What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

A strong pay-per-click, or PPC, campaign, sends direct traffic to your website, by paying the search engine or social media channel a small amount each time the ad is clicked. The most common examples of PPC are search engines and social media. PPC advertisements appear along with the natural, non-paid search results, often at the top or in a highly visible space. PPC campaigns are effective because they drive qualified traffic to your site or landing page.

PPC campaigns sound simple but they can cost you a fortune if they are not managed correctly. Creating effective PPC campaigns truly is a science and an art form. With the right campaign parameters and a well-written ad, you will see results quickly without blowing your marketing budget.

How does PPC work?

PPC listing space is sold to the highest bidder of specific search terms. These are also called keywords. When someone clicks on your PPC listing they are sent to your website and you are then charged the amount you bid. Luckily, unlike an actual auction, you don’t have to raise a little white paddle each time a keyword you want comes up! When you are setting up your PPC campaign you will need to decide how much you are willing to pay per click on a keyword. The search engine will automatically bid up to the amount you set on your behalf.

How much should I spend?

This is a tough question without knowing the entire scope of your marketing plans and budget! The best advice I can offer is to spend what you can comfortably afford and focus on getting the best ROI on the amount spent per click. You should always pay less than the total profit earned per click. That said, It is okay when you first start if directly correlated profits from your PPC campaign aren’t great. If the traffic is made up of high quality well-targeted traffic you are still likely acquiring future customers and creating brand awareness.

How do I choose the right keywords?

Understanding exactly what your customers are searching for is crucial to the success of your campaign. Most people’s instinct when choosing keywords is to go broad, like “furniture” or “shoes.” Everyone is going to be bidding on broad terms, driving up the cost per click, making these broad keywords expensive. It is a more effective PPC strategy to bid on long-tail keyword phrases. You will pay less per click and those who search them are far more likely to buy since they are looking for something very specific.

If you have not conducted your keyword research we recommend using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This free keyword research tool from Google retrieves historical statistics, provide a list of keywords and tells you how they may perform. Keyword Planner can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns. You can even use it to help you generate longer tails for a more specific pay-per-cick keywords with the keyword multiplier based on your broader keywords. Not sure what keyword to start with? Google Adwords Keyword Planner allows for a competitive analysis of your competitions SEO keywords as well.

How do I write effective PPC ad copy?

Writing strong copy for your PPC campaigns is crucial. Search engines have an algorithm that gives a quality score to each ad and keyword combination. The higher your quality score, the lower cost per click (CPC) you will pay, so it pays to get your quality score as high as possible.

The best way to approach your PPC ad copy is to focus on writing very specific copy for every keyword or, groups of related keywords also known as ad groups.

Here are a few things to consider when writing PPC ad copy:

·      Search users are more likely to convert when they see search results that contain the            actual terms in your actual ad copy.

·      The language should support where the search term falls in the buying cycle.

·      Target your ad copy language toward filling your search users needs.

·      Don’t copy your competitors headline.

·      Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

·      Abide by any copy guidelines laid out by the publisher.

How often should I adjust my PPC listings?

You must be prepared to regularly manage your PPC advertising campaigns or you risk spending a lot for little results. It is also important to track search traffic trends and the regular ebbs and flows that come along with it.

You want to conduct a lot of A/B testing of PPC campaigns at the beginning to help define the best performing copy. My suggested starting point is to try 2-3 different versions of each ad. Once you have results, start to swap out the low performing ads with new variations.

Here are a few things to consider when setting up A/B testing on PPC ad copy:

·      Headlines

·      Calls to action

·      Tone

·      Unique selling propositions

·      Mobile vs. desktop, Local vs. national

·      Location of ad on publishers page

Monitor profit-per-impression over cost-per-click

I like to choose my ads based on PPI because I want the PPC ad copy that is generating the best revenue. If you aren’t familiar with this type of success metric I highly suggest you read this blog post by PPC guru Brad Geddes. The basis of using PPI over CPC is that PPI leverages the benefit of equal impression amounts to see which ad has the best ROI.

Statistical significance

Make sure you are running tests with the correct statistical significance. Unless you are aiming at becoming a PPC expert or managing a large account, it is generally okay to simply set a n appropriate sample size and run the test for the right amount of time. I like to usethis tool to find the correct sample size for my A/B testing. I also use this free statistical significance calculator to see if my results are actually statistically significant.

Where should I place my PPC ads?

There are a lot of PPC publishers, but in the interest of time we are only going to cover the top three.

Google Adwords

According to Comscore, Google commands the vast majority of the search engine market coming in at 67.3% market share. You will generally pay more per click on Google but you have access to millions of potential customers actively searching for your product or service.

Bing Ads

Bing is nowhere near Google when it comes to users but you will generally pay less per click. The lower CPC price creates a great opportunity to test ad copy and keywords before taking them over to AdWords.

Facebook for Business

Besides being the largest social network, Facebook has great tools for creating highly targeted PPC campaigns. The price per click is often far less since the users are not generally researching products or services directly on Facebook. They are a little less qualified, but generally work for brand awareness.

Ah so that’s what PPC is!

As with most digital marketing, it is important to leverage strong keyword research, iterate quickly based on quality metrics, and choose the appropriate platform for your company. Keep in mind, PPC campaigns can get overwhelming very quickly, and it takes a moderate amount of energy to run them effectively. If you have the budget for it, you may consider hiring a PPC agency to manage them for you. If you choose to put these beginner PPC tips to use yourself, you can expect to see results on your campaigns shortly.