Pay Per Click
This is one of the most common forms of digital marketing, one of the most important, and probably one of the least commonly understood by business owners. It seems to become riddled in terms and abbreviations that make it seem so much more difficult and complicated than it actually is. So we are going to make this as simple to understand as we possibly can!
One of the most popular forms of PPC is search engine marketing (SEM), which is paying for a sponsored result on a search engine. When you search for something like “marketing agency” in google, the first few results labeled “Ad” have paid for that spot using SEM through Google AdWords. These ad placements can be purchased by anyone, but determining prime real estate for these ads are based on a few factors that Google rewards for, including: quality of the content, the strength and relevance of your keywords, and of course the size of your bid. When you create a PPC campaign, you will generally set a “max bid” on each ad that tells Google what you are willing to pay per click to generate a click on that ad. We are only going into detail on Google’s ad platform since it is the most widely used, but you can also run SEM campaigns using Bing.
What Are Display Ads?
Pay per click campaigns can also be run using “display” ads, which are visual ads designed for your campaign that will display on websites based on your target market criteria or campaign objectives. If you use Google, there are millions of websites where your ad can be displayed. If you have determined a specific enough target audience, it should be displayed on websites where your target market should be visiting. These display ads can appear in a range of sizes and displays, and are also rewarded based on their quality, not only by the search engines, but by the consumers.
It is extremely important, possibly the most important factor to the success of your PPC campaign, is to have intriguing, quality content that directly relates to your brand and to the landing page that an ad click will direct to. Essentially, do not run display ads unless you have designed or photographed attractive content or you will be wasting your money. There are also dozens of rules for how your content should look or read, for example, Google and Facebook do not like display ads with too much text in the image. This link will tell you about a few of Google’s rules, however their are many more that you will become familiar with the more campaigns you run. Check out the ad to the left and the landing page it leads to. It was targeted to us on Facebook because during the time we were in the market for a new task management service.
Whether you use display or search ads for your campaign should be based on a few factors, but will ultimately depend on your brand and the objectives of the campaign. The first factor you will want to determine, in pretty much any digital campaign, is whether it is an inbound or outbound campaign, or for simpler terms, is it push or pull – meaning, are you trying to push your brand on potential new customers within your target market (outbound), or are you trying to pull potential customers, or leads, that may be already looking for your brand, product or service (inbound)? It may even be a combination of both.
Retargeting refers to the process of placing cookies on user’s computers so that you can deliver PPC ads to them on ad networks. For example, say a user visits your e-commerce website, adds a product to the shopping cart, and then leaves before completing the purchase. Using retargeting, you can deliver product-specific ads to that specific user for a period of time.
And it’s extremely effective:
- HubSpot – A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting
- Uhuru Network – The Definitive Guide to Retargeting on Facebook
- LyfeMarketing – Remarketing vs. Retargeting – What do They Mean and How do I Use Them?
While Google or Bing are your best bets for PPC ads using search engines, they are not the only route.
Social media platforms have also created their own applications for providing PPC services, which you will learn in more detail in 2.3 of this course. A huge factor in the success of PPC campaigns are the analytics. Tracking from impression, to click, to conversion is very important not only for measuring the success of your campaign, but understanding how your audience is engaging with your content. We will discuss analytics in more detail further along the Digital Marketing course at 2.11.
So is PPC right for your business? PPC is important for any business looking to build awareness of their brand online. PPC is even more important for e-commerce businesses, however your website is your digital storefront - and it is always important to continue driving qualified traffic to your website, even if simply for the brand awareness.