For anyone who has just entered the world of online advertising, things can be a bit intimidating. It’s constantly changing and new practices and technologies are always emerging. If your business is on the Web, you have most likely heard of a “sponsored link” or a “sponsored advertisement.” In this post, I want to give a brief overview of what sponsored links are, what they can do for your business, and the importance of tracking their performance.
What are sponsored links and how do they work?
Sponsored links are an extremely popular way to advertise online. They either show up at the top or on the sides of search results (e.g. from a Google, Bing, Yahoo! search) or on a website that is displaying relevant content to the sponsored ad. They are made up of a short headline and a link to the relevant website. Whenever a user clicks on the sponsored ad, the advertiser (the person or business who sets up the sponsored link/ad) pays a set amount to the host site the sponsored ad is on – i.e. the search engine or the content website.
When you set up the sponsored ads on any of the major platforms – Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Bing’s Ad Center – you assign specific keywords to it. When a user does a search on any of these platforms your ad has a chance of showing up based on these keywords. The chance of showing up comes from your bid amount on each of the keywords – you set bid amounts for each keyword (usually multiple keywords to one sponsored ad). Based on other businesses who are bidding on the same keywords, the platform’s technology places your ad in the search results. Essentially, if your bid on a specific keyword wins, your ad will show up when a user types in that keyword.
What can sponsored links do for your business?
As a marketer, your main goal is to drive leads to your business. And it’s clear that most people are using the Internet to research, specifically using search engines to find what they’re looking for. By using sponsored links through platforms like Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Bing’s Ad Center, you are essentially putting your brand’s message in front of thousands of consumers who are searching for it. And these ads are showing up on the TOP or the SIDE of the search results. Remember, coming up in search results organically (without paying for the placement) can take some time and can be very complex. So by utilizing any of the search engine’s sponsored links platforms you are putting your business at the top and potentially driving more traffic to your business’s website.
The importance of tracking sponsored links’ performance.
Like any other online marketing campaign you participate in, it’s extremely important to track and analyze your results. As mentioned in a previous post, Clicks vs. Phone Calls, there is a difference in the quality of leads between a click and a phone call. You may generate a large amount of clicks from your sponsored links, but are they all converting into solid leads for your sales team? Even further, you could be spending thousands of dollars on search engine sponsored ad platforms to only get clicks and never see any phone calls that generate into revenues for your business. Is this something you want to be doing with your dollars – spending money on clicks that you can’t see turning into sales?
If you are using sponsored ads, please be sure to know which ads are actually driving your business sales. A good analytics tool that will make this job extremely easy is Phonalytics. Check out this informational video to learn more about tracking your marketing campaigns or call 1-866-757-8229!