An Introduction to PPC

Whether you’re a digital marketing newbie or a seasoned professional within your niche, taking the time to cultivate a broad knowledge of how different channels work is extremely valuable to your professional development, agency, and clients.

That being said, it can be easy to inadvertently put up “blinders” to digital marketing channels beyond your current area of expertise. To combat this, we've started introductory guides for various digital marketing niches. This guide will be dedicated to pay-per-click.

What Is PPC?

PPC is an abbreviation for the term “pay-per-click.” Aptly named, PPC ads give advertisers the opportunity to nab prime real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs) and within advertising networks. The beauty of PPC is that advertisers only pay when users click them -- there is no charge for impressions.

The operative word in that last paragraph is “opportunity,” as whether or not a business’s ad actually appears, and what order it's listed in is dependent upon AdWords Auction results. Google has a useful video explaining in-detail how the AdWord Auction works, but the general idea is:

  • When someone searches, the AdWords system finds all advertisers whose keywords and other targeting criteria match that search.
  • Of the remaining ads, only those with a sufficiently high Ad Rank may show. Ad Rank is a combination of your bid, ad relevance to the searched word, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

Benefits Of PPC:

There are many benefits for adding PPC to your business’ integrated digital marketing efforts if you haven’t already. Here are my top five:

  1. Ability to pay only for the ads that are actually clicked on by users, with the option to set the daily and monthly budget allotment for ads.
  2. Streamlined aesthetic to organic listings, take up a majority of above-the-fold real estate.
  3. Variety of customization options, including the copy, landing page, geography, and more. Learn more about ad extensions here.
  4. Nearly a 100% guarantee that you are showing in front of customers that are explicitly interested in your product or brand.
  5. Ability to directly measure conversions, leads, and revenue to understand the return on your investment.

Basic PPC Strategy:

Before diving into your first PPC campaign, make sure you’ve decided upon these three basic elements:

1. Target keywords tell search engines what type of user queries are most relevant to your ad, and are also the terms that you bid for at Auction.

Pro Tips:

  • Stumped on choosing your target keywords? Try combing through your company website, use the Google Keyword Planner, and brainstorm what users would ideally type in to see your ads.
  • Format your target keywords by “broad match,” “phrase match,” or “exact match” to exercise more control over the search query terms you want to bid on.

2. Creative elements refer to the customizable pieces of the ad - ranging from the copy, to the landing page, to any extensions used.

Pro Tips:

  • To get the best Quality Score, make sure that the ad is as relevant and engaging as possible. This will help increase the probability that Google will show your ad and that customers will stay on your website once the ad has been clicked.
  • Avoid editing ads after they’ve gone live whenever possible - otherwise you're looking at data for 2 versions of an ad with no way of splitting it up! (Keep data clean and create a new ad instead!)

3. Budget can be customized at both the daily and monthly level, as well as allocated differently across various ad campaigns running simultaneously.

Pro Tip:

  • One of the most useful ways to gauge the success of ad campaigns is to measure the ROAS, or “Return on Ad Spend.” This can be calculated by (Profit - Cost) / Cost = ROAS%.

Did you find this post helpful? What else would you like to learn about? Let us know in the comments below!

written by: Elizabeth Lefelstein

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