Paid Search: Where Knowledge Really is Power

Emma Gasko
Reading Time: 3 minutes

While I am undergoing the transformation from Biz Dev and Client Strategist in the digital marketing space to someone who is looking to beef up their technical chops in order to advise and manage more sophisticated campaigns and clients, I thought I would share some of the journey.

For this piece, I am going to focus on paid search. Paid search is a macrocosm (not insulting your intelligence with that link, I just think this is the perfect contextual definition for my use of the word here) encompassing a variety of platforms, strategies, techniques, performance data and other stuff.

One must learn quickly that paid search is not a one size fits all proposition. Whereas PPC (aka pay per click) in the search engines is great for some, (and also what most people default to when thinking about paid search) paid social campaigns via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn might be great for others. That is certainly not to say that all of the above and more might be the right answer for various business types. 


PPC management is a solid investment

As a for instance, Google Adwords may work well with some business types, but is a waste of time and money for many depending on such things as keyword search volumes and cost per click on hyper competitive (read very expensive) keywords. It especially is wasted money and effort for those who do not invest in either hiring experts or in the time and effort to set up account structure, campaigns, ad groups and other parameters correctly.

PPC campaigns can be run on the Google Adwords platform, within Facebook and LinkedIn and also within other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing. This can be a highly effective mechanism to drive brand visibility and qualified leads when done properly.

There are also many variables which will play into the effectiveness and return on investment of a paid search campaign. Using Adwords again as an example, your quality score is affected by  the quality and relevance of the actual ad users click on to the quality of the landing page within your site that traffic ends up on after clicking the ad. Relevance is the thread that really permeates the entire exercise.

Google is also measuring things at the engagement level to determine relevance. KPIs such as CTR or click through rate on the ad, time on site and number of pages visited play into the equation. For LinkedIn, things become quite murky. Does it make sense to do a branding or a lead gen campaign? Sponsored posts or text ads? CPM or PPC? What kind of content should I sponsor? Should I be geo targeting, targeting individuals based on title or both. How does that effect CPC, or cost per click? What should my daily budget be?
Understand your PPC customers

The bottom line is really figuring out how to draw qualified traffic when intent is more “bottom of the funnel” or when someone has done a fair amount of pre purchase research and is now looking for the best option for their budget and whatever else their personal purchasing parameters dictate. Developing a buyer persona should be top of mind for this very reason. One must understand who their ideal target customer is and where they congregate, and what messaging will be most effective to drive the click through that drives the engagement that drives the conversion.

At WEBITMD, this is what we spend our time thinking about. We do this all day, every day and our goal is to truly be a resource for our clients to help them get to the ultimate goal, which is typically brand visibility along with return on investment. Stick with me as I continue with a small series of blogs that map the evolutions of my technical learnings.

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