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Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of advertising that takes place on, you guessed it, search engines (Google, Yahoo, Baidu). This a powerful form of online advertising and is one of the major revenue generators for search engines, contributing to about 97% of Google’s revenue. These advertisements are listed by businesses (like Regal Consultants) through a process that works exactly like an auction. Businesses choose a bid amount that they are willing to pay for each click, hence the name pay-per-click (PPC). For industries, this can vary wildly, with some clicks costing $100’s (no, seriously) but thankfully, the majority cost a few cents to a few dollars. We’ve listed some examples below of various industries.
Although a straightforward concept, marketing online using SEM can be a challenge which is exactly why we offer SEM management as one of our services. As Google is the world’s largest search engine, we’ve taken examples from the offerings of their advertising arm, AdWords (soon to be Google Ads) to generate examples of what it is that makes up search engine marketing.
1. Text Advertisements
2. Display Advertisements
3. Shopping Advertisements
4. Video Advertisements
5. Universal App (App store downloads)
Text advertising on search engines refers to the ads that display when you’ve entered in a search query then hit enter, displaying ads from advertisers at the very top and bottom of the page, and to the side. We’ve added in an example below for the search query “hotels in California”.
When creating a text advertisement, Google really favours relevancy. You want the ad text to have your keyword:
Ever searched for a service or good, clicked on a website that you’re interested in – ONLY TO BE STALKED BY THE WEBSITE YOU JUST VISITED AND HAVE THEIR FLASHY BANNER ALL UP IN YOUR FACE. Yeah? Us too. What these companies are using is display advertising. It’s displayed in the form of pictures – a visual, highly-engaging ad. And what they are using to do this is known as re-targeting. After visiting their website, you’ve left cookies – essentially leaving behind a trail of crumbs telling the business that you’re interested in the product or service. By advertising using display adverts, the business is hoping to convert you into a buying customer. After all, you are searching for it. Here’s an example of a display advert:
This is taken straight from the AdWords support page:
“Use image ads to attract people’s attention with colour and pictures. You can create image ads outside of AdWords and upload them, or create responsive ads within AdWords which automatically adjust to fit the devices they are being viewed on.”
Nothing to lead anyone astray here, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Yet again, another very visual advertisement. This helps to engage the shopper by adding an element of tangibleness – you can see the product you’re searching for, change its colours, maybe even see what it looks like on a model. The shopping advertisement differs from the display advertisement, in that the ad is displayed in front of you once you’ve hit search on the search query, it doesn’t follow you around; That’s the display advertisements job. Here’s an example of a shopping advertisement:
For those individuals out there that don’t know; Google owns YouTube. Yes, Illuminati confirmed. Those ads, those annoying ever so annoying ads you see before & during your favourite YouTube channel, those are video advertisements. You’ll even see display adverts here as well (but knowing Google owns YouTube, this makes sense now, doesn’t it?). We won’t share a picture of this, we’re confident everyone knows what we’re talking about here.
The Universal App promotion is highly specific to developers or software companies, but the principal works very much the same as the other advertising methods. Once you’re ready to set up the campaign, you select which software you’d prefer to target (iOS or Android) and then continue to create your ad. The reason it’s “universal” is that the ads can feature on all the other advertising methods (search, display, etc).
Now that we’ve cleared up what the varying aspects of advertising methods, let us wrap it up with keyword types and your ideal budget.
This may seem like a straightforward undertaking, but you’d be mistaken. We cannot stress enough how important it is to undertake keyword research and analysis before implementing these words into your campaign, it can be the difference between succeeding massively or failing miserably.
On top of the research, you must select from 4 varying “match types” for your keyword.
Exact – Exact match type will display your ad to anyone who enters in exactly what you’ve stated will be your keyword/phrase. For example, if my phrase was “red shoes”, my ad will display only when someone hits enter on a search query that exactly matches it.
Phrase – Phrase match is a little broader. You can enter in a phrase such as “LED 40inch TV” and your ad will display when those words are typed in, IN ANY ORDER. So, someone may be displayed your ad when they type in “TV LED 40inch”. However, your ad will also trigger with slight variations. For instance, “Broken TV LED 40inch TC” will also trigger the ad because it contains your phrase. This is something to be wary of.
Broad – Broad match is the most dangerous, and ironically, the default state of all keywords – so be sure to change this! If I have “red vans shoes” as my targeted keyword, the advertisement will display for “red”, “van” and “shoes”! You’ll blow your budget in a matter of minutes. We recommend to absolutely proceed with caution with broad match types, in fact, we NEVER use them ourselves or for most of our clients.
Broad-match Modifier – This is a slight variation of broad-match. It serves as a ‘medium’ between phrase and broad. An example of how this works is the following: “Cars for +sale”. Your ad will display only when the query contains the word ‘sale’ or a very close variation to it.
Negative-match – A lesser known match type, negative matches help to keep away those words that would otherwise see your ad displayed for. An example would be if you were wanting to advertise (for argument's sake) a baseball cap. You might want to add other types of caps as ‘negative keywords’.
You can find out more about match types, here.
Arguably the second most important piece of the SEM puzzle; the budget. As a ‘rule of thumb,’ we suggest to all businesses - the most you'll want to spend is essentially the sales from your average revenue produced from your good or service. To reiterate, if you were a masseuse and charged $80 per session (on average), a comfortable amount for you to spend would be no more than this amount per day. The reason being; if at the very least, you gain one client from advertising using this amount, you’ve broken even. Anything more, and you’ll lose money. On the other hand, if you gain 4 clients in the one day, you’ve earned $320 – a worthy investment in advertising.
We hope we’ve cleared up any questions are followers may have.
Happy advertising, from the team at Regal.