Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can help quickly and easily grow your business online. But, if you’re new to PPC advertising, it can be not very clear. Worse, it can even be a waste of money.
If this sounds discouraging, it shouldn’t be. Even small-business owners new to digital advertising can launch a successful PPC campaign. PPC can be the fastest, most cost-effective way to reach people who want what you have to offer.
The marketing team at Digital Authority Partners has put together this concise beginner’s guide to pay-per-click advertising. Hopefully, this will encourage you to give PPC a try.
What is PPC Marketing?
Pay-per-click marketing, also known as pay-per-click advertising, only charges when someone clicks your ads. You’ve seen PPC ads at the top of all major search engines and on many social media platforms.
Businesses generally use PPC ads to drive traffic to a landing page; this can be a page featuring specific products and special offers or going directly to the homepage.
You will generally base PPC ads on keywords likely to attract potential customers. These ads resemble regular search results. When someone types their keywords into a search engine, the PPC ads appear on top.
Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising for Bing are two leading PPC platforms. In addition, major social media platforms and third-party platforms are also available for PPC campaigns.
There are several types of PPC ads you can launch:
- Search ads: These are keyword-based ads standard on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When someone types in their keywords, paid text ads show at the top of the results.
- Display ads: You’ve undoubtedly noticed graphic ads on websites. Often, these ads tailor your previous purchases or searches.
- Social media ads: You can pay for sponsored posts placed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms. Social media ads are generally location and demographic-based data.
- Sponsored product listings: These are similar to search ads but specifically labeled as click-to-purchase on shopping platforms like Amazon or Google Shopping.
The cost of these ads is determined by two things; how many clicks your ad receives and how much your competition is willing to pay for your keywords. You will purchase these ads on an auction basis, so the cost is variable.
On the other hand, cost-per-mille (CPM) ads are on a flat rate, generally for 1,000 impressions. So, if you have a set budget with no wiggle room, you might prefer CPM ads. But despite the variable cost, PPC ads tend to be more popular due to the pricing accurately reflecting the value and potential success of an ad.
You can use your budget to control how much you spend on pay-per-click ads. But the cost per click you set will ultimately decide how much traffic your ads generate.
What Platforms Can You Use for PPC?
You can start with one PPC platform or a few different ones. Using more than one platform can help you to compare results. Below are some of the top PPC platforms to consider using:
- Search Engines: Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising are how you can place your ads on the two leading search engines. Google Ads can be quite competitive due to the search engine’s popularity, making Bing a more affordable choice for some business owners.
- Third-party ad networks: Revcontent, AdRoll, and BuySellAds are popular PPC networks you might want to try. These networks can place your ads on their network of websites; the website owners receive a small commission for hosting the ads.
PPC Tools You Need to Know About
Without the right tools to help you research, analyze, and optimize your PPC ads, you’ll be shooting in the dark. These are the most popular tools to keep in your PPC toolbox:
- Google Analytics: Once you start your PPC campaign, use Google Analytics to measure the performance of your landing page. This tool seamlessly integrates your data between your ads and landing page performance.
- SEMrush: This tool can analyze organic search performance and your competitors’ PPC ad strategies. Use SEMrush to research keywords, determine quality scores, to build a successful PPC campaign.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner: The tool calculates potential success based on your keywords using Google Ads performance data drawn from the network. Additionally, this tool can assist in researching possible click rates, PPC bid prices, and potential PPC traffic for your ad campaigns.
- Databox: Get real-time reporting on your PPC campaigns. Databox also allows you to see data from multiple platforms, which is excellent to test various PPC platforms. Also, you can customize your reports for the exact data you want.
Creating a PPC Marketing Strategy
- Start with your end goal: What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to find new customers or generate sales leads for your team? Do you need sign-ups for your newsletter, or do you want to advertise a sale? Therefore, craft your marketing strategy with your end goal in mind.
- Set your budget based on keyword research: You need to set a budget and keep to it. However, don’t set a budget until you’ve researched your keywords and estimated the cost per click.
- Test and test some more: Test the flavor of your ad copy and the appeal of any visual elements of display ads. It’s also essential to try these elements on your landing page. You want it all to be as perfect as possible before you begin spending money on ads.
- Clear calls-to-action: Determine your calls-to-action by your goal, such as “buy now” or “sign up for our newsletter.” A lack of clarity will ultimately defeat your ad campaign.
- Don’t be discouraged: Your first PPC campaign might fall flat. But don’t be discouraged. Learn from your mistakes. Use the data you gather for valuable insights to launch better PPC campaigns.
Launching your first PPC Ad Campaign
Once you’ve decided on your PPC platform and lined up your PPC tools, it’s time to launch your first PPC ad campaign.
- Define your end goal, and build your ad campaign from there.
- Integrate your PPC tools into your PPC campaign manager.
- Identify the keywords that are important to your target audience. Your keywords need adequate volume to reach your audience, and they also need the right price to maximize your budget. Therefore, your keyword’s cost per click needs to maximize your budget while ensuring your ad reaches your target audience.
- Write compelling ad copy with a solid call to action. For display ads, choose equally compelling images and photos. Your keywords and CTA also need to be sprinkled throughout your landing page.
- Link your ad to your landing page.
- Double-check everything and launch the campaign. Before you launch, check to make sure your budget is in alignment.
- Take your PPC campaign live.
- Monitor your results, and optimize your campaign as you go. Use your PPC tools to monitor your results. Use this information to optimize and enhance your ad’s performance.
Keep in mind that your PPC campaign may need to be adjusted. But, as you learn, PPC ads can help grow both your profits and a loyal customer base over time.
- Impressions: How many times your ad was displayed.
- Click-through rate: How many times your ad was displayed divided by the number of clicks.
- Conversions: The number of successful actions resulting from people seeing your ad. The conversions could be clicks, sales, or the number of forms filled out.
- Conversion rate: The number of conversions divided by the number of interactions.
- Ad group: Grouping multiple ads based on a similar topic and keywords.
- Campaign: Organizing multiple ad groups with a budget and other metrics.
- Ad extensions: This allows your ads to show more details about your company, such as your phone number and address.
- Broad match: This setting on your ad control panel allows you to show your ads to people who also search for a variation or related keyword.