Search Advertising: What, Why & How of Search Engine Ads

Written by Rahil Joshi

Rahil Joshi, a seasoned digital marketing expert with over a decade of experience, excels in driving innovative online strategies.

August 18, 2023

Search Engine advertisement

Welcome to our PPC Ads series! Today, we’re going deeper into search advertising. Whether you’re a newbie or just need a refresher, this guide is for you.

Everyone uses search engines, but not everyone knows about the power of search advertising. It’s more than just those ads you see at the top of Google. It’s a key tool for businesses to drive traffic, get conversions, and make sales. Let’s unravel the mysteries behind it.

What is Search Advertising?

Search advertising, also known as paid search ads or search engine ads, involves showing ads on SERPS (search engine results pages) when users search for specific keywords. For instance, if you search for “running shoes,” you might see ads from shoe brands at the top of the results.

Why Search Advertising is Important?

As per PPC Hero, 79% business agree that ppc is huge revenue driver for their business. Search advertising ensures unparalleled visibility by granting businesses a prime spot at the top of search results, allowing them to break through the clutter of competitor websites, blogs, and reviews.

The immediacy of results with search advertising is another significant advantage; it can boost website traffic almost instantly after setup. This makes it an efficient alternative to the often time-consuming gains of organic SEO, especially for new ventures or time-sensitive campaigns.

Moreover, the precision targeting of search advertising is unmatched; it captures users at the moment they’re actively seeking relevant keywords. This intent-driven approach means the traffic generated by these ads is more likely to convert.

Additionally, the pay-per-click model ensures cost efficiency as businesses only pay when their ad is clicked. This model, combined with the flexibility to adjust campaigns in real time and clear metrics for tracking ROI, allows for continuous optimization and makes search advertising an indispensable tool in the digital marketing landscape.

How to Run & Optimize Search Advertising Campaigns

Now we have covered what and why part, we need to go for “how” on search advertising. Although the platform for search, display, shopping and other advertising remains the same. But here we will talk the aspects and factors that helps to run search ads

PPC Keyword Research

PPC Keyword Research is about finding the right search terms that potential customers might use when looking for products or services similar to yours. By choosing the right keywords, businesses can ensure their ads appear in relevant search results, making it more likely to attract and convert users. It’s a crucial first step in setting up any search advertising campaign, guiding decisions on how to allocate budget and structure ad content. In essence, it’s about connecting with your audience at the exact moment they’re searching for what you offer.

Types of Keyword

There are many types of keywords, but here we specifically talking about types of keyword usage in ads. Following are the types:

Broad Match: This is the most inclusive keyword match type. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. For example, if you use the broad match keyword “women’s hats,” your ad might also appear for searches like “buy ladies hats” or “women’s caps.”

Phrase Match: Ads will appear for searches that match a phrase, or close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. The phrase itself needs to remain in the same order. If your keyword is “running shoes,” your ad could appear for “best running shoes” or “running shoes on sale,” but not for “shoes for running.”

Exact Match: As the name suggests, this match type is more precise. Ads will show on searches that match the exact term or are close variants of that term. If your keyword is [men’s shoes], only searches for “men’s shoes” or very close variations (like “men shoe”) will trigger your ad.

Negative Match: This allows you to exclude specific keywords from triggering your ad. It’s useful to prevent your ad from showing up for search queries that aren’t relevant to your business. For example, if you’re selling new electronics, you might use a negative keyword like “used” to avoid showing your ad to people looking for second-hand items.

Understanding these keyword match types is crucial for PPC campaign management. It allows advertisers to fine-tune their ad reach, ensuring they’re targeting the most relevant audience while minimizing wasted spend on irrelevant clicks.

Keyword Intent

Keyword intent refers to the reason behind a user’s search query on search engines. By understanding this intent, marketers can optimize their ads and content to better serve users’ needs. There are primarily four types of keyword intent:

Informational Intent: These queries are made by users looking for more information on a particular topic. Examples include “How does photosynthesis work?” or “History of the Renaissance.”

Navigational Intent: Here, users already have a specific website or brand in mind, and they’re using the search engine to get there. Examples would be entering “Facebook login” or “OpenAI blog.”

Transactional Intent: These queries indicate a user’s intention to make a purchase or use a service. They might include terms like “Buy iPhone 12” or “Best deals on winter boots.”

Commercial Investigation: While these are similar to transactional queries, they’re more about research than immediate purchase. Users are looking to compare or understand products/services before making a decision. Examples might be “iPhone vs. Samsung” or “Best DSLR cameras 2023.”

By tailoring content and ad strategies around these keyword intents, businesses can ensure they’re meeting potential customers exactly where they are in their search journey, leading to more effective and efficient campaigns.

Ad Copies

Ad copies are the actual text and content that viewers see when a search or display ad appears. Crafted effectively, they succinctly convey a message, showcase a product or service, and compel users to take a desired action, be it clicking on a link, making a purchase, or subscribing to a service. An impactful ad copy resonates with the target audience’s needs or desires, aligns with the keyword intent, and clearly communicates a brand’s value proposition. In the dynamic realm of digital advertising, regularly testing and refining ad copies based on performance metrics can drastically enhance campaign outcomes and return on investment.

Image of Ad copy structure
Ad Copies Structure

Headline

The title, or headline, of a search ad is often the first thing a user sees. It should be compelling and directly related to the keyword being targeted. A good title grabs attention and communicates the primary value or benefit the user will receive by clicking the ad. Given its prominence, it’s essential to ensure clarity and relevancy to encourage clicks.

Description

Following the title, the description provides additional details about the product, service, or offer. It’s an opportunity to expand upon the headline, showcasing unique selling points and further enticing the user. A well-crafted description resonates with the user’s intent and nudges them toward taking action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up, or any other desired outcome.

Display URL

The display URL is a visual indicator of where a user will be directed upon clicking the ad. While it might not be the actual landing page URL, it should reflect the final destination’s essence. A clear, concise, and relevant display URL can enhance trust, as users often glance at it to ensure they’re going to a legitimate and related site.

Site links are additional links below the main ad copy, allowing users to navigate directly to specific pages of interest on your website. They offer a way to provide multiple options or further information, increasing the ad’s utility. For instance, an online clothing store might include site links directing users to “Men’s Apparel,” “Women’s Apparel,” “Sale Items,” etc.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions enhance standard search ads by providing additional information or interactive elements. These can range from phone numbers (call extensions) to location details (location extensions) or even user reviews (review extensions). By offering more ways for users to interact with the ad or additional information at a glance, ad extensions can improve click-through rates and overall campaign performance.

Ad Assets

In the context of responsive search ads, ad assets refer to the various headlines, descriptions, and other elements you provide. The advertising platform will then mix and match these assets in real-time to create an ad combination tailored to each potential customer, optimizing for performance. The more high-quality assets provided, the better the platform can auto-generate effective ad variations.

Types of Bidding in Search Advertising

Bidding in search advertising is broadly categorized into two major categories, one is smart bidding and second is click based bidding. Following are the two

Smart Bidding

Google’s machine learning algorithm to optimize for conversions or conversion value.

Image of smart Bidding Strategies
Smart Bidding Strategies
Target ROAS

Short for “Return On Ad Spend,” Target ROAS is a bidding strategy that sets bids to achieve a specified return on your advertising spend. By using historical conversion data, it adjusts bids in real-time to ensure advertisers get the desired return on their investment.

Maximize Conversions

This strategy automatically adjusts bids to garner as many conversions as possible within a given budget. It’s especially useful for businesses aiming to boost specific actions on their site, like sign-ups, purchases, or downloads, without a focus on the cost of those conversions.

Maximize Conversion Value

With this strategy, the goal is to optimize bids to achieve the highest conversion value (not just the number of conversions) within your budget. It’s beneficial when different conversions have different values.

Enhanced CPC (eCPC)

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (eCPC) is designed to get you more conversions by automatically adjusting your manual bids for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a conversion. It can raise your bid for high-converting situations or lower it for situations with lower conversion likelihood.

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

This strategy focuses on acquiring conversions at a set target cost-per-acquisition. The bids are set to help get as many conversions as possible at your target CPA.

Click-Based Bidding

This is a broader strategy aimed at optimizing for clicks rather than conversions. It’s geared towards maximizing visibility and driving traffic to your site.

Image of click-based bidding
Click-Based Bidding
Maximise Clicks

An automatic bidding strategy where bids are set to get as many clicks as possible within a given budget. It’s useful for businesses primarily focused on driving a high volume of site traffic.

Manual CPC

With Manual Cost-Per-Click bidding, you set bids for different keywords, ad groups, or placements based on what you deem best. It provides more granular control compared to automated strategies but requires more hands-on management.

Each of these bidding strategies and settings offers a unique approach to managing your search advertising budget, ensuring optimal results based on your specific campaign goals.

How To Structure Search Advertising Campaign

Structuring the search advertising campaign is equally important

Campaign Level

The campaign level is the highest level in your account and determines the overall direction and settings.

  • Objective & Budget: Begin by determining the objective for each campaign. Each campaign should have a unique goal, such as driving website traffic, increasing product sales, or promoting a specific event. Next, allocate a budget for each campaign based on its importance and the potential ROI.
  • Location & Language Settings: Decide where you want to target your ads. This could be global, country-specific, or even specific to certain cities or regions. Pair this with language targeting to ensure you reach the right demographic.
  • Device Targeting: Depending on your product or service, you may want to target specific devices like mobile phones, tablets, or desktop computers.

Ad Group Level:

Within each campaign, ad groups allow for further thematic segmentation.

  • Thematic Breakdown: Think about how to group your products or services. For instance, if you’re an online shoe store, you could have ad groups like “Men’s Athletic Shoes,” “Women’s Boots,” and “Children’s Sandals.” Each ad group should be a logical subset of its parent campaign.
  • Keyword Selection: For each ad group, choose keywords that are relevant to its theme. Using our shoe store example, the “Men’s Athletic Shoes” ad group might contain keywords like “men’s running shoes,” “men’s gym sneakers,” and “sports shoes for men.”
  • Ad Copy Relevance: Create ad copies that are specifically tailored to the keywords and theme of the ad group. This ensures high relevance, which can positively impact click-through rates and Quality Score.

Establish Hierarchies for Large Catalogs

If you have a vast product or service catalog, consider further categorizing at the campaign level. For instance:

  • Brand-Based: If you sell multiple brands, you might create separate campaigns for Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Within the Nike campaign, ad groups could be “Nike Running Shoes,” “Nike Casual Wear,” etc.
  • Product Type: This is more of a generic breakdown, such as “Sneakers,” “Boots,” or “Sandals.” Each campaign can then have specific ad groups related to style, use, or demographic.
  • Demographic-Based: If certain products are targeted towards specific demographics, campaigns can be set up for “Men,” “Women,” “Kids,” etc., with relevant ad groups within each.

Special Campaigns

Consider setting up separate campaigns for:

  • Time-Sensitive Promotions: For sales, events, or holiday promotions.
  • Brand Campaigns: Specifically targeting searches for your brand name.
  • Competitor Campaigns: Targeting keywords related to your competitors, so you can capture some of their search traffic.

The structuring of your search advertising campaign should mirror your business goals and the structure of your offerings. It ensures not only clarity and ease of management but also aids in detailed performance analysis. By logically organizing campaigns and ad groups, you can quickly identify high-performers and areas that need optimization.

Pro Tips on Search Advertising

Search advertising is a dynamic field, and with constant algorithm changes and evolving user behavior, advertisers need to be on their toes. Here are some pro tips to ensure your search advertising campaigns stand out and perform optimally:

Infographic Image of Pro Tips on Search Advertising
Pro Tips on Search Advertising
  1. Stay Updated with Platform Changes: Search advertising platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads frequently update their algorithms, interfaces, and features. Regularly check their official blogs or forums for announcements.
  2. Use Negative Keywords: Regularly update your negative keyword list to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant queries. This saves budget and improves your click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate.
  3. Ad Extensions: Make full use of ad extensions like sitelinks, structured snippets, and callouts. They provide additional information, making your ads more comprehensive and clickable.
  4. Responsive Search Ads (RSAs): Use RSAs to let the platform test multiple headlines and description combinations, finding the best mix for your audience.
  5. A/B Test Ad Copies: Always run multiple versions of ad copies to determine which resonates most with your audience. Regularly rotate out underperformers for new variants.
  6. Leverage Audience Segmentation: Platforms offer audience segmentation tools like in-market, affinity, and remarketing lists. Use these to tailor your bids and messages to different user segments.
  7. Monitor Quality Score: It’s a metric used by Google Ads that affects both your ad rank and cost per click (CPC). By optimizing for relevance between keywords, ad copy, and landing page, you can improve this score and potentially pay less for higher ad positions.
  8. Use Automated Bidding Strategies Sparingly: While automated strategies like Target ROAS or Maximize Conversions can be powerful, they require a consistent and considerable amount of conversion data to function optimally. Understand their nuances before diving in.
  9. Ad Scheduling: If you know certain times of day or days of the week perform best for your business, adjust your bids to capitalize on these high-performing windows.
  10. Keep an Eye on Competition: Use tools like Auction Insights in Google Ads to see how you stack up against competitors. This can provide insights into potential areas of opportunity or threat.
  11. Mobile Optimization: Ensure your ads and landing pages are optimized for mobile users. With the increasing prevalence of mobile searches, a poor mobile experience can greatly hamper campaign performance.
  12. Analyze & Optimize: Regularly dive deep into your campaign analytics. Look for patterns, anomalies, or areas of opportunity. The data often reveals insights not immediately obvious on the surface.
  13. Stay Educated: The digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving. Consider regular training, webinars, and industry news sources to stay ahead of the curve.

Remember, while these tips can guide you, the unique aspects of your business and audience might mean some strategies work better than others. Always prioritize learning from your data and being willing to adapt and evolve your approach.

Embarking on your search advertising journey can be exciting and profitable. With the right strategies and understanding, you’re well on your way to harnessing the full power of search ads! In case you need support of PPC services agency to reach new heights, feel free to call us on +91-9810174698 or email us on info@webzodiac.com.

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