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Now alongside organic search and SEO, the other part of the search mix is paid search, also known as PPC. It's mainly a closing channel and it's an inbound channel. It's a core inbound channel as searchers are literally telling Google what they want and, as a result, they will be central to your conversion strategy. They're asking Google for a solution and you need to give them the correct answer to take them to the next stage.

Closing channel

And, when thinking about your PPC, you should always have sales and conversion outcomes in mind because, when investing in PPC, it's really possible to see a direct return on investment as it is typically the channel that is the step before the person converts. So, it is a highly relevant closing channel, but it can be expensive.

Measuring conversions

So it's essential to measure the impact in terms of ROI just to justify the spend and performance to the people who are paying the bills and putting it in the media mix. Now, just to note, while the main PPC channel in the western world is Google Ads, the landscape is different in different markets. So, for example, in China, it's Badoo. And, in Japan, for example, we've got a really high prevalence of Yahoo! So, the main PPC channel that you choose will be dependent on the market that you're operating in. Just a consideration for everyone before we proceed.

Now even though PPC is fairly easy to measure using conversion metrics, it's important to recognize that they're not the only metrics we can use to measure performance. There are other metrics available to us on platforms like Google Ads. These are things like impression-assisted conversions or click-assisted conversions, which shows us how certain keywords assist in driving conversion during these true consideration searches and different things like that. It's not always about the last click.

Brand searches

Another way actually to measure success with paid search is to note any increases in brand search. In essence, there's only a limited number of people actually looking for your brand at any one time. That's just who's looking for your brand and it doesn't really change unless you do some traditional advertising, or some PR, some promotion, or awareness-driving activity like online display, or video, maybe some social media. This drives more people to search for you. As a result, it disrupts the market and any increases in brand search can be a result of activity in other consideration channels.

Brand searches are really valuable because they tend to have higher conversion rates, lower cost per click, and lower cost per conversion, because people are actually looking for you. And more than likely they're going to take action versus those highly competitive, generic searches, or non-brand searches where everyone is bidding on it, and it's much higher cost.

So, this would be an example of assisting and closing channels working together to drive results. We have those assisting channels which increase the number of people who are looking for a brand in our PPC and that ultimately leads to better results from the entire campaign.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Digital Channels
    Cathal Melinn
    Skills Expert

    This module opens with a comprehensive overview of channel planning including the challenges this presents to marketers. It covers inbound and outbound strategies, cross media planning, the digital channel mix, and mobile marketing. Next, the module dives deeper into key topics related to each of the channels, covering social media marketing and content marketing strategy, search engine marketing, SEO, conversion rate optimization, and paid search, email and affiliate marketing, and display and video advertising, including ad formats and creative.