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A paid media platform is an online service which permits paid advertisement of products or services. This runs the gamut from marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to social media platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, Instagram (and the rest) and the more traditional search and display platforms like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising and YahooGemini.
These platforms offer a mix of advertising options specific to their sites, and access to certain publisher networks in the case of Google and Microsoft, which can be used to reach the right users with the right message at the right time.
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is Google’s main online advertising platform, enabling you to promote your brand’s products and services through both Google owned properties and its partner sites, including but not limited to: YouTube, Amazon and more than 170k websites which use Google Custom Search, like The Guardian, The New York Times and W3Schools.
As things stand, not only does Google command more than a 75% market share globally, it also has the most comprehensive paid search offering (though Microsoft Advertising is closing the gap). As a result, you can serve more types of ad, with more functionality, to more users than with any other paid search platform.
Google Ads functions thanks to a snippet of code placed prior to the closing </head> tag of your website which – as with Google Analytics – allows for the placing of cookies, the tracking of consumers and the in-depth reporting of all activity on your site pertaining to your Google Ads spend.
The position of your ads in search is calculated using an algorithm that takes in to account the quality of your ads and the maximum bid you have set for a click; this is then used to generate a score which is used in a live auction during each appropriate search against direct competition for your chosen keyword to decide where your ad will rank. This position will then determine your ‘click share’, with ads at the top of the page receiving more than those at the bottom, and those at the top of the group outdoing the rest of those in that group.
The last of the big three to found an ad platform for paid search, Microsoft’s Microsoft Advertising Ads was introduced in 2006 (as Microsoft AdCenter). While it has lagged behind in both market share and offering for more than a decade, investment in Microsoft Advertising has increased a lot, and with it has come a surge of improvements across both the Microsoft Advertising search engine and its ad platform which now matches Google Ads like for like for most of its competitors offering, it also has the advantage for B2B brands of being able to target LinkedIn.
Microsoft Advertising offers businesses the opportunity to advertise across the Microsoft Advertising Network, which includes DuckDuckGo, the Wall Street Journal, Gumtree and many more. Microsoft Advertising’s PPC platform is similar to Google’s, in that you are only charged for an ad when a prospect or customer clicks on it.
What may surprise some, however, is that a campaign which is duplicated directly – imported from Google Ads onto Microsoft Advertising – will typically deliver the same or an even better ROI, though with only 10% of the volume. However, while the market share of Microsoft Advertising in the UK is small, its share in the US and some other countries is much larger and, as such, Microsoft Advertising should never be overlooked when planning an international paid strategy.
As with Google Ads if the keywords that are selected for a campaign on Microsoft Advertising matches what a user’s search, your ad can appear alongside or above the search results. This level of visibility – which can prove easier to achieve through paid search than organically, increases the reach of your campaigns and can drive a higher conversion rate as a result. Additionally, the visibility on Microsoft’s partner websites further increases exposure of your brand – including the option, for B2B brands, of targeting Microsoft’s 2018 acquisition: LinkedIn.
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Launched in February of 2017, Yahoo Gemini is a native advertising platform which, like Google Ads, offers both search and display advertising options. Yahoo Gemini is the platform that powers native ads and sponsored brand content, delivering relevant paid content to Yahoo’s 400 million monthly users.
While still in its infancy, relative to the other major platforms, the lack of competition can make Yahoo! Gemini a cost-effective addition to your strategy. In addition, native advertising is an increasingly popular method of reaching users by displaying ads along with editorial content – like a paid version of content marketing.
Although it was among the first if the search giants to have a paid search platform – and was originally responsible for the ads served on Bing – the Yahoo! star has fallen considerably in all areas. However, having refocused its efforts and changed direction a number of times, Yahoo! has built a paid search offering which is well differentiated from its rivals and offers a unique proposition from Bing – whose platform will still be able to show ads on Yahoo! search results pages – and Google.
Native advertising, content marketing’s paid search cousin, is an increasingly popular form of advertising (and is among one of the tips for 2018 that, while it didn’t quite pan out, is still very much a growing force in paid media), with various studies finding large improvements in views and clicks than some of the traditional PPC offering.
Yahoo Gemini is designed to offer its advertisers a ‘unified marketplace for mobile search and native advertising’ and ads are created through the proprietary Yahoo Ad Manager platform and offers advertisers the chance to create ads with 50 characters for the title, a description of 150 characters, a landing page URL, your company name (25 characters), a display URL and an image.
Ads are sorted in an order to target a set of keywords that are important to your brand (both those brand and non-brand). If native advertising continues to grow, the Yahoo Gemini platform must become a valuable option for paid search marketers and, while it has a history of poor decisions, it looks like Yahoo! may well have made the right call with its ‘In Stream’ ad offering, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Bing and Google to develop their own similar offering.
Facebook advertising is a combination of specific paid placements and post boosting which can appear in either the ad section on the right-hand side of the page (on desktop) or within the newsfeed proper. Facebook’s main USP, however, is the level of targeting available – and Facebook advertising is therefore an exercise in targeting as much as advertising.
With one of the largest user bases of any social media platform worldwide, Facebook advertising offers brands the chance to improve traffic to their site, views of videos, reach of their posts and, eventually, sales of products and services. The global nature of the platform, and its enormous active user numbers mean that Facebook advertising can reach your audience targets wherever and whoever they happen to be.
As well as organic social media – engaging with your audience and showing off your products and services – brands also wish to gain conversions and ads are a good way to achieve this. Instagram ads – which are primarily placed via Facebook – have many of the same targeting options as ads placed on the Facebook platform and will appear in a user’s feed as they scroll.
Instagram advertising improves the reach of your best content, raises awareness of your brand and can improve sales and/or leads. It gets your brand in front of the right people, and can even lead to improvements in general organic social performance. However, as a top-level description, the benefit of Instagram advertising is – like with all advertising – to get your brand in front of the right people.
Today, LinkedIn has over 760 million users, more than 260 million active monthly users, and more than 3 million businesses have set up a page. LinkedIn advertising is a great way to get the most out of this service. The ads can appear on a user’s profile page, home page, inbox, search results or within group pages along with any text links or a logo of your choice.
LinkedIn advertising can serve multiple purposes for brands – it can be used to increase industry authority by building the brand’s exposure as thought leaders, but it can also improve sales and lead generation. While it’s a primarily business platform, its users are still a diverse population and your ads are likely to find a receptive audience whatever your industry.
X advertising is a paid social method which allows you to promote either individual tweets or campaigns with specific objectives. With options for a campaign’s objective including app installs, video views, and website conversions, X can be an excellent advertising opportunity for brands in any industry.
X advertising is ideal for any brand looking to improve the reach of their content as well as those looking to raise brand awareness more generally. However, not only can it help specific posts or campaign assets, it gets your brand in front of the right people and can often lead to improvements in organic social performance as a result.
Predominantly video ads, though with traditional ad options, YouTube advertising uses the video sharing platform to promote your brand through ads that appear across YouTube Search and YouTube Videos, including Google partner sites, apps and the Google Display Network. As the platform has such a huge userbase – so much so that the platform’s search engine is the second largest after parent company Google’s main engine – YouTube advertising is suitable for brands of all sizes and in all industries.
From promoting a specific landing page to increasing your brand’s social media presence, your YouTube campaigns can be tailored to the unique needs of your business. We can monitor the progress of your video campaigns and optimise your targeting to make the best distribution of your budget on the platform. Common areas of analysis for your YouTube video advertising campaigns include: view rate, video play rate, earned views and earned shares/likes/subscribers.
Over the past few years, Amazon has begun to realise its huge potential as an advertising platform and developed a range of flexible, self-serve solutions for sellers to promote their products. Its power is in taking the tried and tested pay-per-click (PPC) model already well-established by Google Ads and combining it with its own USPs
Click Consult has delivered Amazon advertising for some of the largest B2C brands in the UK and Europe. Additionally, the connections we share through Ceuta Group, with further direct to consumer, B2C and FMCG expertise, mean we are able to provide an Amazon Advertising service which is both comprehensive and industry leading. This means that our Amazon Advertising service can generate not only short-term revenue increases, but long-term impact on brand growth in recognition and profitability.
The paid opportunity for eBay is referred to as ‘Promoted Listings’ and is a self-service marketing tool offering a variety of sponsored placements across the eBay network. This is a hugely powerful option for brands to get their products and services in front of their target demographic. However, the option is restricted to eBay sellers who are rated as either “Above standard” or “Top-rated seller” and who have a recent sales history. This means that, before it becomes an option, there will be a requirement for brands to make a real and consistent organic effort on the platform.
Like all paid advertising, eBay Promoted Listings can help drive sales, though because of the limitations based on quality of account, they are not an out-of-the-box solution – and will often require hard work on organic listings in order to be able to unlock their potential. On the other hand, due to the way they are paid for, it’s likely that anyone should be able to achieve a positive ROI – but with experience and know-how, eBay can deliver some of the best ROIs of any paid platform.
Great agency at the forefront of search marketing. Fantastic account management coupled with real experts working on your campaigns = a winning combination.
We were facing a challenge with growing our generic campaigns profitably. However through adopting a test and learn approach with Google and Click Consult we are extremely pleased with the uplift in clicks, demand and ROI that has enabled us to scale up sustainably.
Since moving from our old PPC supplier to Click, we have seen some very impressive results all round! All key PPC metrics have moved considerably in the right direction. ROAS, Conversions, Conversion Value, Clicks and Impressions are all up, and CPCs are down considerably.
We’re very pleased that we made the switch to Click, and we’re so impressed with their PPC work that we have just given them some SEO projects too!
We’ve been impressed by the way Click quickly grasped the positioning of our business and focused our PPC campaign around our objectives. Click didn’t just view our PPC campaign in isolation, but looked at our business strategy as a whole and how paid search could fit in with and complement other areas of our marketing activity
Having worked with previous PPC specialists with ‘good’ results, we wanted to find a company that could achieve ‘great’ results for our business. Click Consult did this through a more streamlined targeted approach, which consequently had two two main benefits, maximising our PPC budget and driving our enquiries to levels we have not seen previously.
Click have really stepped up to the plate when it comes to performance marketing, their tenacity and desire to help us as a company improve is second to none. Brilliant project planners, superb project delivery and results to boot, what more could you ask for?
We have done too well in our lead gen efforts this quarter and have produced more leads than our sales team can handle!
The team at Click put together a campaign that underpinned our objectives and have achieved fantastic results within a very short space of time.
From paid search through to paid social and everything in between, paid media is unique among the marketing specialisms in that it is uniquely measurable and trackable – so that you can ensure that your budget is making a real difference to the bottom line. The main issue is understanding what kind of campaign works on which platform, on which device and at what time – that’s where Click Consult’s decades of experience comes in.
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