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We begin with a quick definition of paid search, which is advertising within the search results on Google or Bing or Yahoo! and only paying when the user clicks. This is the cost-per-click (CPC) model.
But ultimately, paid search advertising means advertising within search results and you only pay for that click. So when the user searches, you don’t actually pay for the ad to be shown. It’s only if they decide to click, so you can see that there’s value in that. There’s value in the traffic that it’s driving.
And ultimately, paid search advertising offers a way to deliver online ads based on what the user is looking for. This is a key difference, a key difference with paid search versus any other type of advertising in that it’s what the user is actually looking for, not what you, the brand, are pushing out to them. It’s them coming to you with a need or a want and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. So that is what we call search intent.
Intent is the driver of paid search, and it is effective because it matches what the person is looking for with the relevant ad and then driving them to the landing page, your landing page, or your clients’ landing page to take that valuable action – a purchase, a download, whatever it may be. And therefore, it’s so valuable in that regard.
Pricing is essential because, unlike organic search (which is the free), with paid search, you must pay for it. And the pricing model for it is called pay per click (PPC). You only pay for that click. And now PPC is also a synonym. It’s used quite regularly and interchangeably with paid search. So people just talk about PPC and they’ll mean paid search.
But it is the pricing model, too. In simple terms, paid search advertising is a way of getting your product or service in front of the most relevant people because these are people who are actively looking for your product. They’re looking for those searches with those keywords. And by choosing the types of keywords that relate to what they need and what you can offer, you drive into their search intent and ultimately answer their need with your ad and open to your product.
There are three main elements of any paid search campaign.
The cornerstone of everything to do a paid search is your keywords. This is what someone types into Google or Bing, or whatever. And you have to build a list of keywords that relate to what users might type in based on your product offering. So, if you’re an airline, you’d bid on keywords around flights to New York or something like that. When a user has that need, they’ll go to a search engine. They’ll type a query into Bing, which fires your keyword and then answers it with an ad. So the ad itself is your response to the user asking a question to Google. Your ad isn’t in isolation.
There’ll be a lot of other ads in the mix there, too. Everyone is doing paid search. So when someone asks that question, you will be weighed up against all of the other options in the results page. When you’ve written a good ad with a good offer and on a directional call to action, the user hopefully will click on your ad. And then that drives them to the landing page.
The landing page is the last step in that journey.
So just to recap:
But that journey starts with the keyword, moves to ads, and then finishes on landing pages.
As we progress through this module, we’ll talk about advances around how we can build out keywords, different enhancements for ads, and best practices around landing pages, too.Back to Top
Cathal Melinn is a digital strategist, lecturer, and trainer. He has over 15 years’ experience in eCommerce, social media, affiliate marketing, data analytics, and all things digital. He worked at Yahoo! Search in 2005 as a Senior Search Strategist for the UK Financial Services vertical. He moved to the world of agency in 2010 as Head of Search and Online Media. Cathal’s previous clients include Apple, Vodafone, Expedia, Virgin, Universal Music Group, Amazon, Compare the Market, and HSBC.
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module begins with the key concepts of paid search and demonstrates how to set up a Google Ads account and create a paid search campaign. It explains how to manage a paid search campaign budget effectively and outlines the different methods that can be used to optimize your paid search campaign. It also covers how to measure and report on the success of a paid search campaign.
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