Digital platforms have provided us with numerous marketing opportunities. One of the hot ones today is pay-per-click, or PPC advertising, for short. PPC has been all the rage in the digital marketing world over the last few years and with good reason: it can help you grow your business by driving traffic, conversions, and sales. But, if you’ve never dealt with PPC campaigns before, the process can be daunting.
As experts in the realm of digital marketing, our team has learned the ropes of every kind of advertising out there. So, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to help you get your feet wet. Ready to understand what PPC marketing is, how it works and how you can use pay-per-click ads to skyrocket your business?
Let’s dive right in!
PPC is a cost-effective and scalable online marketing model. Advertisers pay for each time their ads are clicked on in the SERPs or affiliate sites. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. In some business circles, PPC is also referred to as CPC (cost-per-click marketing) or SEM (search engine marketing).
To many people, PPC is synonymous with paid search, and for many years it used to be a synonym for AdWords (the original name of Google Ads). PPC is blurring the lines between marketing and advertising. It is actionable and leads- and sales-oriented just like marketing, but is also paid visibility — just like other advertising methods.
Businesses of all types and sizes use PPC ads to drive traffic to their websites. These can be pages for specific offers, products, or services, or they can go straight to your homepage. The goal is to place search ads, display ads, and other PPC campaigns in an online ad space where potential customers will see the advertisement, click on the link, and then (hopefully) complete a conversion action.
The most common types of PPC ads available to people wanting to utilize the power of PPC marketing are:
When deployed properly, a PPC campaign can significantly boost online traffic and yield a highly measurable ROI in comparison to other marketing tactics. Still, many businesses are hesitant to shell out the funds for paid advertising when there are free options out there.
To put things into perspective, here are a few compelling benefits of PPC advertising that might change your mind:
What makes this type of paid-for ad different than traditional forms of advertising, is that, instead of paying a fixed price upfront, you’re paying per click your ad gets. You only have to pay when you get “ad clicks”. It’s a dream come true, right? PPC gives the control back to the business owners by allowing you to choose how your money is being spent, what keywords you bid on, and so on. Your budget can constantly be altered with PPC and you can also set a spending limit on each ad campaign you decide to initiate.
You want to pay for clicks from people who are likely to buy from you, and that’s exactly what all PPC platforms allow you to do. Since PPC is a part of SEM, combined with SEO, it’s a great way of targeting specific audiences through search engines like Bing and Google. With PPC, you can choose when and where your ads appear and who sees them – it’s the only marketing channel with such precise targeting options. That is why pay-per-click ads are the ideal choice when your business wants to target a specific market segment with a unique product or service.
One of the biggest pros that come with paying for effective marketing? Timeliness. Unlike free content and organic search strategies, PPC advertising drives results almost immediately in most cases. Roughly a third of online consumers use the internet to search for local businesses. That’s a huge pool of potential traffic, especially if your link is prominently displayed at the top of relevant search results. PPC marketing is a fairly easy way to promote your website and get the spotlight on your business, especially when snagging that first-page organic search result position is a long-term goal. It sometimes takes just a few hours for your PPC campaign to start working its magic, in comparison to other “free” alternatives that often take months or years to start driving any substantial traffic.
PPC marketing allows you to not only be in control of how much you want to spend, but also in control of your results. Google Ads and other PPC platforms provide a tracking pixel—a piece of code that connects the ad click with what the user does on your website. This constantly keeps you in the loop about things like ad engagement and costs, so you can track your progress and adapt your strategies accordingly. Depending on what the business climate is like, and how your ads are performing, you may want to spend more or less every month. Additionally, knowing just how many clicks and people you are reaching with PPC can help you adjust the keywords. Budget aside, adjusting the keywords can be the real game-changer because it’s essential in determining what demographic and audience you are reaching.
Unlike content marketing and SEO strategies that depend on never-ending and dreadful search engine algorithm updates, PPC advertising offers stability. They rarely go through high-impact changes, meaning you can quickly judge how your current and future campaigns will perform based on previous metrics.
Sounds simple, right? Well, not so much. If you don’t acquire a basic understanding of PPC, but move forward with paid ads anyway, you run the risk of not optimizing your ads and not implementing an effective ad strategy, which could result in losing money. That’s why i’s worth investing time and effort into setting up your PPC campaign properly from the start.
This involves the following:
It can’t be overstated: Most of the decisions you make when building a PPC campaign are dictated by your end goal. Don’t create a pay-per-click campaign out of a vague sense of curiosity. Every pay-per-click ad should start with a clear goal, such as attracting new customers, generating new leads, or increasing sales among new and existing customers. The strategy and features of each PPC ad should be dictated by the goal it’s pursuing.
PPC ads are not randomly placed on the web. As aforementioned, they will be targeted towards those who search for specific keywords – through keyword research. It’s critical to ensure all included keywords are related to your business. This is how people who need your product or service will find you. Also, consider your keyword’s cost-per-click to help make the most of your budget and ensure you aren’t paying too much for keywords that aren’t as successful. Review keywords that are not a good fit, called “negative keywords.”
A lack of clarity or a clear CTA will torpedo ad performance. To increase the performance of your PPC ads, sprinkle your keywords into your ad copy with a clear CTA. Use catchy phrases to create a sense of urgency for your audience to take action. CTAs have been shown to greatly improve the percentage of clicks your ads get per view, also known as your “click-through rate.”
As your campaign is underway, use your PPC tools and campaign manager to track results and identify strengths and weaknesses. Use this feedback to guide optimizations that will enhance your future PPC ads and improve your performance over time.
Pay-per-click advertising is a fast-paced and (cost) effective way to boost conversion rates. While it’s not the only digital marketing strategy your business should consider using, it certainly has its advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked.
With a little patience, attention to detail, and our tips, PPC ads can become a valuable new marketing channel that grows both your customer base and your company’s revenue.
If you need help with your PPC advertising, feel free to get in touch – we’re always here to help you grow!
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