Paid search remains a key digital advertising strategy for gaining customers, and Google is the dominant player in search engine marketing, but companies are now looking to diversify their search ad spend to lessen their dependence on the tech giant and achieve more cost-effective conversions.

Google's share of the global search market is nearly 89%. The second largest is Yahoo, with 2.7%. Although Google's hold on the industry is strong, it has recently been challenged by concerns regarding possible antitrust violations, inflated click prices for keywords, and its acquisition and bundling of ad tools.

A brand's ability to be less dependent on Google Search is tied directly to its level of brand recognition and keyword strength: Well-known companies can rely less on Google, whereas small to midsize businesses should continue to use Google Search Ads. Evaluating brand strength is key to any digital advertising that seeks to improve return on ad spend (ROAS).

Discovery and Conversions for Lesser-Known Brands

Digital ad strategy depends heavily on brand impact and size: Are you a Nordstrom or are you a relatively unknown company? Newer or smaller companies must get the word out and educate consumers about their products and brand values. Over time, those companies will develop cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goals that best work with their marketing metrics.

Search strategies should first focus on video ads published on major social platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Those placed directly into relevant feeds showing the product and its use cases will go far, as video content is much more likely than text ads to drive search results. Moreover, these companies should focus on generating high rates of engagement and interactions to earn the trust of potential customers and influence their buying decisions.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents in a poll said they became more interested in a brand after they discovered it on Instagram. The potential ad reach of this popular platform is above 800 million users. After mastering the discovery phase of an ad campaign, lesser-known brands can then focus on conversions and retargeting social media leads via display ads, which also will result in additional high rates of conversion.

Another platform that lesser-known brands should consider is Pinterest, which is especially helpful when selling long-lead seasonal products, such as an oven for Thanksgiving or wedding gifts for spring. Prompting consumers to pin products and build on relevant content through the platform is an effective method to build interest over time. A search on Pinterest such as "garage pool room remodeling ideas" can indicate purchase intent.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jon Waterman

Jon Waterman is the founder and CEO of Ad.net, an advertising marketplace that helps Fortune 500 brands acquire new customers outside the major search engines.

LinkedIn: Jon Waterman