If you want a marketing strategy that can push and pull to drive business and boost ROI, you might want to consider an integrated ad solution that combines paid search and display advertising.
According to Marketing Land, a ZenithOptimedia study showed that display advertising is growing at 21 percent annually, while paid search is growing at 13 percent. Depending on your goals and where your customer is in the sales funnel, a combination of paid and display is the best strategy for increasing business.
Pay-per-click (PPC) as part of a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy is a time-honored way of driving traffic to your site. You've probably seen the sponsored ads showing up at the top or to the side of Google search engine page results. PPC allows you to bid on keywords so your brand shows up on top as a sponsored listing when a user searches with those keywords.
This is considered a pull marketing strategy — a user finds you because she has entered specific search terms that trigger your sponsored listing. If a user clicks on your listing, you're charged a small fee.
PPC is an effective way to bring leads or clicks to your website. Since customers at this stage know what they want (which is why their search was specific), they're usually at the middle or end of the sales funnel, making them more likely to convert.
Display advertising is more of a push marketing strategy, like planting a billboard on the side of the road. Display ads are shown on specific Web pages or social media sites and are a great way to introduce your brand, increase brand awareness or promote a special offer for a limited time. You pay per number of ads or impressions that will be displayed.
Because display advertising is a brand awareness strategy that can move potential customers through the funnel, measuring ROI isn't as simple as just counting clicks. But when a user sees your display ad show up as she's browsing, she may be more likely to click on your sponsored ad in the search engine results page (SERP) when she's ready to buy.
The Best of Both Worlds
Together, display and paid search offers an effective, integrated strategy to drive business. If you are trying to expand your reach and new customers are at the top of the funnel, display is the best way to make your brand known and trusted.
Paid search is ideal when customers know what they want and are likely ready to buy. When they see your sponsored ad in the SERP, your display ad campaign will pay off in terms of product awareness and recall.
The key is not measuring ROI by clicks, but by evaluating the merits of both strategies and allowing them to work together.