I am all for going gung-ho into new and different ideas. I’m willing to try anything and there have been times when that has been my Waterloo. AdWords was no different, as I am no stranger to marketing or PPC advertising. But, when I found myself having to go back and clean up what I started, I decided to stop and just focus on where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and how I was going to learn it all…starting with understanding the difference between being on search network versus the display network and where I belonged.
Unlike many other business and industries, being an author who uses SEM drove home an interesting realization. There is no set path between a potential reader seeing a type of book and then immediately buying it.
Here’s what I mean: Someone is having a party and needs a cake. They can go online search for a particular bakery near their home and within twenty-four hours they have ordered that cake. Objective accomplished. For books, it’s not that cut and dried because not only are we a drop in an ocean of obscurity but we have to navigate the micro-moments that take potential readers’ attention away and remind them of who we are at every turn.
I liken this to that Adam Sandler/ Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. (Okay for those who aren’t into Sandler,think Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day.)
So it’s important to have some basic understanding of the networks we’re trying to use.
What Exactly Is the Google Search Network?
Fundamentally, when you need to know something, go on the search engine and type in a key word or phrase, this is it. You’re actively in the hunt for some piece of information and you’re going to find it. When you advertise on the GSN, your ads could potentially show up on the first search page in a position where someone will see your ad and click on it.
Great concept for other industries but the caveat is that while reader may want to read a steampunk time travel novel, they may not want to read your steampunk time travel novel. So while they’re actively looking that, you have to make sure your not only showing up in their search, but showing up often enough that eventually, they’ll click and, after a more than a few more “eventual clicks,” they’ll buy.
So with the search network, they are in the throes of the hunt.
…And Google Display Network?
GDN is a similar concept but it’s more complex. To start, advertisers on the display network are trying to get someone’s attention much earlier in buying cycle. It’s as if you want to remind them that they will need to get your book even before they know the need exists. It can be tricky but, again, the objective is to be far more visible than you are invisible.
GDN uses partner sites to display rich media ads, such as videos and images in addition to text ads. Partners sites include Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, multiple sites that use AdSense, RSS Feeds, mobile site and apps. With the right keywords, you can choose on which sites your ads will appear. Then you can grab a reader’s attention with a colorful image, like a teaser, or tease them with a good quality book trailer on sites that not only support your text ads but also rich media ads. Then you’re talking about views, interactions and conversions, not just clickthroughs. Creating something for the GDN means having a plan because you’ve really got to up your game.
For now, while you’re probably starting with this platform or have started but are trying to figure it out, being just on the search network is just fine. You will build over time and eventually grow your brand in a way that moving to the display network is a logical extension of what you’re already doing.
So. first, let’s take a few steps and start crawling before we start running. Marketing anything is more like a marathon than a sprint and if you’re not prepared to handle it, you’ll crash. HARD.