Marketing Definitions: Paid Search

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, Marketing Definitions. Each week, we will identify an oft-used term or phrase in the marketing community and break down its use and meaning for the broader population.

Last week’s term that we defined was Conversions.

Today’s Term = Paid Search

In online marketing circles, it would not be uncommon to hear the term ‘Paid Search’ thrown about like it were a part of everyday life. But if online marketing is not your field, it can be hard to pick up on what the person using that term is referring to.

Paid search is an advertising channel, also referred to as PPC (pay per click) or SEM (search engine marketing). It is the method of advertising wherein a company will pay to have their ad displayed on the search engine results page for a particular set of keywords.

If you go to Google and search for a product, you will likely see three or four listings at the top of the results page that are marked with a small yellow “Ad”. Those are the sponsored, or paid, listings targeted to that particular keyword phrase you typed in. And below that are the natural, or organic listings.

Paid search is a very cost-effective form of online marketing, because companies are only charged when someone clicks on the ad, hence the term pay per click. It allows companies to display a hyper-relevant ad to consumers during the research and purchase stages of the buyer journey.

Google built its entire business on the revenue they collected from this type of advertising. In a lot of ways, they invented it.

So the next time you hear people talking about paid search, you will know exactly what they’re talking about.

That does it for today’s definition. Have a term you’d like defined in a future post? Email us or post it in the comments below.