How To Use PPC Advertising Effectively.
Since the beginning of the internet, the single biggest way majority of websites have financed themselves has been by displaying ads. By far the most commonly used advertising model has been “pay- per- click” (PPC) – A model where the advertiser only pays for the number of times a user clicked their ad.
On paper, this seems like a straightforward process. If your ad leads a potential customer opening your landing page, you pay for that privilege; often by bidding. So the higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be shown to users, but that requirement alone would cripple small businesses. Therefore, PPC advertising companies never consider money as the biggest factor when spreading ads. So the question is, how does PPC advertising work?
Well, first, a lot goes into building a winning PPC campaign. It begins with researching and selecting the right keywords. Then combine those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups. And the important part is setting up landing pages around those keywords that are optimized for conversions. Search engines reward advertisers who can create relevant, targeted pay-per-click campaigns by charging them less for ad clicks. If your ads and landing pages are optimized for the user experience, Google charges you less per click. So it is important to learn how to do PPC correctly.
Enter Google Adwords
What is Google Adwords?
Simply put, Adwords is the business name for Google’s PPC Advertisement business. This platform is designed for advertisers to create and spread ads on Google’s extended services. It’s the biggest and most successful online advertisement business today and brings in the lion’s share of the company’s revenue.
The reasons advertisers opt for Adwords are simple.
1. Google is the most used search engine, often exceeding 5 billion search queries per day.
2. Google can accurately use its data to create a profile for each user’s buying behavior.
3. The more accurate the profiling, the easier it is for advertisers to target ads.
Remember the results marked with “Ad” on your recent Google search? Those are PPC campaigns conducted by various companies using Google Adwords. Each of those ads is screened to facilitate both the audience of Google as well as the advertisers.
Advertisers want to spend carefully
PPC campaigns cost money. With costs, come risks. Advertisers want to minimize risk as much as possible. Google provides that assurance by allowing advertisers to spread their ads carefully by targeting specific types of audiences in specific locations with specific buying behaviors. The tools are incredibly in-depth which is to ensure maximum click-through-rates for the advertisers.
Users want a positive search experience
Whenever we perform a search on Google, we have one objective – To find what we are looking for and find it quick. There are two ways Google helps us achieve that goal.
1. Listing the most popular answer/link to our query
2. Showing the most relevant ad that can potentially get us what we want.
Ultimately, Google must balance between the objectives of its audience and the advertisers by providing relevant results in conjunction with relevant ads. This is Google’s ultimate purpose as discussed below.
Google wants people and advertisers to come back
By displaying the right ads at the right moment, the users and advertisers get what they want. Ultimately becoming a positive overall experience for both parties and ensures that they will return to use Google’s services again.
With billions of dollars being spent on ads every year, how exactly is Google able to run successful PPC campaigns for thousands of companies without deteriorating the experience for its users?
It’s Not Just Money
PPC campaigns are conducted much like any auction. Advertisers put up their ad (usually text ads) as well as the amount they’re willing to pay for each click on Adwords. Traditional rules of auction bids dictate that ads with higher bids would more likely get higher visibility. Google circumvents this unfair advantage by actually scanning each ad on various benchmarks of quality.
This scanning process ensures that users get the best experience by only seeing ads that have the highest potential to satisfy their search query.
• Click-through rates (CTR)
This is Google’s prediction on the likeliness that a user would click on a particular type of advertisement. Audiences of different industries have different CTR, and it is a huge factor in decision making for all advertisers.
• Your landing page
Every ad has a link which takes the user to a particular page. This is called a landing page. The landing page’s experience should be of utmost importance to you. Remember, Google wants to give relevant results to its audience. If your landing page contains irrelevant information, bad navigation, and inappropriate content, you will lose points for quality, and your ads won’t show to your audience.
• Your Ad format
The format of your ad can significantly impact its ability to drive user attention, and Google considers this greatly. In addition to a catchy headline and a small description and a link to a landing page. The other information you can include is a breakdown of your various products or a contact number.
By combining these factors, Google determines your ad’s score, called “Ad Rank.” Google compares this rank to other ads competing in similar space of keywords, which inevitably affect the ad’s visibility in the search results.
How to Get Started
A lot of research needs to happen before starting your PPC campaigns. Most useful would be an extensive keyword research to determine what your audience is searching for online.
A proper keyword research is the backbone of a successful PPC campaign. They are the terms or phrases people tend to use when searching online. Ideally, you want users to see your ad no matter the combination, length or complexity of words they are searching. To achieve this, you must brainstorm all potential phrases through some of the avenues listed below.
Review your website
A smart way to start researching for keywords would be to refer to your site and pull a single variation of all important keywords first. Then you can begin to list down synonyms or similar-sounding phrases for those keywords that would naturally get searched. This way, you will cover your ground and make sure no customer slips through the cracks.
Use Google’s keyword planner
This free tool can significantly improve the quality of keywords you can accumulate. Aside from the ones you have already reviewed from your website, Google’s keyword planner can suggest you more keywords that are currently relevant in your space. It also provides a detailed breakdown of the competition of each keyword every month. It will give you an idea of the correct keywords to go for and which to abandon.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
Running your own business can usually cause you to get stuck in tunnel vision and subconsciously become out of touch with the real concerns of your customers. It’s always best to take a few steps back, remove your rose-tinted glasses, and objectively assess your business. If possible, talk to your customers with the intention of understanding what they need, instead of what they say, and you will come up with a great batch of keywords you previously missed.
Don’t shove all keywords into your campaign
Of course, it’s better to have an extensive list of phrases to target, but not all keywords are created equal.
• Stay focused
It’s harder to stand out in keywords that sound too generic. Find a middle ground between keywords that are too broad and too restricted, and you will get through to customers that are interested in your offer.
• Review the competition
Are heavily searched keywords better than ones with low search volume? The answer is, it depends. Popular keywords are already hotly contested, and the fierce competition will make it harder for you to stand out. Conversely, you don’t want to focus on low-competition keywords as well since that will drive up your costs.
Decide Payment Method
Google offers two modes of payment for financing your PPC campaigns. Either of these options works with credit or debit cards added to your account.
You can pay an upfront amount before your campaign even launches. As the impressions and clicks start to come in, Google will keep track of your remaining balance and duly notify you as they start running low.
Through this option, you can set a billing limit to your campaign and Google will send you the bill as your ad’s clicks reach their maximum threshold.
Create Your Ad
Now that the preliminaries have concluded, it’s finally time to start working on the advertisement itself. The ads showing up on Google search are always text-based ads, and great discipline and market insight are required to make them as efficient and attention-grabbing as possible.
The most important part of the ad is the title. You need to make it compelling and keyword rich. A combination that is designed to evoke a particular emotional response that is consistent with the brand/product you wish to sell. People buy solutions to their problems. Highlight what benefit your product provides.
Similar to the title, your description must be concise and to-the-point. It must convey value for the user with transparency, originality, and creativity.
• Landing Page
Finally, the landing page must correspond to the ad the user clicked on. Most people link to their main home page which confuses the user about where to go next. Instead, you must create a dedicated landing page that will contain a single action you’d like from the user.
Post-Launch Campaign Tips
Cost per click
A PPC campaign is only successful when it brings in each customer at a reasonably cheap rate. To calculate your costs per click, divide the total clicks of to your ad with the amount of money you spent on that ad.
The primary objective of any PPC campaign is to convert potential customers into buyers. This result is the bottom line when it comes to judging the effectiveness of the entire PPC campaign. Ideally, you want a conversion rate that’s close to 100% of the clicks you received for your ad. However, every industry has their market average for PPC conversion rates, and you must aim to beat those averages.
A sound measurement strategy will separate a smart PPC marketer from the novice. It’s better to segregate your campaigns based on several factors. Aside from keywords, you can separate ads based on location, devices, products and much more. The objective here is to eliminate inconsistencies in the results of each campaign. Otherwise, you will never know the real reasons why certain ads succeeded in bringing positive results and why other tanked.
Lastly, never launch a campaign and wait for results to come in. Always stay on top of industry trends and perform A/B testing continuously. Play with the words in the title and description until you see a noticeable uptick in clicks.