If you traverse the world of online shopping and social media, it’s more than likely you’ve come face-to-face with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It’s an online marketing model that sky-rocketed in popularity over the past few years for being simple, impactful and effective.
How many times a day do you whip out your phone for a quick Google search? Across the globe Google tracks over 90,000 search queries every second. PPC helps businesses show up in these searches at the right times. And in today’s digital marketing industry PPC advertising is vital for a successful online marketing strategy.
It’s both versatile and scalable - with endless possibility for personalisation by demographic, location and even time of day. Plus it can be adjusted as needed, helping you build a budget and target persona.
With such a powerful advertising tool at your fingertips, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of paid media campaigns. Putting time and effort into constructing a campaign optimal for your clients will help you get the best results. As more and more customers turn to online channels to guide their purchasing decisions, it’s a space your business needs to be.
Dive in as we unpack PPC advertising - giving you all the tips and tricks to research, create and execute an unreal paid campaign. Let’s go!
What is PPC advertising?
PPC advertising is a model where advertisers pay depending on how many people click on their ad. Your ad shows at the top of the search engine results page in response to users searching specific keywords or phrases. How much you pay depends on how many people click your ad.
When done right, paid media campaigns can help acquire quality leads. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your website, increase sales and promote brand awareness. Plus, it can be cost-effective marketing with a solid return on investment (ROI)!
Types of PPC advertising
PPC advertising isn’t a one-size-fits-all. There are many different types of paid campaigns and what’s best for your business depends on your audience. Some include:
Search ads - one of the most popular forms of PPC advertising, search ads are the text ads at the top of a search engine results page (SERP). These links show up first if someone searches a keyword related to your business offering.
Display ads - usually images, videos or gifs, display ads are shown on external websites or apps. They’re just like the ads you might see in magazines and newspapers - just online.
Social media ads - any ads you see on social media across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and the myriad of others. You may pay to show up in a target audience’s feed or within their profile. Ad options vary depending on the platform.
Benefits of PPC advertising
PPC advertising has become a frontrunner channel for businesses small and large. In addition to being (generally) very cost effective, PPC ad channels can be built and managed in house. Here’s just a few of the benefits of it:
- Budget friendly: set a budget and stick to it with PPC campaigns. Depending on an ads success, you can choose to ramp up your ad spend or reign it in and move to greener pastures. Plus, only paying for clicks means you should get your money’s worth!
- Boosts visibility and traffic: PPC advertising can help improve the visibility of your website and increase traffic to your landing pages. For small businesses and startups, it can take forever to get your website on the front page of Google. Organic ranking can be great - but you likely don’t have the time. Paid media campaigns pop your campaign to the top of the SERP within hours of launch.
- Informed marketing decisions: PPC advertising offers real-time data collection helping to inform your SEO and marketing strategy. It’s easy to test and control different campaign options to better target your target audience and produce the highest ROI.
- Measurable: there are plenty of free platforms for you to track and measure the results of your PPC campaign. Platforms such as Google Analytics provide real-time data on clicks, conversions and impressions.
- Targeted: one of the best things about PPC advertising is direct access to qualified leads. It allows you to target specific audiences based on their behavior, history and demographic data. Testing ad options among target groups can help refine your campaign to maximize impressions.
- Get ahead of the competition: target specific keywords to stop your rivals from getting the top spot on search pages.
Setting up a successful PPC advertising campaign
Now you’re excited about the prospects of paid media campaigns, let’s take a deep dive into how to set up a successful campaign. Like most marketing strategies, planning and research are the backbone of paid advertising. From choosing keywords to targeting the right customers and testing variations, PPC will require time and thought.
PPC advertising campaign guidelines
Sitting down and setting guidelines is one of the first things you should do for your paid media campaigns. It will help you set clear and measurable goals - ensuring your ad is effective and targeted.
Your PPC campaigns should slot nicely within your overall business goals. Take a step back and consider how implementing paid campaigns will help achieve the bigger picture. Think about the specific goals of your PPC campaign, how much you’re willing to spend and your ad targeting options. Your guidelines should include:
- Who you want to target
- Overall campaign theme
- How you will measure success
- The type of campaign you’ll run
Setting goals for PPC advertising campaigns
Creating specific and realistic goals for your campaign gives you something to strive for. It helps to inform your campaign strategy and workflow. Plus, goals give you clear ways to measure your success and justify your ad spend.
But how do you actually come up with good goals? You make them SMART.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. By defining your goal under each parameter, you ensure your objectives are attainable within a timeframe.
For example, you might want ‘to get more people to your website’. Transformed into a SMART goal it becomes: through paid media campaigns, our goal is to increase website traffic by 20% over six months. Now your goal is clear, result focussed and relevant to the campaign.
After you’ve created some overarching goals for your campaign, break them down into shorter-term goals. You can make them weekly, monthly or quarterly - depending on the scale of your campaign. Short-term goals are ideal for PPC campaigns to continually re-evaluate your benchmarks.
Determining a budget for your PPC advertising
One of the best things about PPC advertising is the flexibility in how much you spend. They’re perfect for startups and small businesses who may not have a huge marketing budget. To figure out a rough budget, multiply the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) you can afford by how many clicks you want, multiplied by the length of your campaign. Make sure to research the cost of keywords in your industry and use the average conversion rate of 2.7% to estimate profit.
PPC advertising and keyword research
Keyword research is crucial to finding the right words and phrases for your PPC advertising. Every ad you make needs to be assigned a keyword set - that’s how search engines know when and where to display your ad. Researching keywords helps you understand what people are searching for, what they search for the most and what keywords are most relevant.
Once you’ve got a list of keywords for your business, it’s time to analyze your competitors. Having the down-low on your competitors and their keywords is going to help you create a more targeted and effective PPC campaign. There’s plenty of online tools - such as Google Keyword Planner - to help you quickly compile a list of competitor keywords. You can find what they rank for, what they outrank you for and how you can beat them. Competitor analysis can be a great way to identify keyword gaps in the market. Creating audience-centric content that’s SEO-optimized will not only help you fill market gaps, it will also help you outrank your competition.
Writing effective ad copy for PPC advertising
Now you have your keywords sorted - it’s time to get people to actually click on your ad. How do we do that? Effective ad copy. Like keywords, your ad copy should give a searcher what they’re looking for in crystal clear terms.
Most ad copy is restricted to a certain character requirement. Search ads, for example, have a headline, URL and short description. Make the most out of your words with punchy headlines and attention-grabbing copy. Here’s some tips to do it well:
- Make your headline short and snappy
- Use language that speaks directly to your target customer
- Include your main keyword
- Let the customer know what to do next with an actionable CTA
- Make the offer tempting
- Ensure your tone is consistent with your landing page and brand
Using relevant keywords is a key way to optimize your ad copy for search engines. Write your ad copy with the customer in mind - make it specific and highlight the benefit of your product. And most importantly, make sure you test your ad copy to find out what works best.
Creating high-converting landing pages for PPC advertising
As the page people are sent to after they click on your ad, landing pages are the meat in the paid media campaigns sandwich. While your ad copy gets people to your site, the landing page keeps them there. It needs to be a seamless experience that’s extremely targeted, relevant to the ad and delivers what was promised.
Why is it so important? Because the whole point of your PPC campaign is to convert leads to customers - and a well-crafted landing page is key to getting them over the line.
Here’s some tips for making the perfect PPC landing page:
- Punchy headline to mirror your ad copy
- Clear design and layout
- Eye-catching visuals
- User-friendly form with a clear CTA button
- Specific and persuasive copy - including your target keywords
- Fulfill the promise of your ad
Balancing relevant SEO content and having a user-friendly website is key to optimizing your landing pages.
Monitoring and optimizing PPC advertising campaigns
As great as it is, PPC advertising is not an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ kind of venture. It’s a constant process of monitoring your ads and making tweaks to reach optimal results. Tracking your campaign will offer valuable insights to help you improve your PPC efforts.
Metrics are everything when it comes to PPC advertising. We put together a list of the most effective digital marketing formulas to better your campaigns. Here’s our favorites for paid media campaigns:
- Cost Per Click (CPC): the amount you pay a search engine or social media platform for each click on your ad. It’s calculated by dividing money spent by total clicks.
- Click Through Rates (CTR): the percentage of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad is viewed. This will calculate how much you pay.
- Conversion Rates: this is the percentage of searchers that complete the CTA on your landing page, becoming qualified leads or customers.
A/B testing in PPC advertising
It’s pretty unusual for a marketing team to chuck something out into the world without testing it - and paid media campaigns are no exception. A/B testing will help you optimize your PPC campaign to increase CTR and conversion rates.
There are four major components of PPC advertising you need to test:
- Meta description
- Landing page
Tweaking just one of these components can massively alter how your campaign performs. So, keep your testing to one element at a time to know what’s working and what’s not. Testing PPC advertisements is a careful balance of running your ad long enough to collect data and testing them early enough to not waste your budget. List out all the potential ad options so you can prioritize testing and always have another one ready to go.
Common mistakes to avoid in PPC advertising
Now that you know how to create an awesome PPC campaign - let’s dive into what not to do. There’s a few common mistakes that become the Achilles heel of marketing teams. They can lead to low ROI and missing the mark on your objectives. Luckily, we‘ve compiled a list so you don’t make them!
Targeting the wrong audience: failing to target your ad properly means the wrong people are going to be seeing your product. Make sure to sit down and figure out who your customer actually is. Think about their age, occupation, hopes, interests and other personal characteristics. If you have multiple target segments, make sure you create a different ad for each one. A corporate boss isn’t going to respond to the same thing as a teenage girl - but they both might be interested in your product.
Not testing ad copy: if you forget to test your ad copy, you’re running your campaigns with guesswork. Instead, let the data guide your decisions so you know what’s working. Go back to A/B testing and create small variations across a range of ads to figure out what resonates the most with your audience. Even the pros (usually) don’t get it right on the first go!
Not tracking metrics: tracking metrics plays two-fold in PPC advertising - it helps you measure your goals and improve your campaign. If you’re not doing it, you’re wasting time and money. The only way to accurately analyze your PPC performance is to track as many relevant data points as possible.
Advanced PPC advertising strategies
Wanting more than your basic PPC strategies? There’s plenty of advanced PPC methods to elevate your paid campaigns to new levels.
While it’s important to reach new audiences, remarketing catches the pool of people who’ve clicked on your ads but not converted. These customers are already familiar with your brand, making them more likely to respond to paid ads. Remarketing campaigns help you:
- Re-engage prospects by displaying products they’ve shown interest in.
- Encourage repeat sales from previous customers by showing them similar or complementary products to what they’ve bought before.
- Maximize your money by focussing on converting qualified leads.
Remarketing takes advanced forms of digital analytics such as tracking customers who add a product to cart but don’t purchase. Companies can then target these customers and entice them to follow through with their purchase.
Dynamic search ads
Find customers who search precisely for your product with dynamic search ads. Perfect for companies with a large inventory or established website, these ads help fill the gaps of your keyword-based campaigns. Dynamic search ads use your website content to create headlines and landing pages, as well as target your ads. All you need to do is add a creative description.
Audience targeting allows you to separate consumers dependent on their demographic data. While basic data points such as age and location are important, more specific data such as interests and hobbies can help in narrowing your target audience. By thinking about what you’re selling, you can figure out more relevant data points. Audience targeting will help you optimize the sales funnel and customer retention.
PPC advertising all summed up
PPC advertising has the ability to take your business to infinity and beyond. As a cost-effective marketing strategy, it’s an accessible way for businesses of any size to reach their target audience. From search ads to social media ads and advanced PPC strategies, there’s plenty of ways to be in the right place at the right times to boost your conversions.
Remember - research and planning are integral to achieve optimal results and ROI. It will help you choose targeted keywords, create killer ad copy and optimize your landing page. Once your ads are up and running, keep a close eye on how they’re tracking and tweak them as you need to. Testing different options is your best friend for better performance. With a PPC strategy in play, you can look forward to more website traffic, increased conversions and higher-quality leads.
With our all-in-one guide up your sleeve, now you can get on your way to creating an unreal PPC advertising campaign!
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