About PPC: The Buyers’ Guide to Pay Per Click Advertising

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What is Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)?

Pay per click advertising, also known as PPC, is a digital advertising system where the people running ads pay every time an internet user clicks on their ads that show up. 

Types of PPC ads range in how they can appear across the internet. But the most common pay per click ads is paid search engine ads. This is when ads show up after someone types in a search on search engines like Google or Bing. PPC search engine ads are shown especially when someone is conducting a search for specific products or services, like local roofing or nearby shoe sales. 

The results page on a search engine displays the paid (or “sponsored”) ads at the top of the page. Whenever you see the little word “Ad” next to search results, that means that persona or company is using pay per click advertising. 

How Do PPC Ads Work? 

With pay per click advertising, the advertisers have to pay only when someone clicks on the search result they’re interested in. You might have heard people talking about Pay-per-click ads and thought “paperclip” but pronunciation is key: pay-per-click. 

Other than search engines, pay per click marketing can be done through visual display ads. These are things like banners, videos, or remarketing. (To learn about what Remarketing is, read this page.)

PPC ads are a good idea because it’s often a fair game. Competitors can’t simply pay a bunch of money to make their ads show up more– or at the top. The results that show up on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) show up depending on the Ad auction. An Ad auction is a type of formula major search engines automate depending on the ad’s keywords, negative keywords, relevance, and valid content, among other things. 

analytics of a ppc campaign

Do you want to understand Ad auctions better? We’re about to dive in. 

Keywords and Ad Strategy 

We’re talking about keyword research first because it’s one of the most time-consuming (but a most important!) aspects of creating Pay-per-click ads. The overall PPC ads campaigns are based on the keywords contained in the ad bid. 

An important thing to remember about keywords for your ads is that keyword relevance is always changing. You can create a killer ads campaign, only to realize months down the line that those perfect keywords you chose before are now nearly useless. The most successful ad creators are constantly researching, improving, and evolving their keywords within their ads. 

Tips for PPC Keywords: 

  • The keywords you use should be super close to what it is you want to sell. Better targeted keywords = higher click-through rate which means more traffic.
  • Use relevant long-tail and low-cost keywords to get more traffic to your site
  • Be extremely relevant to your category and niche. You don’t want to waste money on keywords that have nothing to do with what someone would want from your ad. 
  • During keyword research, don’t forget the long-tail keywords. These aren’t as “popular” as basic, frequently-searched keywords such as “moisturizing lipstick”. Instead, they’re a more detailed, relevant, specific form of longer keywords like, “best natural red lipstick for chronic chapped lips”. See the difference? 
  • Remember if you want your ads to grow and improve, you constantly need to grow your keyword knowledge. The greatest advice is to consistently improve and refine your campaigns. 

How to Best Manage Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns 

The best way to maintain a successful ad campaign is to regularly manage and interact with them. Account activity also goes into how well the advertisement audit will play out. 

pay per click

There are a few crucial points to evaluate in your PPC ads account: 

  • Negative Keywords. These are phrases and words you don’t want your ad to rank for. You don’t want to waste money showing up and being clicked on within categories you have nothing to do with. 
  • Review weak and expensive keywords. You’ll want to review any keywords in your campaign that are overpriced, growing irrelevant, or that aren’t performing well. 
  • Ad groups / Split Ad Groups. It’s a smart move to split your ad groups into smaller and more relatable categories. This will boost your CTR (Click-Through Rate), especially if your ads lead to landing pages.
  • Improve your landing pages. Speaking of ads leading to landing pages, it’s a top priority that all your CTAs (Call to Action) are clear and match up with the keyword searches. Whatever your landing page is for should reflect the exact thing an internet user is searching for and discovering via Google ads. Check out exactly how to create high-converting landing pages in this article!

Beyond these key facts, do you know what level of the sales funnels to advertise toward? 

Marketing Strategies to Grow Audience Awareness: Top of the Sales Funnel

Forming awareness means your company is geared toward potential customers who want to learn, discover new products or brands, and start their research options with whatever it is they’re looking for. The top of the sales funnel (awareness) is for someone who is not ready to but, but they want to remember your company for when they are ready to make an important purchase. 

One of the best ways to do this is with display network PPC ads. These are often less expensive than running ads in search engines, and honestly, display option means more customizable visuals– photo or video. It gives more creative room to innovate your personal advertisement. 

Using the display PPC is also a smart way to make a good first impression, with visuals, keywords, and content, to encourage your future customers to remember you by. People stick around when they can remember a lasting first impression. 

The only downside to this part of the funnel is that it’s often less quality network traffic than search networks. 

storefront found by ppc ads

Strategies for Shopping and Buyer Interest: Middle of Sales Funnel 

There are plenty of people out there who are already searching for what you have to offer. Typically, three things happen when people search the internet for a product or service: 

  1. A person has a problem they need to find a solution. 
  2. Someone knows about you and searches for your brand/company.
  3. An individual knows they have a problem they want to fix, and they know how they can fix it. But they need to choose the best company that has a product or service that they want to choose from. 

This explains the “desire” part of the sales funnel. The person has a strong desire to make a purchase that will help him or her get what they are looking for. 

The best option to target PPC ads in this manner is (you might have guessed it) through the search network. Your PPC ads will show up on the SERPs. Someone wanting to buy your stuff will be able to see you and click on your offer. That’s magically aligned!

How Much Does PPC Cost? 

This is no easy answer, and in fact, a better question would be… “How much should I spend on PPC?” 

There’s no doubt that any advertising venture can get expensive. But with pay per click advertising, there’s a little more risk with wasting money and targeting the wrong ads, etc. But it doesn’t have to be a waste of money, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your ads will be crazy expensive! 

The key is to do it right. Ads are meant to be an investment in your company, not a shot in the dark. When you set up a campaign budget, you should ask yourself: 

  • How much can my (our) company afford to spend on this total campaign? And
  • How much does this overall budget allow us to spend on each ad bid? 

Whether you can afford to spend $80 per month or $8,000 you can still make PPC ads work for you. You just have to be smart about it. Or, at least, hire someone who is already super smart about it. 

If you need help with all things Pay Per Click Advertising, Google Ads, Sales Funnels, or setting up a Landing Page, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you reach your goals!

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