The Essentials of PPC Advertising

June 8, 2022
PPC Advertising

All new business owners know that a startup begins with building brand awareness and driving in customers quickly. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one popular online marketing strategy for businesses looking to jump into the game and catch up with competitors as quickly as possible.

PPC is a wonderful digital marketing channel that uses search engines to generate conversions, whether you’re searching for a strategy to attract traffic and land sales for a new business. This is also useful if you are evaluating strategies to grow your established brand’s online presence. Although it’s a bit confusing at first, if you take the time to learn the ins and outs of pay per click marketing, you will find that it can be pivotal in growing your brand’s presence online. Which will help you lead to conversions and propel the success of your business.

Defining PPC Marketing/Advertising

search engineWhen you search for something online, the first thing you’ll notice are advertisements for products or services that match your keyword search at the top of the page. This is a calculated strategy. Somewhere, someone designed that advertisement to work in that manner. This is called pay-per-click advertising, and that sums up what happens here. Advertisers pay the search engine platform, such as Google Ads, a fee every time someone clicks on that ad.

Search engines are the primary way people look for products and services. PPC uses precise targeting strategies to get their advertisement to pop up at just the right time, and at the right audience. Businesses can utilize PPC to boost traffic, sales, or inquiries about their product or service by optimizing the execution of this marketing strategy. This is all possible because of their target audience and strong conversion rates.

PPC Advertising Shows Promising Results

brand awarenessThe PPC industry is rising, and both companies and providers seem to be profiting from it. Google Ads alone have an average ROI (Return on investment) of 200%. This means that for every $1 an advertiser invests, they earn $2 through Google Ads. It’s no surprise that 79% of marketers find paid search engine marketing beneficial to their business. Approximately 62% of industry players said they would continue to increase their PPC ads budget in the coming years to draw new customers looking for their services.

How PPC Marketing/Advertising Works

PPC advertisements are designed well before a search ever takes place. Using platform accounts like Google Ads, advertisers use keywords in their ads designed to match a user’s search query. After that, they determine where and when they want the ads to appear in the search engine results.

Every time someone performs a search, an ad spot opens on a search engine results page (SERP), and an auction for keywords takes place among advertisers instantaneously. Multiple factors that come together in the split of a second determine which ad winner will appear in the top position.

Keyword Strategy is at the Center of PPC Marketing

keywordsAt the core of PPC are keywords that connect advertisers to a user’s search. Queries are the actual words users type into the search box, and marketers use keywords to target these users by matching their search queries. Keyword research can be incredibly time-consuming, but it is essential for your PPC campaign to be successful.

PPC ads target a set of relevant keywords or key terms. These keywords tell search engines which query you want your ad to be displayed alongside within SERPs. Each keyword or phrase must be assigned a match type.

7 Types of Keyword Match Queries

  1. Exact: Query must be typed in exactly.
  2. Exact (Close Variant): Query must be typed in exactly but can include misspellings or other variants.
  3. Phrase: Query must be typed in the correct order, even if there are additional terms before or after the query.
  4. Phrase (Close Variant): Query must be typed in the correct order, even if there are additional terms before or after the query. The query can include misspellings or other variants.
  5. Broad: Query can be typed in any order and will potentially show ads for similar searches.
  6. Modified Broad: Query can be typed in any order but must include terms that contain a plus sign.
  7. Broad (Session-Based): A form of broad match that considers other queries from that user’s search session.

Different Types of Effective PPC Keyword Lists

  • Relevant – The keywords should be closely related to the product or service. This will lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR), effective cost per click (CPC), and increased profits.
  • Exhaustive – Your keyword research should not only include the most frequently searched terms in your niche but also long-tail keywords. These are longer, more specific, and less common, but they account for most search-driven traffic. Long-tail keywords are less competitive and therefore less expensive but can be valuable in increasing PPC effectiveness.
  • Expansive – Pay per click advertising is constantly evolving, and your keyword lists should, too. You need to refine and expand your campaign by continually growing and adapting your keyword lists and phrases.

Negative Keywords Are Also Important

Along with favorable keywords, negative keywords can be added to help remove unwanted traffic. Negative keywords allow you to block ads from appearing for searches containing the negative term. You probably won’t recognize these words right away. However, after reviewing what isn’t working, you’ll be able to determine these negative words. This is an effective way to prevent wasted budget and traffic that isn’t relevant.

Click-Through Rates and Quality Scores Matter

quality scoreThe CTR of your ad is the percentage of people who view your ad and then actually go on to click the ad. A high CTR leads to a higher “Quality Score” and deems your ad highly relevant. Marketing platforms such as Google Ads offer pricing discounts for highly relevant ads. Therefore, a high CTR leads to higher Quality Scores, allowing you to maintain your ad position for lower costs.

The Keyword Bidding Auction

Before participating in the keyword auction to earn a spot on SERPs, advertisers need to decide how much they’re willing to spend every time someone clicks on your ad. The tricky part is that you have no way of knowing if your bid will be higher or lower than someone else’s bid for the exact targeted keywords. Luckily, PPC offers the ability to analyze your effectiveness and gives you the freedom to increase or decrease the CPC as you see fit.

PPC and SEO Work Together for Optimal Performance

search engine optimizationDeciding whether PPC, SEO, or a combination of these digital marketing strategies is the best approach depends on your audience. With PPC, you’ll have to pay for clicks, but you’ll quickly drive traffic from search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility to make it rank higher and gain free, organic traffic from search engines. Search engine advertising is typically a much slower route because it can take time to rank organically on Google ads. SEO and PPC shouldn’t be seen as competitors working independently. Instead, because both drive traffic in their own way, they maximize their effectiveness when paired together.

Types of PPC Ads

Several types of ad networks are available, all offering something different to meet your specific advertising goals.

  • Search Ads
    • Google Ads: Google Ads allows you to use search and shopping ads on Google, video ads on YouTube, Gmail ads, and display ads on Google Display Network (GDN). Google is one of the most popular platforms.
    • Bing Ads: Also known as Microsoft Advertising, this platform is like Google Ads but runs ads on Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. It is another option for your search ads.
  • Display Ads: This is an excellent way to drive a more comprehensive traffic volume than Search. Although the average CPC is typically less expensive, the traffic isn’t always the most qualified. If your goal is to build brand awareness, however, display advertising is a good option for your ad placement.
    • Google Display Network: With over 2 million sites on GDN, this popular choice reaches over 90% of people on the internet and uses the same interface as Google Ads.
  • Remarketing Ads: A way to advertise to users who have already visited your site. The idea is to turn previous searchers, buyers, or abandoners into converting customers.
  • Video: With paid video ads, you can get your ads in front of people without having to build your audience first. For example, with YouTube Ads, once a user clicks on the ad, a companion banner display ad appears.
  • Shopping Ads: Like a search campaign, a shopping ad contains a picture of the item being sold, the price, title, and a brief description.
  • social media advertisingSocial Ads: Involves showing ads to people while browsing a social media website.
    • Facebook PPC: Facebook allows you to create your PPC ads within the Facebook Ads Manager. These can be videos, photos, or carousel ads (different advertising links within the same ad).
    • LinkedIn Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Using a targeted approach for potential customers rather than casting a wide net is a good way for B2B companies to generate high-quality leads.
  • Amazon Advertising: A popular option, Amazon offers PPC model ads for businesses to get their products in front of people searching for specific products.
  • Google Sponsored Ads: Gmail users see an advertisement that looks like a regular email. They can click on the ad to view an extended version and an option to click through to your site.

Essential Components of Quality PPC Ads

Whether you use Google ads or another platform, you will maximize its effectiveness by ensuring the use of these components.

  • Call to Action: Your objective is to have the user do something.
    • Purchase a service.
    • Sign up for a newsletter.
    • Place a phone call.
  • Ad extensions: Additional links and details show supplemental information about your business and enhance the basic paid advertising.
    • Sitelink Extensions: Draw traffic deeper into your website.
    • Location Extensions: Show directional information such as a business address and map.
    • Call Extensions: Show a phone number or click-to-call action.
    • App Extensions: Promote application downloads and engagement.
    • Consumer Rating Annotations: Promotes business ratings based on customer surveys.
    • Seller Rating Extensions: An extension based on Google ratings of trusted websites.
  • Landing Page UTMs: A critical aspect of being a successful marketer is measuring your impact and adjusting as you go. UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes help you track website traffic from its origin. You can track the performance of your marketing campaign and content, as well as the traffic sources to your website, by adding a code to the end of the PPC landing pages.

Tracking PPC Effectiveness is Key

return on investmentOne significant advantage that PPC has over traditional advertising channels is measuring and tracking the platform’s returns easily within your ad groups. Tracking allows you to increase your ROI by monitoring and refining the performance of successful PPC campaigns over time.

Key metrics to consider in your ad groups include:

  • Cost per click
  • Cost per conversion
  • Click-through rate
  • Total costs
  • Quality Score

Google Ads accounts can be linked to a Google Analytics account to provide information on post-click behavior within your ad groups. This will give you a complete picture of your conversion funnel.

  • Device Targeting
  • Location Targeting
  • Day and Time Targeting
  • Demographic Targeting

Digital Marketing Agencies Can Optimize Your PPC Campaign

digital marketingPay per click marketing can be incredibly overwhelming for those outside the field of digital marketing. Many businesses hope to set up and run their PPC campaigns quickly, but some companies remain invisible to their target audience despite their best efforts. With the digital landscape growing at warp speed, figuring out advertising avenues and maximizing conversions is an uphill battle.

PPC campaigns require a lot of time, attention, and planning. Utilizing a digital marketing agency to manage your PPC campaign can be a supercharged option to increase your search engine visibility and get immediate results.

Enhance Your PPC Campaign with Content.First Marketing

With some strategized effort, you can optimize your PPC campaign to ensure it’s a profitable marketing channel for your business. There will be a little learning curve but building your PPC campaign is well worth the effort.

Content.First Marketing is a premier digital marketing company specializing in PPC design, implementation, and maintenance. Our knowledgeable team can help you create a comprehensive PPC strategy tailored for your business goals. Contact us today, and let’s work together to drive more qualified traffic to your site.