A Quick Guide To PPC Management
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a core digital strategy for boosting online visibility in search engines and on social media platforms. It is also a cost effective form of online advertising, as advertisers are only charged when a user clicks on an advert.
However, PPC strategies can require a lot of time and attention, particularly in competitive sectors and industries. Today, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the world of PPC management to ensure that you’re equipped with all the information you need to get the most out of your PPC strategy.
How Does PPC Differ From SEO and SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is somewhat of a catch-all term which includes PPC and search engine optimisation (SEO) and essentially refers to any tactic that is designed to improve online visibility.
SEO is the practice of optimising the structure and content of a website to ensure it is highly visible to search engines, which improves its chances of securing a high ranking position in search engine results pages (SERPs).
PPC specifically refers to the process of creating and managing image, text and video adverts, which are placed on search engines and social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
How Exactly Does PPC Work?
With PPC, advertisers can bid to ensure their adverts appear in the SERPs for specific keywords and phrases. So, if a searcher entered “self catering apartments” into Google and an advertiser had placed a top bid for that keyword, their advert would appear on the SERP above the organic results.
Search engines utilise algorithms to determine which PPC ads are displayed on SERPs using a variety of factors, including the amount bid by the advertiser, the quality of the advert, and how relevant the ad is to the keyword or search phrase.
Additionally, advertisers can create ad campaigns designed to target searches in a particular geographical area, searchers with specific interests, and searchers that fall into a specific demographic.
Advertisers are only required to pay when their ads are clicked on, which is why it is a popular tactic for building brand awareness on a budget. However, it is important to note that some keywords and search phrases are more competitive than others, which means that advertisers will need to place higher bids in order to secure visibility on the most popular results pages.
For example, “self catering apartments” is likely to be a much more competitive target search phrase than “self catering apartments in Birmingham” as the latter is significantly more specific.
Is PPC Advertising Complicated?
While the process itself is relatively straightforward once you know what you’re doing, it is important to note that managing campaigns that perform well and drive a positive return on investment is necessary. So, as monitoring analytics and making refinements is all part of securing PPC success, this isn’t a one-and-done process.
Let’s take this opportunity to look at some of the steps required to create and maintain a high performing PPC strategy.
1. Understanding Your Audience
If you don’t have a clear image of who you’re targeting with your ad, you aren’t going to secure the level of success you want to see. It’s important to be specific here, so ensure that your image of your intended audience includes everything from their age and gender, to their location, their interests, and what they’re looking for from your business.
2. Establish Clear Objectives
It is also essential to understand what you want your PPC campaign to help you achieve. Whether you want to generate new leads, boost traffic to your website or increase online sales, ensure that you have clearly established objectives to refer to frequently.
3. Select The Right Target Platforms
There’s no point in targeting platforms that your target audience isn’t using. So, conduct some in-depth research to learn more about which platforms your audience prefers and take the time to understand which types of PPC ads are most likely to perform well on those platforms.
Are There Different Types of PPC Ad?
Each platform supports a variety of PPC ad types, each of which has its own unique benefits that can help you to achieve your objectives.
1. Search Ads
Search ads are the most popular form of PPC advertising and are displayed above the organic results on SERPs. Search ads are generally text based and are tailored to be hyper relevant to the keyword or phrase being searched.
2. Display Ads
Display ads are generally image based banners, which are placed on apps, websites and digital platforms. The best performing display ads immediately capture the attention of a very specific audience and are designed to boost brand awareness, drive traffic, or advertise a particular service or product.
3. Video Ads
As more social platforms have started to support video content, video ads have increased in popularity. PPC video ads can be placed on the likes of TikTok and Instagram, or as pre, mid or post-roll ads on YouTube.
High performing PPC video ads typically incorporate a clickable element, which will take users directly to a webpage that relates directly to the subject of the video. So, you might use a video ad to promote a whitepaper to which you can direct users via a clickable link within the video itself.
PPC and Remarketing
PPC ads can deliver excellent results when used as part of a wider remarketing strategy. Remarketing ads can take a variety of different forms, including video, social media, and search ads, and are generally displayed to users as they search for relevant phrases or keywords, interact with mobile apps, or browse social media.
This type of PPC advertising is generally best for driving sales and conversions, so every element of each ad should be tailored to achieving this objective.
What Are The Best PPC Platforms?
There are a range of excellent PPC platforms, and the platforms you ultimately choose to target should be informed by your audience and your objectives. But let’s look at some of the most popular.
1. Google Ads
Google is popular across the world, which is why Google ad fees tend to be higher than other platforms.
Facebook ads are displayed in Stories and in users’ news feeds. The social media giant supports a range of ads, including video ads, carousel ads, which allow advertisers to select multiple videos and/or images to be displayed on a single ad, and slideshow ads which create a mini video from several still images.
As most platforms support a variety of ad types, managing wide-reaching strategies can very quickly turn into a full time job, which is why it is important to understand the scope of your capacity and ensure that you aren’t stretching yourself, or your budget, too thinly!