding budget.
Make the Most of Paid Advertising With Wombat Digital
Whether you want to pay for places in traditional banner ads, bid for keywords in Google Ads or Facebook ads, or develop a holistic SEO strategy to improve your organic ranking in search engines, Wombat has you covered. We can offer you a wide range of options and digital tools to enhance the visibility, design, and content of your website—or even to create a website from scratch. Get in touch with us and book a 30 minute consultation for no cost!