Search engine marketing (SEM) is an area of specialization in digital marketing which involves promoting websites on search engines, primarily through paid ads.
SEM is an efficient, cost-effective, and widely used digital marketing tactic.
But is SEM the right call in 2022?
Is SEM suitable for your business?
How much investment would you have to make for SEM?
What returns can you expect from your SEM efforts?
To help you find answers to all these questions and create a winning SEM strategy for your business, in this article we will walk you through everything you need to know about SEM.
And it’s not opinions and biased notions.
It is all data and figures from sources that you can trust.
Ready to make data-backed SEM decisions? Read on.
First things first, before we get to search engine marketing, let’s talk about…
Why does search engine visibility matter?
You’ve built a website for your business. But what if people don’t land on your site? It would be a colossal waste, right?
Not paying attention to search engine visibility can lead to that. After all,
- 68% of website traffic (that is traced) comes from searches, either paid (28%) or organic (40%).
- Search engines are the starting point for 68% of online experiences.
- Even if purchases happen in-store, 63% of shopping journeys begin online.
Thus, it is important for you to be visible on search engines.
Which search engine though?
Most people’s first instinct would be Google.
And rightly enough, 73% of all searches happen on Google.
That means being visible on Google should be your number 1 goal.
But other search engines are also growing in terms of their user base. Thus…
Visibility on search engines other than Google also matters.
- DuckDuckGo disclosed that their traffic increased by 107% between October 2019 and October 2021. That means their user base is expanding exponentially.
- Bing, another popular search engine, processes, 12 billion search queries every month. Also, 38% of American users of Bing have an annual income of more than $100,000, which means these are the people with money in their pockets, and targetting such an audience will generate revenue for your business.
Now, there are two ways you can rank high on search engines and get the desired visibility, traffic, and conversions.
One is search engine optimization, which will take a longer time and more effort.
Or two, paid ads, which are a part of search engine marketing. It is relatively quick and yields immediate results if you put in smart efforts.
Here’s a quick comparison of SEO vs SEM for search engine visibility
|Search Engine Optimization
|Search Engine Marketing
|Time for Results
|6 – 12 months
|3 – 12 months
|Customer Acquisition Cost
A quick glance at the figures might suggest that SEO is a cheaper and more effective strategy. However, it is important to understand that if you need quick results, you will have to invest in SEM too.
In fact, companies that invest in both organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click search engine marketing tactics have seen an average of 25% more clicks and 27% higher revenue.
So while you can continue your endeavors with SEO, it is good for businesses to focus on SEM too.
Search engines also want you to invest in paid ads
Yes, that’s true.
Let’s take the example of Google, the most widely used search engine.
85% of Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) revenue comes from Google Advertising. That speaks volumes about how important Ads are for Google itself. Thus, it is obvious that they want businesses to list their offerings on the search engine via ads.
Recent search engine algorithm ranking updates like Panda and Penguin have as it is made it tough to rank organically. And that seems in line with Google’s agenda of pushing people towards paid ads.
Your competitors are likely to be leveraging SEM strategies too
How can we say that?
Over 1.3 billion organizations from across the world are using Google’s advertising services. And it is highly unlikely that none of your competitors falls into that category.
Estimates also suggest that
- PPC ad spending will reach more than $258 billion by the end of 2022.
- For 74% of brands, PPC ads are their primary business drivers.
- Businesses spend 39% of their marketing budget on paid online ads.
- 68% of marketers, in a survey, said paid ads are “extremely important”.
But what are these brands achieving by giving so much importance to SEM?
Besides an 800% ROI, 33% of marketers use paid ad campaigns to also increase their brand awareness.
And that does help as 26% of users said they click on a paid ad if the brand looks familiar to them.
That means by running ads on search engines, you can make people aware of your brand and subsequently increase your click-through rates too.
People don’t like ads a lot though.
Well, who does!
Whether it is before your favorite song starts on YouTube, between your Spotify playlist, or even during televised sports events, ads are annoying. In fact,
- 70% to 80% of people, in a study, said that they totally ignore paid advertisements.
- And in 2019, 527 million people reported that they used mobile browsers which blocked ads by default.
However, the good part is that the adblocker trend is declining.
Only 41% of people used adblockers in 2020 as opposed to 52% in 2016.
And surprisingly, a lot of Internet users (55%) are not able to differentiate between paid and organic search results.
The silver lining here is that Millenials don’t mind helpful ads.
- 75% of users claimed that paid ads have helped them quickly find the information they were looking for.
- 58% of millennials confirmed that they have made a purchase based on an online ad.
- And another 28% of Internet users said that paid ads have helped them discover new products and services.
That means paid ads – when relevant and used right – can help you boost your brand awareness and also get conversions. That’s a pretty good ROI, right?
If we quantify it and trust stats from Google, the average ROI on spending $1 on Google ads is $8.
Further, with the expansion of the Internet, more opportunities are evolving for paid visibility marketers, which can result in an increase in this ROI.
Mobile is the new normal
How do we know that?
As per Google Ads stats, 69% of ad clicks come from mobile devices.
Williams Sonoma, for example, saw a 70% increase in sales after running paid search ads on mobile.
Voice Search is an upcoming avenue
Voice-based ad revenues are expected to reach $19 billion by 2022.
YouTube is another hotspot for ads
Views are 4x more likely to use YouTube for information gathering than other platforms.
And people are 2x more likely to buy things they see on YouTube.
It has also been seen from the examples of brands like Purple and Schmidt Naturals who saw a 34.6% and 48% increase in brand awareness respectively, by targeting ads on YouTube.
People have also started moving towards video ads and predictions are that between 2020 and 2024, video ad spending will increase by 4.9%.
Making the most of search engine marketing in 2022 and beyond
As we have already gathered from the statistics listed above, SEM is a great strategy to adopt in 2022.
And it is obvious that availing expert search engine marketing services now can help you get better results than going DIY and experimenting.
So, don’t wait up anymore. Seize the opportunity and reach your right audience and revenue goals today, with the right search marketers by your side.