This post is for those who are completely new to Search Engine Marketing or keyword advertising.
Search Engine Marketing has two main components: Pay per click advertising (or PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, a lot of people in Singapore when they use the phrase SEM (which is the short form of Search Engine Marketing), they only mean PPC. This is simply because SEO somehow is still a very new concepts to grasp and most agencies in Singapore only offers PPC services.
To make things simple, i will only cover PPC in general and Google Adwords in particular in this post. Most of the materials i cover here can be found on Google Adwords Learning Center
I personally like Perry Marshall and have learnt a lot from him as well. You can check him out here search engine marketing
This post will have 3 parts:
1. What is Google Adwords?
2. Key benefits
3. Adwords in Singapore context or Southeast Asia context
1. What is Google Adwords
Google Adwords essentially is an advertising program that helps advertiser reach target audience by displaying the advertisement in front of them. When user key in a search query on Google.com, Google will then show them all the search results but at the same time, they will display ads that Google & advertisers think related to the topic end user is searching on.
As you can see, the ads appear in the yellow box on top and on the right hand side of the page. They are marked as Sponsored Links. Sometimes you only see Sponsored links on the right hand side of the page.
2. Key benefits:
Again, all the main benefits can be found on Google website
But in short, Google Adwords can bring you either leads/sales leads/sales at a more cost effective way. If your purpose is more towards branding, creating awareness you can still use Adwords but you need other form of advertising mediums to create a bigger impact.
The following picture was taken from Google but since this is a blog for non commercial purpose and i sound more like a PR person for Google so i guess they don’t mind 🙂
This picture summarizes the different between outdoor, tv, radio, print and search marketing ads.
As you can see, Search ads is very strong in direct response or education sections because when people are searching for something, they either intend to buy or to learn more about a particular product/service.
3. Google Adwords in Singapore or Southeast Asia:
It’s quite irony that while Singapore has a very high Internet penetration rate (around 65%, stats by government agency), people spend close to 35 hours on average online but Search Engine Marketing is still at its early stage.
From my experience so far, Singapore is about 3 to 5 years behind US in Search Marketing. I might be wrong about the time line but the difference are there. You can feel it from end users search pattern, from marketing budget allocation, online transactions, website interface, search volume, the way online agency works etc…
However, the good thing is the landscape is changing very fast, like the internet itself. People starts to see the value of having online campaigns, having it tracked rather than let it run blindly and hope that the objectives are met. More and more ad agencies start to provide good, ethical way of setting up and managing online campaigns and also offering a holistic approach to achieve advertisers’ target.
On the other end, there are some advertisers who claim that online advertising doesn’t work or it’s too expensive. Yes, we can’t deny that online advertising didn’t work for them in the past and it could be due to numerous reasons, both subjective and objective.
However, statistically the percentage is quite small and generally people are quite happy or at least neutral towards online advertising or search engine marketing.
Due to time constraint ( my friend’s calling me on IM) I wont go into too much details regarding this.
Another issue that the industry is facing right now is talent, human resources. There are very limited number of people who actually understand how SEM, SEO, affiliate etc work in Singapore. Singapore population is simply too small and the industry is too new, too niche to have working professionals with adequate experience. To work in this industry, it’s not that difficult. However, it does require a unique skill set and more importantly you need to learn very fast, continuously.
Ok time to go. I think that should be it for today. Tomorrow i will write about Yahoo Search Marketing in Singapore and why it’s totally unique to this Southeast Asia region.