Search engine marketing (SEM) can be either a small or large investment for your company. It’s important to understand why SEM is worth the investment if you’re considering it. If you’re struggling to find ways to convince your higher-ups why SEM is important, please read the reasons below.
Qualitative Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in Search Engine Marketing:
- Track ROI to the penny: SEM is perhaps the most trackable advertising medium. You can easily see how much you spend and how many conversions your investment generated.
- SEM is instant: Unlike SEO, any change you make to an SEM campaign can be uploaded and seen within minutes!
- SEM provides more control: SEM allows you to completely coordinate the messaging a user sees based on the search query.
- SEM is targeted: Only do business in a particular country, state, DMA or city? SEM allows you to excluvsively target these areas. What happens if you only have people in the office from 8-5 to answer phone calls? You can schedule your ads to run during the hours you want.
- SEM allows for more visibility: Having trouble ranking organically for a particular keyword? Are the old SEO tricks not working as well as they had before? SEM gives advertisers the ability to show up for keywords that you struggle with in organic results.
Quantitative Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in Search Engine Marketing:
- Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords. (Google Economic Impact Report)
- As of spring 2011, Google had more than 1.2 million businesses advertising on its search network. (AdGooRoo via Perry Marshall)
- Ads in the top position have been observed to get 10 times as many clicks as side-position ads. (Practical Ecommerce)
- 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused. (Google Research)
- For high-commercial intent search queries, the top 3 ad spots take about 40% of the clicks on the page. (The War on Free Clicks)
SEM vs. SEO: Which is Better?
This is a question that many online marketing professionals face from clients or even co-workers. Even though I am biased towards SEM, there’s no right answer as to which is better or more important. Generally, you should have a combination of both. SEO is free if done in-house and can provide a higher long-term return than SEM if outsourced to competent professionals. SEO answers a lot of searchers questions and is needed while users are in “research” or “learning” mode. Let’s face it, with all the information available on the Web these days, users do their own research before making a decision. Due to SEM’s nature of occupying the top listings, having control over messaging (ads) and conversion (landing pages) is a proven revenue-driver that performs best when users are ready to make a decision.