Have you heard about pay per click (also known as PPC or paid search), but aren’t entirely sure what it is? Or maybe you’re wondering if PPC advertising is right for you? If so, you’ve come to the right place! On this page, you will discover what PPC is, plus important PPC basics to help you see why business around the world are making huge revenues off of PPC ads. If you’re looking for PPC management directly, please contact us so that we can help you get your ads on track right away.
Keep in mind that pay per click advertising can be very complex. If your PPC campaigns are not set up properly, you’ll quickly find out how easy it is to spend money on ads without seeing any leads or sales. While this article will be a useful guide for those new to pay per click, we here at SEO Inc. strongly recommend looking into a PPC Management solution, which is more cost effective for most businesses.
Look for the Google Premier Partner Badge if you want the best in PPC Management
Table of Contents
- What is Pay Per Click Advertising?
- Why Do I Need PPC?
- How Do I Know if PPC is Working?
- Can I Manage My Own PPC Campaigns?
- What Are My Next Steps?
Pay per click advertising, also known as PPC, paid search, or SEM, is a way to advertisers to purchase digital ad space online. There are many PPC platforms that you can use, but the largest by far is Google AdWords, although Bing Ads and Facebook Ads are also very popular. We’ll be using Google AdWords in this article to discuss PPC basics, since most PPC platforms are very similar. You’ve likely seen these ads yourself when performing a Google search:
Since Google’s Ads appear above the organic search results, these ads are typically the first option that searchers can click on.
AdWords allows you to create and customize your ads, but how are you supposed to get your ads up there once they’re made? PPC ads use keywords (and some other targeting) to ensure that only qualified searchers end up viewing the ad. Whenever someone completes a Google search, there’s an auction that happens if an ad is eligible to be shown. Every ad has a bid attached, and that bid price (plus some quality factors) determines what order the ads are shown, and how much each advertiser pays for an ad click.
Pay per click advertising offers many advantages as a marketing tool that other channels simply cannot.
PPC Is Highly Targeted: PPC helps your target market find you, as opposed to you trying to find them. Your advertising is visible, 24 hours/day for every day of the year to an international audience. That means your website can reach people in areas that traditional marketing cannot.
PPC Delivers Immediate Visibility: Unlike SEO, PPC delivers immediate results, potentially generating Page 1 rankings in Google the moment you turn the ads on. Getting listed by popular search engines also increases your brand credibility. Consumers expect big brands to be prominently placed in Google, so what’s the effect if you aren’t on the first page?
PPC Offers Complete Control: With AdWords and other pay per click management platforms, you are given total control over targeting methods, ad scheduling, bid prices, daily budgets, and so much more. More control does mean added complexity, which means that you can optimize at a very granular level, but it also means that mistakes in account management can cost you that much more. That’s why we recommend that most businesses hire a Professional PPC Management firm, preferably one that’s been vetted by Google through their Premier Partner program.
PPC Tracks Your Data: PPC is a very data-driven marketing channel, so you can always see important details on the number of ad views, clicks, spend, leads, etc. You can’t get this level of detail from print, radio, or television advertising, even though PPC advertising can be significantly cheaper than most other forms of advertising.
If you’re still not convinced that you should be using pay per click, consider this: It’s very likely that your competitors are already using PPC to take a share of the market that you could be targeting. If that’s the case, your competitors will have a huge advantage over you until you start combating their PPC ads with some of your own. And if your competitors are not on PPC, you have a fantastic opportunity to take this advantage over your competitors, reaching a market that they haven’t even considered!
One of the most fantastic benefits to advertising using pay per click advertising is the amount of data that you can review and analyze. PPC can be tracked in a way that most other advertising mediums cannot. For any given date range, you can see:
- How many people viewed your ads
- How many people went on to click each ad
- How much you spent on each click
- The percentage of market share your ads received
- And Often Most Importantly: How many leads or sales your ads generated
Pay per click advertising lets you see how effective your ads are, down to each individual click. For sites focused on lead generation, you can optimize your ad campaigns to reach a specific target Cost Per Lead. If you run an ecommerce website, you can even see how much revenue was generated.
Other ways of tracking conversions include:
- Call tracking
- Website form submissions
- File Downloads
- Page Views
- Time on Site
When implementing and tracking conversions, it’s important to set account goals that are profitable and realistic. For example, if you’re an ecommerce business, keep your margins in mind as you read your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) report. Sometimes it can appear as though you’re making money, but if you still haven’t factored in all the costs, it’s going to be difficult to know for sure.
While PPC advertising can be quite effective, it’s not a miracle cure-all. Like your other marketing channels, PPC needs to be carefully managed to reach its full potential.
With the right knowledge and tools, PPC advertising can be one of your biggest profit centers. In fact, many businesses today use PPC as their primary, or even sometimes only, revenue stream. However, PPC can get expensive quickly if there’s account mismanagement.
Pay per click advertising cannot be built on a “set it and forget it” mentality. Even if you build your PPC campaigns well, but then leave them running with no changes at all, you’ll eventually find that your profitability will shrink over time. There are a few reasons for this:
- AdWords and the other PPC platforms are always rolling out new features to improve your ads and targeting. If you ignore these features while you competitors continue to optimize their campaigns, you’ll surely be left in the dust.
Google began using Expanded Text Ads in late 2016. Now you don’t want to be caught using their old Standard Text Ads, which receive a much lower clickthrough rate!
- Industry and seasonal trend make bid changes a constant necessity. With changes in demand, your competitive environment will be changing, and your bids will need to reflect that. Regular bid management ensures that your ads always retain a top position, without overspending on ad clicks.
- AdWords is a great tool to grow your business, which can’t be done if you’re not constantly testing and expanding your ad reach. You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, and that your business has already saturated the market. However, in over 15 years of managing paid search, we haven’t seen a single business that has zero room for growth, and PPC advertising is the means to achieve that growth.
Another account element that we often find mismanaged is junk traffic. One of the quickest and easiest ways to lose big on PPC is from junk traffic. Junk traffic refers to clicks from search terms that are clearly not relevant to your business.
For example, let’s say that your company sells eyeglasses. Since eyeglasses are commonly referred to as glasses, you decide to bid on the keyword “glasses”. All of a sudden, you find your daily budget running out every day before noon, and you can’t figure out why! If you look closely at the search queries that brought users to your ads, you might find them searched for a lot of unrelated terms – “sun glasses”, “wine glasses”, “the glasses” (an episode of Seinfeld), and the list goes on. You’ll have to make sure that you either target your glasses keywords more carefully, or exclude a large number of search queries from triggering your ad (a combination of both is often necessary).
As you can see, you can manage your own pay per click campaigns, but there are a ton of complex elements to paid search that can really punish you if not done properly. With all of these complexities of account management, you might be wondering where to go from here.
If you don’t have an AdWords account, what are you waiting for? If it’s not already clear from this article how effective pay per click advertising will be for your business, take a look at our PPC case studies and see how SEO Inc. has built profit engines for a number of clients through paid search.
When you’re building (or even just optimizing) your PPC campaigns, you have two options:
- Manage PPC Yourself: While this is an option, PPC is a complex beast with so many moving parts, that it’s easy to miss a few details and end up throwing a bunch of your hard-earned money down the drain. What’s worse, we often see companies that have tried to manage their own PPC accounts and failed, so they now believe that PPC can never be profitable for them! If you find yourself in this position, we highly suggest you contact us immediately so that we can help you determine what went wrong with your PPC account, and how we can get things back on track.
- Hire A PPC Management Agency: This is the only way you can ensure that your pay per click advertising remains profitable and grows in a way that continues to reach your business goals. What’s just as important, a good digital agency makes sure that you understand why our actions and recommendations are important to your bottom line. If you speak with an agency that won’t explain these things to you, there’s a good chance that they can’t explain it because they don’t actually know! Avoid these wannabes and hire a Premier Google Partner agency, like SEO Inc.
If you have any questions, we’re happy to help you out. Just give us a call and we’ll help make sure your pay per click advertising is profitable, and no longer a headache!