The Basics of Paid Search for eCommerce Marketers


The Basics of Paid Search for eCommerce Marketers

Savvy marketers understand how important it is for their products to appear in Google searches. After all, research suggests that 88 percent of consumers conduct research online before making a purchasing decision.

Rather than investing the necessary resources in getting content to rank on Google and other search engines—and waiting however long it takes for that content to get on the first page—more and more marketers are pouring money into paid search campaigns.

What is paid search?

Paid search advertising is a digital advertising method in which marketers pay for clicks using an auction-based, pay-per-click model that automates the buying and selling of advertising real estate on the internet.

Here’s how it works: Marketers create ads and bid for ad placement by indicating the maximum amount they would spend every time a user clicks their ad and how much money they’re willing to devote to the entire campaign. After marketers create ads, they need to connect it to a landing page and then a PPC marketplace, which will then determine your Quality Score—a metric that grades the caliber of your ads.

The market for paid search has been growing steadily over the last decade as more and more marketers see the benefits of this innovative advertising method with their own eyes.

How does paid search differ from organic search?

Like the name suggests, paid search costs money. Advertisers need to directly pay companies like Google a certain amount of money for their ads to be displayed in search results every time they are clicked.

On the other hand, organic search is the content that appears when someone conducts a search online. Although getting your content to rank toward the top of Google isn’t impossible, it’s certainly not easy. Getting it right requires a great deal of time and resources.

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What are the benefits of paid search?

Paid search delivers a number of benefits to advertisers, including:

  • Increased visibility, with more users being exposed to your brand and your messaging
  • More precise targeting, with the ability to zero in on specific users
  • Rapid results, enabling your ads to rank right away compared to organic campaigns that might take weeks or months to deliver results
  • Cost-effectiveness, by only having to pay when someone clicks your ad
  • Data, which enables you to continuously optimize your campaigns over time

What are the main components of a PPC ad?

Getting the results you’re hoping for in your paid search endeavors starts with creating persuasive ads that encourage people to click. To do that, you first need to understand the major components of paid search ads, which are as follows:

  • Keywords are the words your ideal audience will be searching for that are related to your products and services.
  • Ad copy is the content of the ad itself. For the best results, your copy needs to be clear, concise, and crisp.
  • Landing pages are where the user winds up once they click your ad. To increase the chances of conversion, make sure your landing pages are shoppable to reduce friction as much as you can.
At this point, you know the basics of paid search campaigns and why more and more marketers are choosing to invest resources in paid search. Next, we’ll look at where those resources should go.

Paid search platforms you should consider

If you’re thinking about launching a paid search campaign, your best bet is to pour money into Google Ads. After all, nearly 87 percent of all internet searches originate there. If you want people to see your ads, you need to make sure those ads are displayed where users actually are.

To make sure you cover even more of the market, you might also want to use Bing Ads. Recent data suggests that Bing is responsible for 6.5 percent of all internet searches. So, taken together, a campaign that optimizes around Google and Bing will give you access to the lion’s share of potential customers.

Paid search metrics you need to track

As you begin your foray into paid search campaigns, you’ll start generating plenty of data that you can then use to optimize your future campaigns. With that in mind, here are some of the key paid search metrics you’ll want to pay attention to:

  • Impressions – the number of times your ad was displayed on a user’s screen
  • Cost-per-click (CPC) – the price you pay every time a user clicks on your ad
  • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) – how much it costs for you to acquire a new customer
  • Click-through rate (CTR) – the number of people who click your ads, out of the number of people who see your ads
  • Quality Score – the ranking a search engine assigns to your ads, which influences where your ad will ultimately end up

At this point, you have a decent understanding of the basics of paid search. If you’d like to continue learning more about this important method of advertising and how you can make the most of it, subscribe to our newsletter. This is the first post in an extensive series on paid search. Stay tuned for the next installment!

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