What is PPC Advertising? What About SEM?
Pay-per-click (PPC) refers to an advertising model centered around the online market. An advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked by somebody browsing a website. PPC advertising gives businesses the opportunity to pay for traffic directly to their site rather than spending the time to win over visitors more organically.
"SEM" used to be a broad term encompassing any sort of SEO or paid search activity. In more recent times, its use has been relegated solely to references to paid search options. The acronym stands for "search engine marketing" and is usually used in reference to any PPC advertising done on search engines, such as Google Ads or Bing Ads.
What are Common Platforms?
The most popular and well-known platform offering companies pay per click advertising options is Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords). Each time a search relevant to your ads is completed, Google uses its algorithm to pull from a pool of advertisers and select a set of ads to showcase in the ad space on the search results page.
Google is far from the only platform offering advertisers this kind of exposure, though. Those interested in branching out and expanding the reach of their advertisements can also opt to work with:
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
There are plenty of PPC advertising platforms out there, so find which platforms work best for you and use them to your advantage.
Why You Should be Taking Advantage of PPC Advertising
There are a host of reasons to start taking advantage of the benefits that PPC advertising offers:
PPC advertising is quick.
- In some cases, especially with more popular platforms like Google Ads, traffic can be generated the same day or even within a few hours of setting up an account.
PPC advertising is tricky.
- In the way that it targets consumers, that is! Organic search engines have to grapple with the obstacle of time when it comes to shifts in consumer behavior and using SEO can only get your ranking so high. With pay-per-click campaigns, most campaigns can be adjusted on a dime – your entire marketing strategy can easily shift within a matter of hours and the changes will take effect almost immediately.
PPC advertising can offer an incredible return on investment (ROI).
- Not every campaign plays out like a dream, but with the right planning and effort going into ads on the correct platform, you will find that your ROI will increase. As you further refine your ads and find out what works best for your company, you will be able to optimize your ROI and keep it as high as possible. This is especially true if you're able to tap into keyword "niches" and learn to target your customers to get the highest conversion rate possible.
Steps for Success
Know Your Advertising Goals
- Anybody who runs a business knows that this is the most crucial step to the success of any endeavor. Knowing your goals, who your target audience is, and the best ways to sell your products or services, allows you to optimize your advertising – and by extension, your money, time, and effort – so you waste as little resources as possible.
Identify Optimal Platforms for Your Campaigns
- Not every platform is the best choice for every business. Knowing your audience is key here; if you're marketing to an audience of heavy social media users, advertising through Facebook is a great option. If your target is a more professional crowd, LinkedIn may be a better option than other social platforms because it is business oriented. Google is generally the best search engine option as it is the most popular, but your target audience may be predominately Bing users or the competition for top spots may be lower on other search engines. Figure out your audience so you can figure out where to most effectively advertise to them.
Research Your Market, Audience, and Keywords
- In some cases, it's best to keep your keywords concise and clear. Your aim with keywords is to make them as specific as possible to better target your audience and drive relevant traffic. Depending on your business, you may want to set your ads to more specific matches, like "exact match" and "phrase match," to cut down on useless traffic. This may cause your traffic numbers to be lower, but you'll likely be receiving more useful hits to your site and people that are more likely to turn into buyers.
- Negative keywords are keywords similar to your positive keywords that are actually irrelevant to your advertising and goals. Negative keywords give you the chance to improve quality scores and control ad spend by cutting out keywords that are not relevant to your product or service but may cause your ad to appear. Using negative keywords can also better refine your customer base by excluding searches for “cheap” or “quick” products, services, and fixes. Ultimately, negative keywords are just as important as their counterparts because they help eliminate irrelevant traffic.
Create Compelling Ad Copy & Graphics
- Clear copy that's targeted to your audience is what sells products and services alike. Taking the time to create some high-quality copy can show an incredible ROI in advertising campaigns and show you understand your customer base.
- Graphics are just as important as copy when advertising. The graphics must be designed to catch consumers' eyes so the ads will capture their attention and increase curiosity. This ultimately drives customers to your site. Keeping graphics neat and simplistic allows them to speak for themselves, essentially acting as ambassadors for your organization.
- Throughout all copy and graphic design, make sure to maintain consistency in your message and the quality of your design. Make sure to use variety to hold consumers' attention and capture the eyes of other potential buyers while staying true to the core message of your brand.
Run Ads and Assess Performance
- Collecting performance data is crucial in determining whether your ads are effective. You'll have the opportunity to research which advertisements are resonating with your audience and working to effectively entice buyers. Enable conversion tracking to keep an eye on your campaign's performance and calculate important metrics, such as conversion rate and return on investment. You can also keep an eye on subscriptions, form completions, shares, etc. if they are relevant to your marketing goals.
- Find the metrics that are most important for your business or industry and continuously track those. Finally, you need to review the performance of your campaigns to refine your ads and learn to create better ads moving forward.
As with any marketing option, taking the plunge and relying on pay per click advertising offers companies both risks and benefits. Issues typically arise when those in charge of marketing don't have a solid grasp of their organization's goals and their target audience. Provided you've spent the time to carefully research which keywords will be profitable and what your audience is looking for, PPC advertising is a prime choice for getting your company's name out to the public and hopefully making some sales right away. Regardless of your experience with advertising or your company's goals, PPC marketing can act as a massive step towards achieving your sales goal.
If you're interested in learning more about how a PPC campaign could benefit your small business and boost profits, contact us today. The team would be happy to speak with you and craft custom solutions to meet the unique needs of your company.