Search ads are sponsored links that appear at the top, bottom or alongside the search engine result pages (Exhibit 26.1). Since the space allocated for the ads is limited, advertisers have to bid for keywords. Search advertising platforms such as Google Ads, YouTube (for video search), Bing Ads and Yahoo! Search Ads offer advertisers the flexibility to create ads, target customers based on demographics and location, set budgets and make bids.
The platforms offer different pricing model such as cost per click (CPC) where advertisers pay on a per click basis (PPC) or cost per acquisition.
Search advertising allows marketers to reach their target customers when they are seeking their products, often with the intent to purchase. This makes search far more effective than social media channels at targeting and converting customers.
Accountability is another key advantage. It is possible to track increase in leads and sales resulting from search advertising by tracing users as they traverse the web site. The ads are also non-disruptive.
In general, online advertising is relatively inexpensive compared to conventional advertising. However, if we compare search advertising cost with some of the other forms of online advertising, it commands a premium. Because it is more effective, the competition for key words and phrases is intense for some categories, in some markets.
Search marketing, it should be noted, can target only those who search for specific key words and phrases. It is essentially a form of inbound marketing, and though it is very effective in fulfilling existing demand, like other forms of inbound marketing, search is not as effective in creating demand.
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