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Why cloud-based services use paid media

By Scott Rumsey, Senior marketing and content executive

Click Consult (Part of Ceuta Group)


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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April 29, 2020 | 9 min read

Paid media is one of the best ways for businesses to drive conversions, make sales, expand their audience and stay ahead of the competition. It allows brands of all sizes the opportunity to ‘bid’ on users and draw them into their site in exchange for a fee.

audience targeting

Over the last few weeks, the way people work has changed like never before; businesses that used to operate large offices have been forced by Covid-19 to send their staff home and remote working has become the norm in many industries. With that in mind, companies across the globe are looking for solutions to make sure that their business can work to capacity and that this transition is as seamless as possible.

Having secure methods of sharing information and storing data is vital for this and that’s where cloud-based businesses come in. Cloud computing largely reduces the infrastructural needs of the user, so why do these businesses utilise paid search to streamline their own processes?

We've chosen nine key PPC step which, if implemented correctly, could help your business.

Choose your audience

Choosing your audience is something that we have covered in great detail over the years and remains a cornerstone of all digital marketing – brands and businesses need to know who to target and when. They have to re-engage with existing customers and attract new one, often at the same time.

Understanding your audience gives your campaigns the balance they need to ensure that your efforts are rewarded.

In order to choose the right audience for your paid media campaigns, there are a number of factors to consider and questions to ask. You could use a user targeted approach for those that have shown a particular behaviour or interest, or you could use inventory targeting, whereby you focus on a type of content that is often visited by individuals within a particular demographic.

You could also choose to create ads that will occur based on the searches of an individual or on factors like gender, age, income, location or marital status.

Most targeting methods can be layered on top of one another to create more focused target audiences. The process of analysing which aspects of each campaign is working best, creating a bespoke target audience by layering targeting methods to focus purely on this subset of users and create specific ads for these users is an advanced optimisation practice conducted on all display campaigns.

The main targeting methods the cloud-hosting sector could benefit from using are:

Ad scheduling

Decide what times of day and days of the week you want your ads to appear on. You should focus this not only on regular trading hours but bear in mind that with more people working from home the business day is no longer nine-to-five.


This allows you to show content to users that have previously visited your site, used your mobile app or interacted with videos on your YouTube Channel. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with users and encourage them to return to the site and convert on their second visit. You can also use these types of ad to remind users of the benefits of your service such as increased storage or better security against malware attacks - potentially leading to client retention.

In-market audiences

These allow you to reach potential customers when they are actively browsing, searching or comparing the types of products you sell. This form of targeting is designed to reach users higher up in the purchase funnel.


The website ad slots in which your display ads appear. You can choose to show your ads only on certain domains; groups of domains focused around certain themes like business and computing.

Keyword (contextual) targeting

We use keywords describing the content you want your ads to appear next to. This can be your best performing search keywords or a unique designed mix that best describes the content of the pages you want your ads to be displayed with.

Topic targeting

A broader form of site content targeting is topic targeting where you can choose to display your ads on pages that relate to your industry. Cloud-based business often provide the user with a range of options in terms of their package. If you are able to offer a set amount of storage or a set cost to a particular type of user then you may see a higher conversion rate. Personalisation is vital as a businesses size and set of needs are often vastly different.

Set your goal

If you are looking to use the ad to generate leads, then this can be measured in terms of the cost per acquisition (CPA). Your plan could be to generate a certain number of leads from a predetermined budget – for example, 250 leads for £2,500 or £10 per lead. Of course this is where bidding comes in; you must have a well optimised bidding and keyword strategy if you want to beat the competition to the lead.

When your aim is to encourage brand awareness and exposure, then the success of a campaign will be based on the number of views and then the click through rate (CTR) from this. If you were to receive 20,000 clicks and had a landing page CTR of 5%, you put yourself in a solid position to convert a high percentage of these to sales.

The index that most businesses want to talk about however is the ROI, in terms of PPC this is often referred to as return on ad spend (ROAS). The KPI could be to generate 100 sales with a return of £5 per £1 spent for example

With businesses operating in competitive industries, such as those selling cloud-based storage, they know that there is often a time limit on how long customers spend with a particular company. In the current climate it might be that set their budget to be spread over a set period of time, collecting leads quickly.

Determine your budget

When it comes to the planning stage of a PPC ad campaign, it’s important that you understand your market and have a clear set of objectives. If you’re in a competitive marketplace, you may find that your budget doesn’t go as far as you thought.

A restricted or smaller budget can be channeled into very specific areas which in turn should increase the chance of conversions in your identified market, no matter how niche. Big brands throw huge amounts of money at certain advertising and marketing strategies, so make sure you are realistic.

For every campaign you have the option to set a daily and total budget. If you have a fixed cap on your budget, use the daily and total budget option. When using the daily and total budget option, you’re indicating that you would like to spend a certain amount on a daily basis, but for us to never exceed your total budget throughout the lifetime of your campaign.

Across both options, daily spend can be up to 20% more than your daily budget. If you notice that daily spend is more than your daily budget, it means your campaign is spending more on days with more opportunities to hit your objective and bid goals. Factors such as seasonality, traffic, ad inventory and bid type can impact your daily spend. The flexibility allows your campaigns to drive the best results on busy days. If you add a total budget in addition to daily budget, we will not exceed your total budget amount.

To make the most of your budget, you must strike a balance between which keywords are most relevant to your business and what potential customers are actually searching for. You can use Google Keyword Planner to research your keywords, and this will also estimate how keywords may perform in terms of traffic and cost.

You need to regularly update and expand upon your keyword list. This will allow you to expand your reach and make the most of your budget by, for example, building more keywords into new ad groups, using historical search query data from your campaign, and carrying out competitor keyword research.

Paid media can be viewed as the best method for converting your current audience. It offers a substantial number of opportunities to be present at each of their levels of purchase intention and, while it obviously has the capacity to reach consumers far beyond your own, the ability of conversion rate optimisation to improve efficiency, or remarketing and other cookie based personalisation make it a powerful tool for earning the most from your present consumer base.

Scott Rumsey, senior marketing & content executive, Click Consult


Content by The Drum Network member:

Click Consult (Part of Ceuta Group)

Located in North West England, Click Consult is a multi award-winning digital and search marketing agency with a focus on organic (SEO) and paid search (PPC). Part...

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