In the past decade, marketers have been trying to tailor ads more directly to their select target market. With the help of Google AdWords, and other similar programs like Bing Ads, marketers have developed a new segment of marketing called Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM is the act of publishing advertisements to appear on search engines and other forms of social networking (such as Facebook or Twitter).

So, yet another funnel for digital marketing, but why is it so significant? Scott Rayden answers this in his article ‘7 Things CMOs Need to Know About Search Engine Marketing.’ These tips provide a valuable overview of SEM and how to properly use it. I found four of these tips extremely beneficial:

3. Remarketing Pays Off. Remarketing is as simple as it sounds: using past marketing techniques again. Google AdWords offers a variety of services to help businesses remarket. Doing so can save a business both time and money by reusing successful campaigns.

4. Online and Offline Work Together Better than Ever. Offline marketing such as television ads inherently increase online traffic. But how does online marketing increase offline traffic? By embedding hours, location, and company phone numbers into online ads, businesses make offline traffic easily identifiable and accessible.

5. SEM is Your Ultimate Testing Sandbox. SEM is very customizable by nature. The ability to customize pricing plans, designs, and which demographic a business is targeting allows a business to test new waters.

7. SEM Can Be Used for Branding. SEM isn’t the best channel to use when building brand awareness. However, it is still a good form to reinforce a brand’s reputation. Staying congruent with your brand in SEM will the audience have a more enjoyable experience and appreciate your brand even more.


Countless businesses use Google AdWords and SEM as a promotional tool. The first company that came to mind when considering SEM was Zappos. Whether it be on Google, Skype, or Facebook, I typically run into a Zappos ad about once or twice a week. The thing that impresses me most about these ads is that Zappos knows the exact variety of shoes I am interested in and looking for. While at first it seems creepy, it never stops me from visiting the website to see what deals are available. At least I can say I’m helping Zappos’ click-through rate!

What businesses do you think capitalize on SEM?


3 thoughts on “Customizing the Engine: Capitalizing on SEM

  1. Hey man, great post! very concise and well organized! getting the right info in there! Also i liked the part about how online traffic can increase offline, thats one that i hadnt heard of before! I also agree with zapppos, i run into their ads several times a week and i often find myself clicking on them so I’m right there with ya brother!


  2. I really enjoyed your post and thought it had very good information. I have to also agree with Zappos. I see many ads from them and have to check and see if I like anything every now and then as well.


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