New to search engine marketing?
Billions of people search the web every day. Search engine marketing (SEM for short) is how you can get your ads in front of these future customers where it counts: in premium spots on the first page of search results. You set your own budget and are charged only when your ad is clicked. This makes SEM an affordable way to reach more customers for businesses of all sizes — including yours.
Since you are busy running your business, Microsoft Advertising helps you efficiently create, launch and manage your SEM ad campaign on the Bing Network. With Microsoft Advertising, you can reach 124 million unique desktop searchers in the U.S., who spend 37% more online than the average internet searcher.
What is search engine marketing?
If you’ve seen ads appear at the top or right of search engines, then you already know what SEM is. When your ads display in these optimal, highly visible positions, your business can have an edge over your competition. Plus, most searchers only click on the first few results, which gives these premium ad spots a visual advantage to catch the attention of your future customers.
Here’s how it works:
- People search online for a product or service
They enter search terms (called keywords) into search engines like Bing.
- These searchers then find your ad
If the keywords in your ad match a search, your ad appears next to or above search results on Bing.
- Customers reach out to you
You can configure your ad so that people have the option to call you, visit your website, or go right to your door.
Check out the SEM glossary to learn some of the most commonly used terms in search engine marketing.
What is the cost of SEM?
You control the cost of search engine marketing and pay nothing for your ad to simply appear on the search engine. You are charged only if someone clicks on your ad, and only up to the amount that you agreed to for that click. That’s why SEM is also known as pay per click (PPC), because you only get charged for each click that your ad generates. No click? No charge.
With Microsoft Advertising, your accounts are free to set up and billing is flexible. You choose between a prepay or postpay option, as well as various payment methods. If you are uncertain about anything, there is free help to answer your questions before activating your campaigns. You can also pause campaigns at any time. Remember, you’re not billed until someone clicks your ad.
You can control costs even further with strategies in bidding and targeting.
Effective advertising strategies
Control costs by choosing your keyword bids
Remember that users enter search words into search engines based on their interest. The matching keywords and phrases you choose for your campaigns help determine if your ad will display when users search online. But be aware, other advertisers may also be using the same keywords. That creates competition with your ad campaign. What can you do to win? One solution is keyword bidding.
The amount you bid on your keywords helps to elevate your ad above others. So, choose a bid that you feel best represents the value of that customer to your business.
You can also control costs by focusing on your most relevant customers with targeting.
Target customers relevant to your business
You know who and where your best customers are — Microsoft Advertising lets you choose when and how to reach them. Control where your ads appear by city, state, country and worldwide. Fine-tune your targeting even further by setting the time of day to display your ads and on which devices. By targeting only your most relevant customers, you can reduce unnecessary spending.
After your campaigns build some history, use reporting tools to learn which strategies work the best, then refine your targeting and other tactics accordingly. This is called optimizing your campaigns.
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