Thursday 2/19: Paid Search: a.k.a. PPC or Search Engine Marketing

Sponsored ads, you’ve seen them before, usually lingering to the side of a webpage or sometimes disguising themselves as the top hit for whatever you just searched for. Paid advertisements are usually tailored to what you are searching for at that moment or have searched for recently, and from time to time can feel like an invasion of privacy. (But then again, privacy is a loose term in this day and age)

In the past, I had often ignored these paid ads, especially if they were on a webpage other than Google search results. I simply thought that since any old ad could be placed there, why would one that is displaying what I just searched for be worth a click? After all, they were just feeding off my browser’s cookies. I often chose to ignore the paid ads that show up at the top of search results as well. Even if the ad took me to the very same place as the top result. I guess it was just my way of fighting the establishment.

Now, as I dive deeper into the world of digital marketing, I can see the error of my ways. It turns out that companies actually pay good money to put those ads out there, and by not clicking on them, I was actually robbing my fellow digital marketers from not only clicks, but valuable analytical data as well.

Paid advertisements are a great way for businesses to reach a greater number of consumers, especially if that business isn’t exactly performing well with organic searches. A business should engineer their paid ads to reflect what the majority of their customers are searching for. So that when an organic search is made using those keywords, your ad will rank highly and be one of the first things the searcher will see, even if organic searches usually exclude you.

Even though paid advertisements are a great way to increase traffic and conversions to your business, they aren’t exactly the most popular things amongst Internet searchers. In fact, according to Hubspot only about 30% of people are likely to click on paid advertisements. So it would appear to me that many people feel the same way that I used to. They likely see these ads as slightly invasive and almost to perfect to be worth a click, but perhaps if more people realize that these ads likely take them to where they want to go, we can increase just how effective they are.