In the era of PPC advertising (PPC stands for ‘Pay Per Click’), your online marketing campaign can be more precisely targeted than ever. A cleverly planned and managed PPC strategy can save money, boost your profile and increase online sales, making a vibrant online presence accessible to businesses of all kinds.
PPC Advertising – The Basics
As the name implies, ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising is different from other channels in that the financial cost to the advertiser depends on the number of times their website is visited as a direct result of the online advert in question. Simply, adverts are placed online, and the advertiser is charged each time an internet user chooses to ‘click through’ to their website.
This benefits advertisers as the amount they pay for an advert is set by the amount of positive response it receives. For search engine providers, advertising networks, and website owners, PPC advertising provides an effective means of monetizing a vast spectrum of online content and services.
Google AdWords – Content is Key
Google is long-established as the world’s leading search engine, so unsurprisingly opening a Google AdWords account is often the first step many businesses make towards establishing an effective PPC advertising strategy. There is simply no other service which can offer access to the same volume of internet users with a clear interest in the product or service on offer.
While the way in which the AdWords system operates is reasonably straightforward, there are a number of important aspects to understand in order to make it work effectively for your business.
Initially, advertisers are invited to submit ‘bids’ for each of their desired search words depending on the maximum amount of money they are prepared to pay each time a user ‘clicks through’ to their website when Google displays one of their ads associated with that particular word. So-called ‘negative keywords’ can also be used to improve the efficiency of your PPC campaign by withholding adverts whenever a search term includes certain words.
Meanwhile, Google awards the advertiser a ‘quality score’ based on a variety of factors including the quality of the text used in the ad itself and the landing page content, keyword relevancy, and previous AdWords performance. By achieving a high score, businesses benefit from discounted rates which reduce the cost of advertising using Google AdWords considerably.
So what’s in it for Google? Quite simply, rather than going for the maximum amount of money per ‘click through’, Google take the view that by encouraging better content and a more favourable user experience in this way, they are able to secure their long-term position at the same time as guaranteeing repeat businesses from successful advertisers.
And if you get your content right, your business will benefit from this success too.
The Alternatives – Get Social or Go Niche?
If you have decided that – as formidable as it may be – Google AdWords just isn’t quite the right ‘fit’ for you, or if you’re already an AdWords advertiser and are looking for other PPC opportunities to increase the online presence of your business even further, it is worth considering advertising on social media or via smaller websites which have a particular relevance to your business.
While there are many social media networks out there, the two which are most established for PPC purposes are Facebook and Twitter. Both of these channels enable businesses to target potential customers whose internet use shows that they are highly likely to have an interest in the product or service on offer, either by analysing their online activity via browser ‘cookies’, or by identifying their interests using data generated by their various ‘likes’ and ‘follows’.
This method of advertising can offer a more personal approach that is especially useful when promoting lifestyle products and services. However, care must be taken not to intrude too much on the internet user’s experience. Again, content is key, so prepare all advertising with at least one – preferably both – eyes on how it will appear from the internet user’s point of view.
Finally, if your business caters to a particular community or interest group, it makes sense to place PPC adverts on smaller niche websites with readerships which can be expected to overlap with your target market. Rather than approaching individual websites directly, industry practice is to use a specialist advertising network to gain access to a whole catalogue of relevant websites. This approach can produce exceptionally high conversion rates, and allows you to enhance results by closely tailoring your adverts and content to the specific audience you intend to reach.
So there you have it. Follow these simple principles and you should be well on your way to creating the perfect PPC advertising strategy for your business.
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