An Introduction to Paid Search – What is Paid Search and why is it so important?

An Introduction to Paid Search – What is Paid Search and why is it so important?

As there are 5.8 billion searches per day on Google, the chances are you have seen a Google Paid Search ad. If you have a business with a website, you really should be running these ads.

Paid digital adverts will give you valuable traffic, almost instantly, along with potential capital to invest in other channels. They are also highly measurable, making them an effective marketing tool.

What is Paid Search?

Paid Search ads are the ads that appear at the top of Google, marked ‘ad’. The ‘Search Results Page’ has changed drastically over the last few years, with Google moving from having a right-hand column of ads to just four ads at the top. Google have also added a number of different extensions that has resulted in the organic positions being pushed down the page, sometimes off the screen completely. No organic search adverts appear on the page above the fold.

Do people actually click Paid Search Ads?

Yes! A high amount of people do click on Paid Search Ads. We know this because of the data we see and the sales generated. We can see how many people click on the ads and even how many times the ads have been shown.

Paid Search? What is PPC then?

PPC is the way that Paid Search is bought. ‘Pay Per Click’ means that you only pay every time someone clicks the ad and visits your website, making the marketing channel highly valuable. Other terms you might hear are:

  • Paid Media or Biddable Media – This is all paid-for activity via an auction (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube), so covers the full spectrum of paid-for services.
  • Google Ads – Google are the most recognisable search engine in the world, so it makes sense for the activity to be called ‘Google Ads.’ It is correct that you are most likely to be using Google Ads. However, Bing also run Bing Ads (a very similar setup).

Controlling your budget – Is Paid Search expensive?

Another benefit of Paid Search is that you can manage your budget, from daily spend, to how much you want to pay each time that an ad or keyword has been clicked. Keywords are bought on an auction basis, which means that how much you pay per click depends on how much your competitors are bidding. The goal is to bid higher than anyone else on each term.

When companies are bidding on particular terms, they are usually relative to the particular industry, with advertisers looking at what the ROI is on a particular keyword, before deciding how much they should bid on a particular term.

Example, an insurance company might be really high, however, the long-term customer value for insurance is high.

Measurability – The key to success is knowing what works for your business

The number one element with Paid Search, apart from the control of how much you spend, is how measurable it is. Not only can you see how much budget you need to spend to appear regularly at the top of Google, you can also track a user from the point of them searching a particular keyword, right through to them completing a purchase.

Being able to track keyword data was once something you could do via organic Google activity. However, since Google put the search engine behind a secure page ‘https’, the data will actually show as [not set] in Google Analytics.

Planning investment and ROI

Being able to see how much your average cost per click is, you can produce detailed media plans, especially once you know your conversion rate.


If you knew that your average cost per click is £2.00, and you set your budget at £200, you will get 100 clicks. Of these clicks, you might convert 10% of these, meaning that you could have a potential of 10 new leads.

Where does Paid Search sit as a marketing channel?

As a marketing channel, paid search sits right before the user makes a decision. The user is actively searching for a particular product, so they are considered to be really close to making a decision and therefore a hot lead.

What else makes Paid Search different than Organic Search?

Along with keyword targeting, Paid Search also gives you the option to target based on a number of different criteria, including:

  • Geographic Target – You can target users based on their geographic location when searching for the particular product. This is great for a service that is local.
  • Time of Day – By targeting a specific time of day, you can bid more aggressively during office hours if you have a team answering the phone.
  • Day of Week – You can target specific days of the week – e.g. if you work Monday to Friday, you might want to bid less aggressively, or not at all, at the weekend.
  • Demographic – Targeting the age of the person that is searching could be useful for specifically targeting decision-makers.
  • Audience Targeting – Targeting in-market audiences more aggressively can be good as these people are considered to be in-market for particular product, based on their browser history.

What are Remarketing Ads?

What about the ads that seem to follow you around? Those are called ‘remarketing ads’ and are visible through Display advertising. However, a feature exists in Paid Search called ‘Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA)’.

What this does is allow you to bid more aggressively based on whether someone has been on the site before and even which page.

For example, if someone has already bought from you before and has a login, they will likely buy from you again, so you can be really aggressive with your bidding. The same stands if someone hasn’t purchased, but has gotten as far as the checkout. Alternatively, if you have a product that someone would only buy once and you want just new customers, you can exclude people that have already purchased.

What does a Paid Search Specialist do for me?

The job of a Paid Search specialist is to make sure that you identify the best keywords for your business and get the most effective results out of your budget. This might mean making changes to ad copy so that your ads are more relevant, or making amendments to keywords so that your CTR increases, as these activities will reduce the average cost per click.

A Paid Search Specialist will also manage where you spend your budget, for example moving budget from the worst performing campaigns to the best performing, changing the time of day and day of week, etc.  If you require more information, feel free to get in touch: [email protected].

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