Search engine marketing (SEM) is paid advertising( Digital Marketing ). It promotes a website and its products and services by featuring it among the top results in SERPs. Such results are displayed above the organic results on SERPs. They look like organic results with a small difference, for example, Google carries a little “Ad” label right next to the URL.
Popular platforms for SEM are Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Google is the most popular web search engine worldwide, across all platforms. It has a market share of 88.24% handling over 3.5 billion searches each day. Marketers have successfully displayed advertisements to people looking for infotainment in this platform. Google offers different types of ads to businesses looking for ways to attract the attention of audiences towards their brand.
Types of Google Ads
Search Ads: Search network ads are displayed as a text ad beside a related Google search. For instance, when someone is looking for landscaping service nearby and they search for lawn care. An ad will show up on Google landscaping service for the search on the search network. Search ads are the most popular among brands using Google ads.
Elements of Search ads:
Title – 30 characters
Description – Two descriptions are available to advertisers, each of up to 90 characters.
Display URL – The display URL typically shows the website address of a company.
Destination URL – It shows the actual landing page where viewers will be taken if they click on a link.
Site Links – These are the additional links given to specific words in advertisements.
Display ads: Display ads are visible on Gmail and other websites within the display network with the objective of amassing high volume of traffic for the brand. These ads show up as text or banner ads. Using display ads is a common strategy of businesses, to convert site visitors. Such ads are usually seen on a website.
Common Size of Banners:
|250 x 250
|200 x 200
|468 x 60
|728 x 90
|300 x 250
|336 x 280
|120 x 600
|160 x 600
|300 x 600
|970 x 90
|320 x 50
||Mobile Leaderboard (available only on high-end mobiles)
Video Ads: Video-based ads are visible on YouTube and other channels, which are partners of Google. Videos are a powerful means of advertising as audiences are likely to remember product/services promoted by brands.
These ads are embedded before, after or in between a YouTube video.
Types of YouTube Ads
These ads appear on YouTube and can also be shown on the Google Display Network. In Standard TrueView Ads, brands are charged only when viewers watch at least 30 seconds of the video ad, or if viewers watch the whole video if it is less than 30 seconds. However, if a viewer clicks on a link in the ad then the advertiser is charged.
TrueView Ads can be In-Stream Ads or Discovery Ads.
TrueView In-Stream Ads are embedded before, during, or after a YouTube video. They are skippable after five seconds, but brands are not charged if viewers opt for “skip” the ad. These video ads can also include call-to-actions.
Businesses typically opt for TrueView In-Stream Ads when considering YouTube Ads.
TrueView Discovery/In-Display Ads appear as related videos on the search result pages of YouTube. It shows up on the right-hand sidebar.
Advertisers are charged every time a Discovery Ad is clicked on, irrespective of the time the viewer watches the video. These Ads are great for product demonstration or how-to videos.
- Pre-Roll Ads
Pre-Roll Ads can’t be skipped. These YouTube ads are embedded before, in the middle, or after a video. Duration of these ad videos is up to 20 seconds long, but they are mostly about 15 seconds. A Pre-Roll Ad can play in the middle of a YouTube video only if it is of 10 minutes or longer duration. It typically has a call-to-action, making it easier for audience to learn more about the ad.
Advertisers are charged per ad view.
- Bumper Ads
Bumper Ads are also non-skippable and cost every time they are played. These ads are very short (only six seconds long) and are shown directly before YouTube videos. Bumper Ads are best suited for building brand awareness. Advertisers typically try to use it on remarketing audiences and a sequence of videos are created for the users to watch.
Marketers use a single format or a clever combination of the above ad formats on a case by case basis.
App Ads: Brands use App ads to promote increased download of their applications.
App ads are used by businesses to advertise their applications across entire Google network – Google Search, Google Display, YouTube, and Google Play – and other publishers who host app ads. App Ads features installations as well as in-app conversion actions.
Advertisers submit a few lines of text, videos and images, and html assets to optimize viewership among users. Google tests different combination of asset and serves ads which perform the best more often, without any effort from the advertisers.
Pros of Google Ads
- Target-based advertising leads to more converts
- Easy to set up ad campaigns
- Stay within your budget as per the advertising goals
- Choose from the multiple ad format
Cons of Google Ads
- Requires expert campaign management
- Very competitive, leading to higher bids for keywords
- Strict editorial policies restrict content in advertisements
Microsoft’s Bing is the second most popular search engine and has a good viewership in the online market. Ads on Bing increases traffic and generates lead for businesses looking to capture the attention of searchers who do not use Google. The cost of reaching millions of targeted customers is much lower at Bing. Also, there fewer advertisers, so competition to grab customer’s attention is also low.
Types of Bing Ads
Text ads: Bing offers standard text ads or Search ads to businesses looking to promote their brand. These ads are displayed when keyword is searched for in Bing. The ad appears above, below and on the organic search listings side.
Content Ads: Companies looking for greater flexibility and reach opt for Content ads. These ads are visible to audiences – viewing Yahoo, Microsoft, or other partners websites – who may see the published content.
Product Ads: Bing offers Product ads to businesses selling products/services. These ads display brands using images, texts, prices and the company name in the search results page of Bing. Product ads have been found to be useful for generated result-oriented leads and increasing sales for retailers, especially e-commerce websites.
The video ad appears with a thumbnail image beside the text ad at the top of the search results. The thumbnail image features a play symbol on it. On clicking the thumbnail, the ad expands, and the search results are pushed down below. The ad plays as a full-size video in the search results page. Once expanded, the video ad begins auto-playing.
Pros of Bing Ads
- Yahoo Bing Network enables advertisers to reach the combined audience of Yahoo and Bing
- Less expensive due to reduced competition for keywords bidding
- Character limit is larger, offering more space for ad text and keywords
- More ads are placed at the top of the search engine page
Cons of Bing Ads
- Much smaller market share than the dominant search engine, Google
- Negative keywords are not allowed
- Lower click-through rate
Yahoo holds the third place in terms of drawing audience to this search engine platform. Older web users who never switched away from Yahoo their entire life and employees using workplace computers with browsers set to Yahoo and locked as default are the potential customers that advertisers can target.
Yahoo offers different ad types to cater to advertisers varied requirements.
- Search ads
Yahoo search ads is a type of pay-per-click or PPC advertising. Its offers great scope of advertising for brands as visitors are looking for the promoted product/service.
- Display ads
Yahoo display ads are great for marketers opting for remarketing strategy. These ads are shown to viewers who seem to have some interest in a brand, its product/service. Display ads appear on a web page – at the top, bottom, sides, or middle of the content.
- Sponsored ads
Sponsored ads can be of various types – single-image, carousel and native video.
Single-image ad carries an image, a headline, and a short description.
Carousel ads allow brands to tell an inspiring visual story by using three to five cards, each carrying an image and a caption. Each card is linked to a specific landing page. Desktop and mobile compliant ad.
Native video ads are displayed in a manner that they seem to be part of organic content of the platform. These desktop and mobile compliant ads are muted by default, so that they do not impact the user’s experience negatively.
This ad format outperforms other types offered by Yahoo.
- Yahoo Mail ads
Yahoo Mail ads are displayed in its email platform. The mail ads have resulted in high click-through rates – 4 times the industry average. One form of mail ad is shown as the top email in an inbox. If the ad is clicked the user lands into the landing page of the brand. Targeted banner ads are another form of mail ads. It always has a Call-to-Action button.
Pros of Yahoo Ads
- Yahoo Bing Network enables advertisers to reach the combined audience of Yahoo and Bing.
- Less expensive than Google or Bing
Cons of Yahoo Ads
- Very low traffic, compared to Google and Bing
- Poor reporting system