What accurately is pay-per-click (PPC) marketing? Pay-per-click marketing is a method of generating clicks to your website through search engine advertising rather than “earning” those clicks organically. You know those sponsored ads that frequently appear at the top of Google’s search results page? That is pay-per-click advertising (specifically, Google Ads PPC, which we will discuss further below).
Here’s how it works: You pay the search engine a small fee every time your ad is clicked, directing a visitor to your website. (This is why it’s referred to as “pay per click.”) When your PPC campaign is well-designed and running smoothly, that fee becomes insignificant because the visit is worth more to your company than what you pay for it. For example, if you pay $10 for a click that results in a $300 sale, using PPC is a no-brainer.
Finally, pay-per-click marketing benefits everyone:
It’s beneficial to searchers – According to research, searchers click on paid search ads more than any other type of digital advertising. This means that people don’t mind being advertised, as long as the products and services advertised are relevant to the searcher’s needs. Because we use search engines to find products and services, the results, including advertisements, are generally highly relevant to what we’re looking for. Furthermore, Google has developed an excellent formula for ensuring that PPC ads meet the needs of the user.
It benefits advertisers – Advertisers are given a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get their message in front of an audience that is actively and specifically looking for their product. Advertisers can measure the quality of traffic generated by search engine clicks because searchers reveal their intent through their search queries.
It benefits search engines – PPC allows search engines to cater to both searchers and advertisers at the same time. Their user base is made up of searchers, while advertisers provide them with a revenue stream. First and foremost, the engines want to provide relevant results while also providing a highly targeted, revenue-generating advertising channel.
The distinct advantage of PPC marketing is that Google (and other ad networks) reward the highest-quality ads rather than the highest bidders for that ad space (meaning the ads that are most popular with users). Google, in essence, rewards good performance. The higher the quality of your ads, the higher your click-through rates, and the lower your costs.
Google AdWords for Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is by far the most popular PPC platform, and it works on a pay-per-click model, in which users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements.
When a search is initiated, Google looks through the pool of bidding advertisers and selects a set of winners to appear in the ad space on its search results page. The “winners” are determined by a number of factors, including the quality and relevance of their keywords and ad copy, as well as the size of their keyword bids. For example, if WordStream bids on the keyword “PPC software,” our ad may appear at the top of the Google search results page.
More specifically, who and where an advertiser appears on the page is determined by an advertiser’s Ad Rank, a metric calculated by multiplying two key factors – CPC Bid (the highest amount an advertiser is willing to spend) and Quality Score (a value that takes into account your click-through rate, relevance, and landing page quality, among other factors). Your Quality Score, in turn, influences your actual cost per click, or CPC.
This system enables winning advertisers to reach out to potential customers at a reasonable cost.
The good news for advertisers is that by providing what search engines want (relevant pay-per-click ads), you are also delivering targeted advertisements to people who are actively looking for your product. It’s a win-win situation.
Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising a Good Fit for You?
As previously stated, PPC advertising provides a unique opportunity to:
Increase Your Customer Base – Connect with searchers who are actively looking for products and services similar to yours, and respond to that need by providing them with a relevant offer to their search query.
Lead generation at a low cost – Pay-per-click marketing is a highly effective way to bring interested visitors to your site because it allows you to reach leads and prospects when they are researching and looking to buy. In addition, in exchange for making their users happy, search engines will give you an algorithmically generated discount.
The truth is that pay-per-click marketing can benefit almost any type of business, whether you want to sell products through an e-commerce website, generate leads for a service-based or software company, build brand awareness, or even drive foot traffic and phone calls to your local store.
The challenge is in the execution. To get the most out of your pay-per-click marketing campaign, you should adhere to a few best practices.
Pay-Per-Click Marketing Keyword Research
Keyword research for PPC can be time-consuming, but it is also vital.
Your entire PPC campaign is based on keywords, and the most successful Google advertisers are constantly expanding and refining their PPC keyword list (ideally, using a variety of tools, not just Keyword Planner). If you only conduct keyword research once, when you create your first campaign, you are likely to miss out on hundreds of thousands of valuable, long-tail, low-cost, and highly relevant keywords that could drive traffic to your site.
A good PPC keyword list should include the following terms:
Relevant – Obviously, you don’t want to pay for Web traffic that has nothing to do with your company. You want to find keywords with a high PPC click-through rate, a low cost per click, and increased profits. That is, the keywords you bid on should be closely related to the products or services you offer.
Extensive – Your keyword research should cover not only the most popular and frequently searched terms in your niche but also the long tail of search terms. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less prevalent, but they account for the vast majority of search-driven traffic. Furthermore, they are less competitive and thus less expensive.
PPC is iterative and expansive. You want to constantly refine and expand your campaigns, as well as create an environment in which your keyword list grows and adapts.
Your pay-per-click keyword strategy should also include regular negative keyword discovery – negative keywords prevent your ads from appearing for searches that are unrelated to your business and unlikely to convert.
Taking Charge of Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective. In fact, one of the best predictors of account success is consistent account activity.
You should be constantly analyzing the performance of your Google Ads and account – even 20 minutes a week can make a big difference – and making the following changes to optimize your campaigns:
PPC Keywords: Extend the reach of your pay-per-click campaigns by incorporating keywords relevant to your business.
Add Negative Keywords: Use negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spending.
Ad Groups Divided: Increase your click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score by dividing your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, which will allow you to create more targeted ad text and landing pages.
Examine Expensive PPC Keywords: Examine your expensive, underperforming keywords and, if necessary, turn them off.
Improve Landing Pages: To increase conversion rates, tailor the content and calls-to-action (CTAs) on your landing pages to individual search queries. Don’t direct all of your visitors to the same page.
You will be able to grow your customer base and increase ROI by continuously optimizing your pay-per-click campaigns.
To grade your PPC performance, use the Google Ads Performance Grader.
Once you’ve established your Google Ads campaign, you can track your progress with WordStream’s Google Ads Grader. The Performance Grader is a comprehensive free tool that assists you in evaluating the performance of your Google Ads pay-per-click campaigns in key areas such as:
Optimization of Text Ads
Click-Through Rate Impression Share
Utilization of Negative Keywords