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What is PPC anyway?

Image: Launchpresso

You’ve heard about Google, but do you know what pay-per-click or PPC ads are? PPC ads are a way for advertisers to achieve a high ranking on search engine results pages or SERPs. This isn’t an isolating strategy; as you’ll need to figure out some search engine optimisation or SEO as well. 

Trying to rank in pole position is easier said than done – we think this could be a monumental task. It’s important to know how Google ranks web pages. Even still, you may find that your ranking drops down after Google changes up their algorithm, or introduces another complex update.

The million-dollar question is ‘if I’m not a digital marketing expert, how can I Work towards getting my content/business to be first on search engine results pages?’

That’s where Google’s pay-per-click or PPC ads come in. You can literally pay to improve your ranking. PPCs can improve your current ranking and help you learn more about your users.

What are PPC ads?

PPC or pay-per-click as previously mentioned is a type of digital/internet marketing strategy where advertisers pay a fee every time their ads are clicked on. These kinds of ads are used in Google Ads, and can form part of a larger marketing strategy. To simplify this concept, you could think of PPC as an advertiser buying visitors to their website instead of receiving organic traffic.

It’s important to know that PPC works by setting a budget and term, such as daily or monthly, as examples. You will also choose the platform you want to use, such as Google, Facebook or Instagram, and then you’ll have to pay when someone clicks on your ad.

There are other similar types of ads, including pay-per-view, pay-per-impression, which work in the same kind of way and aim at a user taking a specific, desirable action for the advertisers. However, PPC is one of the most prevalent to understand, and is a good baseline to get started with before you decide to delve into a more specific kind of ad.

Where should I use PPC ads?

PPC ads can be extremely powerful when used for time-sensitive campaigns, events or sales that can compete with your biggest competitor. You can also retarget users who have already visited your website. However, using PPC alone isn’t the best idea, because it can become very expensive quickly. That’s why your marketing strategy should always contain more than one element or type of ad. PPC shouldn’t replace your entire marketing effort; it should be complementing other forms of marketing that you’re doing. You should also be working on your organic search and SEO tactics, while using PPC as a kind of traffic boost for your website. 

How does PPC actually work?

The genre of PPC is quite broad, and includes a whole lot of platforms and ad types. Even so, most of what you need to know can fall under Google Ads or Social Media Ads. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on Google Ads. 

If you create a PPC campaign on Google Ads, you are essentially giving money to Google to display your ads on search results pages, or across other sites on Google’s Display network.

When a Google user clicks on your ad, you will pay whatever the current cost-per-click or CPC is, and this amount will be deducted out of your set budget. This CPC is determined by a plethora of factors, including volume, and keyword competition. That’s why using specialised keywords is so important – you can save a lot on your PPC costs if you know exactly what your keywords should be saying, down to the last consonant. 

It’s important to note that Google will continually run your ads until your budget gets used up. At this point, your ads will stop being shown depending on your budget scheme. You may need to top-up your budget to keep your ads running. 

Kinds of Google Ads

Google has come up with many kinds of powerful ads, including Search Ads, Local Ads, Display Ads and Remarketing.

  • Search Ads are the most common/popular, and are the most used form of PPC by advertisers around the world.They can be shown ahead of, or next to, organic results, depending on the specific keyword. Your ad could be the first result for ‘vintage furniture store’ in your area, and you won’t pay unless your ad is clicked on by a user.

Search ads can be displayed in a specific area on the Google network. You’ll need to write your ad and select the most specific and appropriate keywords that a user would search in order to find your ad. 

Google Ads operates on a process of keyword bidding. Google basically auctions keywords between you and other marketers for the highest bid on a keyword. You are bidding to be shown at the top of the page for your specific keyword. 

This process can be difficult! You’ll need to be adaptable, as getting the perfect keyword and budget can take time if you want to make the most out of your budget. 

  • Local Search, local or location-specific ads are a subcategory of the aforementioned search ads. As you might have guessed, they target users in a specific area that you have chosen, and can include users searching for businesses located near yours or based on Google Maps’ data. You can also drive traffic to your Google Business page, which is a summarised profile of your business information, such as reviews, contact information, physical address and pictures.

Make sure to use location targeting if you only want to highlight a specific area – some default settings may make your ads national from the outset. 

  • The Google Display Network is a bit different. They use text and visuals to display your ad across a host of third-party websites or apps. For these adds, you’ll need a creative/graphic element for the ad format. This can define the audience you are targeting, and uses a similar budget to traditional search ads. 
  • Remarketing or retargeting is a marketing effort that focuses on people who have visited your site and left without buying. This includes people who have accessed a mobile app or website of yours, too. Remarketing ads can help customers regain trust in you, and helps your brand stay in their mind. Think about it – they already expressed some interest because they visited your website, so you could think of remarketing ads as designed to follow up on potential customers. 

It’s smart to target individuals who have already seen your site and made a personal connection to your brand. Chances are, you could convert some of these users into sales. 

There are lots of other kinds of ads out there, including social media and platform-specific ads.

Why should you use Google PPC Ads?

It’s time for cold-hard facts. Around 75% of search engine clicks happen on the first page of Google’s results pages. PPC ads give you more chances to get to that first page, and gain that traffic for your own business. In addition, over 60% of people click on Google Ads when looking to make an online purchase. With figures like these, there is no reason not to at least try out some PPC ads.

However, we do not advocate creating a marketing strategy based only on PPC. PPC can be confused and hard to learn, so you shouldn’t let desperation cost you a lot in the long run. It won’t work for everyone, either – depending on your business.

Using Google PPC can help you with SEO, and can be seen as a way to move forward quickly, as organic SEO can take months or even years to gain traction. PPC ads will help you gain better brand awareness, web traffic, and hopefully, conversions. It’s also great for promotions, launching new products and generating interest in your offerings.

An important note is that PPC can be invaluable to smaller brands who are looking to establish themselves in a competitive market. PPC can become one way that smaller companies can compete with large businesses. The key is to not go for the highest-trafficked keywords. Add a bit of specificity and you can certainly win your bid! Long-tail keywords can certainly help your web traffic, and this traffic could be even better for conversions as these users are more aligned with your specific products or market. 

Some final advice would be keeping track of your campaign. Once you’ve created your PPC campaigns, you’ll need to manage them over time to make sure that they are effective – in both traffic gained and outgoing costs. You should be analyzing your account’s performance regularly and making appropriate adjustments to optimise your campaigns. Some changes you might want to make include adding new PPC keywords, adding negative keywords to reduce spend, reviewing expensive keywords, refining your landing pages and web pages, and splitting your ads into smaller, more relevant groups. 

Do you need help managing your PPC ad campaign? Get in touch with ShoppingFeeder for expert management and advice on strategy optimisation.

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