What is PPC?
PPC, also commonly known as pay-per-click, is a method of search engine advertising to generate clicks to your website. Unlike organic search, PPC involves paid search marketing. Paid search marketing means you pay for your website to appear in paid advertising sections of relevant search engine results pages. In simpler terms, results are determined by payment from advertisers.
What is the difference between organic and paid search?
Organic search is based on natural, unpaid rankings. These rankings are determined by SEO best practices, including well written optimized content, creating accessible and relevant URLs and keywords, producing captivating title and description tags, and off page optimization strategies. These efforts can be performed in-house or by outsourcing SEO campaigns to an experienced agency.
Other popular SEO practices are updating and posting new blogs, finding and removing broken links, looking at competitors’ keywords, and using outreach and marketing tools to make the company more known.
Paid search allows you to pay to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords and/or phrases that match the demographic and other targeting setup within the 3rd party search providers system. There is budget setup as well as detailed targeting criteria that determines where and how your ads are shown. The paid search providers have a campaign setup and maintenance process involving keywords, negative keywords, demographics, geo-graphics, campaign performance metrics, landing page optimization, as well as bidding strategies.
Types of Ads
Search ads, like mentioned above, means a business advertises within the sponsored listings of a search engine or a partner site by paying each time your ad is clicked (PPC).
For example, a consumer who wants to look for new iPhone headphones will head to Google and search for a keyword or topic related to headphones for a smartphone. When an ad is shown, he or she will click the ad and be taken to a landing page having content related to the search, and hopefully, purchase the product.
Display ads are shown to consumers when they are browsing online. Based on the targeting being used, this happen when searching for your product or service, or when they are reading online where the content is related to their search. The ad can be triggered by their intent, or because of the relevant web property or placement they are on. These ads are advertised through banners or other ad formats made of text, images, audio, video, etc. These formats can include various placements including the top of web pages (similar to the traditional banner ads) and larger text, such as billboards.
For example, a consumer is searching the web for study materials for his/her upcoming exam. Various musical artists are shown with new releases. The consumer isn’t specifically looking for new music, but display and banner ads are showing up throughout Google. He or she then clicks on the image with the promotion taking them to the corresponding landing page.
Remarketing ads are strategically placed ads to connect with people who previously interacted with your website. If a customer leaves your site without buying, remarketing allows you to market to them again.
For example, a consumer has recently browsed Best Buy and had added items in his or her online shopping cart. He or she decided to leave the site before purchasing a product. A week later, that same consumer went back online and your ads are show again or remarketed to the consumer. Based on the web property, the same items recently added to her Best Buy shopping cart can appear, alongside other similar products that he or she may think of purchasing.
Paid Search Optimization
For paid search optimization, there should be a prioritization approach to maintain consistent growth and performance. Here are some common goals that companies tend to have:
- You should always define your goals and objectives (both short and long-term). This includes identifying and maintaining your specific audience. This should include repeat customers but also new customers.
- Determine which type of campaign(s) best fit with your goals and audience. Companies often use both organic and paid search programs. Search-based campaigns can be a better fit for some, while sales-based campaigns can be better for others.
- You want to increase sales and revenue.
- You want to increase site visitors.
- Do what your competitors are doing.
- Do what your competitors are not doing.
- Optimize content to maximize shareability.
- Improve company outreach and recognition.
Guidelines for Effective Text Ads
Writing good ad copy for PPC ads can be tough, but if done well, can make your company more profitable. Similar to any approach, you should define and thoroughly know your target audience and what they want. A crucial way to gain the attention of potential customers is to ensure that you know how to, and more importantly, can fix their issues and pain points. To help you better figure out what your audience wants, look at it from the customer’s perspective and decide what you personally would want from the specific company. Then, determine how you as a customer would fix the problem, and implement this into your actual practice.
Next, you should always address the audience in your ads. Using the words “you” and “your” are extremely important. If the audience believes that you are talking directly to them, they will more likely have a positive attitude towards your business.
Make sure to utilize human emotion. A potential or existing customer does not want to read a boring ad that he or she cannot relate to. You want to make your audience feel something. To do this, determine what emotion(s) you want to captivate and tap into. Sometimes evoking negative feelings can be better than positive feeling because people tend to act quicker when they see or hear something bad happening and want to solve a problem.
For example, if you are doing an ad on childrens floats for the pool, mentioning the high risks of adolescent drowning would be more beneficial than targeting solely the floats. If a parent reads an ad that says, “Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide”, they would probably be keener to act.
Using metrics and numbers is very important. Spelling out each number is not only time consuming, but less appealing to the eye. Be sure to use exact numbers instead of rounding. Numbers and statistics tend to grab people’s attention, so utilize this as much as possible.
It’s also crucial to use all the space that is provided. Google AdWords allows up to three 30-character headlines and up to two 90-character descriptions. Make sure to fit all the necessary information into this space, while also using a display URL and ad extensions if desired.
To outshine your opponents, you want to highlight what makes you different. Because of the limited amount of space, you need to make your ad and selling points unique. In order to do this, you should ask yourself the following:
1. What does my company/business do better than anyone else?
2. Are you making any special offers or doing anything that sets you apart?
3. What is unique about your brand image?
4. What customer problem are you solving?
When thinking about ads, you should also strive to go local. People tend to trust businesses that are small and local, rather than huge corporations. If you have a specific geo location but want to expand into other areas, make sure to create different campaigns for each location. Use keywords that match those geographic locations. For example, if your campaign is taking place alongside a coastal area, it is smart to include terms such as “beach”, “rock”, “sea”, “water”, “offshore”, etc.
Start your campaigns with strong, action verbs that grab the reader’s attention. If you start off your ad with the words “Call for more information”, readers are going to skip right over that. However, if you start your ad off with something like “Get a huge discount” or “Save up to 10%…”, readers will be more inclined to click on your ad.
You should regularly review and maintain your PPC ads. One way to do this is to split test between your ads to see what is working and what needs to be improved upon. There are numerous methods to split ads, but some of the more common include: placing your ad in different locations, using different words in your ads, trying different figures and statistics, experimenting with different display URLs, and emphasizing various advantages of your service.
There are several 3rd party tools to help you create, maintain and improve your PPC campaign performance. They are also a great way to review your campaigns and metrics against your competitors. Reviewing competitor search ads over different days and hours of the day will give you a barometer on the market and competition.
Lastly, creating a successful PPC ad takes time. However, it will get easier with time and practice. Determining your goals and objectives, defining your budget, targeting your niche audience, making a list of relevant keywords, bidding on the right keywords, creating an attention-grabbing headline and description, and utilizing human emotion are just some ways to produce the compelling ad you need.