Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing comprises the majority of digital advertising, but what exactly is PPC? With our handy guide, discover pay-per-click advertising basics, common PPC tasks, and how pay-per-click campaigns can support a digital publisher’s content marketing strategy.
In this article, we’ll break down:
- Pay-per-click basics and advertising best practices.
- How to set benchmark goals for stronger campaigns.
- PPC tasks for weekly ad campaign maintenance.
What is PPC management?
PPC management describes the daily maintenance an in-house digital advertiser or team of advertisers performs to optimize a company’s PPC campaigns, ad groups, and ads. PPC managers may maintain ads on search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo in addition to social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
PPC management can include tasks like:
- Targeting the right audience.
- Identifying the best ad schedule.
- Researching appropriate keywords.
- Analyzing competitors.
- Launching campaigns.
- Optimizing strategies.
Related article: The Best Ways to Market Your Small Business Online, According to Our Team
PPC management networks
There are many PPC management services small businesses can utilize. A few of our favorites include:
- Google Ads: Google Ads is perfect for local businesses trying to cultivate awareness around their brand. Using this network, you can ensure your business shows up when consumers search for related businesses on Google Search and Maps. Google Ads is also great for small businesses providing niche services. When someone searches for a business offering the same products/services as you, your company shows up in the listings.
- Microsoft Advertising: Microsoft Advertising allows you to connect with customers in your area and coordinate social media campaigns. Using this network, you can import other campaigns into Microsoft Advertising.
- Display networks: Display networks place your display ads on various sites across the internet, such as YouTube, Gmail, and more. These networks benefit e-commerce brands with large audiences.
- Facebook Ads: While Facebook is the social media platform connecting old friends and family members, it’s used for business as well. Facebook Ads offer DIY ads that let you choose your objective, select your audience, decide where to run your ad (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, or all), set your budget, and pick a format. Once your Facebook Ad is up and running, you can also measure its performance and make any adjustments accordingly.
- LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (or LinkedIn Advertising): The best option for B2B businesses, LinkedIn Advertising helps create efficient ads in minutes targeting your specific audience. These ads will be sent across devices, from desktop to mobile, and can be delivered directly to LinkedIn inboxes. You can also control your spending with flexible pricing options, like starting with a small budget or stopping your ads whenever needed.
Setting goals for PPC
Before you launch your PPC campaign, it’s important to consider the “why” behind it, or what you’re trying to achieve. Assessing your business’s needs will help align you with the right goals. Some examples include:
- Creating brand awareness with consistent messaging and relevant advertising to attract new customers.
- Generating X leads per month by focusing on your target audience.
- Increasing sales by X% by generating higher conversion rates through concentrated ad groups.
- Driving site traffic by an increase of X% by producing ads with a powerful call-to-action.
- Keeping up with competition to set your company apart by using promotions and appealing ads.
Building a solid foundation is key to ensuring your campaign doesn’t burn out too soon or fall flat. Once you achieve these stepping stones, you can aspire to those larger goals.
Additionally, don’t only set goals you can achieve in the short term; keep in mind your longer-term goals that might require patience before seeing results. Some long-term goals include:
- Growing your overall profit in a sustainable way by focusing on new markets with successful campaigns.
- Attract repeat customers by creating informative ads describing loyalty promotions and incentives.
- Improving brand recognition with consistent ads that match your branding and homepage.
Related Article: How To Use Your Website To Drive High-Quality Leads
How to create your first ad campaign
First things first when creating an ad campaign using Google ads — pick your goal. According to Google, establishing a goal guides your campaign setting decisions. Once you’ve picked your goal, focus on setting your bid strategy and budget.
You can set a bid strategy manually. However, most new advertisers stick to automated bidding to get the most out of their budget. With automated bidding, you don’t need a maximum budget because you’re in control of the amount you spend; the campaign’s average daily budget caps your overall spending.
Next, focus on creating ads, including different versions of ads for ad groups. Your ads represent your company, so focus on maintaining a friendly tone and promoting a clear message. Creating unique and engaging content will keep the consumers informed and entertained.
Finally, remember to engage with your campaign and review your campaign performance at least once a week. You’ll need to make adjustments as your campaign goes on to optimize it.
How to be effective in writing ads
Advertisements give businesses a chance to speak directly to a customer — tell them what makes you different, and why they should buy from you. Include promotional information or anything else that sets you apart from the competition. Using a strong call-to-action can drive your message further, as it informs consumers of the next steps.
According to Google, successful ads require a few key components. Ads should have a clear and direct message, follow text ad requirements, appeal to customers on all devices, including mobile devices, and should be relevant to the customer. Create ads that are consistent with the language of your landing page to ensure new customers get what they expect when visiting your website. Ad descriptions should also match the headlines.
How to analyze results and improve success
When you have an active campaign, PPC tasks include analyzing results to address areas of improvement.
Check on your campaign weekly to avoid missing important notifications and analyze results by setting up conversion tracking. This allows you to see how customers engage with your website after interacting with your ad.
To improve your success and ensure your ads are shown to the right audience, use ad groups. These are specified groupings of ads shown to people who search for specific keywords. Ad groups should have closely related keywords to one another. According to Google, each keyword should be relevant to an idea different from the ideas being targeted in other ad groups.
Adding extensions can also improve your ad. Extensions give consumers a reason to engage with your ad, as it makes it more robust and informative. Use extensions like sitelink extensions, which direct people to a specified page on your website, rather than the home page. Other useful extensions are callouts, which create a larger ad with more details, and structured snippets, where your ads highlight product information.
Related Article: Digital Marketing Dictionary: Our Marketing Terms, Defined
PPC tasks for weekly management
Negative keyword audit
It’s just as important to brainstorm negative keywords, or those you don’t want associated with your ads. Doing so will ensure searchers aren’t misrepresenting your business and its offerings. In other words, your ad won’t appear in results for a keyword or phrase that doesn’t apply to your company.
For instance, if your business sells drinking glasses, you’ll want to make sure your ad doesn’t show up in a search for eyeglasses. Being specific about the keywords you don’t want to target will clear up any miscommunications between you and your audience, saving money on clicks and informing searchers exactly what you offer.
Create ad extensions
Ad extensions offer additional information about your business and, more importantly, take up more real estate on the results page. You might include various links, like product descriptions, specific offerings, your business’s address, contact information, and more. Through these extensions, you can also link directly to your mobile app, location services, and sites other than your website. Ad extensions are especially useful if you’re already ranking in the top ad spot.
Perform bid adjustments
PPC campaigns require advertisers to participate in an auction to bid on keywords. Automated bidding strategies allow advertisers to set a goal for their campaign. Once it’s set, the advertising platform automatically determines the best bid for each auction. A single campaign or portfolio of campaigns can apply bid strategies to auction for keywords.
Reviewing your bids and making adjustments as necessary prevents advertisers from overspending on keywords that aren’t proving to be successful. You should review all under-performing keywords and disable them when necessary. You can also add new keywords as they become relevant to your business to expand your PPC campaign’s reach.
Quality score analysis
A quality score is a rating that takes into account your keyword relevancy, the quality of your landing page, historical click-through rate, and the relevancy of the user’s searched query to the advertiser’s keyword and ad to determine ad relevancy. To appear on a page, metrics will look at your quality score, among other metrics, to compare your ad with competitors to determine the best ad for that spot.
Advertisers who maintain a higher score have an increased chance of winning bids at a cheaper cost-per-click rate. Relevancy is key to a higher quality score; run a well-researched, high-quality campaign to get the most out of your investment.
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