We find a lot of clients and partners are reluctant to go down the paid media route as they think it’s going to be expensive. But with clever research and planning, we can often make a small budget go a long way. In the fifth instalment of the #SearchSecret7 series, we explain how.
Paid search vs paid social and display
Let’s look at each of these in turn…
Paid search is an advertising model through which we can show highly relevant ads to people who are actively searching on Google, Yahoo or Bing for the products and services that clients sell. As an advertiser, the client only pays on a per-click basis, hence paid search commonly being referred to as pay-per-click (or PPC for short).
Paid social and display is great for reaching people who are reading the news, checking their email, watching YouTube or engaging with social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The value of paid social, in particular, is in the amount of data held by social media platforms on the user. They include demographics, interests and behaviours. So your client can reach highly targeted groups: for example, parents of teenagers who have an interest in running and who are also frequent travellers. That’s a far more precise and cost-effective approach than traditional advertising to the masses.
Selecting paid search keywords
Our recommendation for a small budget is is typically to choose keywords that will drive more business, not just traffic. And we do that by concentrating on high intent traffic: users who are further down the buying cycle and therefore more likely to convert.
For example, someone searching for “family holidays” is probably in the initial phase of their research as they are not specifying where they want to go. However, someone searching for “family holidays in Corfu in July” has already done their research, knows where and when they want to go; and, if searching specifically for deals, then are most likely quite close to making a booking.
The difference between those two searches is what’s known as “short-tail” and “long-tail” keywords.
Short-tail keywords, let’s say “trainers” generate a lot of traffic but competition is high – so a paid media strategy is expensive and ill-advised.
Whereas a long-tail keyword, let’s say “red Adidas Gazelle trainers size 6” will generate much less traffic but also less competition, and is much more likely to lead to a sale. This highly targeted approach – using long-tail keywords to generate high intent traffic – is a much better strategy for a low-budget paid search campaign.
Paid social and display
We can access a whole new level of targeting when it comes to paid social and display. That’s because users proactively share so much demographic information on themselves and their interests. And also because we can infer quite a lot in terms of behaviour from their social activity.
One way to reach these people is through the Google Display Network, which reaches over 90% of internet users across two million websites. Ads are targeted based on demographics, keywords, topics and placements.
Another tactic to reach people is through remarketing, where ads are shown to people who have already visited a website in order to entice them back.
Finally, we can access the advertising networks built into platforms such as Facebook. Provided we have sought permission to do so, we can give a list of existing customer email addresses to Facebook. The platform will analyse the email addresses, match them to Facebook profiles and create a new set of people to target who share similar characteristics to the existing customers.
When does PPC work best?
As we’ve said before, SEO and PPC can work well together. But whereas SEO requires a long-term strategy and commitment, PPC can be used tactically to support a short-term campaign. That said, we continuously monitor results in order to refine the search marketing approach as time goes on. There’s no reason why PPC shouldn’t be used as an ongoing tactic in a digital marketing strategy if it’s generating good results within budget.
What’s coming next?
Our #SearchSecret7 series continues next week when we’ll be looking at conversion rates and what clients can do to increase them.
If you’ve missed any of our previous posts in the #SearchSecret7 series, check them out here.
- A partner’s guide to search
- How to prioritise digital marketing spend
- The PR’s guide to SEO
- A simple SEO checklist
Follow us on Twitter and stay tuned.