In 2016, digital ad spend surpassed television spend for the first time. A growing share of all advertising dollars for businesses large and small is moving online. With better ROAS (return on ad spend) the shift to digital makes sense. Paid search is just one element of the online advertising world; however, it is also the most critical area for most businesses. If your business isn’t leveraging paid search as part of your overall advertising strategy, now is the time to jump in and there are a number of very good reasons why.
Organic Traffic has Declined
In the past, getting to the top of the organic listings meant that your site was typically showing above the fold, (before you have to scroll down) and you were getting a very high percentage of overall traffic. Times have changed, however. Last year, Google added a 4th advertising spot above the fold, which pushed organic listings further down. This 4th ad spot combined with all the additional features Google has added to the results pages–news, answers, maps, etc–means that even being in the first position of organic results will almost always put you below the fold.
The situation on mobile devices is even worse. The limited screen space means that it will often take multiple swipes of your finger to get to the organic results. Paid ads are now monopolizing the above the fold space on Google, and that’s a situation that is here to stay.
A Majority of Searches are now on Mobile
Mobile searches now make up the majority of searches on Google, and the role that our phones play in our lives is extensive. Many of the features that Google offers for paid search ads are designed specifically with mobile users in mind, and this is a trend that is sure to continue as the percentage of traffic coming from mobile devices increases.
For example, ads have a click-to-call phone number option, which will allow people to contact your business directly from your ad. This is both convenient and powerful, and it is a function that is only possible with your paid ads.
The Competition Continues to get Better
As a growing number of businesses advertise online and more ad spend continues to flow to paid search, the competition is getting tougher. In some verticals, it is impossible for anyone but the most elite pay-per-click firms to setup and manage profitable campaigns. This level of competition has not yet trickled down to areas where most small to mid-size firms operate, but the competition is getting tougher.
It takes time and data to turn campaigns profitable, and the tougher the competition the longer it will take to optimize a campaign to the point that it is profitable, so it will never be easier than it is today to start a paid search campaign that will end up being profitable.
Paid search is the current gold standard for digital advertising, and it is where the bulk of most companies’ ad dollars should be going. For businesses that haven’t begun to utilize paid search, now is the time to start. It may be intimidating, but there are resources available for self learning, and agencies like ours who have the expertise to do paid search right.