PPC is an acronym for Pay-Per-Click, or sometimes referred to as simply Paid Search. PPC is the platform where you can bid to place your ads on top of search results.
Instead of waiting for the effects from your SEO efforts to pick up, you can ramp up traffic immediately with PPC. By paying a fee to search engines for each click they send to your website. You have most likely already seen sponsored ads (unless you use an Ad Blocker). Ads are normally labeled and appear at the top, side and bottom of the natural search results.
The most popular PPC platform is Google Ads, although all platforms run on a similar model. Effectively you select an amount that you are willing to pay per click and your ads will begin being served; when a user clicks on your ad you are charged.
Bids are placed by multiple advertisers to get their ads in the most prominent locations on screen. The position of ads from different advertisers is based on a few factors:
The combination of the above factors will determine your Ad Rank. Bid amount is how much you are willing to pay for the click, whereas Quality Score is a metric that shows how relevant your advertised page is to the keywords you are trying to appear for.
This means that your ad must first of all be relevant for the users' search intent, no matter how much you bid, you will never appear for "How Shoes Are Made" if your page only talks about how to bake a cake.
The opposite is also true, if your website is ver relevant and gets a 10/10 score then your cost will be less than other less relevant advertisers. So effectively you can influence your rank by paying more, or being better.
For PPC to work and offer an acceptable return on your investment you will need to keep a few things in mind. The whole system is keyword driven, you are bidding to appear on searches of specific keywords.
The keywords you choose need to be relevant and attract the correct user intent. Successful ad campaigns require significant effort to determine the right keywords.
Failure to identify viable keywords can cause you to target the wrong audience and burn through a substantial budget with little to no results.
There are various ways to further drill down and target your ads to ensure you are only appearing for the right people:
It is not possible to have all the answers before starting your campaign, there is some degree of testing the waters and seeing what results you get and using that data to influence further decisions.
This should be done often and continuously, every time you learn something new about the shape of your campaign, your audience behaviour or website performance you should improve it as you will keep pushing yourself to reducing costs and increasing returns.
It is also important to make sure you are acting on statistically significant data, for example 5 clicks where you have zero contacts would yield a 0% conversion rate, which sounds bad, but if the next person were to contact you then the conversion rate instantly jumps to 16% and now feels far more workable.
You have to keep a cool head to act on data and not emotions.
The benefit from PPC is clear, you have immediate access to high quality traffic irrespective of where you are in your journey. Whether you are a new business that requires quick results, or you are a well established business bridging the gap from your seasonality.
PPC can be used to grow your customer base, there are a few options to doing so:
All of the methods help build a long term interaction between yourself and your customers that ultimately lead to further returns.
PPC can be utilised as a way to test campaigns for other marketing channels, for example a new SEO or Social Media campaign may take a few days, weeks or months to start bringing in customers to a specific landing page which could potentially be woeful at converting.
Sending a little PPC traffic to that landing page as a small campaign will give you a great idea pretty quickly if you have an effective landing page.
This minor spend could end up paying dividends as you know you do not need to revisit landing pages sporadically in the future for results.
Traditional marketing methods have a very limited way to target people: leafleting, radio, television and billboards all cast an extremely wide net. With PPC you can make sure you interact only with an audience that has a high likelihood of being relevant meaning you are visible to only your potential customers.
When you are focusing only on the relevant audience and target them, it increases the likelihood of them clicking on your Ad and increases your sales. You have control over the target audience and only focus on the audience relevant to your business.
PPC gives you control over your Ads, you are free to stop ads immediately, amend them, change your demographics, budget or any number of factors. This makes campaign delivery far less stressful
If you are lucky enough to work in an industry with low take up of PPC you are able to dominate with a good campaign. There is enough space for you to advertise with relatively low cost.
Most digital marketing channels work best when working in tandem. SEO helps shape your strategy, Content Marketing creates valuable resources that your customers want, Social Media generates a buzz and PPC ties it all together, every other marketing channel is used as fuel to make PPC better.
The reason this works is that you have many reasons to take all the right steps towards doing things right, the losses are multiplied if you don't act, but the wins are also multiplied if you do act.