Have you got 5 minutes? In this article, we’ll quickly go over some of the basic and intermediate concepts of PPC Marketing, and how your business can take advantage of it.
What is PPC Marketing?
PPC stands for pay-per-click, and PPC Marketing deals with placing ads on search engines. When a user types a keyword into the input field, the search engine results page will display ads on the first few lines of the link at the top. On Google, a bolded text “Ad” will appear next to the link, and on Bing, an (Ad) bubble appears before the text.
Search engine advertisements come in all shapes and formats, but they all work the same way:
You set a budget to let search engines know how much you want to bid for a particular set of keywords.
Ad space is displayed to the highest bidders (with some exceptions, to be discussed further below).
Search engines only charge you when a user visits the link (a click on desktop computers and a tap on mobile phones).
Some varieties of PPC Ads
Depending on the search intent or the context of the keywords, search engines will intelligently display the appropriate ad format. This is a huge advantage for users, but can be confusing for advertisers.
For example, the keyword “running shoes” on Google will display a series of image cards that can link to an e-store or an e-commerce site selling the products. Google will also display an interactive map showing all the shoe stores it can find (this is not Google advertising, but organic business listing, but we won’t cover GoogleMyBusiness in this article).
Sometimes these cards are displayed to the right, and regular ad links (no image) dominate the first few positions. What is displayed on the page depends on the keywords and the search intent perceived by the search engine. If the search intent signals that the user wants to buy something, ads usually appear as search engines (and other advertisers) assume that a purchase decision is about to be made (a hot lead) rather than simply to research (a cold lead).
Information displayed on the ads, such as phone number, location and address depend on the content that advertisers provide.
Is PPC Ads a pay-to-win scenario?
As with any marketing efforts, the more you invest in marketing, the more likely it is to generate new leads and the easier it becomes to sell something. Does this mean it would be impossible to compete with high bidders? Will high bidders always win against low bidders? Will there be a vicious monopoly of ad space only granted to the elite businesses?
Luckily, common observations suggest that it is still possible to compete for ad space even with lower budgets. It depends on the “playing field” that you wish to compete in; if you target niche keywords that only your niche markets would likely to search, you will have a chance.
However, if you target a highly competitive keyword with high cost-per-click (you can gain access to the average cost-per-click from Google Keyword Planner or third-party tools), you won’t stand a chance with a lower-than-average budget.
Realistically, no company, large or small, can afford to target every keyword that is remotely related to the business. For example, if you run an online shoes store, the keywords “how to repair running shoes” may be related to what you sell.
However, searchers who type these words into the search query wanted to learn how to maintain running shoes, not to buy a new pair. If you target these keywords for your PPC Ads, your site visitors will come and go without ever buying anything from you!
So a good balance must be achieved. A medium-to-low competition set of keywords with purchase intent at a reasonable cost equal to the cost of customer acquisition is what you should aim for.
There are many tips on how to target the right keywords for your budget, but this short guide will not cover them as there is an entire ocean of knowledge to explore. It would also take years of experience with PPC Marketing to excel at it.
While it’s true that low-bidders are slightly disadvantaged in the competition for ad space, there are non-monetary factors that you still need to consider, which can potentially make up for the low budget.
What is an ad quality score?
Google and Bing aren't completely money-oriented. They need to respect the searchers’ experience and maintain a high standard that ensures users will visit the best websites in existence. Ad quality score is a summary of quality, measured by search engine algorithms, to determine whether your website will display what the searchers expect to find after clicking on the ad.
There are several component to the quality score:
- Landing page user experience
- Historic Click-through-rate (CTR)
The landing page is the page to which your ads link up. Most amateur advertisers will set the homepage as the landing page. What’s wrong with that? Consider the homepage to be the central navigation page that links to all the pages in the website. It is like the start line for the website visitors, before reaching a specific page they were hoping to find.
A good ad links directly to the finish line. The landing page should contain keywords that were used by your ad in the first place. Otherwise, there is a mismatch of user intent and relevance, visitors will exit without converting, and you paid for the click that produces no result.
Click-through-rate (CTR) is the number of clicks of the ad per impressions. This highly depends on how well you wrote the ad description. It’s also a way to honestly judge (based on human perception) whether your ad is interesting enough to be displayed, since search engines cannot replicate this perception.
If your landing page and bidding is good enough to win ad space, but CTR is low, your ad description may not be performing optimally. Check your ad description so that you provide enough information in an enticing way to get people to click your ad.
PPC Marketing may seem risky, but it doesn’t have to be
A busy entrepreneur has people to meet, products to sell, and ideas to generate. It would be a wiser decision to delegate the technical tasks of managing PPC Ads to the experts.
Contact us for more information, questions, and insights.