PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising can be thought of as similar to traditional offline advertising in some ways, similar to radio, billboard or even television ads.
It’s a paid advertisement constructed for a certain type of platform to place your business directly in front of a consumer.
When executed correctly, the benefits of utilizing PPC are far very effective and far reaching.
What is PPC?
PPC or Pay-per-click advertising is an internet marketing model where an advertiser pays a fee each time an ad is clicked.
It is a quick way to buy visitors to your site instead of waiting for SEO and social marketing methods to build momentum.
Compared to traditional advertising where you pay for an ad to show up in a magazine or on a billboard and hope the prospects see it and engage, a PPC ad only appears to users who have been identified as likely prospects.
While PPC can be used in multiple formats, search engine advertising is the most well known.
With search engines, for example, the advertiser creates an ad, places a bid for relevant search phrases in an auction style format, and, if successful, their ads will show at the top of the search results “sponsored” area.
The most common types of PPC advertising includes:
- Local Search
- Display Ads
Each of these ads will look similar to the content where they appear.
Search ads look like search results, while social media PPC ads will look like the posts on the current platform but have a marking such as “Promoted” or “Sponsored” on them.
How Paid Search Works
Wherever you see an ad spot on a web page or mobile app there is an auction going on in the background.
This auction is the backbone of how PPC advertising works.
As an advertiser, how you participate and whether you win these auctions depends on several key factors, listed below.
Keywords are the first and most important step in launching a successful PPC campaign.
- Target the correct keywords and you will get results which make this style of advertising feel like magic.
- Target the wrong keywords and you will get a lot of traffic which doesn’t convert in to business.
Understanding your target market and applying this knowledge to keyword research is what will ultimately make or break your campaign.
Most PPC campaigns will require a monthly budget. This is an amount of money the campaign cannot exceed.
On most platforms, you will also set a daily budget.
The daily budget is more of a guideline because the campaign can go slightly under and over your budgeted number – what matters most is the average daily spend over a period of weeks or months.
The bid is the amount you are willing to pay for your ad to show up in the search results.
The higher the bid the more likely you are to show up in the best ad positions.
From an ROI perspective, it is not always beneficial to be the highest bidder. Many times you will do just as well being in the second or third position, when done properly.
Targeting is when you use demographic information to zero-in on a specific target audience.
For example, an certain insurance agent wants to work with people in the 25-35 year age range. On some platforms they can have their ads show up only to people who are determined to be in this range.
Another example of targeting is time of day.
If there is a certain time of day that people convert at a higher rate, you can have your ads raise the bid price during that time of day and still enjoy a higher ROI during those “buying times.”
Ad quality refers to how relevant your ad is to the keywords or people you are targeting.
When you are bidding on a keyword, it is important for your ad to be relevant to how people are searching for that keyword.
If your ad is not relevant, you are going to have to bid much higher to have your ad seen.
In PPC, the platform on which you are bidding only gets paid when someone clicks.
Putting up ads which are irrelevant to an audience means you don’t get the traffic and they don’t get paid.
Why Should You Use Pay-Per-Click?
There are several reasons that pay-per-click advertising is beneficial.
You can both measure and track your PPC campaigns. All results from your efforts are available in the ad dashboard and conversions can be tracked on your end.
PPC is similar to turning on and off a faucet. Once you have an ad and a landing page you can turn the traffic on and off as needed.
Helps with SEO
PPC allows you to immediately test out search terms and see how they convert.
This conversion data can allow you to craft a long-term SEO strategy to target high converting keywords and increase your ROI using organic traffic.
If someone could spend $10 and make $20, they are going to keep increasing their investment until it stops returning two for one on their investment.
If the traffic is profitable enough, it would only make sense to keep scaling up until the traffic is depleted.
Do You Need PPC Advertising?
Most businesses can benefit from a blended method of multiple approaches to online marketing.
PPC can be a very powerful addition to any online marketing campaign.