There’s more to pay-per-click (PPC) than meets the eye.
Yes, it’s an online advertising strategy that gives you the option to only pay when people click on your ad. That sure beats spending a fortune on an ad when only few people click on it, right?
Just keep in mind, though, that PPC is much more involved than paying some money when people click on an ad.
Here’s what you need to know about PPC if you want to be successful in your online advertising efforts.
PPC Ad Networks
There are several PPC ad networks that advertisers can choose from.Ads by Hooly
The most popular is Google AdWords. Many of the ads that you see on private websites are AdWords ads.
Certainly, all of the ads that you see in Google search results are AdWords ads.
Also, AdWords ads also run on YouTube. That’s because YouTube is a Google property.
Bing, the other search engine, also runs PPC ads that appear on Microsoft search properties like Bing and Yahoo. Bing ads can appear on search partner networks as well.
You can also run PPC ads on the most popular social network in the world. Facebook offers online advertising that’s affordable to many small businesses.
Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to text-only ads with PPC. You can run display ads as well.
You can also run a retargeting PPC campaign. That will give you an opportunity to reach people who have visited your website in the past
Finally, Amazon also have PPC options. If you are selling a product, you will want to run pay-per-click ads on Amazon. Both Seller Central and Vendor Central offer PPC advertising options.
PPC costs are dependent on your budget and your keywords.
Each ad is related to one or more keywords. The keywords that you choose for your ads will determine the cost of the click.
How much does a keyword cost? That’s totally dependent on the keyword itself.
Why? Because the cost of the keyword is based on how many marketers want to advertise with that keyword. It’s all about demand.
For example, if you want to advertise with the keyword “blue jeans,” that will cost you a lot more than if you want to advertise with the keyword “counterclockwise clock.” That’s because there are more advertisers selling blue jeans than counterclockwise clocks.
The amount you spend on PPC is also dependent on your own budget. Most ad networks let you set a budget on a daily or monthly basis.
For example, if you set a budget of $50 per day on PPC ads, your ad network will turn off your ads once you reach that limit. That will help you keep costs under control.
There’s more to PPC than just forking over some cash when people click on your ads. In fact, there are several elements involved in a PPC marketing effort:
- The Campaign – The top-most element in PPC marketing is the campaign. For example, you could run a series of holiday-themed ads all under one campaign.
- The Ad Group – Each campaign has one or more ad groups. All of those groups relate to the theme of the campaign.
- Keywords – Each ad group has keywords associated with it. The keywords should be relevant to the ads.
- Ad Text – The ad text is really what “old school” marketers call ad copy. It’s the text you use to sell your product or service.
- Landing Page – When people click on your ad, they’re taken to a landing page. It should be relevant to your keywords as well.
- Checkout Process – Once they hit the landing page, what steps do they need to take to convert.
How Does the Auction Work?
Ad networks typically allow advertisers to bid on keywords. As we’ve seen, some keywords cost more than others.
Although you can bid whatever you want, your ad isn’t likely to run unless you bid an amount that’s at least close to the suggested bid for the keyword. Most ad networks will warn you if your bid is too low.
Is there an advantage to bidding higher? Yes. Your ad is more likely to be seen in that case.
So if you’re selling something with a great markup and you can afford to splurge on advertising, feel free to bid higher than your competitors.
Keep in mind that your ad placement is also determined by the quality of the ad itself. Google determines quality by looking at your ad’s relevance to your keywords, your landing page relevance, and the click-through-rate of the ad itself.
In other words, the more people click on your ad, the more likely it is that Google will view it as a quality ad. So put some clickbait text in your ad to move ahead of your competitors.
Hire a PPC Pro
You might be tempted to try PPC on your own. That’s a mistake.
Instead, it’s usually best to enlist the aid of a qualified PPC company. There are simply too many mistakes you can make when you launch an online advertising campaign from inexperience.
A great PPC company can help you with ad text, graphics, and bidding strategies. In addition to that, a PPC professional can advise you about the right ad network (or networks) that are best suited to your brand.
Also, PPC companies have learned certain trade secrets associated with online advertising that you won’t know unless you’ve been in digital marketing for years.
Bottom line: a PPC agency (or a rock star employee) can help you boost your profitability and keep you from launching a failing advertising campaign.
Author: John Lincoln
John Lincoln (MBA) is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing instructor at UCSD and author of the book “Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online,” Lincoln has worked on over 400 marketing campaigns including clients such as FOX, USA Today and BTO Sports. He has won SEO expert of the year, most influential people in CRO and best social media campaign of the year and is a regular columnist on Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Entrepreneur and Inc.