With Google being by far the biggest pay per click player, with over 80% of the searches. UK searches are absolutely dominated by the big three Google, Yahoo and MSN.
SearchEngineWatch gives a useful insight into global search patterns but there is little readily available statistical information with regard to the UK. Nielsen//NetRatings provides excellent web usage data and the top 10 UK parent companies, which unsurprisingly includes the main search and advertising engines. This chart takes these results and shows the advert coverage of the three main pay per click players:
Natural listings v Paid advertising:
Having spent all this money on good web design why do I need to pay for more advertising? Well do any popular search on Google. What is the first thing you see, eight or nine adverts and three natural listings. Two or three of the adverts are given the most prominent placing, and all are specifically written to grab your attention. Conversely consumers have a preference for natural listings but the descriptions are not so succinct or compelling. An interesting article Visual attention to online search engine results (866 KB PDF - A study by Market Research Agency De Vos & Jansen) gives an invaluable insight into viewing habits.
How pay per click search engines work:
You can bid on keywords or phrases and provide a sponsored listing (advert) for related searches (appearing at the page top or to the right side). The highest bid ranks top and you only pay when a visitor clicks on your advert which taking them to your web page. Although search engines have a strong commercial interest in attracting pay by click adverts they will exclude irrelevant listings because this may lose searchers and advertisers.
Advantages of advertising with pay per click
- Visibility - Your organisation immediately ranks highly for targeted searches.
- Virtually instant traffic to your website
- Targeted advertising at a known maximise budget
Will my Company benefit from using pay per click, normally the answer is a resounding yes, if managed well. When advising you we consider:
- The uniqueness of your product or service; how effective the competition is and the tactics they use.
- For each key phrase, the natural position of your website.
- The impact, each item bid cost versus the potential value of sales.
- Placing your budget wisely with providers by evaluating market coverage, cost per click and conversion rates.
The key to a successful pay per click campaign
- Choose key phrases that relate to your site's content. Identify negative words to exclude irrelevant searches.
- Understand the cost/position implications and decide the value of bid on each search term. Very specific phrases will target searchers who are more likely to be interest in your products or services and should carry a higher bid, than more general ones.
- Tailoring and careful wording each advert headline and description to stand out, to attract valued custom. Include the search term and perhaps use a call to action or persuasive navigation. Vary the advert and find out which works best for your particular market. Just changing a word or the word order can produce surprising results. Often the fewer the words the better, perhaps a dash will be better than an and.
- Monitoring and reviewing results
- A directory for each search engine you are advertising on i.e. /go/ for Google and /ya/ for Yahoo
- With specific landing pages for each pay per click search campaign i.e. /go/pay-per-click.htm and ya/pay-per-click.htm
- Using your website statistics:
- Record the number of times these pages are clicked and how many people just view the page once without moving hopefully to your contact or order page.
- You will quickly see considerable disparities between the success of different campaigns, search engines and/or days of the week. This will steer you perhaps to alter the landing page, make the campaign more specific or even to pause the campaign totally on certain days. Note: - One of the many great features of Google AdWords is that you can run two different parallel adverts and Google will find the most successful.
- Use Google Analytics to tell you how your visitors found your site and how they interacted. Integrated with AdWords it also tracks all non-Google initiatives.
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