Paid Online Advertising – A Beginner’s Guide

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Paid Online AdvertisingPaid online advertising is also known by names such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. What they essentially describe is the concept of purchased traffic for the purpose of going through online advertisements. The money spent worldwide on digitals advertisements is more than 130 billion dollars and continues to grow. It is about a fourth of the total money spent on advertising through media. If you are wondering whether this amount is paying off, it may be interesting to note that click-through rates had jumped to 200 percent of its value in 2011. Twitter delivered about 4 times its revenue per visit as it did in the year 2011. Paid advertising online is indeed a smart way to guide more traffic to your website if you have one. This article will provide some basic information on certain key channels, their pricing models and their strengths and weaknesses. PPC ads on Google appear on the top of the search listing pages.

Google Adwords

Many businesses use Google Adwords to display text ads associated with highly searched for keywords. Google Adwords will result from a higher ROI when the Adwords used are for longer periods. The quality scores assigned to long-standing Adwords by Google are typically higher.

Social Advertising

Social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, have grown immensely popular in the few years that have passed. Advertising through these social media sites are targeted and depend on factors such as geographical location, user preferences, and demographics. If you are planning to use social media advertising some care has to go into choosing the appropriate ad network because what works for one business may not just work for another. Factors to be considered while choosing an ad network are:
1. whether your ad would reach your customer at the intended time
2. whether your advertisement is for a customer or a B2B model
3. whether you are looking to target according to customer demographics or interest or both.

Whereas Facebook ads can help you to create awareness of new products, businesses or services ads in LinkedIn would catch the interest of professionals with specific job titles. Typically, LinkedIn can be used for B2B marketing. Facebook ads work in a manner that is very similar to display ads. StumbleUpon offers paid advertising that is inexpensive and offers a near 100% click-through option. The superior content engages a potential client effectively. However, conversions have to be tracked.

YouTube provides a wide variety of advertising options for marketers who are looking out to reach a wide audience. The Homepage Red zone helps in branding and helps you to develop engaging, unique and creative content. The advertising options are customized to a large extent. However, it is expensive. YouTube is more suitable for global brands such as cars, movies, restaurant chains, consumer durables, etc.

Bing and Yahoo

These two offer advertising platforms that are very similar to that of Google. However, there is less competition. They display both text and display ads based on popular and targeted search words/phrases.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

This model delivers what it says: you do not pay any one unless they click on your ads. They usually consist of text with small-sized images. The amount of money that you pay for the click determines the market value of the keyword that the potential client inputs and the quality score of their ad. PPC ad campaigns that are optimized have been observed to generate a considerable amount of traffic.

The strength of this model is that there is clearly no risk of overspending on ads since you are only paying for traffic that visits your site. However, when you are in competition with other more expensive PPC campaigners, the operation can become expensive. One should also understand that many of the clicks that take place may be accidental and may not convert to paying customers.


CPM expands to cost per impression. The billing rate is flat for a specific number of impressions. The impression means the number of times that an ad is displayed or has caused an impression on the user. There is no additional charge for any clicks that may have been received. In a majority of the cases, CPM ads are displayed ads.

The advantage of CPM is that you can work within a budget, and they are inexpensive. The advertisement will be displayed a specific number of times. However, if the conversion rate is low, the effort is a mere expenditure. It is difficult to assess the traffic till after the campaign has ended. As per statistics, a heavy rush of traffic is uncommon.

Paid Online Advertising Concepts

It is crucial that an online marketer is aware of a few paid advertising concepts so that it is easy to select a strategy that would help to reach the intended marketing goal.

Behavioral Targeting

These advertisements are geared to reach out to those potential clients based on their purchase activity in the past.

Day Parting

This optional feature allows you to choose the exact time of the day when the advertisement needs to be displayed.


Advertisements that are more geographically relevant are based on this concept. The advertisement may be targeted audiences that belong to a specific part of the globe, Nation, area, etc.

Keyword Match Types

These control the audience that your advertisement will be seen by and are based on search terms. As an example, broad matches with the search term would display the ad to a big/wide audience. Similarly, a phrase match will display your ad if it is part of a set of words that are searched. An exact match would show your advertisement only if an exact match of the words keyed in is encountered in the search terms.

Quality Score

Google awards quality score depends on how well your advertisements align with what is on the landing page of your website. Higher quality scores are awarded to those with a lower cost per click to improve the quality of the advertisements that are displayed.

However, as an online entrepreneur, you have to understand that if you run out of money to put the advertisements up, your paid advertising online efforts will become expensive and counterproductive.

There is a lot of information to digest.  Virtual Surge, Baltimore SEO, can help you learn more about online advertising and work with you to determine which avenue will work best for your business.