Paid search marketing is known in the marketing and advertising industry by many different names (and abbreviations).
Search engine marketing (SEM, which can include SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), search engine advertising, sponsored listings… the list goes on. And that’s before you start to involve the names of specific advertising programs and ad types, such as Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), Google Product Listing Ads, Google Shopping Ads, and Bing Ads.
The biggest benefit of paid search is your company’s appearance at the top of the search engine results page. While it’s always possible to improve your organic search strategy in an attempt to rank in position 1 – or position 0, with a featured snippet – on the SERP, paid search will guarantee it. This is all the more important on mobile, where a smaller screen means that increasing amounts of real estate are given over to sponsored results.
If you have enough investment, PPC is the fastest way to get to the top. If you know your way around the platform, you can set up a PPC campaign in less than an hour and appear immediately in the sponsored results.
Tracking is also a lot easier using search marketing. You no longer have to take a gamble on ads you’ve paid for in advance in other media, with little way to measure how successful they are. With paid search, every ad, keyword, and penny spent can be tracked, allowing for a more accurate ROI. This also means it’s a lot easier for an advertiser to test campaigns too.
All of this, along with access to each search engine’s affiliate network websites and products, and the ability to schedule ads and target them to specific locations and times, makes paid search an essential part of your marketing strategy.
Although it seems like marketing is increasingly “pay to play”, there is a lot to be gained from a savvy organic marketing strategy, whether that be search engine optimization (SEO) or social media campaigns.