A sponsored link or commercial link is a form of hyperlink, ideal to launch a product or highlight promotions or seasonal products, trade links, ensure presence of the brands and/or products on the largest shopping avenue in the world: search engines.
Currently, sponsored links represent over 40% of the advertising market on the Web, according to some research. For NetEco, the market for sponsored links is estimated at € 800 million while the banners sector accounts for € 510 million, € 420 million for directories, affiliation € 140 million, € 130 million for emailing, comparators 90 M € and finally the mobile marketing € 20 million.
This new way of advertising on the Internet appeared for the first time in 1997 at GoTo, inventor of the economic model. Company which later became Overture, and through which the solution will be democratized. In 2003, the technology was bought by Yahoo! for $ 1.6 billion, but the flight of the advertising model is when Google integrates it in 2003 to its advertising CPC program, AdWords.
The basic principles of sponsored links
The billing system: PPC
Sponsored links work mostly on PPC, that is to say, pay per click or CPC (cost per click). This model corresponds to the billing that provides the governance of the relevant search engine (Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter) to the advertiser each time a user clicks on one of its links. PPC varies depending on the distribution medium, targeting (thematic, geolocated, …), sectoral competition and auction.
Buying keywords auction
The purchase of keywords is done on an auction system, that is to say that the more a keyword is sought by advertisers, the higher its price will be. To determine breakeven, the advertiser has to estimate the value of a visitor, that is to say how much it is willing to pay for an internaut to come on its website.
To optimize PPC campaign, it is enough for the advertiser to calculate the cost of acquisition (CPA) of a visitor and adjust its auction budget on its target keywords. For this, it installs a tracking software on its Web site to observe the conversion rate of users drained by the sponsored link and compare the cost per click of the keyword.
The advantage of this marketing solution is that this calculation can be done in real time to adjust the campaign very quickly and fully optimize the ROI of the advertiser, and this keywords.
The optimization strategies of PPC campaigns
The keyword selection
The keyword selection is critical to the success of a campaign. Indeed, the keywords will determine the volume and quality of Internet users recruited as will enable the advertiser to take advantage of an optimized advertising exposure to the extent that only users with an interest in the products concerned will be approached.
To determine which keywords are most converted, the advertiser must be put in the place of Internet users and imagine all the research situations that will bring the user to focus on the advertiser’s products to conduct a benchmark.
The difficulty lies in the fact that the vocabulary is often very different from the institutional discourse of the advertiser. Put yourself in the place of neophytes and avoit too specialized vocabulary or integrate some errors in keywords. For this, the sponsored link service make available generation tools for keywords indicating the monthly search volumes and competition.
The ad title
The title of the ad is important since it is the first element of the advertisement read by the user. As such, it must be catchy and consolidate the user as to the relevance of the ad and finally, should allow the user to identify the advertiser:
- Incentive for the user (the ad speaks directly to the user by highlighting a differentiating selling point: “cheap”, “coupon”, etc);
- Relevant by taking at least one request term;
- Identifiant for the user to recognize immediately the advertiser.
All these elements must be expressed in about 25 characters.
The description of the ad
The descriptive ad text provides additional information to the title. It aims to make the arguments that will make the difference. These arguments vary from one market to another.
The text describes a product or service and should encourage users to click to learn more. It is advantageous, moreover, to communicate information on an event or a promotion in the descriptive ads.
For example, for anti-wrinkle products, the focus will be on product effectiveness while for USB keys, the text will focus on the delivery and pricing.
This argument portion can not exceed a specific number of characters: this constraint is 60 to 250 characters depending on the search engines. The average being 70 characters (including spaces).
Adapt ads based on used keywords
For the ad to be most effective and match up to the user’s query, the strategy is to write multiple ads that correspond to different research situations. In fact, versions of the advertisement vary depending on the keyword used. To automate this match-up ads – request, some search engines offer requested keyword insertion, automatically (also called dynamic insertion). The advertiser must ensure that all the selected keywords fit well in the title and the description of the ad.
The displayed URL
The displayed URL can also be optimized: instead of publishing extended URL that does not fit in the number of predefined characters, advertisers publish very short and very clear url. The URL also used to incorporate the name of the advertiser who would not have inserted in the title nor in the description to save space, and resume in general product family or specific product.
Furthermore, it is fundamental that the URLs point to the landing pages or topics to specify the product pages (rather than on the home page of the site) to optimize campaign conversion rate.
What will make the difference between all the campaigns of sponsored links is certainly the tendency of teams to optimize the campaign to make more sales with the same starting budget.