The Birth of Paid Positioning (SEM)
When Google first opened its doors in 1998, instead of counting what people searched on every six seconds, they counted EVERY keyword being entered then created “Adwords” to offer the most popular terms for sale in the margins of the organic search results page. Thus began Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or “paid positioning” with cost-per-click (CPC) and Google made bags of money pioneering this new category of Search Marketing (SM = SEO + SEM).
The first revelation about SEM was that only 20-30% of people doing Google searches clicked on those little Adwords in the margins. This, in turn, qualified how the remaining 70-80% viewed the 10 companies organically listed on page one as having honestly EARNED their spot at the top and thus deserving first consideration over ads for companies we understand are simply paying for visibility.
As Google grew, so did their basket of SEM options to include search advertising, video advertising, mobile advertising, display advertising, and shopping advertising delivered via Google Search Site ads, Google Search Partner ads, and the Google Display Network. As the internet grew, so did the competitive landscape for SEM advertising to include Bing (Microsoft), Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, along with many others.