Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is one of the best and fastest ways of targeting prospective customers to your website, whether you sell a product or offer a service of some sort.
One of the most widely used Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising models is Google AdWords, although Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN Adcenter are similar PPC products.
When you sign up to your preferred PPC provider you select targeted keywords or phrases that your potential customers will use when searching for your product or service.
These Pay Per Click advertisements are usually called 'Sponsored Links' or 'Sponsored Ads' and generally appear next to or above the natural or 'organic' search results.
PPC advertising is not always easy to do, especially if you have not had any previous experience, so here are some of the key steps in setting up a Pay Per Click advertising campaign.
To be successful with PPC advertising you must find out what search terms your potential customers are most likely to use when looking for a site like yours. You should try to come up with a few words and phrases describing your products or services. With that list of keywords you can use the Internet to help you find even more words or phrases that you might not have considered. There are a few free tools that can help with this task, just type "free keyword tools" into any search engine.
PPC advertising is very competitive and some of the keywords you have chosen can work out to be very expensive and be way beyond your planned marketing budget. The key to cheaper bids is to find keywords that are less popular and therefore cheaper to bid for. To help you with this job grab a free keyword analyzer. Just search for "free keyword analyzer tool" using one of the major search engines and you will find many options to choose from.
Some keyword tools are very good at helping with this PPC research as they will not only provide you with a list of alternative keywords, but also display the number of searches for that keyword and the number of campaigns already running for the keyword or phrase you enter. This gives you a good view of what words you can bid on without going over budget, and also allows you to find keywords to bid on that get a large number of searches but do not have a competing ad campaign currently running. To do this yourself, type one of your keywords into a search engine and count all the sponsored links or sponsored ads that appear. Try several search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Nothing in your PPC ad is more important than an attention grabbing headline. Unfortunately, the tricky thing with PPC ads is the lack of space you have for writing an eye catching ad. For example, Google allows ad titles to be only 25 characters long and the two description lines and display URL under the heading are limited to 35 characters each, so every single word definitely counts.
Using your main keyword in the title and body of the ad will increase the likelihood that the readers of your PPC advertisement will click through to your web page.
Listing a benefit of your product or service in the form of a question is also a good way to attract the view of potential customers, who may then click to view your site content.
Once you've written your first advertisement, write another that's slightly different and test which ad gets the most clicks. Once you've found out which is the best performing ad write another ad to see if you can improve the click through rate (CTR) even further. This process will eventually provide you with the best performing PPC ads for your product or service.
To help with this analysis Google (and others) will alternate your ads for you and you will be able to see which ad performs the best by looking at your click through rate (CTR).
TIP: PPC advertisers who do this 'split testing' are usually more successful with their PPC advertising campaigns.
You must make sure that the page your prospective customers end up on provides exactly what they are searching for. This will not always be your home page, but some other landing page within your site. If a visitor finds exactly what he needs when he clicks your advertisement he is much more likely to buy your product or use your service.
All the major search engines use a slightly different method for working out the position for your PPC ad. Google and Yahoo use a combination of ad relevancy and bid price.
A big mistake a lot of people seem to make is not targeting keywords tightly enough and specific enough to a particular product or service and not bidding high enough on targeted keywords to secure top placements.
It is estimated that 85% of all PPC clicks occur on ads that appear in one of the top three positions on the page. This means, if you are not targeting your ad closely enough to your potential customers needs and are not bidding enough to get a top spot, you are missing out on a lot of potential clicks that could lead people to your website.
Many companies use Google AdWords for their PPC advertising campaigns and take advantage of the Budget control within AdWords to limit their daily and monthly spending to their desired marketing budget. What not everyone realizes is that this can often result in higher cost per click (CPC) and fewer clicks! This is because of the way Google AdWords makes sure you don't exceed your budget, by limiting the number of times your ad is displayed, which therefore limits the number of clicks your ad receives.
Here's a very simplified example to illustrate the point. Say you have only one keyword and it has the following monthly cost and volume data (hypothetical data):
PPC Marketing Campaign for The Widget Co
First, imagine you have a bid of £4.31 (since this is an important keyword, you want to rank highly) and your monthly budget is £2,750. In this case, your ad will show up at position 2, but because of Google's budget limiting, the ad will only appear 48% (£2,750/£5,720) of the time. This means you get just 528 clicks (48% x 1,100). Your cost per click is £5.20, which brings your monthly spending (£2,745.60) within your planned budget of £2,750.
Now, imagine that your bid was £2.74, with the same budget of £2,750. Here, your ad shows up in position 3 but shows 100% of the time so you get 800 clicks at a cost per click of £3.43 for a total cost of £2,744, again within your planned budget.
Comparing these two cases, in the first one you were budget limited by Google and got 528 clicks, and in the second case, you used your bid to achieve your spending target and got 800 clicks for the same cost. That's why managing PPC spending using budget control results in higher CPC and fewer clicks.
Of course, it can be hard to estimate which bid will result in what cost, especially when you are dealing with 100's or 1000's of keywords instead of just one. To find software to help just type 'free pay per click management software' or something similar into one of the major search engines.
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