Pay-per-click advertising plays a significant role in any marketing strategy. That can be a bold statement for some, especially since this advertising strategy intimidates many small- to mid-size business owners. And if you’re like many people, you can’t help but wonder, “Does pay-per-click work?”
You figure that if you pay Google even a small amount-say, $1.00 per click-your ad budget will be drained in short order considering all of the Google searches that occur daily.
Let’s explore why this assumption could be holding you back from growth and how pay-per-click advertising drives profit and brand awareness.
First, What Is Pay-per-click?
We’ve all seen the search engine results labeled ‘Ad’ at the top and bottom of a search engine results page (SERP). Pay-per-click (PPC) is a marketing strategy that allows advertisers to place ads online and pay the hosting platform (e.g., Google or Bing) when someone clicks on their ad. The marketer using the PPC strategy hopes the ad will lead a user to click through to the marketer’s app or website and purchase a product or service, or take some other valuable action. Search engines host PPC ads, displaying ads at the top and bottom of SERPs that are relevant to their users’ search queries. Pay-per-click with Google AdWords is one of the top choices. Bing is another, since many computers today come loaded with Bing as the default search engine.
Google AdWords – Paid Search
One of the most popular PPC advertising platforms by far is Google. What could be better than placing your ad in front of the very person searching for what you’re selling in real time? The moment they input their search query, Google pulls up a relevant paid search result to show them exactly where to buy that product or service.
How Paid Search Works
Every search engine results page (SERP) search query spot triggers an instantaneous auction for the keyword(s) the user input into the search bar. Advertisers bid for these keywords in advance when they set up their marketing campaigns through the advertising account. The search engine then determines the winning bid for that keyword based on a combination of factors, including bid amounts and the quality of the ads. The winner gets the top position, and others fall below them on either the top or bottom of page one, page two, etc.
Not seeing any results? Advertisers can adjust their bids at any time, depending upon the best criteria for their campaign. For example, suppose a particular marketing campaign does well on mobile devices. In that case, the advertiser can increase their bid by a certain percentage to ensure their ad shows up more frequently on cell phones and tablets.
Conversion Tracking & Cost Per Click
Why is conversion tracking important? Because you need to know how much money you’re making (or losing) from an ad. It’s the only way to determine whether your cost per click (CPC) is eating into your profits.
Negative Keywords – Google
With so much emphasis on bidding for the best keywords, you might not think about adding keywords you don’t want to rank for. Yet keeping those words in mind can weed out unproductive clicks (clicks you pay for whether they convert to sales or not).
For example, if you’re a pizzeria targeting the keyword phrase, “Florida pizza,” you don’t want to attract people looking for jobs delivering pizza. So you may want to enter “pizza jobs” as a negative keyword in order to prevent your ad being shown for searches on the key phrase.
One real-world example we’ve encountered involves a company offering cold therapy to reduce “saddle bags” on hips and thighs. In advance of launching their PPC campaign, we entered “Harley Davidson” or “bike saddle bags” as negative keywords. This tactic prevents the client from being shown for those search results or pay for any inadvertent clicks.
Simply scroll down to the section where you can add negative keywords to your campaign, click the + sign and add a negative keyword phrase to make sure Google doesn’t show your ad to users who input an undesired key phrase into their search query.
With the dawn of user data collection, retargeting programmatic advertising has become one of the prime strategies to stay top of mind for someone who may be getting ready purchase your product or service. Remarketing pixels allow you to show targeted ads to specific individuals who have already interacted with your digital properties (e.g., website). You can embed these pixels on your website, in emails, and when setting up your pay-per-click ad on a search engine or social media platform.
HTML code that’s invisible to the user tracks the behavior of your email subscriber, website visitor, or social media follower from the moment they interact with the digital media you’ve embedded with the tracking pixel.
The data these tracking devices collect provides insights regarding user behavior that could help you formulate your content strategy, including personalized email marketing sequences.
If you use them in Google AdWords PPC ads, your ads could follow the user, popping up on other websites or social media platforms they visit after interacting with your remarketing pixel.
Video remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a form of PPC advertising that uses a tracking pixel to collect identifying information about users who have previously visited your website, watched a video, or engaged with your digital content.
Video remarketing then serves video ads to that list of contacts. For instance, if you’re using YouTube, you can set up video ad campaigns that serve specific YouTube videos to users who have watched a specified video.
They watch that video, then YouTube will serve up the video you want them to see next (e.g., a video you created to advertise your product or service).
Tending to Your Pay-per-click Marketing Strategy
Pay-per-click is not a marketing strategy you can set one time and forget about it. To get the maximum return on your investment, you need to tend to it-daily.
From budgeting to analytics to bid adjustments, everything you do to stay on top of your PPC campaign will improve your gains. Click here for an easy-to-follow PPC checklist.
Social Media Advertising and Reach Ads
As an advertiser, you may also want to consider social media advertising as another way to reach more potential customers.
Social media advertising consists of putting some money behind an already performing social post, then deciding your demographic (gender, age, location radius, even interests), and setting a budget and time frame for your promotion.
Facebook is one of the top social media platforms for advertising, but there is a difference between social advertising and pay-per-click. On social media the advertiser pays for impressions, not clicks.
Facebook: boost a post or run an ad
Instagram: Sponsor a post
Twitter: Promote a tweet
LinkedIn: Promote a LinkedIn post
More Pay-per-click Tips
Design multiple ads in batches, and refresh ads quickly to prevent ad fatigue and banner blindness.
Look at your campaign numbers daily and tweak creatives, bids, and negative keywords as needed to improve results.
Use remarketing pixels to trigger your ad to show up on other sites your prospects visit.
Do a remarketing video explaining what it would be like to be a customer of your business and include a testimonial.
Use opposite messaging (e.g., if your funnel is emotional, your video should be logical and vice versa).
Remarket with a video ad showing what it’s like to buy your product or be one of your customers.
Use multiple headline variations, and A/B split test your ads.
Pay-per-click advertising can play a significant role in your marketing plan if you know how to maximize your results.