A Deep Dive Into Paid Search: The What, Why, and How

A Deep Dive Into Paid Search: The What, Why, and How

June 8, 2022
(Reading time: 8 - 15 minutes)

I am often asked whether you can do pay-per-click advertising or “Google Ads,” The answer is yes. This is usually followed by does that work. Therefore, in this post, I will discuss what is paid search marketing (as it is referred to in our industry) as clearly as possible so that you can understand the basics of this powerful marketing tool. I will also talk about the benefits you can get from paid search marketing if you do it right. In addition, I will share tips for using paid search effectively and the things that you should avoid doing when using paid search marketing.

What Is Paid Search?

Paid search is a digital marketing tool that allows marketers to get their ads shown on search engine results pages (SERPs). It is “paid” because the marketer pays money to the search engine’s owner (Google, Bing, etc.) for the service.

Specifically, you pay the search engine for every engagement your ads receive. With paid search ads, you bid for ad placement on SERPs.

Understanding Bidding Basics

For people who ask “what is Google paid search” and how do businesses bid on Google Ads, this is how to do it. 

Google Ads allows businesses to bid for their ads in many ways. So, you select the best option, depending on what matters most for your business. Your options are: 

  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Clicks 
  • Views (for YouTube video ads)

What’s your goal for paid advertising? If you offer veterinary services, maybe you want to show how your treatment procedures for pets with parvovirus or distemper.

In this case, your business may benefit from showing your procedures through YouTube ads. For this, your best option is to bid for “views.”

If you are an entrepreneur running a hiking club, perhaps you aim to entice people to sign up for your monthly newsletters. In this case, you should bid for “clicks.”

What do you want your advertisements to do? That will help you decide which among these four options is best for your business. 

Bids on Impressions

A Google Ads impression is counted every time your ad appears on a Google search result page. Each time Google displays your ad, the system counts it as one impression. 

First, you bid on a particular share percentage, which is your Impression Share goal. Say you bid for the target of 65%. This particular choice will guarantee that Google will show your ad on the topmost part of the search result page 65% of the times that your ad is set to be shown. 

With a focus on impressions only, you will pay the Google Network for every one thousand times your ad is shown and viewable to searchers. 

If you are trying to enhance your brand awareness, this type is one very good option. It also works best for businesses trying to get their logo or name in front of their target audience. 

Bids on Clicks

If your target for paid search is to attract people to engage with you on your website, then bid for “clicks.” With cost-per-click or CPC bidding, you only pay Google when a searcher visits your site after clicking on your advertisement.

When doing paid search, it is your keywords that you bid on. If your business is about HVAC services, you can bid on related local keywords, such as “North Carolina HVAC maintenance” or “NC cooling and heating service.”

According to the statistics site Statista, when choosing the best keyword phrases for any business using Google Ads, 95.88% of Google searches are at least four words. PowerTraffick says that nearly 7 out 10 have buyer intent keywords, such as purchase, buy, and shop, of all Google Ads that get clicked.

Bids on Conversions

With a bid for conversions, your first step is determining the amount you can pay for every conversion. That is the cost per action (CPA), which is the action that you want your potential clients to take on your website. 

Usually, the desired action is for sales, but depending on your goal, the desired action can be a submission of a person’s email details or signing up for monthly newsletters.

So, you specify on Google Ads your desired action, and Google will take note of that and try to come up with many conversions at the price you chose.

Bids on Views

For this type, you will do cost-per-view bidding or CPV. First, enter the maximum amount you are willing to pay for every view. For example, you set$ 0.25 as your highest bid. 

That means you will pay $0.25 or less for each time a user watches your video ad for 30 seconds. The viewing duration requirement can be less than 30 seconds, depending on the length of your video advertisement. 

You can also put interactive elements on your video ads. When the user engages with one of your interactive elements, you also pay Google for that. 

Interactive elements that you can put in your videos include: 

  • Call-to-action (CTA) overlays
  • Companion banners
  • Cards
  • Link to your website
  • Link to your mobile app

Tip: Google Ads conducts an auction each time there is available ad space on a news site, a blog, or a search result page. When you place a bid on Google Ads, the amount you bid automatically joins an ongoing auction.

Take note that the bidding is all about keywords, not your ads. Make sure that you research the best keywords to use in your ads.

What Is Paid Search

What Is PPC Advertising?

Here, I cover more details about search engine PPC or pay-per-click advertising, so you see how it goes hand in hand with paid search marketing. 

PPC advertising is a type of search engine marketing where advertisers pay a small amount for every click an ad receives. As a PPC advertiser, you pay for visits to your website instead of only ranking your ads organically.

Similar Meaning

The term PPC is synonymous with paid search marketing. The minute difference between these two terms tends to make people use them interchangeably. 

Fundamentally, “paid search” refers to all paid ads that can be placed on SERPs of Google, Bing, and other search engines. However, paid search uses the PPC model, which means that advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ads. 

PPC has grown so popular to the point that “paid search” and PPC have become synonymous in meaning. If you check PPC guides, you will see that they usually refer to PPC as sponsored search. 

That is where it becomes ambiguous. It is because PPC ads can also appear on other platforms, such as Facebook and display advertising platforms. An example of display advertising is an ad banner found on a news website. 

Low-cost Advertising

One of the advantages of PPC advertising is the small fee that you will pay for each click. If your PPC campaign is effective and generates results, you will find that the 25 cents you pay per click pales in comparison to the revenue you will get in return.

Moreover, Google compensates advertisers who post relevant ads strategically targeted to the right audience. If you are consistent in creating relevant ad posts, Google will reward you by charging your ad campaign much lower than when you started using the platform.

You should carefully plan how you use the platform to spend less while raking in significant revenues from your ad campaign. PPC expense is one of the most critical points to understand and consider for those who ask, “How does paid search work?”

Why Do Paid Search: More Benefits

The marketing paid search strategy comes with more benefits, including: 

Local PPC for Small Businesses

If you run a small business that targets local consumers, you need a digital marketing agency specializing in local PPC marketing services. 

Local PPC is geared towards the acquisition of local consumers fast. With this digital marketing approach, you can see quick results in the form of your business name appearing on the first page of local SERPs. 

Ability to Optimize Your Ads

Another benefit of PPC marketing is the flexibility to make optimizations. You can control every aspect of your ads, including: 

  • Keywords
  • Ad extension
  • Ad copy
  • The landing page you will use for your ads. 

Based on the data that will be coming to your Google Ads PPC account, you can access which approach works, and which does not. 

Ability to Shift From Traditional Marketing to Digital That Promises Highly Targeted Campaigns

Compared to the old way of marketing, the modern PPC marketing technique allows you to target only the market audience with high intent to buy your products or services.

With the ability to leverage a highly-targeted campaign, you can be sure that every dollar you spend on PPC advertising has a high possibility of generating revenues for your business.

Here are some tips to make sure you increase your potential to earn revenue with a highly-targeted PPC campaign:

Begin Your Campaign With Research

Keyword research is key to your PPC success, but you must also understand the expectations of your target consumers.

  • Who are your target consumers? (Location, demographics, interests, preferences, etc.)
  • What do your target consumers buy from businesses like yours, and what are their expectations from your products?
  • What pain points do they expect you to remedy?

Do Re-Marketing Advertising

Not all those who have visited your website will buy from you at the first instance. However, you can goad them to complete the purchase by placing remarketing ads that can stir their interest to reengage with you. 

Make sure that you emphasize the value of your business to your audience every time you create new or remarketing ads for them.

Financial Planning

There is also the benefit of PPC on financial planning. You can set up a daily or weekly budget plan for your paid search marketing. 

When you already have been raking in huge revenue from your campaigns, it is easy to increase the budget any time you think you are ready. There is no limit on the budget you want to allocate for your campaigns.

Flexibility to Adjust Your Campaigns

At any time in your PPC campaign, you can choose to emphasize any aspect of your business – product, brand, message, etc. 

Also, you can introduce new components to your campaigns any time you think it is necessary. This approach can help you ensure your ranking improves as your campaign progresses.

Another advantage of PPC is you get what you pay for. That means that for every click you pay for, there is really an engaged customer that has visited your website, which is not what you can always get from other online marketing tools nowadays. With PPC, you only pay for only genuine people that have visited your site.

What is exciting is that these people who have visited your site are seriously looking for the product or service that you feature in your ads. It is a way of ensuring that you get financial compensation via your marketing efforts.

Ability to Test a New Product

If you launch a new product and want to determine how it fares compared with your general product, PPC marketing allows you to evaluate that. If the product featured in your ad received a lot of clicks, you know that it is the best product that you should promote and allocate a higher budget for.

See Quick Results

PPC campaigns allow advertisers to get instant results that can help them steer their advertising in a better direction or approach. 

PPC is one of the best marketing techniques for all businesses, no matter the size. If you need to generate website traffic and sales for your business, PPC is one of your best advertising options.

Know how to make the most out of paid search marketing for your business. Click here.

How Effective Is PPC Paid Search Advertising?

How effective your PPC advertising will be will depend on how you run your campaign, your business type, and the product you offer.

If you have a new or a small business and want a large group of consumers to know about your business, you can do PPC. In this case, PPC advertising will produce quick results because the effect is immediate responses from your target consumers.

PPC advertising is also perfect for businesses with many different products to sell. You can simultaneously introduce several of your products with only a single ad.

To make sure that you enhance the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns, consistently perform the following:

Keyword Analysis

The cornerstone for successful PPC campaigns is keyword research. That is how you determine the keywords that will likely result in clicks and conversions for your business.

Keyword research is both art and science, where the best strategy is to understand your target audience and predict what word they actually type in the search box.

That is the best way to make sure your ads show in front of them at the right place at the right time when they are searching for the products your business offers.

Test Your Ad Messages

With the help of PPC marketing, you can do tests on your ad content and design. Effective ad content and design come with a strong quality of friendly audience reception, a high audience attention level, and strong credibility.

Effective ad design and content also encourage conversation, persuade your audience to take action, and highlight recall, efficiency, and acceptable frequency levels.

Test Different Markets

As your ads generate positive results from your target market, you also want to explore and test other markets. See how you can tweak your message for a new market audience to expand your reach and ensure a steady revenue stream. 

Use Different PPC Tools

Use many paid search marketing tools to ensure that you take advantage of many beneficial features available in every platform. 

Some of the best online and PPC advertising tools include Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Ahref’s Site Explorer. These platforms can help you determine the most valuable markets for your business. 

As a fast-growing PPC agency in North Carolina and the US, I totally understand that you need help to grow your small business fast, and I can help you achieve that goal in a few months. 

Learn the best PPC techniques from Cube Creative Design, and be able to manage your future digital marketing campaigns on your own. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting a PPC Marketing Campaign

Here are mistakes that can wreak havoc on your PPC campaign:

Wrong Targeting

Make sure you target the right people with your ads. The wrong people are those people who do not care about your ads.

Improper Bidding

If your ads are not generating clicks, perhaps you need to raise your bids. Raise your bids. It will help you know if you have an ineffective PPC campaign or if it has landed in a very competitive space.

Be Careful With Ad Copies

Remember to consider what works from platform to platform. Your ad copy on Google Ads might not work well on the Bing platform. Before using another platform, study ads that do well on that platform and tweak your original ad to make it work well on the new platform you will be using it for.

Failing to Invest in Automation

PPC automation software is a great tool for maximizing and optimizing your budget. With PPC automation tools, you can easily find the best bids and target the right audience for your campaign. 

With PPC automation tools, you can also: 

  • Set parameters to identify the best bidding strategy for your campaign: You can also upload data to help you take advantage of the bidding process to ensure it is always favorable to your campaigns.
  • Use A/B tests that automation tools can perform for you:  Test multiple advertisements simultaneously to identify the best content and strategy for your PPC campaign.
  • Failing to optimize for voice search: Today, more and more consumers use voice search when searching for products and services online. Voice search stats reveal that mobile searchers are three times more likely to use voice search to search for products and services online.

So, make sure you optimize your content and ads for voice search. For voice search optimization, follow the below tips: 

  • Keep your ad copies short.
  • Utilize short user-intent phrases. 
  • Include natural fillers to match the words and keywords used by searchers. 

If you need help with your local PPC marketing or general digital marketing, Cube Creative Design can help. Grow your small business fast with the best digital marketing agency in North Carolina and in the US.

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  June 8, 2022

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design and specializes in private school marketing. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina and across the United States. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett