Welcome to the first part of our free educational series of articles dedicated to one of the most important digital marketing topics, but also one of the indispensable tools for online growth – PPC advertising. If you previously have shown at least a little interest in any type of paid advertising, maybe you already have stumbled upon PPC, but if you are not – don’t worry, until the end of the series, you will be familiar with some of the core conceptions of PPC and even might be able to independently run highly-optimized campaigns, driving multiple inquiries for your online organisation.
So, what is PPC?
First, let’s start with the most basic thing – the name. What does the PPC abbreviation stand for? The full meaning of “PPC” is Pay-Per-Click. At its core, PPC advertising means that if you run an online campaign on one of the platforms offering this “privilege”, you will pay for every click on your ads. It is as simple as that. But when it comes to PPC, the only simple thing is the name. Despite its complexity, this amazing tool has the potential to leverage the online presence of every business or initiative to levels that can’t be reached with only organic (organic = free) web traffic. Also, one of the fascinating benefits of paid advertising is that its results are almost instantaneous – in a matter of few days, you can gather feedback for your targeted audience or even make some “conversions”. When we mentioned “conversions”, it is good to clarify that a common misconception related to PPC is that a “conversion” equals a sale. Actually, for a “conversion”, can be counted many actions which a user that has viewed or clicked on a paid ad does. Website actions – signing for a webinar, completing sign-up forms, and many others can be counted as a “conversion”. Another type of “conversions” are phone calls (in some cases, they are pretty useful). Also, let’s not forget one of our favourites – the app-install conversion metric. With those clarifications about the types of “conversions”, we want to emphasise that many socially-oriented causes are neglecting the power of PPC only because they think that paid advertising is crucial only for the e-commerce brands and sales. This is wrong! With well thought out strategy, even a nonprofit organisation can achieve stunning results in terms of reach and popularity.
Also, every organisation should have a set of branded keywords that should be researched and used for PPC campaigns if they want to have a strong online presence.
That brings us to our next point.
The core element behind every PPC campaign are the keywords. But before we continue with more information about keywords, let’s clear another misconception. Many are mistakenly using interchangeably “keywords” and “search query”. Although related, they are not the same thing. The keywords can be seen as the extrapolation of multiple search queries. For example, the keyword “education” can be found in multiple queries, like “free education” or “professional education” and so on. From an advertising standpoint, the important thing that you have to remember is that the keyword “education” can trigger both of those queries. Subsequently, this can lead to the “delivery” in the search results page of an ad that you have created and is targeted at this concrete keyword.
In the future, we will dedicate special articles to the keywords, but now let’s see where they are used. Their “home” is the search engine result pages of the online platforms; the most popular one, of course, is Google Search. When someone types in search criteria, the platform returns the most relevant results – both organic and paid. What concerns us in the role of campaign managers is to have precisely targeted and relevant keywords and ads. The careful choice of keywords is very important because for every user’s search the search engine algorithm is creating an “auction” – your ad and keywords vs those of the other advertisers. The deciding factors which ad to be served are multiple and too complex (some of them are known only to the platform developers), but it is important to know that the few of the most influential are the bid price and the keyword/ad/landing page relevance. Keep in mind that if every other factor is the same, the search engine will deliver the ad with the higher bid. But this rarely is the case, and that’s why you have to pay attention to the keyword choice and campaign optimisation.
For keywords optimisation, we have a few tips:
- Optimise your bids – due to limited budgets, we have to make wise choices most of the time and focus only on the highest performing keywords.
- Research – for every PPC campaign the keyword research is one of the most important factors. Don’t make compromises with it.
- Group and optimise – having a well-structured campaign hierarchy is very important.
- Use negative keywords – negative keywords are always a good idea and are a key identifier for a well-thought-out campaign.
PPC or SEO?
After we took a slight glance at the complexity of the PPC advertising, the next logical question is – is it worth it? Isn’t it a good idea just to produce high-quality organic content and avoid spending money on PPC? That may be the oldest dilemma for an organisation trying to establish their online presence – to invest in optimising their organic content or to invest in sometimes costly but generating quick results like PPC. The solution? Honestly, there are a ton of valid arguments why an organisation should do both SEO and PPC, but here we will give you the most obvious and simple one – they complement each other. The synergy of SEO and PPC generates many benefits but let’s list some of the most important:
- You can juggle with keywords – high-cost keywords or keywords that are not converting enough but are still important for the brand can be thrown into the organic content. The opposite is also true if you find a set of organic keywords that perform extraordinary for your brand – use them in your paid advertising.
- Data from PPC can be used for content optimisation – the PPC campaigns often provide valuable insights. A smart marketer would benefit significantly from them and leverage the data for better organic content.
- Remarketing – your valuable audiences that visited your organic content can be kept in the loop by highly effective remarketing campaigns.
- Create confidence – sometimes, for the brand fans, it is important to see their favourite companies have both organic and paid presence. That increases the trust in the brand significantly.
- Testing – A/B testing can be done in organic, and then the insights can be used in paid advertising. The possibilities are countless, so to be creative is a good idea.
After we got a little more familiar with some of the PPC specifics, let’s continue with…
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Despite the relatively comprehensive reports generated by Google or any other platform, the data is too much at times. Also, it is important for beginners to have patience and to look at their campaign from a macro level. It is crucial to give your campaigns plenty of time before starting to evaluate them. The troubling factor here is that this will cost you financial resources. But compromises here are not allowed, actually for us, measuring and understanding the performance of a PPC campaign is as crucial as the proper initial setup of it. That’s why we will dedicate multiple resources to this topic in the future, but in the current article, we will mention only the important factors that have to be monitored at all times if you want your campaign to flourish:
Click-Through Rate – one of the most important metrics. If your CTR is high, it basically means that the users are finding your ad as useful.
Quality Score – it rates how good is the performance of the keywords and if the landing pages are good (fast, relevant, etc.)
Cost per Conversion – this is the price you spend to acquire a new client. VERY important metric.
Bounce Rate – might show flaws in your campaign or landing page.
Search Impressions Share – it compares the total times your ad could have been shown vs the actual times that it appeared in the search results.
Conversion Rate – the mighty CR shows the percentage of peoples that clicked on your ads AND completed a certain action in a specific time frame.
Impressions and Clicks – literally shows how many times your ads have been shown in the search results and how many times a user has clicked on them.
This list can be a lot longer, but these are some of the crucial factors that have to be tracked to get statistically significant information about the performance of your PPC campaign.
We bet that at first glance, this whole information is looking quite scary. This leads us to our next recommendation – hire a professional to kick-start your PPC advertising. It doesn’t matter what your organisation’s goals are – more conversions, increased brand recognition, acquiring more donations, and so on. An expert in paid advertising will set you on the right path and do it almost risk-free. The thing with PPC is that the margin for errors is too tiny, and a solid experience is required to invest your resources wisely. It is a common practice even for marketers or agencies with solid marketing knowledge to partner or outsource the PPC management to outside experts specifically trained in the management of huge budgets and can generate excellent ROIs. But if you ever have encountered the need for PPC management, you should know that finding such experts or agencies can be quite a challenge at times.
That’s why we will continue our second part of the guide with some of our field-tested tips on:
- Why hire a PPC advertising agency?
- Choosing the right PPC agency.
- Common mistakes made when a PPC campaign is planned.
- Top Strategies for huge ROI from paid advertising in 2021.
- Other insider tips.
Stay tuned for the next articles from this series dedicated to fully demystify the scary PPC advertising. And to be sure that you won’t miss the valuable guides coming soon – make sure to subscribe to our free online bulletin. See you there
- Ppchero.com – PPC articles
- Searchenginejournal.com – 10 Important PPC Trends to Watch in 2021
- Wordstream.com – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Training
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