Pay-per-click advertising is to modern business what a $5 bottle of wine is to a good night out - essential! If you're a newbie to PPC, you might have a hunch that you need to jump on the bandwagon, but deep down you're really asking yourself, 'Wait, what IS this thing?'
Let's get one thing straight, PPC is simple, but it ain't for the faint-hearted. While you might be triggered by the age-old PPC horror stories of new businesses tipping their precious piggy-bank into Google Ads, only to achieve zero results (a tale fit for round-the-campfire chills, right?) - it's important to remember that when you get it right, PPC can actually be a super powerful form of digital marketing! It allows you to control how much you spend, target new audiences and drive them to your business and your wonderful offerings.
So, let's avoid the horrors, and get down to the nitty-gritty of PPC so you can get started on setting up your first campaign!
What is PPC Advertising?
Have you noticed the advertisements that sit pretty alongside search results on Google? If you have, then hey! You're already familiar with pay-per-click! In a nutshell, PPC is an online advertising model where advertisers only pay each time a user clicks on one of their online ads, so you can fix 'em up nice with what they're looking for. Essentially, it's a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to earn those visits organically - because it's not as easy to drive 'free traffic' as you might think.
Googles algorithms are designed to only reward the highest quality sites with organic rankings, and while SEO is great, it can take a lot of time and effort. It is 100% worth the faff, but don't you want to be attracting traffic and driving sales in the meantime? Exactly - PPC is a lot faster and gives you far more control over how you appear in search results and where customers see your ads, meaning that you're able to connect with the right people, at the right time with the right message.
To reach the right people (and to develop a drool-worthy PPC campaign) you need to get keyword savvy. Think about it - when you use Google, you type words into the search box to find what you're looking for. The results that Google gives you, are there because they're relevant to the words you put in the search box! So, if you want your ads to show up on the page, you have to bid on those keywords!
How do you do this? Think of Google AdWords like a real-life auction - something is put up for sale with a starting price, and then the auctioneer starts calling for bids. In Google's auction, the items up for grabs are the placement of your ads in the display and the keywords you want to appear for in search results! To make sure you're bidding on the right keywords you need to do some in-depth keyword research to find out what key terms are relevant to your target audience, set up negative keywords to filter out any unwanted clicks and optimise your bids so you have peace of mind that the keywords you're bidding on are worth it!
If you're picking up what I've been putting down so far, you're probably wondering, 'So if it's just like a real auction, the sale should go to the highest bidder?'. Well actually, AdWords is extra selective, in that how often the ad shows, its position on the page, and how much the ad costs, depends on two factors: the bid and the projected quality of the ads! Google wants content that makes the search space a better place, and ads that show people exactly what they want to see, with reliable information and up-to-date resources. If your ads aren't great (low quality score), you'll have to pay a hell-uv-alot more to Google for them to show your ad to users. But, if you've made some swish, targeted and compelling ads, your quality score will be through the roof and so will your ad ranking. Happy days - your ad is in front of your customers!
To target your audience at the right time and with the right message, you have five different ad 'campaign' types to choose from to determine where your ads will appear! First, you have 'Search Ads', which are the bread and butter of Google Ads, as they appear next to Google search results, making sure potential customers notice your brand and consider your products.
You've also got the option of choosing 'Display ads', which can appear across a network of more than 2 million sites and apps, reaching 90% of all people on the internet. These ads get matched to content related to your business or your customers interest. Using a display campaign increases your overall exposure and reaches audiences with specific interests across the web.
Next, you've got 'Video ads' that allow you to reach the right audience at scale and capture their attention right before they watch their favourite YouTube video, bringing your business' story to life.
You've also got 'Shopping Ads' which appear in Google Shopping next to the search results, promoting your products and giving consumers detailed information about what you're selling even before they click your ad! This allows you advertise your online and local inventory, boost traffic and find better-qualified leads.
Lucky last, you could choose to run "App ads" across Google's largest properties, including Search, Play, and YouTube as well as thousands of mobile sites and apps, to increase engagement, app installs and even in-app actions.
So friends, what's the take home message? Basically, if you develop ad content that is targeted to the right people, at the right time with the right message, Google will charge you less per click, leading to higher profits, leads, website visits and awareness for your business!