You may have come across the term “Pay-Per-Click Advertising” and you’re curious to learn more about it, or you know that you want to use it but you’re not sure where to start; whatever the case may be, there’s always more to learn in this ever-changing digital landscape.
Gone are the days of TV being the leading ad space; digital advertising has now transformed from being a gamble to serving as the primary advertising platform for many companies. The rate of growth in online advertising has been significant in the last decade, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
The Australian online advertising market hit a massive $8.8bn expenditure for 2018, an increase of 11.6% from 2017 according to the PWC’s IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report.
PPC advertising’s huge popularity is due to the fact that businesses can create highly-targeted ads, and generate tangible analytics to help them understand how audiences are engaging with that content.
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click advertising or PPC advertising is a type of online marketing where advertisers pay a cost each time a potential customer clicks on their ad. Basically, it’s a way of buying visits to your website, rather than waiting for organic visits. By using PPC advertising, businesses take an active approach to find potential customers, rather than sitting back and waiting for potential business to come to them.
PPC adverts can be created and managed by businesses themselves using various platform’s self-service advertising tools, no matter what their budget. Digital marketing has never been easier; companies of any size can create adverts according to their needs, and easily target a global audience at a click of a button.
How has PPC developed?
The first instance of PPC advertising occurred back in 1996, and by 1997, 400 major brands had identified it as a huge opportunity and were using it in search engines and other directories at a set fee of around $0.005 – $0.25 per click.
By 2000, the PPC auction system was in place. Advertisers were able to bid for ad position on keywords and ads ranked by bid value; they could also set real time PPC bid amounts on individual keywords.
By the mid 2000’s, Google had launched Google Adwords (self-service platform that allowed advertisers to place ads on specific keywords), Google Adsense, (allowed targeted advertising according to the site content and audience) and Google Analytics (allowed advertisers to better track the performance of their campaigns).
Google’s market share of the search market stood at 84.7%.
By 2008, both Facebook and LinkedIn had launched their own advertising platforms allowing advertisers to target users with things like demographics, interests, industry and job title.
Twitter released a self-service advertising platform for US advertisers in 2012 while Google surpassed $50 billion in revenue for the first time with 95% of its revenue coming from advertising.
PPC options kept growing with Dynamic Remarketing (the ability to remarket similar products to what the user had just viewed). However, PPC advertising costs were rising rapidly so companies turned to conversion rate optimisation and the use of landing pages to maximise performance, which still occurs today.
Why PPC Advertising?
PPC is the easiest and quickest way for businesses to drive traffic to their website. The online landscape is complex and saturated making it hard for small businesses, that don’t have bulky advertising budgets and large marketing teams, to stand out.
Growing your online presence organically can take a lot of effort and many years to achieve, there’s also no guarantee that it will happen.
Every time an ad is clicked by a potential customer, sending a visitor to your website, you pay the search engine/platform a small fee. When PPC is working properly, that fee is insignificant; the visit to your website is worth so much more than what you’ve pay for the ad. For example, if you pay $2 for a click and that click results in a $400 sale, then you’ve made a huge profit.
Search Engine Advertising
Search engine advertising is the most widely used form of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links; when someone searches a keyword that’s related to their business offering, the ad will appear. When you use this form of PPC, your ad may appear in the top spot on the results page.
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is the single most popular PPC advertising platform globally; the platform enables businesses to create ads that appear on Google.
Google Ads operates on bid type PPC model; users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their ads. Every time a search is done, Google delves into the pool of advertisers and selects the most relevant and best quality ones (based on keywords, ad campaign and size of the keyword bid); this then appears in the valuable ad space at the top of its search results page.
When Google searches the pool of advertisers, it uses the advertiser’s Ad Rank to make the selection. The Ad Rank is a calculated using two factors i.e. the Cost-per-click Bid (the highest amount an advertiser is willing to spend) and the Quality Score (a score allocated by Google based on your click-through rate, relevance and landing page quality).
Google Ads allows winning advertisers to reach potential customers at a cost that fits within their budget.
PPC marketing through Google Ads is extremely valuable because Google gets massive amounts of traffic, delivering the most impressions and clicks to your ads.
NOTE: Your ad is more likely to appear if the keywords and match types you select are relevant to the search.
PPC advertising is available on Facebook Advertising, it’s determined by how many people you can reach, and how competitive that audience is on the platform.
You can easily create your ads, select your audience and schedule your ads on the platform. Once they’re created, the ads come in a variety of formats and can be placed in different spots around the platform.
Why use Facebook Advertising?
- Large global audience: Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide, and 1.37 of these users visit the website daily.
- Targeted audiences: Based on their preferences.
- Extensive analytics: On things like reach (no. of people who saw your ad), impressions (the no. of times your ad was seen), clicks (the no. of times your ad was clicked) and Cost-per-click/ CPC (based on the no. of clicks your ad received divided by the impression your ad got).
- Proven ROI: Facebook ads generally have a conversion rate of 9.21% across all industries.
Instagram has 100+ million users in the USA alone with 1 billion monthly active users globally, and more than 500 million of them using the platform daily.
Instagram Ads is an extremely viable option for businesses looking for customer engagement and business growth through PPC advertising; it can be done on the app itself or through the Facebook Advertising tool.
Why use Instagram ads?
- Huge audience growth: Instagram has one of the fastest growing audiences among the various social media platforms.
- User attention: Users spend a large amount of time on the platform which means a higher chance of them interacting with ads.
- User intent: According to recent studies, 60% of Instagram users learn about products and services through the platform. And, according to 75% of users, they act accordingly including searching, visiting websites or telling a friend.
- Focused targeting: Instagram uses Facebook’s Advertising tool which has a powerful targeting ability.
LinkedIn Ads are sold through an auction process; when you run ads on LinkedIn, you compete with other advertisers who want to reach a similar target audience.
One option that’s available on LinkedIn Ads is setting bids; you can set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for clicks, impressions etc.; you’ll never pay more than the price you bid.
LinkedIn Ads let you choose the type of activity you want to pay for; you can select the ad format and pricing options that are aligned to your marketing goals. CPC advertising on LinkedIn means you pay when people click on your ad; it’s great for driving traffic to your site or generating leads.
LinkedIn is optimal for B2B marketers doing paid advertising. LinkedIn has 380+ million business professionals and LinkedIn Ads gives you all the information you need to reach your targeted audience.
Why use LinkedIn Ads?
- Updated user details: Of the 380+ million users, the majority keep their title and job details up to date.
- Easy targeting: Use all those updated details to target your audience specifically.
- Skills based targeting: Target your audience based on their skills.
- Lead Accelerator: This tool helps advertisers decrease cost-per-lead and increase conversion rates.
How can PPC help you?
If used well, it can drastically increase traffic to your website which ultimately means more sales. If your business doesn’t have an endless advertising budget, it allows you to advertise on a smaller, more targeted scale, with a global reach.
You set the amount of money you want to spend, so you’re in control; you don’t have to fork out large amounts of money for blanket advertising, hoping that you’re reaching the right audience.
Which platforms should you use?
Firstly, you need to determine what you want for your PPC advertising and who your audience is.
As mentioned, LinkedIn is optimal for B2B marketing, so if you’re a B2C business then it may not work for you.
If your customers are millennials then Instagram is the ideal platform for your PPC advertising; more than 70% of Instagram’s users are millennials. About 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.
Google is the juggernaut when it comes to PPC advertising, so Google is always a go-to for both large and small businesses; it’s a good place to start However, because of its ever-extending reach, it is a more competitive landscape.
How to get PPC Advertising right
Like anything else in business, the more you put in, the more you get out. A lot of work goes into building a winning PPC campaign. From researching and selecting the right keywords, to organising those keywords into well-structured campaigns and ad groups, to setting up PPC landing pages that are optimised to maximise conversions.
Search engines reward advertisers who create relevant, intelligently targeted PPC campaigns by charging them less for each ad click.
If your ads and landing pages are useful and satisfying to searchers, Google will charge you less per click, meaning higher profits for your business. If you want to start using PPC, it’s important to learn how to get it right.
Get the basics right
Getting the basics right will give you a strong foundation for the rest of your PPC campaign. The three basics are:
- Keyword Relevance: Create relevant keyword lists, tight keyword groups and suitable ad content.
- Landing Page Quality: Have specific landing pages containing a clear call to action and persuasive content that’s specifically tailored to search queries.
- Quality Score: Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns is key. The better Quality Scores you have, the more you’ll get ad clicks at a lower cost.
Key features of successful PPC Campaigns
Know your target audience
If you don’t know who you’re targeting then you won’t know where to start. Knowing too much about your audience is never a bad thing; the more you know, the more targeted your PPC ads can be. Knowing everything from behaviour and interests to demographics will give you an edge.
Keywords are key
Regular Keyword Research
Your whole campaign is built around keywords; the most successful PPC advertisers continuously grow and refine their keyword list. It can be time consuming, but if you only do keyword research when you first create your campaign, then you could miss out on endless valuable, low-cost, highly relevant keywords that could drive traffic to your site.
Use High Intent Keywords
High intent keywords indicate a strong intent on the part of the searcher to conduct a transaction, whether it be to buy a product/service or actively inquire with a strong possibility of leading to a sale.
Customised PPC Landing Page
Getting visitors to your website is one thing, but converting sales in another. The best way to convert browsers into customers is to have an ad specific PPC landing page that has persuasive content and a clear call to action, that’s directly linked to your PPC ad.
Managing your PPC Campaign
Once you’ve created your new campaign, you’ll need to constantly manage it and measure its metrics to ensure it continues to be effective. You should be regularly analysing the performance of your account and making adjustments accordingly in order to optimise your campaigns.
Pay-per-click advertising is an easy way for businesses to quickly increase traffic to their website, but it doesn’t guarantee sales; it needs to act as one part of your marketing strategy, not the whole.
Once visitors get to your site, you need to maximise the time those visitors are staying there. If you’re getting high visitor numbers, but your bounce rate is also high then there’s something missing from your website. PPC advertising will simply increase your website traffic, it won’t convert sales if potential customers can’t easily find what they’re looking for.
Whether you embark on PPC advertising yourself, or reach out to a PPC Agency, make sure you keep these important points at the top of your mind.