Crash Course in PPC Advertising

By Amanda Sides | Jan 16, 2009
More Articles by Amanda


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is defined by Google as a “pricing structure used by some online channels to charge an advertiser each time a user clicks on the advertiser’s ad.”

A major benefit of using PPC advertising is that it is a highly targeted channel. Every day, consumers are bombarded with tons of ads from a variety of different mediums. Because of this, they must sort through the clutter to find what interests them. With pay-per-click advertising, you put your ad in front of them at the exact moment they need to see it. You control when your ad appears; if you sell leather boots, you don’t want your ad to appear when someone is looking to buy a bulk package of diapers. Your ad appears when someone enters a search query that relates to what you offer, giving you a better chance at acquiring the sale/conversion.

Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, Microsoft adCenter, and Ask.com all offer easy and inexpensive PPC programs. Visit PayPerClick Universe to see the top 10 engines that offer similar services and how much it will cost you to get started.

There are a few important components to be sure to keep in mind when getting started:

1. Target Audience

Like any other form of advertising, here you must have a firm grasp on who you are trying to sell to. You don’t want to show your ad to someone who is not at all interested in what you are selling. PPC advertising has higher sales conversion rates than other forms of media, simply because you reach out to your consumers at the very moment they are looking to buy your product. You are just politely letting them know you have what they want.

2. Keyword List

Come up with as many words/phrases as possible that correlate with your product. Then sift through, grouping related terms together. You want to think about what words your customers would use to find you; some engines offer keyword tools to help expand already existing lists. Read up on the different match types that you can utilize, and learn how to sculpt your campaigns by effectively using negative keywords.

3. Ad Copy

This is what searchers will see to the right or above the organic search results. You create specific lines of text that you think will catch the eye of the user. You want the ad copy to be differentiated from the other ads on the page, but you must be truthful and relevant to be successful. Good ad copy could lead a user to click through to your site, but that doesn’t necessarily get you the conversion/sale you are ultimately looking for.

4. Landing Pages

If an interested user finds your ad compelling, they may click on it; the corresponding landing page (the page they land on once they click on your ad) is extremely important to getting the conversion. Your landing pages must be relevant to the ad copy and keywords associated with it. One major thing to keep in mind is that everything must be aligned. If the landing page shows the searcher something that isn’t relevant to the ad copy initially presented, they will abandon the page and move on to other vendors. That is not what you want to happen.

5. Results

Another benefit to using PPC advertising is that it is easy to track and monitor. You can find out exactly what campaigns, keywords, and ads get you the most clicks. You can then allocate a bigger portion of your budget to the areas where you have more profitable activity. This also helps in determining which parts are not bringing in the bacon, allowing you to make changes or even get rid of them completely.

You must remember that this is an ongoing process; test different ads and see which ones get you the most conversions. Do the research, stay organized, and constantly monitor your account to get the best results.

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