What is paid search advertising?

Paid search marketing refers to paid-for advertising that usually appears alongside, above and occasionally below the organic listings on the SERPs or a partner site. These are usually labelled with something like ‘sponsored links’ or ‘sponsored results’ in order to make it clear to users that they are. In fact, paid-for ads are not part of search engines organic listing.

Typically, you pay each time your ad is clicked, hence ‘pay-per-click’ or PPC. PPC is the most common form of paid search marketing, but you can also buy ads on a ‘cost per thousand’ (CPM) basis.

It’s no surprise that the biggest players in the pay-per-click arena are the leading search engines: Google AdWords and Microsoft Search Advertising (which also serves ads on Yahoo! networks). You will also find a number of smaller PPC search programmes out there targeting niche areas or serving particular verticals. Explore your options. Depending on your business they may offer better opportunities to reach local, industry specific or specialised niche markets than the larger players. Nevertheless, when talking about paid search advertising the ‘big two’ are where the action is for the most online businesses.

Ryan, D., 2016. Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.

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