What PPC is
PPC stands for pay-per-click and is a form of online advertisement. The name is very self-explanatory, as the advertiser pays for every time someone clicks on the ad. PPC is often used in the environment of a search engine, where some of the search results are advertisements. When someone enters a search query, they will see the paid results together with the actual search results.
This means that advertisers using PPC are essentially trying to ‘buy traffic’ that otherwise might not see them. If they’re not being found otherwise, they can use PPC to jump to the top of the search results. In more old-fashioned terms, it’s just like buying the fancy lettering in the Yellow Pages.
In the rest of this article, we’ll look at the different types of PPC next. Then we’ll get a better understanding of just how a PPC campaign works and who it works for best. Finally, we’ll cover the basics of how to implement a PPC strategy for your company.
How it works and different types of PPC
PPC can work on many different platforms and in many different environments. The best-known online advertising platform is Google, but almost every search engine works with PPC ads. Other environments, such as social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) also allow advertisers to work on a PPC basis.
In all these cases, the process is more or less the same. All the advertisers on the platform (we’ll use Google for this example) let Google know what keywords they want to be advertised with. Each of the keywords has a monetary value attached to it, and advertisers compete by putting in bids. When someone uses that keyword in a search query, Google lines up all the advertisers that have put in a bid and runs an automatic auction. The winners of that auction appear with the search results.
As you may have seen by now, PPC ad campaigns work best when you know what people are looking for, and people know what to look for. It works as a recommendation for people who know they have a problem and turn to Google to solve it. A successful PPC campaign helps qualified customers find your products instead of someone else’s for a small fee. If your fee is lower than the average sales value per click, your PPC ad campaign is a very valuable way to bring in more customers. For best results consider hiring a pay per click marketing agency.
How to implement a PPC strategy
- Set your budget and goals
The first step to implementing a PPC strategy is to set a budget. See where in your advertising budget there’s room for a new strategy, and how much money you’re willing to spend. Please remember that getting all your parameters right will take time, and therefore also money.
If you already know your desired CPA (cost per acquisition) for a new customer, it’s a lot easier to set goals (and your budget). If you don’t (yet) know your CPA, try making an educated guess. Set a goal for an amount of sales, or an amount of newly acquired customers after the campaign has run its course. Attach your budget to that goal.
- Find keywords
There are many ways to find keywords that are relevant to your business and website. Usually, the first place to find keywords is the keyword tool for the platform that you’re planning to use. The best-known keyword tool is Google’s AdWords keyword tool, but other platforms offer their own tools, too. In addition, many third-party programs exist that can help you find more and better keywords.
Another place to find keywords is in your existing ad copy and correspondence with clients. Analyze those to find out what language your clients usually use to describe their problems and your business. This way, you’ll discover keywords that very closely align with the words your potential customers will use to find you. Use those keywords to find your most efficient keywords in the official tools.
- Start a small campaign
Before you spend your entire budget to reach your goals, consider setting up small sub-campaigns. This way, you can try different things and see which work best. If you’ve got the budget for it, it’s best to set up your small campaigns the same way you’d diversify your investment portfolio: some high-risk (and potentially high reward) keyword bids, and some more conservative options.
Depending on your budget, you can run these smaller campaigns for a month or even longer. On a smaller budget, you’ll have to pick your best small campaign and use a little less data for the next step.
After you’ve run a few trials, it’s time to evaluate how your experiments have been doing. Evaluate which of the small campaigns did well, and which keywords didn’t get the results that you were hoping for. After this grooming process, you can focus your efforts on those campaigns that did well.
- Test and Cycle
Now that your campaigns have found their direction, they still need your guidance. This is the moment when you regularly assess your PPC campaigns. You need to make sure no big chances in results have occurred, that you are still reaching your goals, and that you’re not missing out on new opportunities.
Keep trying small campaigns alongside your main campaign to make sure you’re optimizing your PPC marketing strategy. Adjust your goals to what you see happening with your campaigns. If you can demonstrate that every dollar spent on marketing is translating into a higher dollar amount in sales, try to scale your budget to further grow your business and sales.