Search engine marketing (SEM) is the generation of website traffic by buying ads on search engines. Nowadays, due to the everyday use of search engines like Google and Yahoo, this type of marketing has proved to be quite effective and powerful.
Some of the terms that you need to know in order to use SEM are:
- CPM (cost per thousand impressions) – Some of the ads are sold on the cost of thousand method, where you pay a one-time fee for every 1000 times the ad is clicked.
- CPC (cost per click) – every click on the ad is paid
- PPC (pay per click) – similar to CPC, but you pay per click only if the audience like or need your product/service/etc. and clicks on the advertisement.
Google’s platform is without no doubt the most famous and most used paid search platform utilized by marketers. In AdWords you can choose between all of the methods stated above: CPM, CPC and PPC for your ads. You can specify it to be shown on a local, national or international searches.
The ads that are text-based and consists of one headline limited to 25 characters, another two text lines up to 35 characters and the URL that displays with 35 characters limitation.
On AdWords, you bid on certain keywords, which the users use in when they search for something. That way your ad will appear alongside their search results and you have a bigger chance for your company to be noticed and the user to visit your website.
In order to determine your ad position (if it will appear first or on another position on the list), Google uses the rank of it which is calculated with the following formula: Maximum Bid x Quality Score. Quality score is the level of relevance of your ad to the user. Factors that affect it are: CTR (click-through rate) and how relevant your keywords are.
This video is great for people just getting familiar with Google’s platform. It explains the basics of the auction functions and provides insights on how an ad’s position is determined. You can see how the system works to provide the users with only relevant results. Bid, quality and how they are used for the calculation of the ad rank is also explained.
Bing Yahoo Ads
The other search platform that employs SEM is Bing Yahoo Ads from Microsoft and Yahoo. Even though, it’s not as widely used and popular like Google’s AdWords, it still achieves effective results. It utilizes the same auction as Google’s platform which determines which ads are shown and their positions. The Ad rank is also calculated using the same formula. However they are several differences between them which compensate for the higher user reach of the AdWords platform:
- Bing and Yahoo search are connected, so your ad will appear on both engines.
- Bing lets you set a monthly budget, compared to only daily budget setting on AdWords
- Lower competition than Google which gives you higher chance of reaching your target audience.
- Lower CPC (cost-per-click) compared to AdWords = Higher ROI (Return of Investment) for your company.
Google AdWords and BingYahoo Ads have their advantages and disadvantages, but as a marketer you should be able to work with both of them and utilize these differences fully. This type of marketing has showed only growth in effectiveness recently and will continue to develop itself as the amount of internet searches by users increase with every day. If you want to be effective at your job, you should be familiar with these platforms and constantly educate yourself on new features and additions to them.