What is PPC?
Pay per click marketing, or PPC, is pretty simple: Search engines like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results. These listings appear along with the natural, non-paid search results.
It’s like traditional advertising only with a twist; instead of paying a monthly fee for your advertising space you instead place a bid as part of a real-time auction. These auctions run every time someone performs a search including one of the keywords being targeted by your PPC campaign and determines the position of your ad within the results shown.
PPC benefits your business by providing immediate, targeted traffic to your website. You only pay when someone clicks on one of your advertisements and the amount you pay will vary based on the amount you bid and your Quality Score.
Quality Score is an estimate used by Google’s PPC platform, Google Ads, to determine how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to a person seeing your ad. Having a high Quality Score means that your ads, keywords and landing pages are all relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad. Therefore a higher Quality Score will provide your business with greater prominence within Google’s paid listings for the same budget.
One of the main benefits of running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is that it’s possible to see immediate returns on investment and once tracking is in place the campaign can be optimised to further maximise ROI. By carefully researching and selecting the most appropriate search queries for which to display advertising it’s possible to accurately target the most relevant audience for the business.
Pay per click marketing gets right to the point. With PPC there’s not much point spending money to get visitors to your website if they’re not converting into customers. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to track conversions effectively to get the most from your paid advertising efforts.
A conversion is simply any time a visitor to your website takes a desired action. This could be anything but common examples include:
Visitor makes a purchase.
Visitor completes an enquiry form.
Visitor downloads a resource and registers.
Visitor views a key landing page.
Visitor makes a phone call.
43% of all search conversions happen over the phone. (BIA/Kelsey ConStat & Commerce Monitor Wave XIII)
A conversion doesn’t have to be a sale. But a conversion has to be worth something to you. All too often the last point on that list, call tracking, is overlooked and can lead to incorrect assumptions about the success of a pay per click advertising campaign.
If not properly managed, PPC campaigns can end up costing your business far more than necessary and in some cases not even deliver a positive ROI.
A correctly managed pay per click campaign will provide increased conversions for the same spend, as data is collected and the campaign refined. The key areas when optimising a PPC campaign include:
Keyword targeting. Targeting the correct keywords, those that produce conversions, is the cornerstone of any good PPC campaign.
Ad split testing. Creating compelling ad copy with appropriate incentives and calls to action is paramount when looking to entice visitors to your website. Ads are tested against each other over time to continually improve the quality of the message delivered to search users and increase conversions.
Bid management. Effective bid management will ensure that advertising budget is correctly distributed throughout your campaign. This could mean an even distribution allowing all ads to achieve similar levels of exposure or more budget being attributed to particularly high profit or high volume items.
Quality Score optimisation. Ensuring that ads, keywords and landing pages are correctly collated into groups will not only provide greater visibility for your advertisements without spending any more money but also presents visitors with a much better-aligned experience, ultimately leading to greater levels of conversion.
Total Control and Flexibility
Unlike natural search engine optimisation (SEO) for which the search engines receive no direct payment PPC provides much greater flexibility and control over how your message is displayed.
Google Ads provides granular options for a number of key criteria not possible with other advertising channels.
Ad scheduling allows ads or ad groups to be shown at certain hours and/or days of the week. Bid amounts can also be adjusted based on the time of day or day of the week. This can be useful if you only want ads to display during working hours or if you know the times of day when your customers are most active.
Location targeting can be taken all the way down to street level as well as providing an option to target customers in a certain radius of your business. This is extremely beneficial when you operate a location-based business that can only service customer within a specific number of miles of your location.
Adjustable bidding for mobile devices provides a method of decreasing or increasing the bid amount based on the user’s device. If your website is not yet mobile-ready this would benefit your PPC campaign by not showing ads to searchers using mobile phones, as conversions are likely to be a lot less when your website is not clearly legible on these devices.