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Think about the last time you Googled something. Do you remember what came up? If you search “tire deals,” do the first results that show up have a little green box next to their URL that says “Ad”? Why did those results display first? Why are they more prominent above Google maps displaying locations or other search results below? Welcome to paid search and search engine marketing 101!
So what is paid search?
Paid search is a part of search engine marketing or SEM. One type of paid search we will focus on is pay-per-click (PPC). Now you’re probably wondering, “Where does SEO tie into this?” We’ll get to that later, but SEO and PPC are both key components on your search engine visibility. If this seems like information overload, no worries, we will break it down. Let’s start with Google’s platform for PPC.
Google’s paid search platform is called AdWords. AdWords provides the largest amount of ROI by helping you build the most targeted pay-per-click campaigns that are most relevant to what people are actually searching for. Using a bidding system that uses keywords to display your ads to users, AdWords offers great potential for driving traffic and leads to your small business. The more targeted, specific, and relevant your ads are, the better their performance and your business’ ROI will be.
According to top PPC agency, PowerTraffick, on average businesses make $3 in revenue for every $1.60 spent on AdWords. WordStream statistics show the average cost per click in AdWords for all industries is $2.32, where the average cost for the automotive industry is $1.43. These statistics provide an average cost, however, every business within the automotive industry is different. Location, demographics in the area targeted, population, business size, and the current recognition of your brand can affect the cost and customization of your PPC campaign.
What about the rate of people who actually click on ads? How do we know that they are effective? A common term used in paid search is “click-through rate” or CTR. CTR is the percentage of people visiting a web page who accessed a hypertext link attached to a particular advertisement. CTR varies from industry to industry and from PPC client to PPC client. For example, at Net Driven, we focus part of our PPC strategy on optimizing your CTR so that you get more relevant clicks on your ads.
PPC ads assure that your business will appear on the digital screens of those who search in your chosen radius. It’s based on the settings you choose. That’s right, YOU choose who to target. That way ads show up in searches for certain geographic areas. Want to target a specific city or township, a certain state, a specific zip code, or maybe all of them? With paid search YOU are in control. This can sound intimidating, we know. With Net Driven, you're in good hands. We work directly with Google to put together the best campaign for your business and make recommendations based on real data and best practices. Ultimately, it's your call, but we are here to help guide you every step of the way.
Specific keywords are then chosen to trigger your ad in searches. Do you sell tires in the zip code 11101? The keywords “tire” and “sales” can be chosen for your business’ zip code. If anyone searches for the keywords that you've chosen in your selected areas, your ad will appear! But how do you know what keywords to target?! Don't worry, at Net Driven we work with Google to do keyword research and find the best possible keywords for your unique business. Remember, our goal is to make it both easy and successful.
The more relevant your keywords and locations are, the better results your campaign will have, but the specifics don’t stop there! You can take your ad targeting to the next level. Want your ads to appear in search during a particular season, only during the week, only while your business is open, or only on certain devices? Creating a custom ad schedule reaps many benefits for your business, your brand recognition, and your brand recall. Having the ability to target so specifically gives you all the power and can help you manage the results of your campaign more effectively.
Traditional media advertising gives a business or brand mass exposure. You can pay for a television ad that shows off the top-rated tires your business sells, but who is watching that ad? Drivers and non-drivers alike! Everyone in every age group may see your ad and while it’s good exposure you might be wasting your time and money blanket targeting instead of targeting only qualified prospects.
Every time someone who does not drive or own a vehicle watches your television spot, your time and money are going down the drain. With paid search, your ads are controlled and positioned to target people who are looking specifically for what your business has to offer, in the specific area that you service. Also, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Gone are the days of spending tons of money and wondering if you got any results. Google AdWords allows you to get detailed reporting, showing you exactly what you're getting in return or your investment.
Your advertising messages are also more real-time and targeted with PPC, delivering calls to action in the most effective way. It’s easy to find out what's performing well in searches through measurements based on conversions to your website or social media pages. These measurements also tell you what isn’t working out for your brand’s paid search methods, so you can change your settings to perform better and perfect your campaign over time.
Every year advertisers in the United States spend upwards of $12 billion on paid search. This includes more than $8 million per month being spent on Google AdWords alone. Google AdWords or other forms of paid search are essential for online marketing strategies. This advertising tactic will complement your brand’s SEO efforts.
PPC has become a crucial part of online marketing strategies and is here to stay. PowerTraffick states that PPC had a “12% year-on grew-year in the fourth-quarter of 2015 and that number is expected to double by the same fiscal quarter in 2016-2017.”
Remember how we mentioned that paid search complements your SEO efforts? PPC can affect your online presence, increasing both paid and organic traffic to your website. Each time your ad shows, you’re reinforcing your brand and making it easier to recall and recognize. When your SEO is strong too, you’re putting yourself into the forefront of a searcher’s experience. Plus, you can put your PPC campaign to work for your SEO if you use SEO-friendly text on your PPC landing pages or create content to drive your PPC leads. As long as search engines can see that content, you have more chances to rank in the search engines.
The relationship between SEO and PPC is like salt and pepper; they work well together, but one doesn’t necessarily affect the other drastically. Paying more for AdWords will not necessarily make your business rank higher, but having a PPC-SEO buddy system within your online marketing strategy will push the overall results you are looking for. PPC provides more search engine real estate for your brand, giving a well-ranked site an additional boost (and more space on the results page!). PPC results are also immediate and more directly measurable, which is a bit of a difference from SEO. When using PPC and SEO together, you can see both long and short-term gains for your business.
When it comes to paid search marketing, it’s generally recommended that businesses hire a PPC professional to manage campaigns. Hiring a professional will save your business valuable time and money. It’s common for business owners who are unfamiliar with paid search to begin using it, have a bad experience with it, and then never want to use it again, which means they miss out on the revenue it could bring. If you want to start your paid search campaign, choose the right path and speak with a PPC professional about your options. We’re here to help!
Do you have interest in starting your PPC and AdWords journey within the automotive industry? We have something in store for you! Our cost-effective SEM product,TurboClick, manages your business’ PPC advertising on Google search pages through Google AdWords. We are a Google Partner and have Certified Google AdWords Specialists on staff, ready to help you succeed. If you want to get started with PPC, talk to your Account Manager about TurboClick and how we can drive your business online.