Ding ding! Let the bout begin. There’s a wrestling match for your ad dollars going on right now. The players — media giants Facebook and Google — are working up a sweat over who will command a greater share of paid media ad spend. SEMPO estimates that the North American search marketing industry will reach a value of nearly $23 billion by the end of 2012, up from $19.3 billion in 2011, a nearly 19 percent increase.
Google AdWords is the company’s main source of revenue. In its Q2 earnings report, Google reported ad revenue of $10.96 billion, a 21 percent increase over last year, while Facebook reported $992 million in advertising revenue for Q2 2012. Add Yahoo! and Twitter paid media to the melee, and it’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out contest.
Rising ad revenues reflect the confidence many advertisers have in paid media. Clearly many consumers are clicking on sponsored listings and many companies are putting their ad spend into paid search because they know the return is there. For one simple reason: advertising does not get any more targeted than PPC.
Control Ad Spend and Results
With paid media you’re in control. Companies in all industries choose paid media (a combination of paid search and display) because it offers the ability to monitor and manage lead generation, customer acquisition, ad spend, brand awareness, volume and timing. Paid media’s ability to deliver and scale a brand’s message to the right people at the right time is unmatched by any other form of advertising.
PPC and display are commonly used to generate leads, website traffic, online sales revenue and brand/product awareness with measurable ROI. Sophisticated techniques like creating ad groups, writing targeted copy, split testing landing pages and using matching options can boost results even further. But there are even more ways paid media’s potential can be extended. The most successful campaigns are designed to work across display, paid and organic search, and social media for an integrated strategic approach.
Navigate the Digital Engagement Path
The journey that Internet users take from awareness to purchase is now a multi-touch journey. From the initial search, a consumer will visit company websites, read reviews on blogs or consumer sites, subscribe to newsletters, watch a YouTube video, visit a brand Facebook page, see a banner ad, see a retargeted banner ad, conduct additional searches with refined terms, look for a coupon or a discount – all before making a purchase decision. The traditional marketing funnel has been upended and a buying process can now take weeks or even months. The challenge for today’s online marketers is to understand how these channels overlap and how to capitalize on those points of integration.
PPC and SEO
Coordinating paid search (PPC) and organic search (SEO) with complementary efforts will yield the best results. Businesses with high rankings and multiple listings on the organic side generate trust and reinforce ads on the paid side. PPC’s quick ramp-up time can fill empty sales pipelines or promote seasonal or time-sensitive sales while SEO meets longer-term objectives. And PPC offers numerous targeting advantages, such as the ability to display for competitive terms that are difficult or impossible to rank for in natural search results.
Take action: Analyze your PPC conversion data to find out which keywords, ad copy and calls to action drive traffic and convert before committing to an SEO keyphrase strategy.
PPC and Social
Social PPC is taking off as marketers realize how it can be used to reach highly targeted audiences and a specific type of consumer. Word in the street is that Facebook is doing a better job than Google in getting searchers to click on advertising based on browsing history. Facebook Exchange, the real-time bidding system that allows advertisers to compete to deliver ads once a user’s browsing history matches a marketer’s profile, generates as much as four times the return on ad dollars than other real-time bidding systems according to one of the partners that makes software tools to help Facebook deliver the ads.
Take action: Tap into users’ browsing habits and use real-time bidding to deliver relevant ads to interested consumers.
PPC and Local
Search queries are becoming increasingly more location-specific as we become more sophisticated search engine users, with 73 percent of online activity related to local content (according to Google). In response, local and national marketers must develop strategic plans for incorporating local search into their campaigns. Google AdWords Express (formerly Google Boost) helps advertise local businesses on Google Search, Google Maps, and mobile devices. Integrating local and national search with PPC is critical to influence both online and offline buyers.
Take action: Optimize your local business listing with phone number, images or custom details like video or coupons and use PPC to drive local searchers to your site.
PPC and Mobile
Local search is also helping mobile PPC get traction as consumers search on-the-go for local businesses. Mobile search fills the ever-growing demand for immediate information. Creating a mobile version of your site is critical for a positive user experience. Even better, setting up separate PPC mobile campaigns and ad groups with mobile-specific messaging, keywords and bids will endear you to these highly demanding and sophisticated consumers.
Take action: Engage smartphone and tablet users with mobile-friendly PPC advertising and landing pages.
Don’t treat paid media as a stand-alone effort. The best campaigns combine a performance-driven approach with deep customer insight and segmentation for maximum campaign control, minimum bid requirements, full campaign transparency and optimal results. Integrating PPC and display with SEO, social, local and mobile will help you boost your brand and engage consumers at every step of the digital engagement path.