Angela LaRocca

The Adventures of Paid Search Fundamentals

PPC-AdvertisingRemember in my previous post I mentioned the importance of putting yourself in an unfamiliar territory to learn, grow, and be vulnerable?  That was the exact theme of day one at SMX East, a Search Marketing Expo in New York City.  Upon arrival to the beginning of the conference, I learned about an opportunity that immediately sparked my interest. The word on the street (in the expo hall) was that one could earn a certificate of completion for attending back to back seminars on a particular search marketing track on the first day, also known as SMX Bootcamp.   That eliminated my brief workshop-decision-anxiety.   My Type-A personality was immediately intrigued.  I need to be on this certificate-earning bandwagon ASAP.  I scanned the schedule for the required classes for this epic day.  They were as follows:

  1. Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success (keep talking)
  2. Link Building Fundamentals (I like what I’m hearing)
  3. Paid Search Fundamentals (standby for elaboration)
  4. Search Engine Friendly Web Design (great opportunity to channel your inner designer)

Keyword Research is part of my everyday work activity, so that workshop would certainly be beneficial.  Link Building makes the searching marketing world go ‘round.   Cut to the Paid Search Fundamentals course and file it under “Unfamiliar Territory but Well Worth It” category.  The same goes for Search Engine Friendly Web Design.  Mind you, on a daily basis, these are not areas that I am directly involved.  However, they are all crucial elements to the wonderful world of Search Engine Marketing, AND I’m there to learn, so I was on board.  The Net Impact has a wonderfully talented team that is beyond proficient in these areas, and this was my golden opportunity to culture myself and learn a new language.  A beautiful, magical, language of another department in the company.  I didn’t know I was simultaneously signing up to study abroad! Plus, like chicken soup, a little knowledge is good for the soul.  It’s time to explore Paid Search.

This workshop was led by an engaging, entertaining, and enlightening speaker named Matt Van Wagner.  Matt is the President of Find Me Faster, a leading New Hampshire firm specializing in Search Engine Marketing.   The first words out of his mouth were that PPC and SEO are complimentary.  For the next hour and half, I don’t think I blinked, sipped coffee, or paid the slightest bit of attention to the cramp developing in my right hand from writing so fast.

PPC, meet SEO.  SEO, meet PPC. 

  • Now that we’ve all met, let’s get down to business and get hip with the lingo. Paid Search.  Paid Advertising. Pay Per Click. (sidenote: It’s okay to admit when you first heard, “Pay Per Click” it sounds like “Paperclip,” you’re in a safe place.) Or, PPC, as the kids are calling it these days.  I have certainly heard about it, but have not placed ads myself, so I wanted to hear the buzz about PPC.  There are a multitude of components that sync SEO with PPC.  A few of these contributing factors include: Keywords, Ads, Bids, Landing Pages, and Conversions.  The goal of managing these important elements is designed to first attract users upon search engine results.  See those lightly shaded ads at the very top of results page?  That’s PPC’s initial invitation.  Upcoming clicking on those, the visitor is welcomed to the website with open arms, also known as attractive ads, designed to transform a visitor to a buyer.   Sharpen the content on those landing pages, making them an ideal place for people to visit and perhaps a conversion will take place.  Writing those ads is a perfect opportunity to switch that left brain thinking over to the right (come on; it’s so fun over here!).  Get creative. Think outside the box.  Matt made an interesting point to really get to know your sales team.  After all, they know the products better than anyone.  Brainstorm together, and create a concise sales pitch to feature on your display ads.  The bidding process makes PPC exciting. Determine just how much a click is worth to you, and let the fun begin.  He explained the thrill of the entire process in a sentence I will never forget, “PPC is like crack.  It’s exciting, it’s addicting, and it can keep you up all night.”

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” ~Vince Lombardi

  • While Lombardi made an interesting point, Matt did the same with this tidbit of genius.  He said, “Investment in PPC ads is measurable.”  Let that one sink in.  Like anything, what good is a piece of content, an idea, or in this case, placement of an ad, without being able to measure it?  If it’s floating out there in space (or cyberspace), a) it most likely won’t get the attention it deserves, and b) won’t be accurately trackable.   That measurability is crucial.  It helps us improve our traffic, develop visitors patterns, basically, give our audiences and potential buyers what they want using strategy.  He continued with another interesting point.  PPC in fact, allows you more control over reaching your audiences.  You have the power to be an authority figure.  You can write the ads that appear and even chose the landing page.  He had me at “control.”  This ideology of being even a little bit in control of knowing what people are buying blows my mind.  As you are creating those brilliant ads, take into consideration who is buying and what their motivation is.    Matt broke down the different targeting options beautifully and so simply.  Paid advertising provides a myriad of opportunities to reach buyers: be it geographically, demographically, by displaying an ad during the best time of day or even week, for that particular company, and my personal favorite, re-marketing.

That’s so 1984…

  • This particular strategy of re-marketing strikes a chord with me.  I remember reading George Orwell’s book, 1984 for school and the idea that “Big Brother is watching you,” was instilled in my brain.   In the internet marketing world, Big Brother, or “Google” is watching you, whether you like it or not.  Re-marketing refers to those ever-so-personal ads that cleverly pop up as if they were placed there just for you.  The power of paid search digs deep into your personal preferences and conveniently displays ads on the page.  How did these Estee Lauder, Banana Republic, or Whole Foods ads magically appear so near to when I may or may not have been browsing for much-needed items? The magic of re-marketing, that’s how.  It’s personal, it’s eerie, it’s clever, and it’s an impressive, way to transition an innocent browsing session into a powerful way for advertisers to be successful.  Conversion is the name of the game.

Those were just a few of the highlights from my adventure day learning Paid Search Fundamentals.  What draws you to PPC? Tweet your thoughts to #TheNetImpact. It’s a jungle out there; advertise wisely!

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7 Responses

  1. mark on 19 Nov 2013

    Very good blog, keep them coming!

  2. Molly J. on 19 Nov 2013

    This is a fantastic overview and thanks for staying on top of the SEO/ advertising trends! Anyone who can work Vince into a blog post about paid search deserves major kudos. I look forward to reading and learning more. And I have to agree with Jennifer about the google updates. Content and natural language search are playing a much stronger role in the long term success(i.e. page ranking) of a site.

  3. Patrick on 12 Nov 2013

    Very interesting how much research and work goes into all the “subtle” marketing strategies that affect our day to day. Thanks for the overview!

  4. Susan on 12 Nov 2013

    Intriguing/creepy how much strategy is placed behind those ads – wonder where Google will take us in the next few years. Thanks for the conference update!

  5. Jennifer on 12 Nov 2013

    Sounds like it was a great conference!

    One thing to keep in mind in this post-Hummingbird world is that we need to make sure our marketing strategies are well balanced. That means some paid search is important and SEOs need to master it. It’s amazing how unbelievably good Google has gotten at re-marketing which means there’s a lot that can and should be done there. Proper time should be spent getting these ads to do what we need them to do where we need them to do it without over saturating the market.

  6. Cassidy on 12 Nov 2013

    The power of re-marketing! It’s pretty crazy… I can’t tell you how much I’ve bought thanks to those sneaky little ads (those Nordstrom boots were calling my name!). It’s all so interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Akvile Harlow on 12 Nov 2013

    What a great recap! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts, Angela. We hope to see you at SMX again next year!

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