Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is hosting ads on search engines and paying every time someone clicks on one of the ads from, say, Google, Yahoo or Bing. PPC has been around since the ‘90s and is sometimes discounted by modern marketers looking for the sizzle of social or digital ads. But here are five reasons why PPC is worth its position as part of the marketing mix—and how to get started if you’re not currently doing PPC advertising for your products or company.
Five benefits of PPC
- It’s cost effective: With PPC advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and it takes less budget to make a dent. For example, as detailed in this podcast, it’s possible to have a successful PPC campaign for under $500 per month. Compared to other digital and traditional advertising, that’s a bargain. Companies set the budget so they can control costs.
- It’s targeted: Your PPC ads aren’t shown to just anyone: They’re served to the audience you choose through targeting. You can remarket to people who have visited certain pages on your website or downloaded one of your offers, and target people who match your current customers or have the right interests. You can also choose what time they’ll be served the ads, so your dollars aren’t wasted.
- It’s flexible: PPC advertising is incredibly nimble. You can turn it on and off quickly—and adjust ads on the fly based on how well certain ads are performing over others. Compared to traditional media like TV and outdoor, PPC ads give you a lot more control.
- It’s resource light: PPC ads are text based, so there’s no heavy design time needed to get them ready for prime time. All you need is a wordsmith, a call-to-action (CTA), a target audience and a budget—and you’re really to roll.
- It’s easily trackable: PPC ads incorporate with search engine monitoring tools like Google Analytics to give you real-time data on how your ads are doing. This can help you determine whether to scale back or ramp up budget in accordance with target response. In addition, this real-time data can help you A/B test larger campaign messages so you can make a more informed decision about wording to use for radio spots, collateral and other materials that are costlier to produce and harder to change.
Getting started with PPC
If you’re thinking of incorporating PPC into your advertising campaigns, start small with a test campaign in the beginning to see how it goes. Identify your goals, such as whether you’d like to increase clicks to a product page on your site, generate sign-ups for a trial or just drive people to your company page overall.
Decide which PPC network to use, be it Google AdWords or Bing Ads—which is responsible for ads for both Bing and Yahoo search engines—or one of the smaller networks like Bidvertiser. AdWords is the most used of the options—and for that reason, prices can be costlier when compared to other networks. But its tools and incorporation with the largest search engine make it attractive.
With your network in place, set your keyword priorities based on your thoughtful keyword research that you likely did to optimize your website. Haven’t revisited your keywords lately? We can help >
Next, create your content according to the content guidelines for the network you’ve chosen. For example, for Google AdWords text ads, you have a maximum length of 30 characters each for headlines one and two, an 80-character maximum description and two customized website paths with 15 characters each. It’s a good idea to A/B test different message options to see which gets better traction.
After adding your target audience, set your budget and launch your campaign. It’ll take anywhere between one and three days for your ads to be approved. Be sure to log in to your dashboard and monitor ad performance so you can see what is working and what isn’t, and adjust budgets accordingly.