PPC – PAY PER CLICK
PPC is one of the most popular forms of paid advertising and is not likely to lose that title anytime soon. Its appeal extends from online marketers to giant corporations, with everyone wanting their piece of the money pie that springs from PPC platforms that populate the online advertising space. And while the PPC environment adapts to changes with new platform providers and regular updates to advertising rules, those who master the method continue to rake in massive paydays from what are very targeted and highly converting buyer customer bases.
Why PPC ads work
PPC ads work on so many levels that they are almost ADDICTIVE in their application. The most popular form of pay per click is buying a listing on the search results pages of the major search engines, where your ad will appear alongside those of organic or non-paid search results. PPC allows you to set up your live ad and then practically watch the results unfold before you. The appeal with this kind of traffic is that it is almost instant.
With the correct targeting of your ad, the constant search by the masses for what you are offering places a targeted audience in front of your ad the moment it goes live. This means that, an unlimited number of targeted people can see your ad. You only pay when they actually click on your ad. With such fast search results, this form of marketing provides what is practically an unmatched opportunity to adjust your campaigns for better results in just hours or days, depending on your criteria.
How PPC ads work
Pay per click advertising is an online auction-style process in which a person bids money against other advertisers to have their keyword targeted ad listed on certain websites. The person gets charged when someone clicks on their ad, regardless of how many times the ad was seen. There are two main types of PPC advertising.
PPC search allows a text ad to show at the top or side of the search engine page and is positioned against other ads depending on its bid, as well as its quality score as determined by the search engine.
PPC display shows ads that are influenced by the advertiser’s targeting selections, and appear on the content pages that are relevant to what the searcher is reading, as well as their previous browsing behavior.
Typically, PPC display catches potential buyers looking for information, whereas PPC search ads are more likely to convert as the prospect is searching for specific keywords and phrases.
Google, Facebook and Bing are the current predominant networks for PPC advertising, and they both employ the quality score method which assists in determining how your ad will rank. Scoring 1 to 10 from lowest up, you can assist your bid costs and ad placements by promoting your quality score through landing page and ad keyword relevance, and landing page loading time and quality. You will need to look into this deeper with the relevant networks before commencing your campaigns to ensure that you get maximum value for your money.
Before you set up any campaign in a PPC network, make sure you know the rules of that particular network. The process of setting up your ads in each network will differ to some extent and is beyond the scope of this guide to delve into the intricacies of any or each. To get started, however, there are some consistent, actionable steps you can take to getting your ad live online;
1. Your goal
Determine what you want to achieve with your ad – sales, sign-ups or inquiries.
2. Sign up
Select the network where you will be placing your ads and create your account.
3. Select keywords
Identify your relevant and related keywords and phrases based on buyer intention. Build out groups of themed keywords from which to create several campaigns.
4. Ad copy
Write the text for your ad and link the ad to a relevant landing page, ensuring all the pieces of your landing page are in place and working.
5. Keyword bidding
When you start bidding on your different keywords, be sure to set your budget, especially given that your early ad runs will be for test purposes to obtain performance data.
6. Activate campaign
Don’t forget to activate your ad to get your campaign up and running online.
Depending on the ad network that you run with, your considerations for getting your ad online will require you to follow each point at a much deeper level. You will need to think about Geo-targeting for your local area, whether you want your ad displayed on search only or on third party websites (Adwords), conventional or mobile targeting, quality score, and conversion tracking.
The best place to become proficient at the required steps is directly from the ad networks themselves. Once you have followed their guidelines and had all the pieces in place and activated your ad, the most crucial part of the process then becomes tracking your ad to allow for changes and improvements. Your analytics will assist your tracking efforts by enabling feedback on your keyword costs, click-through rates and visitor behavior on your landing page. From there, it’s all about optimizing your ‘pieces’ along the line for better results.
7 secrets to a winning PPC ad campaign
When a PPC ad hits the mark (read: targets), it can generate a lot of funds in a very short period. While much of the time your ads will require testing and re-working, there are some practices you can adopt to ensure a greater rate of success early in the campaign;
1. Keyword analysis
You won’t be able to compete against the multinationals, so your focus should be on long tail keywords based on relevancy. If you are targeting locally, include local keywords, and include your primary keyword in your solutions based headline. For even greater effect, you should group ‘related’ keywords based on buyer intent, and have themes of keywords around which you will build your campaigns.
2. Select one platform to commence
Many marketers jump between platforms with their campaigns looking for better cost and positioning. This is a recipe for instability, failed campaigns and a deflated budget. Select just one platform to learn it intricately before moving onto another.
3. Geographic planning
Target the audience to which you are trying to sell. This applies even more so if your audience is based locally. This will reduce the amount of clicks that will never lead to sales.
4. Landing page relevance
Paying per click can lose out quickly if you are not getting paid in conversions. Ensure that your landing page contains your main keywords and is relevant to your ad.
5. Stop testing…never!
Use A/B split testing and run different ads at varying times. This also applies to your landing pages. If you have no desire to test the elements of your campaign, then you are using the wrong traffic method here.
6. Don’t outbid yourself
Contrary to popular belief, your campaigns can still succeed if you are not holding the top position. Traffic to lower positioned ads is more ready to buy, resulting in less wasted clicks and better conversions for your campaign.
7. Your ad must be interesting
You need to utilize your limited ad space to captivate the attention of your targeted traffic. Learn some basic but useful ‘selling’ copywriting skills if necessary to know which ‘buttons to push’ to draw in your prospects.
The following recent press release offers some insights into the way a PPC management company achieves significant success for their clients through Google Adwords campaigns;
Advantages of using PPC ads
PPC is not for everyone because it requires a real discipline to control your spend. Ironically, this is just one of the many benefits of marketing with this paid traffic method.
You get to control ad copy, time of day, location, network, ad position all from your selected keywords and chosen sites.
Your ad can be online fast and provide results feedback very quickly to allow for changes where needed.
It need not be as expensive as many marketers claim if you are targeting the right keywords and utilizing various networks.
Geo-targeting can provide very targeted traffic.
Campaigns can be stopped quickly if they are not working.
It is easy to split-test landing pages for better conversions.
4 common mistakes that will kill your campaign
As effective as PPC ads can be, many fails to reach their full potential because of a variety of errors that people make. Four of the most common mistakes include the following;
1. Missing call to action
It may seem obvious to you that someone reading your ad would know that the next step is to click-through your ad to get from point A to point B. This is not always the case, and all of the great ads became that way because of their call to action. You need to instruct your ad ‘viewers’ on what they need to do next. Your call to action also needs to be succinct and relevant. If you want someone to ‘buy now’ as opposed to browsing further, then state that, rather than something vague like ‘click here.’
2. Sending traffic to a home page
This applies to all non-relevant search pages. Visitors want to land on the page that is relevant to their search term when they click through. If you direct them to a home or other page where they need to do further searching, there is a good chance that you will lose them.
3. Ignoring negative keywords
If you don’t want to waste clicks by having your ad appear alongside those with the word ‘free’ in it, then be sure to include your negative keywords to prevent this from happening. If your ad appears with those ads, people will still click your ad and cost you significant advertising funds.
4. Using broad match types
If your targeted keywords are too general, then your ad will appear for irrelevant search queries. This will attract more visitors to your site but will cost you dollars and reduce your ROI.
Drawbacks of using PPC
Anyone who is familiar with PPC advertising will know full well that it has its ‘frustrations.’ The most common include the following;
You need to be always testing and tweaking your ads to get the most from your campaigns.
It’s a short-term strategy. You need to pay for ads to be in the game continually. Clicks are not conversions. Even targeted traffic needs to be converted to sales. Testing can be expensive. With each click you lose budget unless you are converting.
Networks have strict guidelines regarding their terms of advertising. Breaking these rules can get your account banned – Google is renowned for it with their Adwords platform.
You always need to be staying on top of your PPC campaigns. The following link reveals a story that, while told a few years back, is relevant even today as a reminder of what can happen if you ‘drop the ball’ with your ads.
Managing PPC ad campaigns- the BIG picture
PPC is one of the most challenging areas of online advertising in which you need to stay on top of your game. Successful marketers know that when it comes to online advertising, you have to expect change. With Google consistently waging war on ‘the little guy’ and keeping secrets with its highly feared algorithm changes, you will only survive with PPC if you adapt to the changes and find ways to compete with the big players. Luckily, you have options. Take advantage of the consumer swing towards the other search engines, focus on highly targeted but longer tail keywords, and consistently test, test, and then test again. Persistence can bring special monetary rewards with PPC marketing.