As a business owner that is beginning to delve into the depths of online marketing, you have probably come across the term PPC a few times. However, like many unfamiliar terms, it can seem complex on the face of things. In this guide, we aim to clarify what PPC is, by telling you all there is to know about it, and how you can use it to create the perfect online marketing strategy. Here are the basics of everything you need to know about PPC advertising.
What is PPC?
PPC (pay per click) is a form of online advertising, where the advertiser is charged for every click on their ad. The amount paid is determined by the bid of the advertiser, with the highest bidder for each keyword attaining the advertising slot.
PPC is the most prevalent form of advertising on search engines, although it is now also visible on various social media platforms as well. The idea behind this type of advertising is to inorganically lead potential customers to a product, website, or other landing pages of the advertiser, in the hope of generating sales or awareness.
The main PPC platforms
Facebook and Instagram
How paid search works
Paid search works by auctioning off ad spaces on a platform. Each ad space is dedicated to a keyword or keyword combination that is entered by the searcher. Various advertisers will compete in auctions for certain keywords, with one successful business taking the ad space. This will ensure that their ad shows when a user enters a search related to the keyword the advertiser successfully bid on.
A number of factors are used to determine which bidder is successful when attempting to gain an ad space. They include the bid amount, ad quality, landing page quality, and historical CTR. Depending on the platform of the PPC campaign, other factors may also come into play. On Google, these factors are known as the quality score. However, other platforms may have their own name.
Managing a PPC campaign
Keyword research for PPC campaigns
Keywords are the most vital element of any PPC campaign, regardless of the platform you are using. Without the right keywords, your perfect target audience will never come across your ads. That is why it is so important to conduct keyword research prior to initiating an ad campaign.
Your keywords should always be relevant to your line of business, product, or niche. You can find the perfect keywords for your campaigns by using one of the innumerable keyword research tools on the market. There are keyword research tools for all budgets, and whilst the free options offer less detail than their paid competitors, they are still worth using if you cannot yet use a paid alternative.
By using keyword research tools, you can discover the most relevant keywords for your area of business. The only requirement is that you provide a more general term related to your business or product. With that, the tools then find the top-ranking terms related to your general term, as well as high-ranking competitors.
If you get your keyword research right, your PPC campaign will take off. Your target audience will enter search queries, and your ad will be right there when they do.
You should also keep in mind that a keyword’s influence can change over time, so check your keywords and their performance regularly. If a keyword is costing you a lot of money, and offering little reward it is probably worth dropping it entirely. If it is successful but only at certain times of the year, try to spot the pattern and use that to your advantage when setting your keyword bids.
Using your budget effectively is another important part of any PPC campaign. Negative keywords can go a long way to helping you manage that.
By adding negative keywords to your campaign, you can ensure that your ads are not showing for irrelevant search queries. This helps to reduce the bounce rate from users who click on your advertisements and immediately disregard them, as they are not relevant to their initial search. It will also help to give you more accurate analytics results for future campaigns, as you won’t have excess irrelevant traffic providing impressions and hampering your click-through rate.
It can sometimes be challenging to recognize what terms you should list as negative keywords. Especially when in most cases, the terms listed in your analytics results will be similar to those you aim to rank for. However, you can get around this by comparing other results for those terms or putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Should a slightly different variant show when you search a term, it may be ideal to add it to the negative keywords list.
One example of this is a term such as ‘women’s blue shirt’ which would trigger under the query ‘blue shirt’. However, if you are selling a blue shirt for men, this keyword would be a budget killer. Therefore, it should be added to the negative keyword list.
Negative keywords will continue to develop, so remember to stay on top of your list, and frequently update!
Campaigns and ad groups
Making use of campaign and ad groups can help to take your PPC advertising to the next level.
Campaigns allow you to decide on the type of PPC advertising you are going to use. This allows you to better define your goals prior to starting your advertising. It also ensures that the algorithm for whichever platform you are using can help to offer you the best possible results. If you run a campaign that aims to generate conversions, then the algorithm will prioritize your click-through rate, as opposed to impressions.
By running separate campaigns for separate objectives, you ensure that each of your advertising goals is met, without them getting in the way of one another. This helps you to get the best possible results, and can also provide you with clearer matric results to analyze when creating future campaigns.
Another useful way to manage and get the most from your PPC campaigns is to segment by the audience. This can be done by targeting specific groups. There are four main ways to segment by the audience when targeting in PPC advertising. They are:
Budgeting and bidding
In most cases, you will set your budget for your PPC advertising at a campaign level. Budgets will have a maximum daily spend that can never be exceeded unless manually told otherwise. However, this does not mean all your budget will be spent every day, as it is vastly dependent on the CPC, the number of clicks, and whether you won the advertising position in the first place.
You can also decide how you want to spend your budget. This differs slightly from platform to platform, but the general premise remains the same. Using Google as an example, you can choose between the standard delivery method and the accelerated delivery method.
Standard delivery shows ads throughout the day, according to your budget. This means with a higher budget, your ads will show more frequently. However, with a smaller budget, you will still cover the time period you want to with a wide net.
On the other hand, accelerated delivery shows ads constantly until your budget is depleted. This tends to be a much more effective method when budgets are more substantial. Smaller budgets are too quickly depleted to make a significant impact with this method.
The amount you can bid will also be relevant to your budget. Sticking to the aforementioned example of Google, you can choose from a range of bidding strategies, each designed to meet a certain predetermined goal. On Google, these strategies consist of:
Target search page location
Bidding strategies on other platforms
PPC tools and software
PPC ads are highly detailed and nuanced beasts. This means they need a lot of monitoring, analyzing, and tracking. More than any person can do. Thankfully, there are plenty of PPC tools to manage our business needs. Here are some of the best PPC software tools on the market:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Google Ads editor
- Bing Ads editor
- Facebook Ads manager
- Ad Espresso
A few quick reasons why these tools are so useful:
- For analysis and reporting
- For tracking
- For scheduling
- For multi-platform and general management.
If you have a project or need expertise, call on our social media experts from the digital marketing agency in Lahore. They provide niche-specific services.