Search engine marketing (SEM) is a critical element to the growth of any digital business. However, there are some dangerous assumptions that even seasoned SEM specialists make far too often. Not to worry - we’ll break down these myths and give you the truth behind successful SEM strategy:
Related content: 4 Effective Non-Search Google Ads (and How to Use Them)
Nope! The data is here: on average, SMART bidding outperforms manual bidding. Yes, handing the reins over to Google can be uncomfortable because you don’t know exactly why the system bids the way it does. Still, SMART bidding is input- and output- driven and focuses only on results. Trust the results and you don't have to worry about the methods behind them.
False! The overlap between Google Ads and Facebook ads can often be large. For example, you might see a large portion of Facebook revenue from view-through conversions on your remarketing campaigns after users discovered your brand on Google search. Not only are Facebook and Google ads not mutually exclusive, they more often than not work together in moving your customers toward purchase by hitting users at different parts of their journey.
Not so! Now, don’t get us wrong, we love to scale budgets - strategically! But, if you don't scale with past data, future goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind, you could be flushing your money down the toilet. It's crucial to learn from how your ads have performed in the past and from the successes and failures of your biggest competitors to allocate your additional spend most effectively.
Nonsense! Here are five reasons why you should bid on your branded terms:
This one isn’t 100% false - the top-positioned ad does earn the most clicks, but it’s also the most expensive placement. Our data suggest that the #3 position often has a lower cost per acquisition (CPAs) and higher conversion rates. While the #1 spot does earn the most traffic, many of these clicks are from users who are less qualified in what they are looking for. Searchers who click on the third ad after not finding what they were looking for from the first two have higher intent, as they’ve proven to be discerning in what they’re looking for.
There you have it. Five SEM myths busted, five SEM truths revealed. But these are only today’s realities - in the ever-shifting landscape of digital marketing, realities change every day. No matter what you do, always test your strategies and pay attention to the data so you can adjust and optimize for your current circumstances, no matter what they are.
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Tyler is Hawke's SEM Manager, overseeing all things Google and search. He likes to climb things.