What do you do when you want a new television, but don’t know where to start? Or when you’re looking for a new recipe to try for dinner? Or when your child needs homework help and you’ve forgotten how to multiply fractions? The same thing most everyone does—you search for answers, likely on Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
In June of 2010, 820 million searches per day were executed in the United States. according to comScore. This is up 14% over 2009 and up 50% over 2008. These queries can be executed from nearly anywhere there is an Internet connection and a web-capable device nearby—a laptop, desktop, mobile gadget, from home, at work, at the airport, on the road, etc. How can you reach those people looking for products, services, or information your company has to offer at the precise moment they want it? With paid search.
Search is rapidly becoming a natural extension of our digital lives while paid search, the sponsored listings appearing above or to the right of natural search results, is rapidly becoming a viable, profitable advertising medium. Its flexibility is ever increasing as are the sophistication of the options. Below are three subjects currently receiving a lot of buzz in the world of paid search.
Google offers the greatest variety in options for executing a search program. Some of their most recent and most interesting developments include Sitelinks, Location Extensions, and Product Extensions. Summed up, these ad extras offer the option to include additional links below the standard paid search ad, include a map of locations in the area being searched around, or include images of products on a website.
All of these options increase the real estate that a paid search ad consumes without increasing costs. Advertisers that take advantage of these extras typically enjoy a healthy increase in click and conversion rates, yet still only pay when they receive an ad click.
The search information available from mobile browsers is nearly as robust as that from a desk or lap top computer. Search ads can be targeted to these small devices with one to two ads appearing on the search results page. A mobile strategy typically works well for inexpensive, low-consideration purchases as mobile searches are frequently for an immediate need—movie times, store locations, ordering take-out, etc. Specific to mobile, advertisers have the flexibility to choose to advertise to all devices or to specific devices, such as an Android or iPhone. This also applies to all national carriers or specific carriers, such as Verizon or Sprint. Additionally, a phone number can be included in the paid ad and if the searcher clicks that number, their phone will call you. Advertisers only pay for the click—whether on the ad or the phone number.
By mid-October, Yahoo! and Bing will have merged their search forces into one. Both sites will maintain their current look and feel as well as separate business units. The merger will see Bing as the sole provider of paid and organic search results for both Bing and Yahoo!. This move will create a greater source of competition for Google and provide greater, more Google-like control over Bingahoo! campaigns for advertisers, equating to increased campaign management efficiencies. The merge is slated to be complete by October 15, however, should the combination not go as planned, Bing and Yahoo! will hold off until first quarter of 2011 to keep from interfering with the holiday season.
How can you put these developments to work for you and your brand? Contact EMA’s pay per click expert—Val Czamara. We can’t make people click on ads, but we can place them in relevant context, getting searchers so curious they just won’t be able to resist a click.