PPC (Pay-Per-Plick), otherwise known as Search Engine Marketing, is a term you’ve probably heard of before, even if you don’t know what it means. Paid marketing is just that: Paid. It’s an investment strategy as part of your monthly marketing outreach designed to net you more traffic, engagement and sales. If you do it correctly, it’ll make you more than you pay to execute it.
In an ideal marketing strategy, PPC compliments other forms of outreach, such as organic posting, lead generation and social media presence. But to truly give you an idea of what it can look like and how to use it, we’ve created this quick guide on PPC and its uses.
What is PPC?
The reason it’s called Pay-Per-Click is because as the business owner, you’re paying an advertiser to place a link, banner or other form of advertisement for your services or products on a specific platform, like Google, and paying that advertiser everytime a potential customer or lead clicks said ad.
So, instead of waiting to get consumers to visit your site organically, you buy those visits and bring your site to your targeted audience, rather than having them go out of their way to find you.
Paid Search: How it works
Paid search is a form of PPC in which advertisers place bids for those coveted advertisements spots you see on search engines.
Imagine a consumer searches for “vegan chocolate bars” into their search bar, and your company happens to sell vegan chocolate bars. As an advertiser, you must research and decide which keywords you want to bid on and the maximum you are willing to spend (we’ll focus on keywords in the next section).
If you are competing against another company, the search engine (for example, Google) will analyze to see which bid gets to place their ad, like an auction. In our hypothetical example, Google would look at how much you’re willing to bid and inspect the quality of your ad (landing page, relevance, etc.) to determine who wins the auction and gets their ad placed in one of those coveted top-of-the-page engine ad spots.
Keywords are an integral part of what determines your bidding success here, so let’s take a moment to review what keywords are and how they work.
What are keywords?
Advertisers rely on keywords derived from common queries or searches that consumers make on search engines.
An example of a query might be: ”Organic Vegan Chocolate Bars Los Angeles”
Keywords: These are the words that you use to target your consumer. If a consumer searches for something in their browser, your keywords could allow your ad to show based on how similar your keywords are to what the consumer searched.
In this case, your keywords might be: “chocolate, vegan, organic, L.A., Los Angeles, California”.
Along with the option to select negative keywords, which remove potential traffic that is not tailored to your advertisement, you can match your keywords to a query precisely or allow room for variation and misspellings. A search for “Where can I find vegan chocolate in L.A.” is very different than a search for ”vegan chocolate stores in Los Angeles,” but you can choose keywords that account for these potential discrepancies, including misspellings, the inclusion of other words, rearranging of words, etc.
Creating paid search ads
You’ve established which keywords are essential for your advertising approach, but now you need to create the ads that will be showcased to consumers if your bid is chosen.
It’s critical to winning the bid, but your ad should also make a great first impression and be clicked on. After all, the point of a paid search approach is arguably to drive more consumers to your site or product. A typical ad will contain a headline, a few lines describing your product or service, and a URL.
Keep in mind that certain variations might do better than others, so feel free to do a trial test of a few and see which pulls in higher engagement. Another pointer we can’t forget when it comes to creating paid search ads is the invaluable tools that search engines offer for your ad campaigns.
Google and Microsoft Ads, for example, both provide ad extensions (helps brush up your ad’s appearance) and call extensions (embed a contact button or redirect to your site) all within your ad, making them assets to have at your disposal.
How setting a PPC budget works
Good news and bad news.
Bad news: nothing comes free. But that’s why it’s called a Pay-Per-Click or a paid search. The good news is that you can create a budget so that your expenses don’t exceed what you can afford or are willing to spend. It’s worth noting that you have the option of implementing automated bidding strategies. Simply put, these give you the leeway to choose what goals you would like to meet and have the system then decide what amount you should bid in each keyword auction. Whereas a bid is how much you’re willing to spend on a keyword, a budget is how much you’re ready to spend on the campaign level. When you create a budget, keep in mind that this amount should be exceeded at the end of the month and cover your overall strategy.
How to set targeting for your PPC ads
You want to ultimately generate results and drive traffic to your product or business. This is why it is crucial to target who your ideal consumer is. If an advertisement pulls in irrelevant traffic, your ad is not working for you the way that it should. Consider targeting via device, location, day and time, or even demographic.
Utilizing these targeting methods will allow you to pull in traffic with needs you can meet. Going back to our earlier example of ”vegan chocolate in L.A.”, you would maybe try to target people within a 100-mile radius of Los Angeles, who are on their phones in the morning.
Pay-Per-Click and Paid Search is just another method of marketing. To reiterate, PPC requires a payment to the advertising platform for every click your ad generates, and a paid search is a bid on keywords (based on consumer queries) to display your ad in search engine results. When it comes to utilizing this method of marketing, keep in mind that ads must be created. You have the option of using the tools provided by the search engine, which grant you access to tools such as ad extension or call extension.
And while different variations in your description and headline might pull in more traffic than others, don’t forget to consider targeting so that you can draw in the right consumer to your advertisement.