As mentioned in our previous blog, one of the most common ways to reach as many people as possible is through the use of search engines. Whether this is embedding keywords into a website or, in this articles’ focus, the use of paid advertising campaigns, firms need to execute a balanced strategy using as many tools as possible to obtain positive returns on investments. In this article, we are going to explore how paid search engine advertising can be used to get the word out to potential customers/clients/guests, in addition to the benefits and drawbacks.
Fundamental Knowledge of Paid Search Engine Advertising
Creating paid advertisement campaigns are similar in nature to ones that are trying to find their spots within a search engine. However, the difference ultimately lies in the location of the ads. In most cases, any paid advertisements relevant to the search that a user initiates will show paid advertisements at or near the top of the first page of any result query. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is different than Search Engine Optimization because companies pay to have their ad displayed prominently in key locations on a site, versus the hope that it lands on top in a search inquiry (Wordstream.com, 2018). Similar to that point, when going to the grocery store, you will see name-brand merchandise located towards the front of an aisle, whereas generics are tucked in the middle or closer to the back of an aisle (Warling, 2017).
Two of the most common terms that you will see with respect to paid advertising are paid-per-click (PPC), and cost-per-impression (CPI). PPC occurs when a person views a specific advertisement and clicks on it to be redirected to the target’s website. To further understand this process, consider the annoying automated voice that answers the phone when you try to call your bank, you’ll often have to wait for the voice to redirect your call to the appropriate party; PPC is similar in nature. Every time some clicks on the advertisement, the source (company that created the advertisement) will be charged for the click. Once a certain threshold is reached, companies are charged for those clicks (commonly on a monthly basis). This can also be referenced as cost-per-click or CPC.
CPI, on the other hand, statistically looks at the amount of impressions that occurs on one specific web page. This is measured in a thousand units, and is often referenced as CPM. Alternately, a set price is set based on the number of views that an advertisement received regardless if it is clicked or not. To keep it simple, imagine that an advertisement was viewed 10,000 times, a company may be charged $15.00 for that exposure. The deeper analysis of CPI comes into play when the advertisement is actually clicked. The click-through rate (CTR) “is the number of clicks received in relation to the total amount of impressions on the ad. If an ad gains thirty clicks per every thousand impressions, then the click-through rate is three percent” (Philip, 2018).
In order to exit out of the alphabet soup bowl as one can see above, let’s summarize the two concepts before moving on. PPC or CPC advertisements are ads where a user makes a conscious decision to review the ad and click on it. These tend to be specifically targeted to an audience – an industry, desire, brand, etc. Each time it is clicked, a firm is charged from that click (similar to a soft lead). CPI or CPM is a concept that provides an advertisement to others and the costs are based on the number of persons viewing the ad. A secondary statistic of CTR determines the percentage between how many times it was displayed and how often it was clicked.
Benefits & Drawbacks of Using Paid Advertisement Marketing
When one compares paid online advertising marketing campaigns to their traditional counterparts, there are certainly some clear advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages a firm can realize is the specificity of whom they’re trying to target (Bodell, 2018). For example, if a firm is attempting to target millennials, this is the source that will allow them to get the most exposure. More and more people are watching less television than in the past as Max Willens noted in the graphics provided in his article on Digiday.com (2017). A second advantage is in respect to scale. When looking at inverse relationships with people viewing traditional media to digital media, more people are likely to see the advertisements one shows online than in person. Third, it is easily trackable. Google, for example, provides in-depth analysis of advertisements ran through their site with respect to location, demographics, and so on. This can assist with the other benefit of being able to adjust it as needed with minimal effort required (Morris, 2017).
Though online paid marketing campaigns and advertisements can help out a company, there are some significant concerns that must be provided much in the same. Likely, the biggest downside is the hopes it may provide the business and the results that ultimately don’t come through. This may sound counterproductive, but take a moment to think about this: if one clicks on an advertisement, what is the chance that they are actually going to make a purchase? Depending on what is offered, it can be a strong result or not at all. While the clicks may come, the business may not. This leads to the second disadvantage – the cost of the clicks themselves. With PPC advertising, for example, a firm has to pay for said clicks whether a sale occurs or not. Excessive clicks quickly drive up the marketing campaign’s expenses. Once it hits a certain point, companies are likely to divert from that type of marketing. This is similar to the CPI/CPM campaigns as well (Wilson, 2015). The final downside applies to the fact that optimizing campaigns of this type can be complex and very time-consuming to perfect. Rather than having to take the time to attempt this, let Integrity MCG provide the knowledge and know-how to turn these pitfalls into higher revenues for your business now and in the future.
Paid search engine advertising (and online advertising in general) can be a complex and winding road to travel in order to achieve results that are satisfactory and sustainable. The terminology itself can certainly be hard to digest, much like a bowl of cold soup. While most advantages using this method outweigh the cons presented, the great news is that Integrity MCG can help you navigate the trail to hit your firm’s targets right on the nail. Why delay? Give us a call today!
Dr. Danielle Jenkins provides insights and tips on how to strategically run your business in the most efficient manner possible.