The world of paid search can be extremely daunting and it’s very easy to whittle away your budget with no results to show for it if you don’t know what you’re doing. PPC, also known as Pay Per Click, or search engine marketing (SEM), is intricate and requires careful planning to deliver top results.
Paid media comes in many forms, from Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and many other ad networks and platforms available to utilize online. There are also different types of adverts: text, video, image, etc.
How does PPC Advertising work?
Paid media can be an extremely valuable source of online traffic for your business. Results are fast and website visitors can be pushed further down the funnel from the get-go. It is estimated that around 80 percent of online businesses spend at least a quarter of their marketing budget on digital advertising.
PPC is an incredibly old type of digital advertising and is essentially defined in the name. You only pay per click on an ad. Unlike a sustainable SEO strategy, where you optimize for keywords to improve organic rankings, you bid on your target keywords, and if the bid is won, your ad is shown in search engine results pages, in the ‘ad’ section above the organic listings. This is similar to how PPC works on social platforms, such as Facebook, where you target your market, bid on keywords, and if won, your ad will be shown to the relevant users on the platform, which could be in a variety of locations, depending on the ad setup.
Why should you include PPC in your digital marketing strategy?
Results from a well-executed PPC campaign are fast, providing instant conversions, sales and, ultimately, ROI. However, a successful campaign means clicks, which means money. PPC campaigns can be expensive, especially in competitive industries with highly competitive keywords. If funds were ever to dry up, results would disappear instantly. It is not a sustainable strategy alone. If no other source of traffic has been driving to the site, then all traffic could be lost at once. This is why PPC and SEO work so harmoniously together.
Including PPC in your strategy provides you with a stream of valuable traffic quickly. This means that even if efforts to improve your organic rankings have been in the pipeline, as long as you have a great user experience on site, you can see instant results. By having an optimized user experience, you have already put the steps needed in place to retain a visitor once they click on your ad and are more likely to push them through to conversion. These results can keep coming as long as you have the funds to pay for it and you provide the goods once the user is on your website.
In theory, this may sound simple and you may wonder why everyone is not doing PPC and becoming a successful millionaire with their business online. Well, that’s in theory. In reality, it’s a little more complex than that.
What does a PPC strategy involve?
Budgeting is something that a lot of businesses don’t get right with PPC campaigns, and if they’re bidding on popular search terms, they can end up running out of money quite quickly, with excessively high bids.
The other big mistake many businesses make when starting out with PPC is keyword choice. Some keywords may look ideal, they match what you’re offering, kind of, they make sense to you, and they’re cheap. However, if they are not targeted or clear enough, you may end up seeing very little traffic pushed through this channel, or worse, lots of irrelevant traffic. So although you will still pay for their clicks on your ads, they are the wrong type of customer, they won’t convert, and they are not valuable to your ROI. They are essentially costing you money because you didn’t set your target audience correctly.
The final big playing factor in getting your PPC strategy right is the ad quality. Ad text and imagery need to be selected carefully and strategically to encourage clicks, but also to ensure that what you’re presenting is a clear representation of what a user will find, to ensure those clicking on your ad are relevant and interested. There is no point trying to get someone’s attention to make them click on your ad, only to have something completely different available on the website. This will not only cost you money, but also affect your brand reputation if your ads are consistently not aligned with your business offering.
Done correctly, PPC can be a hugely effective addition to your digital marketing strategy. Some may say that SEO is more important, or you need to focus on your content. And while these are very important elements, they actually work as one. They all need to form part of your overall strategy if you plan on being seen as an industry expert, growing your user base and sales, and storming ahead of the competition.