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What is Pay per Click (PPC) marketing?

Friday, September 6th, 2013 by Georgina Wall

PPC. Three letters which will either be oh so familiar to you or spark confusion and a series of questions (my favourite of which will always be “what exactly is paper clip advertising?”). Today, I’d like to clear this up and tell you all about PPC, as well as the ways in which it can benefit your advertising strategy.

What is Pay Per Click?

First things first, PPC is quite simply the advertising model whereby you ‘Pay Per Click’. That’s it, easy! You pay for the click you receive on your advert, which directs users to your website.

Popular platforms include Google Adwords and Bing Ads. These are the neat little ads you will see at the side and to the top of your search results which are ranked on the page according to factors such as bid price and relevancy.
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Top PPC tips and tools

• Keep ads, keywords and landing pages relevant to your Ad Group theme. Most platforms use a ‘Quality score’ – or equivalent – to calculate the cost per click. Ensure relevancy is high to minimise the amount you have to pay out and maximise the results!

• Use strong call to action phrases within your Ads to entice the audience.

• Use the tools available to you. Tools such as Ad Extensions can help to expand the ads and improve usability for your audience.

• Track your results. If you don’t know what happens after the click you may as well pour your money down the drain. Track events such as sales and leads coming through the site so you know exactly how users are performing once they reach your website.

• Assign budgets to campaigns to help reduce wastage. Allocate the right proportion of your budget to better performing areas of the business to increasing the ROI in the long run.

PPC Strategy

Optimisation is key. Never ever expect your campaigns to keep ticking over and progress by themselves or you may find yourself left at the shore. You need to be constantly monitoring bid prices, ad rank and performance to ensure you’re getting the best from your campaigns.

We’ve mentioned it before, but this one is important – tools and add-ons to your campaigns will help you make the most of PPC. Google Adwords in particular offers a shopping feed to e-commerce advertisers so you can display your products and their corresponding prices prominently on screen.
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Think about your business and its key objectives. Do you want to increase footfall to a location or improve the ROI of your online sales? Whatever your aim, tailor your ads to it at all times. Keep text clear yet informative so that the audience knows what they are navigating towards. This will help to improve your click through rate (CTR) and increase the chance of a conversion by directing the most relevant users to the site.

PPC Results

The downside to PPC is of course the first ‘P’ – you have to pay for it. So, to make sure your investment is a wise one, you need to make sure that your campaigns are producing profitable results. Focus on the ROI (return on investment), this way you can make sure that you are not spending more than you are getting back.
• If you’re an e-commerce advertiser, this will be simple, just implement correct tracking to show you the order values attributed to your PPC campaigns and you can easily keep track on the figures.
• If, however, you’re advertising to increase leads, you will need to assign a ‘goal value’ to each conversion. Work out how many of your incoming leads you convert at your end and calculate an approximate value associated to this to give you an estimate on which to base your ROI figure.

Hopefully this should clear up what PPC Marketing does and how you can make use of it. There are so many tools available through the various platforms and PPC Advertising is constantly evolving, so it can be quite overwhelming. However, once the fundamentals are in place the campaigns should have a solid structure around which to develop. Then, PPC can (and does) prove to be a greatly successful advertising product for all manner of companies around the world.

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About the author

Georgina Wall

Georgina Wall

Georgina has been working in Online Marketing for over 6 years and specialises in PPC. Prior to joining Vertical Leap as a Campaign Delivery Manager in January 2013 she worked for a software company that produces various white label digital products in addition to running an in-house PPC network and affiliate portfolio. In her free time Georgina enjoys keeping fit and a good glass of wine! Follow me on Google Plus