We work with leading brands and prospering SME’s across many sectors, delivering tangible business benefits and a great ROI. We understand the true value of a PPC (pay per click) campaign comes from building your brand and increasing leads and revenue to hit targets.
Digital marketing has become an essential part of any successful modern business in Scottish Lowlands, and one aspect of this is having a sound PPC campaign.
If you're unfamiliar with the term, it stands for Pay-Per-Click (also called cost per click and paid search marketing), where an advertiser pays a publisher to display an ad on their website. You've seen them before, as they're there at the top of most Google searches, usually as sponsored ads. Each time someone clicks on the ad, the website publisher will be paid a fee. This is an effective method of digital marketing that is increasingly being used to drive internet traffic to business websites.
On average, around $106 billion is spent on pay-per-click advertising each year. Google Ads, Twitter Ads, and Facebook Ads are the most popular platforms for PPC advertising, but Google is by far the biggest, with around 73% of the global market share.
The inescapable fact is that a website without traffic is pointless. It's like having a shop filled with amazing products, but it's situated in the middle of nowhere. There will be no passing traffic, nobody knows you are there, and you won't make any sales. In effect, your business is invisible, and it probably won't survive.
Thankfully, there are tools and methods that can boost your website's visibility on search engines and push it higher up the rankings. The two principal methods are SEO and PPC, but what's the difference between them?
*basic SEO is essential for all business websites in the sense that you need relevant, good quality content and a professional-looking design. It's a good idea to include at least some aspects of SEO to maximise your online exposure and increase revenue.
While both are valuable tools in any online marketing strategy and use some of the same concepts, they are very different in terms of their application. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) seeks to drive more internet traffic using a range of technical and practical actions. While the aim is to gain organic results (effectively free), the truth is that a good, workable SEO strategy will cost money. Engaging an SEO expert to handle the technical side is an excellent investment, as it will help you to create a professional website that consistently achieves a high ranking.
PPC campaigns work in a different way but can be equally effective. We'll discover more about this later.
Basically, both methods have their place in digital marketing, but, generally speaking, SEO* is a slower process that yields positive, long-lasting results, while PPC has a more immediate and obvious effect. SEO is perhaps better for companies with a small advertising budget, although it's best to fully examine each method to make sure you are getting the best out of your digital marketing strategy.
We'll look further into the process now to discover the benefits and see how PPC ads can help your business.
PPC management is a way of increasing your return on investment (ROI) by bringing more relevant traffic to your website.
The key thing to note here is the word relevant. Having a busy website is great, but that's no comfort if the visitors to your site aren't buying goods or services. A well planned PPC management program will ensure that customers who are further along in the buying process (that is, they know what they want and are ready to buy) find your website first. This means that even a moderate amount of website traffic will result in sales.
A PPC management agency uses various methods to target the right audience and bring them to your website. The trick is to find the perfect keywords and ensure that they are used in the right place, at the right time.
A marketing agency offering pay-per-click management services will maximise your ad spend by targeting the best keywords. PPC has the advantage over traditional paid search marketing as it allows precise levels of control over where the ad is placed. This helps to reduce marketing costs, as you can cut spending on areas that aren't bringing the right results. It's an excellent way of helping your budget as it has a better ROAS (return-on-ad-spend).
These are the two main ways that publishers (search engines) charge for PPC advertising services.
Essentially, the flat-rate system is just as it sounds: the advertiser and publisher agree on a fixed fee for each click. The publisher will base this on the amount of competition for the terms used (this will depend on how popular the terms are) as well as the content of the advertiser's website. The more prestigious the content, the more likely it is to attract high-quality visitors who are at the point of buying. This usually results in a higher click-through cost, although most publishers are willing to negotiate the rate.
Bid-based keywords are more common, with advertisers signing a contract that lets them compete against others in an auction for an ad spot relating to a specific keyword. Each advertiser sets a maximum amount they are willing to pay.
The auction is automatic, triggered by a user searching for the keyword. All the bids are compared according to the user's geographic location, the time, day, and date of the search (and several other criteria) and a winner is decided. There are often multiple winners, and these are generally displayed on the search results page according to who bid the most, although other factors (such as the quality of the ad) will play a part in where the ad is placed.
Your PPC management agency will be able to determine the best pay-per-click advertising strategy that will maximise your chances of a healthy ROI. A bidding strategy is important, and this can be done manually or using automated bidding options.
Broadly speaking, there are five types of keywords:
Any terms broadly relating to your service or product. These have a much wider reach and will target people who don't have a particular brand, product or location in mind as they search. They are much harder to rank for as they have a higher search volume than more specific terms.
Keywords that are directly related to your brand name, products, services, or any trademarked terms. People who use these are closer to a conversion as they are already aware of what you have to offer and are looking for more information to help them make a decision, make a comparison, or to recommend something to a third party.
keywords that people who are looking for your product or service might use, but which aren't directly related to them. For example, if you are selling power tools, you might use the keyword DIY.
Keywords containing the brand name of any competitors offering similar products and services. Google specifically states that it has no rules against bidding on keywords that include brands or trademarked terms.
These prevent your paid ads from being shown on a search results page that isn't relevant. This is important as it could impact your ad spend. For example, a furniture store might use the keyword 'console'. Your ad will now be shown to anyone searching for an Xbox or Playstation.
Using negative keywords helps to improve your click-through rate, which in turn improves your quality score and lowers the cost-per-click. Overall, your conversion rate will be better as you attract higher-quality visitors to your website.
Finding the best keywords is essential to the success of any PPC campaign, but this is only the start of the process.
Pay-per-click management services rely on the fact that this model is beneficial for both the advertiser and the publisher. In the pay per click model, a well-designed PPC campaign actually saves the advertiser money as the value of each click (visit to your website) is more than the cost paid to the publisher.
Publishers benefit from this as it provides a revenue stream. Online companies are able to monetise free services (for example, Facebook and Google) by publishing paid ads.
As we've seen, PPC campaigns rely on keywords. When someone performs an internet search, the search results will include online ads for a particular product or service that relate to specific keywords. Investing in relevant keywords will therefore increase the number of clicks, resulting eventually in higher profits.
Although there are other avenues, the Google Display Network is worth mentioning, mainly as it has excellent coverage.
GDN is an option within Google Ads (the other is Google Search Network), allowing you to place banner ads and text ads across a network of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps with around 90% coverage on the internet. This makes it easier to reach your target audience, as compelling ads can be aimed directly at specific demographics or interests, and even placed on chosen websites.
The difference between display and search ads is that search ads appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERPs) while the display ad can appear everywhere else. They may look like an organic result but they'll have an 'Ad' symbol by the URL.
As well as handling your PPC campaigns, PPC management services can advise you on matters such as the Google partner program. Businesses that become Google partners gain many benefits that allow them to build brand awareness, reach new customers, and drive more traffic to their websites.
While it is possible for you to become a Google partner, most are employees of a marketing agency offering PPC services. There are three tiers within this scheme: member, partner, and Google premier partner. Each tier involves passing exams to prove how proficient you are in using Google Ads, as well as proving your commitment to Google's high standards.
A PPC management agency that has Google partners is definitely one that's worth investing in. And this is even more so if they are Google premier partners, as this is reserved for the top 3% of participating companies.
Essentially, a marketing expert (or team of experts) takes over your PPC advertising budget and strategy. This can be in-house, if your company is big enough to have a dedicated internet marketing department, or it can be outsourced to an external PPC agency.
Typically, pay per click marketing involves the following:
This involves the identification of specific keywords used by your target audience that are likely to result in leads and subsequently to conversions. Keywords are the cornerstone of a sound SEO strategy, but they are also central to PPC advertising.
Adjusting the PPC campaign structure according to the best performing keywords. As an example, if certain keywords result in higher sales, then the budget should be focused on these to increase ROI.
PPC campaigns and keywords are monitored closely for their effectiveness and to see which keywords and search terms are used. This is used to ensure that the PPC marketing efforts are yielding a positive ROI overall. It's closely linked with the above item, but this is more of a long-term process.
A PPC management services company will secure the best avenues for your PPC campaign, such as Google Ads (previously Google Adwords), Bing Ads (Microsoft), paid social media marketing, or affiliate networks.
Competitors are closely observed to see which targeted keywords and strategies they are using. This can be time-consuming, but it is vital as it can help to improve your own PPC performance. You might spot something they are overlooking, such as a gap in the market, or you can use the data to bid on the same keywords.
Filtering out specific categories of people who are unlikely to convert (i.e. make a sale) is an essential part of the process. This allows you to focus the keywords on those who are more likely to result in a positive ROI, which is a better use of your PPC budget.
This is a method where two versions of a webpage or an app are compared to see which is performing better. In each case, the text or graphics are altered to see which brings the better results. This can involve landing pages* or new ads.
*Landing pages have several other names, including 'static pages' and 'lead capture pages'. They are usually created as a standalone web page specifically for online advertising and marketing campaigns.
There are several different types of pay-per-click advertising, and your PPC agency or PPC campaign management services will discuss these with you to see which ones are best for your company.
Here are some of the most popular and effective:
This is the most common and is favoured by those who are just starting out in PPC ad campaigns. They'll generally use these as an experiment to see how effective it can be.
Advertisers select keywords that they want to appear in the search engine advertising, then they advise the publisher (for example, Google Ads) what copy they want to display when a user searches for those keywords. They'll also set a maximum amount that they are willing to pay the publisher for each click.
Again, Google has the biggest market share (almost 92%) but there are other alternatives, like Bing (Microsoft). Although their market share is lower (2.5%) they do have lower click prices.
This form of PPC advertising has grown significantly in recent times to become a major aspect of digital marketing strategies. Around 85% of all businesses now use video ads, and all the signs suggest that this will increase in future.
The benefit of using paid video advertising over organic is that you can reach a wider customer base without having to build an audience. These will be people who were previously unaware of your business, but who are ready to buy. And if you're already using Google Ads, you can get started straight away as Youtube is part of the Google family.
Youtube is by far the biggest platform for video ads, with more than 2 billion active monthly users. In the first 9 months of 2021, Youtube generated around $20 billion from adverts, which shows how effective it can be, despite the increase in ad-blocker software.
However, Youtube isn't the only useful outlet. Video ads can also be placed on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
These can be costly (especially with Facebook) if you don't know exactly what you are doing, so it's always best to consult a PPC management services specialist as they can help you to reduce your costs and still get the most out of the campaign.
Social media sites can be a goldmine for sales when used wisely.
The average user spends more than two hours a day on social media platforms. If your business already has an active social media presence you can use targeted ads to reach people based on their interests, hobbies, etc.
Admittedly, the social media giants have made advertising increasingly difficult by changing their algorithms and regulations, but a PPC agency expert has the knowledge to implement the best strategy.
It's always easier to connect with people who are already familiar with your products or services, or those who have visited your website previously.
This can be used to your advantage, as they have shown interest in your site before. They may have been on the verge of making a sale, and, using targeted ads, you can convince them to return and complete this process. Here are some examples of who might be targeted in a remarketing PPC campaign:
One example of how this works is through dynamic remarketing ads, where users see pictures of the items they viewed the last time they were on your website.
This was mentioned earlier in relation to Google's Display Network. The main difference between this and paid search ads is that display ads appear for people already looking for your products and services, while display ads are paid placements that use target parameters.
With more than 200 million visitors a day, Amazon is a great place to place an ad. There are three basic ways to advertise on Amazon:
Similar to a paid search, but an image of your product will be shown, along with a price, description, and title.
This type of PPC campaign works well for businesses selling products rather than services. It is very effective as the customer has already seen the product and knows the price. This saves you money as they will usually only click through if they intend to buy, meaning these pay-per-click ads have a greater conversion rate.
As Gmail is part of Google, it allows you to use Google Ads to create ads that can be sent directly to prospective customers. The ad will look like a regular email, but when opened it will show an expanded view of your ad. They then have the option of visiting your website.
At the very least, this is a great way to improve brand awareness, but it can also connect you with customers at the top end of the sales funnel.
There are three handy metrics to help guide your PPC ads strategy:
All of this data can be used to shape your future marketing campaigns and to measure your success so far.
Pay-per-click advertising can be very useful to all kinds of businesses, whether it's to sell products via a website (e-commerce), to generate leads, build brand awareness, or boost a CTA (call-to-action) and encourage phone calls or visits to a physical store. Whatever the size of your business, paid search marketing could be an important part of your internet marketing. More to the point, it could give you the edge over your competition. It could mean the difference between success and failure.
Although we've covered the basics here, and it may seem fairly straightforward, PPC marketing can be a complicated, time-consuming task. The trick is to use PPC best practices to get the very most out of your ad campaigns. And to do this, you'd be wise to employ a dedicated PPC management company.
Here's a summary of what a successful PPC campaign must take into account:
Only when all of these are considered will you be able to establish an effective PPC campaign.
This article covers the basics of PPC campaigns and PPC management, but it's clear to see that it should form part of the digital marketing strategy of any successful business.
Although it's entirely possible for you to handle your own PPC campaigns, there are PPC management services that have the knowledge and experience to tailor your pay-per-click campaigns to bring about the best results. And, as a business owner, you probably have many other tasks to be focusing on, without having to tackle the intricacies of digital marketing and PPC campaigns.
PPC management services will take all of this on for you, dealing with your PPC ads, campaign tracking, PPC audit, marketing costs, ad spend, and all the day-to-day aspects of a successful PPC campaign, leaving you to reap the rewards.
In today's internet-orientated business world, it isn't a question of whether you should have a PPC campaign, it's whether you can afford not to have one.