If there’s one thing that successful businesses do right now that others should consider doing, it’s running PPC ads. It’s a digital advertising strategy that’s been making the rounds lately because of its impact on businesses, especially during the pandemic. In fact, in 2017 alone, over 7 million advertisers have invested a total of $10.01 billion just for PPC ads.
So what are PPC ads and why should small businesses, for example, care about them?
What are PPC Ads?
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It is a digital marketing strategy commonly associated with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, where an advertiser (say, a business) pays a publisher (like Google) whenever their ad is clicked by an internet user. In short, it’s a way for businesses to get someone to visit their site.
Why are PPC Ads important for a business?
PPC ads are a way for businesses to establish brand awareness, the degree of consumers’ ability to recognize your brand under different conditions. In fact, according to studies, PPC ads can contribute to an increase in brand awareness by up to 80%.
They can also help businesses generate leads, convert leads into customers, and drive sales and profit. Simply put, it’s an essential part of a business’s online marketing strategy to establish its dominance in the digital space.
It’s also claimed to be cost-effective. As the name suggests, businesses only pay when their ad is clicked. That means they won’t have to spend on something that won’t guarantee lead generation. Ad prices are not fixed. They are set by bidding, which allows businesses greater flexibility when it comes to ad spending.
According to statistics, small and medium businesses pay around US$9,000 to US$10,000 a month for PPC ads.
How to do a PPC Ad campaign
Running a pay-per-click ad campaign works differently for each business. So you must consider the following:
1. Identify your marketing goal
Just like every marketing campaign, businesses must set their goals first. What do they want to achieve at the end of the campaign? More sales? More leads? More awareness?
2. Choose where to advertise
After identifying your goal, decide where to advertise.
Here are the top places to advertise:
3. Select the keyword to bid on
To choose a keyword, you need to understand what makes a good keyword(s) to bid on. Think like a potential customer that will be typing in a question or a statement in the search engine bar which you would like to reach out to. Be specific as much as possible. For example, “flower shop under $20” or “restaurant with vegan food” sound more specific than “vegan” or “flower shop.”
You can also modify your language and location settings to ensure your ads would reach your target audience.
4. Plan your bid
Do you want to bid for multiple keywords? How much is your budget? Is the price for your desired keyword or phrase too high? Here, you have to carefully plan your bid in relation to your marketing goals.
5. Set up your ad
Design your ad and how it would appear to target leads and customers. Think about what problems are you trying to solve for your intended audience. Try testing different approaches like different copies, headlines, structure, and images if applicable.
6. Assess and evaluate
Monitor your PPC campaign closely. Find out what’s wrong and revise your strategy if it isn’t working. Identify your successful keywords. Gather data from this campaign as much as possible and record your performance. Study how to improve next time.
Best Practices and Strategies for PPC Advertising
When doing PPC advertising, consider the following best practices in 2021:
1. Long Tail Keywords Beat Generic Keywords
When it comes to PPC ads, the longer and more specific, the better. Longer tail keywords tend to attract people who are looking for more specific results and are highly likely to make a purchase.
For example, based on Wordtracker, here are the number of searches for the following keywords in the US:
- Cotton shirt – 4,008 searches per month
- Cotton shirts for women – 2,467 searches per month
- Women cotton long sleeve t shirts – 1,407 searches per month
- Women’s heavy cotton long sleeve t shirts – 74 searches per month
Having generic keywords like “cotton shirt” would make you face tougher competition. You’ll also have to pay higher since a lot of people will probably check your ad and see if your product fits their needs and preferences.
The problem with this is that a “cotton shirt” may not necessarily match the consumer interest— they might be interested in a cotton shirt for men, a cotton polyester long-sleeve shirt for sports, or men’s cotton shirt for winter.
If you’re only selling women’s heavy cotton long sleeve t-shirts, chances are they won’t be interested in your product. In short, you’re only paying for an ad with zero conversion.
So, when it comes to PPC, the best thing to do is go for longer tail keywords that would match the products or services you’re selling, as that would increase your chances of getting purchases and driving up sales.
2. Use Negative Keywords
Using negative keywords in PPC is as important as identifying keywords themselves. Negative keywords are those that when typed in by an internet user, would stop your ad from showing, thus preventing clicks from the said user.
Why is this important? Because not everyone who searches the internet is a potential customer. And you don’t want to be paying for a click from an internet user who has zero chances of making a purchase from you.
Just like the example above, if you’re selling long sleeve cotton shirts for women, you might want to add “long sleeve cotton shirts for men” as your negative keywords in order to prevent men, who have no interest in buying a cotton shirt for women, from clicking on your ad.
3. Put Your Best Ad Copy Forward
Your PPC campaign will only be as effective as your ad copy, so make sure that your ad content is clear, enticing, and unforgettable. You have to know how to optimize your ad copy so it can attract customers. Hire a professional, if possible. Remember, when it comes to ad copies, less is more.
4. Timing is Key
Restricting your PPC ads’ schedule, when they will be shown, is a way to optimize your PPC campaign. Study your target audience’s profile: when are they most likely going to see your ads? During weekdays? In the morning? During breakfast?
Running your ads based on a target schedule not only allows you to save from unnecessary clicks, it also increases your chances of sales conversion.
5. Monitor the Clicks
Make sure that any click on your paid ad is from a real human and from different sources. Monitoring the sources of those clicks and who’s behind them allows you to save more on your PPC campaign and also ensure its effectiveness.
Be wary of “invalid clicks” or click on ads that are considered as illegitimate. Examples of invalid clicks are unintentional clicks or clicks resulting from malicious software (for example, software that automates the clicking of an ad to increase profits for website owners hosting your ads).
6. Prepare for Voice Search
“Okay, Google” is now becoming increasingly used by people, especially younger generations. According to Google, more than 27% of the global online population now uses voice search on mobile, with active users of the Google Assistant increasing up to 400% in 2019.
Smart speakers such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home are also becoming home quintessentials and are keeping pace with consumer demands. In 2018 alone, over 34 million smart speaker devices were sold in the US, according to a study. In 2019, it was estimated that around 27 percent of the population, in the United States alone, owned a smart home device.
Voice search is changing SEO, especially when it comes to Local and Hyperlocal Search. In 2019, around 58% of consumers reported to have found local businesses using voice search, which is great news for local businesses and something that you should seriously consider strategizing on.
7. Go Mobile
It would be a massive mistake for businesses to ignore the rising importance of mobiles in 2021. Based on statistics, 52% of PPC clicks come from mobile and 70% of all paid search impressions are on mobile.
Getting those clicks from mobile phone users would be difficult as they are observed to be impatient and easily distracted. But they are also known to call a business using a link from the search. To reach mobile phone users, ensuring your PPC ads are mobile-friendly is necessary. Test it using this tool.
Pay-per-click advertising may sound a bit too technical but take it slow and you’ll see how your business can benefit from it. More importantly, you don’t have to launch your PPC Ad campaign on your own. Feel free to partner with us here at Eight Media so you can get expert professional help on digital advertising anytime.