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Paid Search Advertising as a Marketing Strategy

Some fundamental thoughts about paying for website traffic.

We all strive to make our Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, as effective as possible. The digital space has become a critical part of our marketing and advertising world. Winning the SEO games takes times and dedication, but it's definitely worth the effort within your Marketing Strategy. Paid search advertising is SEO's rich cousin. Paid advertising gives a business premium visibility to desired personas or search criteria. While paid search advertising can be very expensive if not managed properly, it can be an effective marketing tool for an sized business.

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In the digital world, a key marketing strategy for every business whether targeting businesses or consumers is driving targeted traffic to a company's website. Organic website traffic is declining as search engines and social network providers make major changes...wanting businesses to pay for clicks.

The major reasons for the decline of organic traffic are:

More competition. Quite simply everyone wants more organic traffic, and the competition is always on the rise. As more websites compete for visitors, it is highly likely that organic traffic for individual websites will decline.

Google Changes. Last year Google make a decision to eliminate paid ads appearing in the far right column of searches and added additional paid ads at the top of a search page. This means organic search results have been pushed further down the page impacting overall organic traffic.

Social Networks Changing. Although traffic from social networks is classed as "referred" rather than "organic," it is important to understand that the social sites are making it increasingly more difficult to generate traffic from their platforms...they want companies to pay! Monetizing website traffic is a strategy employed more and more.

Where to Spend Online Advertising. The fall in organic traffic does not have to be viewed as negative for business. Successful businesses understand they must embrace the new changes rather than resist what they cannot control. With a decrease in organic traffic, businesses have to realize that paid targeted advertisements when done correctly will achieve a return on investment.

Search Engine Marketing. Every business regardless of size or target market must realize what their customers are searching for. A majority of buying decisions start with an online search engine therefore, businesses have no choice but to appear in a buyer's search results. Competitors will definitely be there! Driving traffic from search engines via pay per click (PPC) does not have to be expensive. Granted, PPC traffic is more costly than organic traffic, but it allows a business to appear in a prospective customer's search results. According to Net Market Share (as of April 2017) the global marketing share percentage in terms of the use of search engines heavily favors Google with over 77%. With this type of search traffic, Google AdWords is a beginning place to start for businesses wanting to attract prospects using keyword searching. Other Than Google of course, there are other search engines in addition to Google. Companies can test Bing, Yahoo, and Ask. Additionally, there are search engines that target specific countries. Each is worth investigating depending on the country location of a business.

Social Media Advertising. Traffic generated from social media advertising should be viewed differently compared to traffic generated from search engines. Social Media advertising concentrates on disrupting someone’s attention to click on a business advertisement rather than someone specifically searching for a product or service. Although a prospect's interest may not be as specific (social media versus search engines), traffic can be highly targeted and used as a brand-building tool.

Facebook. In a similar way to Google, Facebook dominates the world of social media advertising due to the volume of users and maturity of its advertising platform. A business can create a target audience based on a range of demographics and online habits. Although Facebook is more likely to suit B2C (business-to-consumer businesses) than B2B (business-to-business businesses), B2B advertising on Facebook continues to grow. Every business should understand and investigate Facebook advertising.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is well suited for businesses targeting other businesses. Ads to users can be based on job titles, industry, and other details based on work and professional profiles. Microsoft now owns LinkedIn and continues to make targeting search improvements.

Twitter. Twitter is still another social media site that can be an excellent source for advertising. Although Twitter has a smaller active number of users than Facebook, it still has a massive audience in which businesses can target ads to users based on who they like and follow.

Summing It Up. The key to online advertising is to understand exactly a business' target audience and then determine where those prospective customers are most likely to spend their time while online. Consumers will continue to rely on search engines and engagement on social networks will most likely continue to increase therefore, it is essential for businesses to have a clear marketing strategy to drive both organic and paid traffic to their website.

OnTarget Strategy provides onsite business management and business strategy consultant services to organizations in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Colorado region. We also partner with clients across the United States and Canada.

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