While digital advertising has been a valuable and important content marketing tactic for some time, in the age of “content shock,” near-constant algorithm tweaks, and voice search—it’s taking on a more pivotal role in many content marketing strategies. In fact, Nielsen’s inaugural CMO Report 2018 found that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital media spend as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months.
No doubt, paid search is on the digital spend list. It’s a tried and true method, helping brands secure visibility and compete in a crowded space. And in theory, upping your search investment can help you secure top ad placements across a variety of keywords and queries, exposing you to more searchers and, ultimately, generating traffic that will help you reach your marketing and sales goals, right?
Not so fast. There’s something you need to ask yourself:
Are you backing your paid search and PPC campaigns with the right content?
Paid search ads only bring more people into the funnel. Your content needs to get them through the funnel. And content is effective at doing so with six times the website conversion rate compared to other marketing tactics.
The bottom line? For your PPC campaigns to have maximum impact, you need to have quality content behind them and here’s why.
A whopping 73% of web users report getting frustrated by irrelevant content. Whether users are searching, researching, shopping, or simply perusing, they want, need, and expect relevant content. And many brands are missing that mark. According to The 2017 Meaningful Brands Study, 60% of content created by brands is “clutter” — AKA content that is poor, fails to deliver, and provides little value to the audience.
So, when it comes to getting the most out of your PPC efforts, success isn’t rooted in enticing a click. You can spend hours putting together compelling ad copy, but if the content behind your ad isn’t relevant to the right keywords and matches search intent, why bother? Visitors will quickly see they’re in the wrong place or a bait and switch occurred — and they’re not likely to stick around.
Simply put, there’s content behind every SERP. And if the landing page, blog post, or gated asset that you’re promoting isn’t relevant to your target audience, you’re wasting your money. It’s the content that comes after the ad (what they see after they click) that converts.
Content Is Purposeful
Paid search advertising is great for quick visibility on those hard-to-nab keywords. And while, theoretically, you could continue your ad campaigns to hold top positions for tons of keywords, it certainly isn’t cost-effective and will no doubt exhaust your budget.
Essentially, you can’t pay for everything. For a better paid search ROI, you need to be strategic in what you back with money and which content can be created (or already exists) that can have play a supportive and organic role. And oftentimes, that great supporting content goes after longer-tail, specific queries that you can rank for without the help of paid tactics.
Why does long-tail matter? Over 50% of today’s searches contain more than four words, creating an opportunity for content marketers to write content that more accurately answers their audience’s specific questions. And generally speaking, you’ll likely see better results as this content is highly targeted and matched with intent; it’s best-answer content when done right.
Now, that’s not to say paid search should only focus on highly competitive, short-tail keywords. You can leverage PPC to promote your niche, specific content and bring that traffic in. If the cost-per-click (CPC) is high, you’re budget may not make it through the week. So, targeting longer-tail keywords with less competition (and volume) can help get relevant traffic to you site and make good use of your budget.
But again, at the end of the day, that specific, niche content needs to match the intent and needs of your audience if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Content Is Trusted
It’s been frequently reported that roughly 95% of searchers click on Page 1 results — including ad placements. So, we can make a reasonable assumption that paid advertising is an effective way to entice clicks and drive traffic to your content.
But just because your audience clicks, doesn’t mean they trust you just yet. Nielsen research has concluded that 53% of consumers don’t trust paid search advertisements.
People are slow to trust paid content. And if your content doesn’t align with your audience’s needs, search intent, or query, they’ll be even less inclined to trust your ad — they may even flag it.
As a result, you need to make the right content promotional choices that match the intent and stage of the customer journey when selecting your targeted keywords. If you’re targeting with top- or middle-funnel search queries, it’s probably not smart to direct to a product or solutions page just yet. Instead, a helpful resource or guide is likely more relevant.
Once they land on your content, it’s important that it is valuable and credible to overcome any trust issues with your audience. Content, unlike paid ads, allows you to cite your sources, incorporate industry thought leader perspectives, and feature real-life employee or customer stories. Together, these elements create credible, consistent content that your audience will trust when they come across it. And with more people trusting and clicking into your ads, you’ll have more people entering and moving through the marketing funnel.
You need to make the right content promotional choices that match the intent and stage of the customer journey when selecting your targeted keywords. – @annieleuman on #PPC and #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
Putting the “C” in PPC
Pay Per Content. That has a nice ring to it. Without quality content, clicks on your paid search campaigns are worth very little and won’t result in the leads or ROI that you want it to. In order to reduce your CPL, increase conversions, and grow search visibility—as well as support your overall integrated content marketing strategy—quality and relevant content needs to be the driving force behind your PPC campaigns.
How do you create that best-answer content that fuels organic and paid search results? Follow our guide on how to create best-answer content that resonates with your audience and answers their most burning questions.