Why Paid Search (Still) Matters

by Harrison Horblit

Jul 14, 2023

Posted in Services

VP of Paid Media, Harrison Horblit, smiles while speaking to a colleague while his MacBook sits in his lap during a work event.

Paid Search Is (Still) An Incredibly Powerful Marketing Tool

Even though Paid Search is quickly becoming a veteran tactic of the digital marketing world, its value hasn’t diminished. In fact, it still remains one of the most effective advertising formats for finding consumers who are already in a purchase or conversion mindset.

And with all of the new digital advertising formats coming out, it’s important to understand exactly why Paid Search is still such a powerful and valuable tactic, one that can do incredible things for your business. 

Unlike similar tactics like paid social media advertising, paid search allows you to find customers farther down the marketing funnel and direct them to your business or product.

But that’s not the only reason Paid Search can be a powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal. Let’s go over some of the more important aspects of this tactic!

Set It and Forget It? Not with Paid Search!

Having worked in Paid Search quite a bit throughout my career, I’ve heard a few common misconceptions that I’d like to dispel. 

One of the biggest is that once you set up a campaign, you can just “set it and forget.” Well, technically you can, I guess, but if you want results you need to put in a little more effort. 

What do you really need? Analysis, optimization, campaign refreshes, adjustment, as well strategic edits based on results and performance. This means you need a specialist devoted to your campaigns in order to get the best results. Set it and forget it? You’ll regret it. 

I imagine that certain businesses aren’t transparent about pricing, or how these ad platforms actually work. You need consistent optimization and diligence to maintain high performing ads.

And here’s another common misconception: If you have good SEO, you don’t need PPC. 

Not true! In order to get the best results, they have to work in tandem. PPC is a good way to support your organic search results and, hopefully, reach that coveted #1 spot. The fact of the matter is that PPC drives valuable traffic to your website, even if you’re not getting immediate conversion and sales. These combined tactics are a great way to drive exposure and keep your brand top of mind.

You Get What You Pay For

It’s no secret that paid search can be an expensive tactic, depending on your market area and the keywords you’re bidding on, but we should always remember this: You only pay for each click that actually directs users to your ad. 

You DON’T pay for simple placement or impressions, and if your ads are well designed, it’s easy to see a great ROI when analyzing conversion value vs the cost of ad placements.

Your Budget Matters, but it Isn’t the Only Thing that Matters

Although budget plays an important role in ad ranking, there are multiple factors that also influence the success of these auctions, including how well written, optimized, and relevant your ads are.

Paid Search advertising utilizes an auction system where, every time a user conducts a search on a search engine like Google or Bing, a real-time bidding system uses multiple factors to decide which ads will populate on the search engine results page — also known as SERP. 

Advertisers use ad platforms built by these search engines to write and design sponsored search results. This sponsored search result, or “ad,” will contain information, links, and sometimes even photos relevant to the user with a specific landing page that contains content relevant to the user’s search. 

Let’s go even deeper.  

Ad accounts are organized a bit like a family tree. You have your main brand or business at the very top of this tree, and below that you’ll find larger limbs of different ad groups that target different subsets of your service offerings, and then within those groups you’ll find even more branches, or variants. 

Each variant serves to the same group of keyphrases or searches (targeting keywords) and usually contains differing copy and imagery. 

Due to the complexity of Paid Search — even for businesses with the simplest value proposition — we always recommend having professional support with your campaigns. 

For a Better ROI, Enlist Experienced Professionals

Any brand with specific goals tied to their marketing investments should want a comprehensive, experienced team to design the best, most effective ads as possible. This is not a tactic we recommend for a layperson to manage on their own without support. 

Why? Because of how wide ranging and granular this tactic can be. It’s a detail-rich platform, with an incredible number of variables to consider. 

For instance, a strong ad group and keyword strategy ensures that you’re capturing all possible types of searches that a user might enter. The more relevant an ad is to the users search, the higher chance that it will rank #1 on the SERP, and of course the higher chance that someone will click on it. 

This might sound simple, but there are many other factors at play. Like your competition. 

And of course each advertiser/business will have competition! Other brands that are hoping to bid on the same keyword, and send that user and their search to their content or website. 

The more brands there are vying for that ad spot, the more expensive these clicks/ad placements will be — and the more strategic your paid media manager will need to be!

The folks who are most successful in this realm know how to create optimized, well-designed content utilizing latest features within each ad platform while staying in tandem with the business they represent by continuously adding its newest, most up-to-date to maintain relevance in a time-sensitive tactic. 

Not All Paid Search Is Alike

Once upon a time, Paid Search ads were much simpler: text ads with a headline and a couple descriptions. That was it. Today, it’s a totally different ballgame, and modern search ads come in many different shapes and sizes. 

Now, you can have things like “Discovery Ads” or “Performance Max” campaigns that can serve your ads on YouTube, Google Chrome, and even email. 

Even more sophisticated are “Responsive” ads that draw from a large bank of text options to dynamically match a user’s search terms. 

They allow advertisers and companies to control a plethora of variables to create hyper-custom, hyper-specific, and hyper-relevant paid search ads to serve the user exactly what they’re looking for.

Responsive ads can include their geographic location, editing and displaying relevant ad copy on the fly. There are even extensions that allow you to add links, offers, visual assets, and even product listings from a shop that’s near a user’s location, point users directly to nearby brick and mortar stores.

Control the Controllable, and Sometimes the Less-Controllable

Paid Search ads also allow companies to circumvent challenging and less-controllable SEO difficulties. 

Say that you’re a brand-new business or have launched a new website that might not have the domain authority or website history of a longer-standing business — now, you can use Paid Search to buy your way to the top and surpass organic results. 

And with the new dynamic features, even if you don’t have the exact language in your ad to match the users search, you can essentially gain that relevancy on the fly to create a search result that is exactly what the user wants.

What’s more, you can also use paid search to glean insight into what exactly your audience is looking for, which isn’t always what you assume it might be.  

New Paid Search features can show you the popular searches that triggered your ads, and tell you what key phrases or searches perform best when targeted by your business. 

For example, if you’re a used car dealer, you might think the search that will perform best for you would be something like “car dealerships” near me. But that’s not necessarily the case. 

In reality, you might find that your best customer is actually searching for “best new cars of 2023.” The benefit to you is that, with this knowledge in hand, you can create relevant ad copy that speaks to car comparisons or targets users looking for more information. 

You can also use this info to edit the content on your website to improve ad relevance AND improve your website content strategy. Incredible!

AI Has Made Paid Search Even More Powerful

Like I mentioned, the features and capabilities  of Paid Search have grown considerably over the years, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon. 

We now have more automated “AI” driven features that read countless user data points to better serve your content, and retargeting capabilities that can show ads and products to users that have expressed interest in your brand in the past. 

Another rapidly growing sector of Paid Search are Click to Call ads that leverage the ever-growing population of users conducting searches on their mobile devices.

We’re able to build conversion events for just about any on-site conversion you can imagine due to how sophisticated tracking has become. Instead of just simple conversions, we can now glean data points for countless micro-conversions, like page views, time on site, and more. 

Formada Can Help You With Your Paid Search Needs

The Formada team has a lot of experience with a variety of industries, businesses, and the best ads types for their brands. 

We’ve seen Google Ads change quite a bit over the years, and make its changes a central part of our training so that we’re always providing cutting-edge service to our clients. 

Due to our focus on this realm of digital marketing, we specialize in aspects of Paid Search that the average business owner might not be familiar with, but our goal is to give you the information and confidence you deserve to better understand how your dollars are being invested while increasing your ROI. 

Want to push your brand to #1? Then contact us today! We’d love to create a custom plan for you so your business can achieve its digital marketing goals through Paid Search.


Get in touch with the Formada Team