What is paid search marketing?

Paid search (pay-per-click) marketing (PPC) is similar to conventional advertising. Here a relevant text ad with a link to a company page is displayed when the user of a search engine type in a specific phrase. A series of text ads usually labelled as a ‘sponsored links’ are displayed above, or on the right of, the natural listing. Although many searchers prefer to click on the natural listings, a sufficient number do click on the paid listing (typically around a quarter or a third of all clicks) such that they are highly profitable for companies such as Google and a well-designed paid search campaign can drive a significant amount of business for companies. There are also opportunities to create awareness and response from pay-per-click ads displayed on third-party sites.

Paid search marketing gives much more control on appearance in the listings subject to the amount bit and relevance of the ad compared to SEO. Each main search engine has its own paid advertising programme. Google Adwords and Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! adCenter.

There are other options for payment on what is known as the content network.

Paid search content network

Paid listings are also available through the display network of the search such as Google Adsense and Yahoo! Content Match. The contextual ads are automatically displayed according to the page content. They can be paid for a CPC, CPM or CPA (pay-per-action) basis and include not only text but also options for graphical display ads or video ads. Google generates around a third of its revenue from the content network, so these is a significant amount of expenditure on the network.

Trusted feeds

Trusted feeds or paid for inclusion is no longer significant to search advertising for most organisations. In trusted feeds used by Yahoo!, and ad or search listings content was automatically uploaded to a search engine from a catalogue or document database for inclusion for the search results. A similar approach is used by retailers to include their products in Google Product Search. Another related option is to advertise in RSS feed.

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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1. What is paid search marketing?
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5. Optimising pay-per-click