Pay Per Click or Paid Search Advertising has boomed in popularity over the last decade with hundreds of thousands of companies investing their time and money into paid for advertising platforms across sites such as Google and Bing.
However, like a lot of digital marketing disciplines it can be difficult for client side marketers or key figures in small businesses to stay on top of the latest trends and practices in digital. This is why we have created this handy client guide to PPC Marketing.
In the guide, we will introduce the basics of paid search advertising, educating you in what exactly PPC is, how it works and what it can do for your business. We’ll also provide you with some handy tips towards maintaining an effective working relationship with PPC agencies.
This is where we run through the ins and outs of PPC advertising. You’ll find a general overview of what exactly PPC is, as well as some of the most commonly seen terms connected with PPC management. We’ll also start to get into the nitty-gritty of PPC advertising and helping you to gain some understanding of just how the magic works.
What is PPC?
PPC or Pay Per Click is an online advertising model in which advertisers pay publishers whenever their ad is clicked. The PPC model is used to directs traffic to the advertisers website by placing an advertisement on website or webpage that is owned by the publisher or part of a paid advertising network.
PPC includes a variety of different online advertising practices such as web search ads, display ads, product listing ads and more. Essentially any type of online advertising that charges the advertiser per click as opposed to per mille.
One of the most commonly recognised PPC platforms is Google Adwords. Launched all the way back in 2000, Google Adwords helps users in managing a variety of PPC advertising methods, including display, web search and PLAs.
Where PPC outshines other traditional marketing practices is in it’s ability to heavily target certain audiences by using keywords as triggers for the ad to appear. You can also target certain websites, locations, devices and applications for an even tighter focused campaign.
Google’s Web Search Ads mainly appear at the very top and along the side of Google’s search engine results pages (or SERPS), likewise for Bing Web Search Advertisements. You likely see a good number of PPC advertisements on a daily basis, sometimes without even realising it (a recent study by Econsultancy and Bunnyfoot, it was discovered that some 36% of people do not realise that Google Adwords are ads), but check out a couple of the examples below just to make sure you know where they are appearing.
The highlighted sections are those populated by PPC advertisements.
How does it work?
So how does it all work? What puts all the cogs in motion? Pay Per Click advertising is driven by a bidding system where the advertiser will bid for their ad to appear for a particular search phrase or word regularly used in the search engine. The general premise behind this is that the more you bid, the higher your ad will appear in the ad placements.
For example, a kitchen unit provider may target “cheap kitchen units” as a search phrase for their advert to appear for, or a mens swimwear brand may choose to appear for “mens swimming shorts.”
The ads that appear are limited by design and don’t offer you too much space to work with:
25 characters for a headline
35 character line of ad text
35 character line of ad text
35 characters for the display url
The text used in the ads has to be highly relevant to the search term you are targeting, otherwise you are at risk of having your ad deemed irrelevant and may see it struggle to place in the search results regardless of bid level.
Other factors also affect how your ad will be distributed on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). These factors include:
- Negative Keywords – You can add words that will NOT trigger your ads to appear. This is useful as it can weed out searches that are unlikely to convert into a sale. For example, using the text ad above – you can prevent people searching for “cheap kitchen interiors” from triggering your ads as they are unlikely to commit to a purchase.
- Location Optimisation – For service based companies, it is possible to target specific locations for which your adverts will appeal. This can be useful for say a plumbing company who can only make calls within their county or local area.
- Ad Creatives – You can test different creative ideas and copy to figure out which ideas work best in certain campaigns and ad groups.
- Campaign Structure – You can edit and reshuffle your campaign structure and organise your individual ads into ad groups and organise your ad groups into campaigns to help you manage your campaign.
- Landing Pages – Creating an optimised landing page for your advertising campaign can help to increase the likelihood of a conversion once the ad has been clicked.
- Dynamic Search Ads – Dynamic search ads automatically insert the search term entered by the searcher into the the ad copy, increasing the relevancy of the ad to the search term.
- Ad Extensions – Ad extensions give you the opportunity to display additional information on your advertisements when certain search criteria is met. For example, if someone is viewing your ad on a mobile device you can add a call extension that allows the searcher to call you directly from the ad.
How can you track PPC performance?
There are a wide variety of different metrics that allow you to measure and track the performance of a PPC campaign. These metrics are essentially no only for judging the success of a PPC campaign’s current performance, but are also critical for optimising the campaign for greater success.
Impressions – Impressions is the measure of how many times an ad is seen by a searcher. This is important for judging the effectiveness of the key terms you have chosen for your campaign and whether or not you are getting any worthwhile traffic.
Clicks – Clicks is the measure of how many times a searcher will click on your ad and be taken through to a landing page or website. If you are failing to get clicks on your ads when you are putting up a decent number of impressions
Conversions – This is the number of actual sales or leads that you have generated from your campaign. A conversion occurs whenever a searcher has clicked onto one of your ads, been taken through to the landing page and complete the action intended on that page; whether it is a reservation, booking or purchase.
All of these metrics are either tracked through the Adwords platform itself or through Googles partner program Google Analytics. Using these platforms provides you with easy access to all of the information listed above, as well as a whole host of additional information.
What can PPC do for your business?
1) Speed to Market – PPC can bring your products to market extremely quickly. You can have advertisements up and running in less than idea and immediately compete with well-established competitors, even if you are new to the industry.
2) Rapid Online Visibility – An effective PPC campaign can provide you with a big broadcast for your business across a multitude of search engines. PPC immediately places you alongside other established brand names or businesses and allows you to put yourself directly in front of the relevant audience for your business.
3) Continual Optimisation – PPC is not a one and done solution. If it doesn’t start of particularly well, it is incredibly easy to optimise and alter your campaigns to try and correct your strategy. Even if your campaign is successful, there is still a huge scope for improvements that can constantly be applied.
4) Provide Easy A/B Testing – The nature of PPC makes it fantastic for testing. Unlike in print advertising where you may only be able to operate on a bi-monthly basis, PPC allows you to test new ads, landing pages or keyphrases against one another continually. This saves you from wasting time and money on costly campaigns and lengthy testing processes.
5) Laser Targeting – PPC allows you to select highly targeted audiences through keyword selection and ad optimisation. This helps you guarantee that the traffic you are sending from your adverts through to your landing page or website is highly relevant and more likely to convert.
Tips for Working with PPC Agencies or Departments
1) Make sure your objectives for the campaign are clear – The campaign objective is the foundation stone of the whole campaign. If your agency or department is not crystal clear on the objective of your campaign then you could end up with a campaign that has been structured, designed and optimised to fail.
2) Ask for regular reporting – Many agencies will happen sit back and just let the campaign tickover until either their contract ends or you begin to ask questions. By receiving a regular report, you can keep up to date on the campaigns performance and any changes or alterations they have made.
3) Develop a relationship with the account handler – It is important that the person handling your account has a deep understanding of your brand. They need to be able to recognise exactly what your target audience is looking for and understand the demographic you are appealing to. This should translate over into the ad copy,
4) Don’t be afraid to test new ideas – You have to be able to put your trust in the agency or account handler running the campaign. If they are pushing to try some new concepts to improve or enhance the campaign then go for it. Don’t be content with a steady PPC campaign when the skys the limit.
5) Be open to expansion – Paid search doesn’t end at PPC. Display advertising, remarketing and a wide array of content networks are all open to the online marketer.
I hope you have benefited from some of these basic tips on PPC and how it can help your business. If you have any further questions about PPC, PPC consultancy work or feel like something should be added to the article then please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.