Before Google Adwords, things were tedious for marketers. Every brand was busy trying to rank high and convince people that their product was what they needed. Enter Google Adwords, and now brands could serve their ads to people actively looking for products like theirs. That was the birth of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Brands selling bags were able to showcase their products to people searching specifically for bags and pay only when someone clicked.
SEM has come a long way since, and Google Adwords too have changed (it is now Google Ads). But the fundamentals are the same.
As a leading search engine marketing agency, we thought of bringing up the details of Search Engine Marketing and how brands could help from it.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Like any other term in digital marketing, search engine marketing is a term that is a bit confusing or a bit uninitiated. It is often confused with SEO.
Simply put, SEM is a process of advertising on search engines. It is important because online shopping is growing every day. SEM is successful because, unlike social media, where people are in more of a discovery mode, in search engines, people are already looking for your products and are ready to buy.
The confusion between SEO and SEM is due to the likeliness of the two terms, though. However, it is important to be aware of the difference. SEO is a way of applying techniques to rank websites and pages high organically on search engines to increase your brand visibility to people looking for the products you sell. Whereas SEM uses paid advertising to showcase your products who are looking to buy the products you deal in.
SEM can show instantaneous results, as essentially, you are paying Google for putting up your ad on search pages. SEO strategies, on the contrary, can take up months or even years to rank significantly on targeted searches.
How Does SEM Work?
Google Ads is based on two frameworks – search intent targeting and auction-based advertising. To understand how search engine marketing works, understand these two frameworks.
Search Intent Targeting
When marketers build SEM campaigns, the first thing they keep in mind is search intent. For that, they have to define two important things:
- What the potential customers are searching for
- How close they are to buying a product.
For example, a search such as ‘apparel to look sassy at a party’ may suggest that the user is looking for apparel and may end up buying a styling bag. But a search such as ‘classy ladies bags in brown’ suggests that the users are actually looking to buy a bag. The second search term is very specific and depicts a “high search intent” for buying a bag.
Marketers usually build their campaigns around “high search intent” keywords targeting either “branded” terms or their competitors’ (such as Gucci leather bags) or around highly specific “unbranded” search terms like ‘leather bags.’
Google Ads has one more framework, and that is its auction-based bidding system. In regular advertising, the company sets a rate card for its ad space (for example, $5000 to run a 20 seconds ad on a TV show), and advertisers can buy that ad space.
With Google, this story takes on a different edge. They have billions of different ad spaces because Google does with more than 5 billion searches per day, each with a different search intent and number of users searching it per month, so it couldn’t just set a single rate for a search result.
Instead, Google created an auction-based system. Every time a search happens in Google, it runs a real-time ad auction and “awards” the ad space on that search to an advertiser based on some criteria.
Unlike regular auctions, it doesn’t just award the space to the highest bidder. It combines ad quality and the highest per-click bid. The ad rank or the “Quality Score” is Google’s proprietary metric for evaluating the quality of the ad and comprises the following factors:
Estimated Click-through rate: The likeliness of a user clicking on the ad when it’s shown
Relevance: The relevance of the ad to specific search intent
Ad landing page: The usefulness of the landing page once an ad is clicked.
In short, Google’s algorithm finds the ad with the perfect fit for the user and displays that ad for a search.
How Can Your Business Benefit From SEM
When you are trying to capture a category, you might get success from running search engine ads. Meaning people must be already searching for your products, and you are not pushing people to a product or, in other words, not creating a category.
When you are out in the market with a product but not sure how you can promote it online, SEM can be the answer. However, make sure you have the right ad copy for your target searches. Otherwise, your ad will be ranked low, and your SEM might not gain significant success.
Wrapping It Up
Those were the basics of Search Engine Marketing. In essence, it’s just running ads on Google, but it involves a lot of technicalities. Apart from what we have discussed, the process can involve a lot of tedious steps requiring heavy research and work. So, if you are looking to apply SEM for your product, you will do it best by connecting with a trusted search engine marketing agency like ours.