Understanding Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Apr 11, 2013

Understanding Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising became popular when people realized they were paying too much for ads that were getting them few visitors to their site. By only charging companies for the amount of actual visitors to their site, results were much more profitable. Though PPC is a common term in the digital marketing world, it’s not always a commonly understood concept to those looking to purchase some PPC ads for their company. Here’s an easy, simple breakdown, of the steps an advertiser must take, to create a successful PPC campaign.

Joining a PPC Program

To begin advertising using PPC methods, one must join the programs offered by the main search engines. Each search engine has its own PPC programs. Google is far and wide the most highly used search engine, so it’s probably wise for advertisers to invest the most in Google’s PPC program, known as Adwords. If an advertiser is looking to be thorough however, it’s important to include programs from Bing, and Yahoo as well. Once an advertiser has joined the program, they’ll of course have to pay for the search engine’s PPC services. The size of an advertiser’s budget should reflect the size of the business, and will depend heavily on which keywords they choose.

Creating a Great PPC Ad

Once an advertiser has loaded their account, they must create an attention grabbing ad that will tempt searchers to click on it. The most important part of creating a PPC ad is the headline. The headline should draw searchers in. One tried and true method to getting clickers, is to mention a promotion in the headline. Keywords like free, half-off, or sale, tend to be very successful. The ad should differ from the given advertiser’s competitors, the worst thing and ad can do, is blend in with other ads. The text of an ad should offer searchers specific, action-oriented details, as briefly as possible. If an image is included, it should indicate clearly, whatever it is the ad is offering. The ad should have a sleek, minimal, attractive design, but be exciting and colorful enough to stand out from the search results, and competing advertisements.

Choosing Keywords

Keyword selection is probably the most difficult, labor intensive part of the process. Certain keywords cost more than others, so it’s smart to get fairly specific with them, to keep costs down. More general keywords will cost more per click, and likely result in less direction taken by the clicker. The keywords, are important because they are the phrases responsible for making an ad appear in a searcher’s results. Choosing the correct keywords, ensures that the ads are placed only in the view of parties already looking for a related product or service.

For Google Adwords, advertisers bid on a keyword, either by choosing the bid by themselves, or having Google choose for them automatically, based on their budget. Having Google choose, may be easier, but it’s wise for companies to research themselves before committing to anything. While Google’s results may be great for certain aspects of an organization’s advertising goal, the advertiser will have more insight into their customer’s needs than Google can provide. When researching which keywords will offer the most value, a company must be sure to take their time selecting, and choose wisely.

Creating an Ideal Landing Page

A good landing page should not feature sales material. In order to create a landing page that truly converts into a sale, it must offer an answer to the searcher’s query, whatever that may be. For a landing page, to hopefully result in lots of conversion, it will need to serve as a resource guide, or information key, regarding whatever inquiry is related to the given keywords entered in the search inquiry.

A great landing page should also relate directly to the ad placed. So if a keyword is Portland, Oregon oral surgeons, and the ad, features a free consultation for oral surgery, a good landing page, would be a page specifically designed to answer any questions a patient may have regarding oral surgery, and all of the services your company offers. Instead of jumping straight to prices, or a signup page, ease into it, by providing searchers with all of the information they need regarding both their individual needs, and what your business offers.

Ads Appearing in Search Results

ppcOnce an organization has joined the PPC programs, the ad has been created, and the keywords have been chosen, the rest is in the hands of searchers. When a person enters the given keyword in the search engine, the ad appears. The ad will appear either to the side of the search bar, or below it, depending on the keywords chosen, and what it is being advertised, among other things. This is where all of the previous steps in the process become so vitally important. Headline, design, text, keywords, and landing pages, all play a role in encouraging a searcher to click, and ultimately take action towards becoming a patron of the business doing the advertising.

Why PPC is a Smart way to Advertise

The reason PPC advertising is the most popular form of modern digital marketing, is due to the incredibly specialized customer base it attracts. With radio, TV, print, and even banner ads, advertisers are just reaching out to a big audience, lambasting them with an organization’s message, hoping that it reaches the right potential customers. PPC advertising, provides a guarantee, that a company will only be charged for ads that reach interested parties. Every click may not result in a sale, or even a desired action such as a phone call, but it does however, represent an individual who is at the very least curious about a particular ad.

Whether it be a restaurant, custom T-shirt, or dentist, never before has advertising been so capable of reaching out to a custom-designed audience. What used to require focus groups, and an entire team of marketing professionals and third party research groups, can now be determined using hard data easily gathered from the search engines being paid by the advertiser. Considering how new PPC is, it remains to be seen how digital marketing will evolve in years to come. What is known, is that right now, PPC advertising is a smart way to leverage a marketing campaign, and increase a company’s online presence.