While the ideal way to generate visits to your website is organically – that is, customers finding it for free through search engines – PPC, or pay-per-click, is a way of using paid advertising to generate clicks to your website, rather than gaining them organically. Pay Per Click advertising can give you an advantage over competitors relying on organic search, and if you aren’t using PPC, other companies on your market almost certainly are, so it pays for you to keep up.
You can spot PPC advertising because it appears at the top of a search result page with a little flag next to it saying ‘AD’. The most common way of using PPC is through Google Ads, so that’s the method we will mainly discuss here.
The way it works is straightforward. You bid for a position at the top of the search engine result page, then pay the search engine each time your ad is clicked on. The charge for this is relatively small, though of course it has to justify itself through you making a larger sale as a result. There’s no point paying £1 per a click when the product you sell is worth only £1.
But if you pay £1 for a click and end up selling a £200 or £300 product, clearly your investment in pay per click services has been worthwhile – in fact, it works out as one of the least expensive forms of marketing.
A PPC company will help you to understand how Google AdWords works, how to make the best use of paid search marketing, and how to capitalise on the possibilities of Pay Per Click. Moreover, a PPC agency will give you advice on building your PPC campaign around keywords, and how paid search can be grown and refined by managing your keyword list.
Why Should You Be Using PPC?
The main reason you should be using Pay Per Click advertising is that it’s one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of reaching people searching for your products and services.
Research shows that searchers will click on paid search ads more often than any other form of digital advertising. It may be just because they appear at the top of the search engine results page – but hopefully it’s also because they find that the products and services they find match their needs. Certainly it’s an indication that people don’t mind being advertised to, so long as it’s for the right products.
PPC advertising works because Google ensures that its search results, including the ads, are highly relevant to what the searcher is looking for. A PPC marketing agency will explain another advantage of PPC, which is that searchers reveal their interests through their search query, so advertisers have a method of measuring the quality of traffic resulting from search engine clicks.
PPC should work to the advantage of the customer, the search engines, and the advertiser, because the more relevant and targeted the search result is, the happier everyone is. PPC enables search engines to satisfy both searchers and advertisers at the same time.
Ask a paid search agency for the other unique advantage of PPC marketing, and they’ll tell you that Google doesn’t just reward the highest bidders for ad space, they reward the highest-quality ads (that is, the ads that prove the most popular with users). This reward for good performance means that the better your ads, the greater your click-through rates, and hence the lower your average costs.
How Should You Use Paid Search?
So how, in practice, should you be using paid search? By far the most popular pay per click platform is Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords. Using Google Ads, users bid on keywords, then pay for each click on their advertisements.
Each time a user makes a search, Google examines the pool of bidding advertisers, then chooses a selection of ‘winners’ to appear in the ad space on its SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Factors in the choice of these ads include the size of their bids, and the quality and relevance of their keywords and text.
That makes it all sound very simple, but of course a good PPC agency will explain to you that PPC advertising is a bit more complicated than that. The selection of which ads appear on the SERP and at what level depends on an advertiser’s Ad Rank, which is calculated by multiplying the CPC bid – the highest amount the advertiser is willing to spend – by the QS (Quality Score). The Quality Score is itself calculated taking into account several factors including relevance, quality of your landing page, and your click-through rate, among other factors. As your QS affects your CPC, or Cost Per Click, it pays you to improve the quality of your website and the relevance of the keywords you choose. A paid search agency will be able to advise you on the best way to do this.
The best thing about pay per click advertising is that it’s good at matching searchers to advertisers; done properly, it should guarantee a good return on your investment, bringing you customers who are looking for exactly the products and services you offer.
How Effective is PPC?
PPC can offer number of benefits for any size of business, and can be effective as part of your wider marketing campaign. Though it can give immediate results, it also has long-term benefits, for instance in growing your customer base. By connecting you with searchers actively looking for your products and services, pay per click reaches both existing prospects and new leads, and rewards you by automatically generating discounts from the search engines in return for satisfying their customers.
Pay per click advertising also works for most types of business, whether you’re operating an e-commerce business selling products from your website, generating leads for a service-based business, or trying to drive foot traffic and phone enquiries to a local store. It can also build brand awareness. Research shows that even the brief exposure of a couple of seconds of a PPC ad, can be enough for brand recognition and to affect subsequent customer behaviour.
However, the effectiveness of your PPC advertising is very much determined by your choice of keywords, and the most successful paid search marketing strategy doesn’t end with the initial keyword research. Instead you must continuously revise and expand your keywords, using tools such as Keyword Planner.
Your initial keyword research will come up with some fairly obvious results, but continued research will come up with additional relevant keywords and long-tail phrases which could be low cost, yet still valuable in driving traffic to your website.
To give you an idea of the effectiveness of pay-per-click advertising, an average click-through rate (when a visitor clicks on your PPC ad and connects to your website) is around 2 percent. The return on investment (ROI) of course varies depending on your business. For example, let’s say you receive 100 clicks per day, and each click costs 20p. This means that your total cost for these clicks has been £20. Assuming you make £5 on each product you sell, you will need four of those clicks to convert to a sale in order for your pay per click campaign to break even.
The effectiveness of pay per click services relies then on you being able to convert a click into a sale; PPC is a means to an end, not an end in itself. A PPC company will guide you through not only the steps involved in setting up pay per click services, but also through what you have to do to make your PPC advertising effective.
How Do You Create a PPC Campaign?
As any PPC company will tell you, the main essential in setting up a paid search marketing campaign is to understand the use of keywords and how they are used in Google Ads. Paid Search is as much about doing your research before you start the campaign as it is about managing the ongoing strategy.
When using AdWords, it’s essential that your chosen keywords should be relevant, comprehensive and adaptive.
It’s helpful to consult a PPC agency for some guidance on choosing keywords for pay per click advertising. Your main aim is to select keywords which are relevant to your business; anything irrelevant will attract equally irrelevant searches. Your aim should be to find targeted keywords which will generate only useful web traffic, resulting in a low relative cost per click and a better return on investment.
Equally, you should make sure your keyword list is comprehensive. You should include all the keywords you can find which are relevant to your business, including sub-categories and niches. Long-tail keywords, in other words complete phrases rather than single words, make up such an important element of searches that you can’t afford to ignore them. But they can also be less competitive, and so less expensive.
Again, AdWords rewards the use of a continually expanding and adapting list of keywords; as new trends and products develop, you will want to work with your PPC agency to incorporate them into your PPC campaign. Conversely you should continuously review expensive and under-performing keywords and consider eliminating them.
Finally, your pay-per-click keyword strategy should also feature negative keyword discovery. These negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up in searches which are not relevant to your business, and unlikely to convert into sales – for instance no-one is likely to order a fast food delivery from another town, so use negative keywords to refine your SERP rankings.
Your PPC marketing agency can also give you guidance in areas such as split ad groups, which can improve your click-through rate and quality score by creating more targeted ad text and landing pages on your website.
Tools such as performance graders will help you to monitor how your AdWords pay-per-click campaigns are performing in key areas such as Quality Score, Text Ad Optimization, Impression Share, Click-Through Rate, and use of negative keywords.
What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Using Google Ads?
One of the main advantages of using Google Ads as part of your PPC campaign is that it offers many helpful tools. Once you have defined your keywords using Keyword Planner and the campaign is underway you can use Google Ads Editor, a free, downloadable application that lets you work offline to make bulk changes quickly and easily.
Google also has a Reach Planner to help tailor your YouTube campaign, and Manager Accounts which can help you manage multiple accounts from a single login and dashboard, with reporting, access control, and consolidated billing.
A paid search agency can offer help and advice on using any of these, but can also spotlight some of the disadvantages of using Google Ads.
One of these is the relatively steep learning curve. It’s certainly possible to lose money using Google Ads if your expenditure outdoes your revenue. A PPC advertising agency can help you to avoid this pitfall.
You should certainly take advice from the Google AdWords Learning Center before beginning, but beware of the tendency to insist on shooting for a top ranking – this will inevitably be expensive, and AdWords has an automatic bid matching feature which you should turn off. One problem with Pay Per Click is that advertisers with deep pockets have an advantage. If your market has lots of competition for the same keywords, it may become impossible for you to afford a top ranking. If you find yourself paying something like £5 per click, it’s time to consider whether you could live with a lower but cheaper ranking.
As we’ve explained, Google sets pay per click advertising charges partly on the quality of your website; if you have a low quality score, Google will increase the minimum bid you have to pay for your keywords. That means that you have to put as much effort into the quality of your landing page as you do into refining your pay per click strategy.
It’s also important to track the results from your keywords, as otherwise you will not know which ones triggered your sale.
The main tip to run a successful PPC campaign with Google Ads is to let your campaign run to see what price you are actually paying per click, then adjust your campaign settings to what you can afford, not to what Google wants you to spend.
Why is PPC Important in Digital Marketing?
Finally, the importance of PPC in digital marketing is that it is –
* Straightforward to use, with no hidden features
* Easy to control – once your budget is spent, the ads stop until you top up your funds
* Targeted precisely at your company’s potential customers
* Suitable for all customer platforms – desktop, tablet and mobile
* Controllable, so different keyword combinations can be compared in terms of results
* Fast – you can get immediate traffic from PPC ads, faster than organic searches
* High in ROI – you only pay when your ad is clicked so you aren’t wasting marketing budget
* Targetable – you can exclude unwanted searches by geo-targeting
* Timed – you can even schedule your PPC advertising for particular times of day
* Scaleable – whatever the size of your business, a PPC company can make it work for you
TRON Media can help with all your PPC requirements. TRON Media has a highly qualified team of trained specialists in paid search marketing, Google Ads, organic SEO, email marketing, content marketing, web design, digital strategy and social media, and can work with you to develop your ideas and build an paid search marketing strategy perfect for your business.
TRON Media is a leading PPC marketing agency located in Brighton, offering the easiest and most cost-effective way to help you reach your audience. Get in touch today to find out about our latest pay per click services, SEO services, web design services, and what a paid search agency can do for your business.
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