Pay-per-Click Advertising: What It Is and How It Can Get You Ahead of the Game
Advertising has come a long way, with brands today shifting their efforts to digital marketing. While there are a multitude of ways to advertise on the internet, we’ll focus on one of the most commonly used: pay-per-click advertising.
What is pay-per-click advertising (PPC)?
PPC campaigns involve advertisements that appear together with Google search results or on other search engines. Whenever a searcher clicks the ad, companies pay a certain price for that click – hence the term “pay-per-click”.
A common PPC ad type is the paid search ad, which appears when people type in things they’re looking for on Google. These ads are typically seen when users are looking to purchase a product or a service. For example, if a person searches for “gym equipment”, this would trigger PPC ads of companies who are selling apparatus for the gym. The ad would then lead to the company’s website, and possibly a sale would be made from the visit.
PPC campaigns are a way for companies to get their products in front of the right eyes, instead of blindly advertising to everyone on the market. It’s also a great way for websites to gain traffic instead of getting it organically.
How does PPC advertising work?
While other forms of advertising, like Facebook Ads (more about it here), are as simple as creating a post and making a targeted promotion, PPC works a bit differently. For your advertisement to appear alongside SERP results, it’s entered into the Google Ad Auction, an automated process where advertisers bid on keywords in order for Google to display the ad to relevant searches. Higher-performing keywords cost more per click, and lower-performing keywords cost less.
Ad Auction is Google’s clever way of allowing advertisers to display ads only when users are searching for something relevant to what the business offers. For instance, if you’re a business selling sports equipment in New Zealand, you want your ad to appear when a user types in “sports equipment New Zealand” or “baseball bats NZ”. Google uses complex algorithms to identify which ads have relevant keywords and ad text, which then determines which ads they will display from which advertiser and in what order.
Additionally, another deciding factor is an advertiser’s ad rank – taking into consideration the company’s cost-per-click (CPC) bid and his quality score. CPC refers to the highest amount a company is willing to spend per ad click, whereas quality score is a score that Google gives advertisers based on relevance, click-through-rate, and landing page quality.
Good PPC Campaign Practices
To make the most out of your pay-per-click advertisement campaign, here are some fundamental practices:
- Keyword research. Building a keyword list is a crucial step to any PPC campaign. Take some time to conduct a research on highly-relevant and valuable keywords to add to your list. What do users enter on search engines to find products similar to yours? In addition to relevance, your keywords must have a substantial click-through rate as well.
- Make your list extensive. Instead of focusing on broader and more general terms, it’s equally important to include keywords that are more specific. So if for example you’re a business in New Zealand that sells baby clothes, it’s important to not only use “baby clothes” or “baby garments” as your keywords. Try using “bubbysuits for boys” or “baby girl dresses Auckland”, as some users know exactly what they’re looking for. These long-tail keywords are not only less competitive, but they’re less expensive as well, increasing your ROI per completed sale.
- Adding negative keywords. Not only do you want your ad to show on relevant search pages, you also want them not to show on irrelevant ones. Having your ad displayed in front of a disinterested user is a waste of time and money on both ends. For instance, if you’re selling paid photo editing software, you don’t want your ad to appear when someone searches for “free photo editing software”. Thus, adding negative keywords (in this case, “free”) prevents your ad from displaying when people type certain words or phrases.
- Check your analytics. Analyze the performance of your PPC ads to determine if there are any adjustments you must do to optimize your campaign. Knowing your results gives you feedback on whether you should make modifications on your keyword list or refine your landing page if people are clicking but not converting.
PPC Campaigns and Your Website: Are They Related?
Once you’ve gotten that click from a customer, everything that happens after matters. They are taken to your website, will they stay and make the purchase? Or leave and forget your brand? This is where web design and SEO comes in.
People expect to see a well-designed website once they click your ad. It might not be the initial focus when you think about PPC campaigns, but web design creates the look of your landing pages – which then determines what happens after the click. So, how does your website look? Is it professional and user-friendly? Your images, text, and other elements must be pleasing to the eye in order to coax customers to stay. Furthermore, your website design is a direct reflection of your brand. When your site looks credible and trustworthy, people will be happy to part with their money.
Website navigation should be easy-peasy as well. Categories and subcategories must be appropriately arranged so as not to confuse visitors. Think about how users interact with certain elements to analyze the optimum interface.
Speed is another thing to consider. Once the customer clicked your ad, they won’t for more than a few seconds for it to load. The more time it takes your landing page to load, the more visitors will want to click out of your website and find another one from the search results.
Rather than simply waiting for customers to come, investing in PPC campaigns ensures a wider reach with money spent only when people click your ad. As such, it’s a great way to increase website traffic and boost sales. Remember to check your results, have a high-performing keyword list, and make sure your landing pages are well-designed.