What is Pay Per Click Advertising?
Pay Per Click (PPC) is a type of sponsored online advertising that is used on a wide range of websites, including the search engines, where the advertiser only pays when a web user clicks on their ad. So you as a business would only ‘pay per click’ each time a web user clicks on your advertisement.
PPC is a very cost-effective means to get your site noticed by your target audience very quickly.
How PPC works
Each search engine has its own PPC program, the most popular being on Google of course. So you simply choose which program that you would like to advertise with and sign up to it.
Once your account is set up you can then design ads using specific text and even images, depending on the type of ad. You can also include a list of keywords that are associated with your company.
To illustrate, think of PPC advertising being like a silent auction. As an advertiser you would place bids on specific keywords or phrases that you think your target audience would type into a search engine when looking for specific goods or services like yours.
When a web user types a search query into the field of a search engine that matches your keyword list or visits your web page with content that matches the keywords or phrase chosen by you, the PPC ad may be displayed on the search page.
In search engines, a PPC ad is generally seen just above or to the right of the search results where they can be easily noticed. On other kinds of websites, the ad will be placed in the location the site designer has decided will be the most advantageous to his site and to you, the advertiser.
Once the ad is designed and the keywords are entered, an auction will be held. What this means is that other companies in the same industry as yours will all bid for the keywords and locations on the search engine that they want to use.
The bid is the price that each company is prepared to pay each time a visitor clicks on its advertisement. The higher bids will receive better ad placement giving their ads more prominence and visibility on the results page.
Is PPC right for your business?
If you want to attract new customers to your business and website then you have a few options to choose from.
A lot of businesses still try to reach out to a local audience using flyers and brochures. If you have done this before then you will know how expensive it is, as well as the time involved to get flyers designed, printed and then distributed. Not only that, but you are limited to the number of people who will actually see the flyer. It is possible to reach thousands of households but because it is a blanket drop you are not aiming at the target audience who really want or need your services. Not everybody who receives the flyer or brochure is your potential customer.
Even advertising in media such as regional newspapers is limited and not cost effective. Times have changed. Very few people actually read newspapers now and traditional business advertising like the Yellow Pages is almost dead.
When you use PPC marketing, your advertisement can literally reach thousands, if not millions of people all around the world. The added beauty is that the people who see your ad will be people who are actively searching for what you offer. They are a highly targeted audience. Nothing in the offline world can compete with the power of PPC click marketing.
Saying that, we have seen local businesses who have realised how powerful PPC is and thrown a huge marketing budget at it only to see their campaign fail miserably.
Just like any other traditional marketing campaign your strategy needs to be well thought out and planned properly.
A lot of businesses throw together poor quality advertisements in the hope that enough people will click on their ads. They forget these ads are their ‘shop window’ and creating an effective PPC campaign advert can be the difference between their company thriving online and simply wasting their marketing budget.
Why Poor Ads Damage Your Click Through Rate (CTR)
As Pay Per Click professionals, we realise the damage a poor ad can do to a marketing campaign. For example, Google uses an algorithm called ‘Ad Rank’ to determine the positions of ads on their pages.
A good Ad Rank means that your advert will appear much higher up on the page. This is important, as you will be more likely to attract traffic to your site if you are positioned here. Ads that appear lower down the page will get less traffic. So if you are competing with other businesses, all competing for the same keywords it is vital that your ads are well ranked by the search engine.
Another reason why the Ad Rank is important is because it is used to calculate how much you are charged for each click that your advert receives. A good Ad Rank means that you will pay less for your campaigns.
As a quick guide here is how Ad Rank is calculated:
Ad Rank = CPC bid x Quality score
So as you can see there are two factors that determine your Ad Rank:
- Your cost per click (CPC)
- Your campaigns Quality Score
A number of different elements contribute towards this Quality Score. Google explains this on their Adwords website: “Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad. Having a high Quality Score means that our systems think your ad, keyword, and landing page are all relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad. You can find out your Quality Score for any of your keywords, and there are several things you can do to help improve your Quality Score.”
It then explains how this works in practice by using this illustration:
“Suppose Sam is looking for a pair of striped socks. And let's say you own a website that specializes in socks. Wouldn't it be great if Sam types “striped socks” into Google search, sees your ad about striped socks, clicks your ad, and then lands on your webpage where he buys some spiffy new striped socks?
In this example, Sam searches and finds exactly what he's looking for. That's what we consider a great user experience, and that's what can earn you a high Quality Score. What's more, relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position, and bring you the most success.”
It concludes by saying: “In a nutshell, higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. The AdWords system works best for everybody – advertisers, customers, publishers, and Google – when the ads we show are relevant, closely matching what customers are looking for. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position, and bring you the most success.”
As you can see Google is being very helpful and really wants you, as a business owner, to profit from PPC. This is essential for everybody concerned. When a potential customer wants to find a particular service or product, they expect to find it on Google.
Google in turn, wants to send the customer to the most relevant results very quickly. If your PPC is the right match, they will send that customer to you, you will get more customers and make more money. Everybody is happy.
Despite that, there are still many businesses that are dipping their toe into PPC and getting it wrong.
What Are Advertisers Doing Wrong?
A quick online search shows a huge variety of mistakes businesses make when it comes to PPC ads. These range from poorly converting landing pages (the page that visitors are taken to when they click on your ad), to things as fundamental as spelling mistakes.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that businesses make:
They have Ads that aren’t relevant
As a business owner your main aim is to make sure that your ads are relevant to the information on your landing page as well as the keywords that you are bidding on to help people to find you.
Making your ad relevant will help improve both your Quality Score, which we have already established is very important, and the CTR your ads get. The higher your Quality Score the less you will pay for each click that you receive. That means you get a better return on any investment. More profits for you.
The mistake a lot of business owners make is this: For whatever reason, they group together a number of very different keywords and place them into a Single Ad group. This makes it impossible for your adverts to be relevant.
This has an adverse effect on your Quality Score; It lowers it so you end up paying more for each click you receive.
It is vitally important that all of the keywords relating to your business or product are tightly grouped together and relate to just one theme.
They don’t have a Call To Action
Including a call to action to your ads is crucial, as it will help increase your Click Through Rate.
You need to tell the person seeing your ad exactly what you want them to do. If you want them to ‘buy it now’ or ‘click for more information’ then tell them.
Don’t underestimate the power of your call to action, but make it appropriate for what you want them to do as it could be the difference between a person simply browsing your products and buying something.
They don’t test their Ads
It is a good idea to run at least 3 different variations of your advert. Test new ads every month so you are continually trying to improve your Click Through Rate.
We see many advertisers who fail to update their ads regularly. Why is this such a big deal? Because it means their promotions, prices and the message they trying to convey are out of date. Not only will the Click Through Rate be lower, but it will also spoil the user experience for the potential customer as well.
So what should you test? These would be elements like your descriptions, display URL’s and Calls to Action. Test new messages too by making tweaks to the benefits, promotions and prices. This will help you to see which promotions resonate the most with the search engine users.
Basically, if you want a successful PPC marketing campaign here is a small checklist that will help you:
- Ensure that the relationships between your ads, keywords and landing page are relevant.
- Carefully analyse your competitor’s ads. See what they are doing then make yours even better. YOUR ad should stand out and be better than theirs.
- Another way to make your ad stand out and look professional is by ‘Capitalising The First Letter Of Each Word’.
- Always mention your unique selling points together with the main benefits of your product or service. You want the user to choose your ad over your competitor’s.
- If you have an enticing promotion or special offer don’t forget to mention it in the ad.
- Make sure your Call to Action is relevant to the purpose and goal of your advertisement. For example if you want them to download a brochure, tell them. If you want them to buy your product, tell them. If you want them to look at your special offers, tell them.
- A good tip is to include keywords in the URL field.
For example, www.TeachYourDogHowToTapDance.com
The keywords will stand out even more, as they will become bold when searched for.
- Decide in advance what you want the adverts to do. Once you have established your goals, use the appropriate ad extensions.
- Don’t forget to test and then test again.
If you are excited about the prospect of reaching a brand new worldwide audience and want to run a PPC Marketing campaign then these tips will help you enormously.
PPC Marketing can be extremely profitable for your business but it can also be an expensive learning curve if you are not sure what you are doing. We can help you with all of these elements to ensure that you are not throwing your money away on a campaign that is doomed to fail.
Even if you are having moderate success we can significantly improve your promotions so that your profits go through the roof. We get great results and we deliver them fast. Why not contact us for a free consultation.
Official Guide to Quality Score (as described on the Google Adwords Website)
How we calculate Quality Score
Every time someone performs a search which triggers your ad, we calculate a Quality Score. To calculate this Quality Score, we look at a number of different things related to your account. By improving the following factors you can help improve your Quality Score:
- Your keyword's past Click Through Rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
- Your display URL's past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
- Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
- The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
- Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
- Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
- Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
- Your ad's performance on a site: How well your ad's been doing on this and similar sites (if you're targeting the Display Network)
- Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets – you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices
How Quality Score affects you
Quality Score is used in several different ways and can affect the following in your account:
- Ad auction eligibility: Higher Quality Scores make it easier and cheaper for a keyword to enter the ad auction.
- Your keyword's actual cost-per-click (CPC): Higher Quality Scores lead to lower CPCs. Which means you pay less per click when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
- Your keyword's first page bid estimate: Higher Quality Scores lead to lower first page bid estimates. That means it's easier for your ad to show up on the first page of search results when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
- Your keyword's top of page bid estimate: Higher Quality Scores lead to lower top of page bid estimates. That means it's easier for your ad to show up towards the top of the page when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
Ad position: Higher Quality Scores lead to higher ad positions. That means your ad can show up higher on the page when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.