When search enging optimization (SEO) first burst onto the scene, the acronym SEO was used to represent a wide variety of online marketing activities. Over time, digital marketing experts decided to separate paid search engine marketing (SEM) from SEO tactics, primarily because SEO referred to the organic process of using keywords, content, and links to bring in traffic. The practices surrounding SEM all required an additional investment from the marketing client, and that is why they are all grouped together.
A big part of SEM is buying ads on search engine pages. You can buy ads on results pages, or you can try to buy ads on the general search pages. Paid advertising can be expensive, but it can also bring in the best results. Each search engine offers its own type of paid advertising program, and you can also customize a program to have your ads show up during certain keywords.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
PPC advertising is very popular because advertisers only pay for ads that actually get results. You pay every time someone clicks on your link or banner ad, which helps to increase the probability of converting that traffic to buying customers. PPC marketing is also very effective at gathering market data to enhance other marketing programs, and it can also be very effective at letting companies know which new markets they should invest in to expand their customer base.
Pay Per Call (PPC)
The other PPC in SEM is pay per call, and it is the mobile equivalent of pay per click. This form of SEM charges an advertiser for each click that results in a direct smartphone call from a consumer. This form of SEM is a bit riskier that pay per click, but it can also generate much more financially rewarding results.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
CPC is a way of determining the real value an advertiser is getting from their PPC campaign. It is a series of math equations used to determine the true value of each click and determine which changes need to be made to the PPC campaign to get more out of it. You may be getting 12 clicks an hour in your PPC campaign, but not all 12 are browsing your site and making buying decisions. With CPC, you can determine more accurately what you are actually paying to get clicks that result in sales.
Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
The CPM method is another way to determine the real value an advertiser is getting for their digital marketing program. Instead of charging by the click, the marketing company charges a rate for every 1,000 impressions an ad gets. In many ways, the CPM method can help to get more accurate information for the marketer to use to refine future advertising.
When a digital marketing company uses SEM methods, they are looking to get the best possible value for their client. One of the biggest differences between SEM and SEO is that it can often be easier to measure SEM results because it is based on paid advertising. But any digital marketing expert will tell you that the most comprehensive type of marketing plan includes both SEM and SEO methods.