May 29, 2011

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SEM: Is Google the Only Option?

Last week we went back to basics with a look at what people mean by search engine marketing or SEM. In our example we outlined how to buy ad placements in Google’s search results, but there are a few other options out there for agents who want to cover all the bases. Here’s a look at the other main players.

Bing and Yahoo!

According to comScore, Bing’s market share is now around 11.5 percent in US, while Hitwise put it at 4.05 percent in Australia at the start of this year. Yahoo! has a slightly bigger share - 16.5 percent in the US and 4.45 percent in Australia.

Those aren’t amazing figures, but one way Bing and Yahoo! are making their SEM services more appealing to advertisers is by teaming up. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, their ads are placed in the “Sponsored Sites” sections within Bing’s results, and across the ninemsn and MSN New Zealand networks. As with Google’s in-search ads, these are all pay-per-click, which means you only pay when someone actually clicks on your link and visits your website.


While Bing and Yahoo! are struggling to make a dent in Google’s universe, the one network that might actually become a real challenger is Facebook. In fact,  figures from March this year already showed Facebook was taking over from Google in terms of visits sent to websites in the US, and in Australia Facebook has now become the second most-popular website in the country.

All this means that Facebook’s own advertising option, Facebook Ads, is well worth looking into. Facebook ads can be bought through pay-per-click or pay-per-impression plans, and instead of bidding on certain keywords you can narrow down your audience to extremely specific demographics. For a closer look at how to start your first Facebook Ads campaign, check out our how-to guide here and Facebook’s own advice here.


Related posts:

  1. What’s Blue, Global, and Bigger than Google?
  2. Google in 2010: What Changed, What Didn’t
  3. Ad Spending Up in US, Down in UK
  4. Google’s Results Now Highlight Location
  5. Google Gives Advice for Business Listings

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