Subscribe to our newsletters

Five (Key)words to Describe Paid Search

It’s no secret that The Starr Conspiracy is a leader in HCM intelligence. Redefining boundaries and a sense of audacity are required to set yourself apart from the crowd, which TSC has done, time and again.


In 2011, the agency launched its brand at HR Tech with an Airstream trailer and camping scene in its designated booth space. Along with an epic party atop the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, this event drove TSC to break the norm at HR conventions by introducing a level of creativity and recall to build a brand.

Additionally, TSC turned the traditional white paper on its ear with the creation of the Lightpaper®, an interactive digital format that allows B2B marketers to share content and track how users experience it. With the expansion of the Media Team, we plan to change the way digital and traditional media are executed. More manpower and an increased depth of knowledge are paving the way to innovation in order to provide new and creative ways to promote our clients.

Many acronyms surround the term paid search: SEM (search engine marketing), PPC (pay per click), CPC (cost per click), and CPM (cost per thousand impressions) are the most prevalent. It seems appropriate to include another to explain paid search and its importance; paid search is a Valuable Opportunity for Investment that is Complementary and Expandable — it is your VOICE.

Valuable — There is inherent value in having your name appear on search engine results pages, especially when it shows above the fold. Being conspicuous and available is critical, as search is deemed the most trusted source of media on the internet. Paid search is a tactic for brand awareness and conversions, and due to its metrics-driven nature, it can provide data very quickly. Paid search also affirms the relevance of organic search. Evidence for this comes from studies that show a 10 to 15 percent decrease in click-thru rate when all ads are removed from the search engine results pages and only organic search results are shown. Rationale stems from the idea that certain people are more likely to click an ad vs. an organic result and that some people find sources more credible when both types of results appear on the page.

Opportunity At the end of July, Google made several new changes available to paid search marketers. It has expanded the text ads to include an additional headline and longer description lines, which amounts to over 47 percent more ad copy. The ability to create or edit the old ad format will cease on Oct. 26, which means preparations for new ad copy should begin very soon, if they haven’t already. This will provide marketers with a chance to create new CTAs and better, more relevant descriptions; it has already shown aggregate increases in click-thru rates. For many, paid search is synonymous with Google AdWords, but so much more is involved in a comprehensive paid search approach. Although running a Google AdWords campaign is a suitable foray, serious search marketers should incorporate supplementary resources. Bing is the second-most frequently used search engine in the U.S., pulling in about 33 percent of the market share with the Microsoft and Yahoo networks. Conversion rates are often higher and CPC is significantly lower on Bing than on Google. Finally, when managing multiple paid search accounts, search management software can provide additional forecasting analyses and insights for clients. The Media Team at TSC has explored many such options and selected one that will vastly enhance workflow and reporting.

Investment Marketers spent nearly $60 billion last year on B2B and B2C digital advertising campaigns in the U.S., and paid search comprised almost half of this budget. Funds allocated to desktop and mobile for paid search totaled $20.3 billion and $8.9 billion, respectively. Numbers like these prove that advertisers find great value in and are compelled to invest in paid search. Over the years, the trend has shown an increase in the amount spent in this digital category and the spend forecast is headed in the same direction, with over a $3 billion projected increase invested in paid search each year.

Complementary Content marketing strategies integrate well with paid search. Keywords, ad copy text, and content must align to lead customers to relevant solutions. Whether on the hunt for information or to plan a purchase, search engine users deserve quality, transparent results. Writing current, varied, and relevant content is the method to achieve this harmonization. Furthermore, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search are techniques that are in accordance with one another. SEO is experiencing a similar increase in annual marketing spend to paid search, although at a smaller scale, and requires a great deal of content optimization to perform favorably. A balancing act must take place between the two in order to improve rankings to generate visibility, clicks, and conversions.

Expandable The size and structure of a paid search campaign is dependent on many factors, including budget and resources. No matter the amount of available funds, the option to adjust CPC bids on individual keywords is there, if needed. When a business launches new products or services, corresponding paid search campaigns should be added to existing ones. And, when new content is added to a landing page, keywords in a paid search campaign must conform to these changes.

VOICE represents a digital podium that enables your business to speak to interested potential customers who already know your brand and future customers who didn’t know they needed you until they saw the ad. VOICE substantiates the necessity of paid search as a digital marketing strategy. Paid search is not just about visibility, it’s about what you have to say to a specific audience. If you’d like to talk through your existing SEM strategy or have been considering implementing an SEM plan, drop us a line. We’d love to talk.