10 terms to know about Search Engine Advertising

06 Sep, 2016

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Search Engine Advertising refers to advertisements displayed in the search engine results, on some websites, and on social media. To create online advertisements, you need to use some platforms with the most well-known being Google AdWords, which displays ads in Google's search engine, Google websites, Google partners and Google Network, and Facebook Ads Manager to create advertisements for Facebook.

To understand how SEA and these platforms work, here are the most important terms to know. (As an example, we will look at the Google AdWords platform, which is the most used platform for online advertising)

1. Targeting

Targeting advertisements can be done through different methods according to the network.

Your ad can be set by keyword targeting on the Search Network. A keyword is a word related to a specific topic that people will type in their search engine to find information. For keyword targeting, you need to enter keywords to match your ads.

You can also use location and language targeting to reach your potential customers. Moreover, there is device targeting; your ad can be shown only on mobile devices for example. There is also audience targeting which lets you limit your ads to people who have already visited your site. This technique is also called retargeting or dynamic remarketing.

There are more possibilities for the Display Network, where you can make image ads. You can set up ads with keyword targeting, which follows the same principle as the Search Network.

There is also contextual targeting, where your ad will be displayed on sites selected due to some keywords you selected. Additionally, there is topic targeting which allows you to spread your ad further because the ad will be displayed on all the websites talking about the topic you selected.

Besides the keyword, context, and topic targeting, ads can be displayed with other criteria such as location and language targeting, audience targeting, and device targeting (these criteria are the same ones as the Search Network).

The Display Network allows you to additionally do placement targeting, where your ad will be displayed only on some specific websites you manually choose. You can even select an entire website or just a portion of it.

2. Landing Page

The landing page is the page where people end up after they click on your advertisement. When you create an ad, you need to specify a final URL where the customer will come to after clicking on your ad. The landing page URL and the final URL have to share the same domain.

An important part of online advertising is the landing page experience. This could be defined by the relevance of your page, the usefulness of the information provided, the user navigation, and the number of links on the page.

3. Bid

The bid corresponds to the amount of money you are willing to pay to show your ads or to encourage people to click on your ad. In the next article, we will see which bid strategy to favor according to your advertising strategy.

4. Impressions

Impressions refer to the number of times your ad has been displayed in search engine results pages or on some websites of the Google Network. Each time your ad is displayed, it counts as one impression. 

5. Quality Score

In the process of SEA, there is a rank for all the ads published. This means that when a user is typing a keyword in the search engine, all ads will be displayed according to a rank. The position of your ad will depend on your Quality Score and not just on the bid (amount of money you are willing to pay). The quality score is marked on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. This score is composed of 3 elements: expected click rate on your ad, the relevance of your ad, and the quality of your landing page.

Having a good quality score allows you to decrease the cost of your ads and improve your position.

6. Campaign

When you create a campaign in Google AdWords, you have the possibility to organize your campaign by ad group. An ad group contains ads, keywords, and bids. These ad groups share the same budget and targeting. These ad groups allow you to organize your campaign by-product or service range. Your AdWords account can contain one or several campaigns and each campaign can contain one or several ad groups. To clearly see the structure of an AdWords Campaign, you can go to Google Support.

7. Click-Through Rate

The Click Through Rate (CTR) is a measure of the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of impressions of your ad, or how many times your ad was seen.

The CTR Is a good indicator to know how your keywords and your ads are performing. The CTR is one of the best indicators to know if people are clicking on your ads. It also allows you to improve your ads by knowing what is working or not.

8. Cost Per Click

The Cost Per Click (CPC) is a billing option. It corresponds to the maximum amount you are willing to pay for one click on your ad. A higher CPC will usually help you get a higher position in the ad rank.

9. Cost Per Mille

The Cost Per Mille (CPM) is a billing option that allows you to pay for every thousand impressions of your ad. This billing option is only available on the Display Network. A derivative exists which is called vCPM. vCPM is the same principle as CPM but you will only pay for the viewable impressions. This is a better option because some ads can be marked viewed, but they were not visible by the viewer because the ads were at the bottom of the page (below the fold). To be counted as visible with vCPM, the viewer has to spend more than 1 second on the screen where your ad is displayed. There is also the eCPM (CPM effective), which allows you to compare the CPC and CPM campaigns when they challenge each other on the Display Network.

10. Cost Per Action

The Cost Per Action (also see Cost Per Visit) is a good billing option to obtain action on your website. You only need to define which kind of actions you are expecting from your campaign. Possible actions could be a subscription to a newsletter, filling out a form, a social share, getting an estimate, a purchase, etc.

With the CPA, you set how much you are willing to pay for one visitor doing action on your website.

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