What is PPC?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click.
It’s a ‘paid advertising’ system, where your advert appears on a search results page when users search for certain words or phrases.
The Ads can show above the organic search results, and above any map listings.
The Pay Per Click approach allows businesses to decide who should see their adverts and how much they’re prepared to spend per click.
Also, the major social media platforms have their own PPC systems, such as Facebooks Ads, Linkedin Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads, and more.
What is PPC for?
Pay Per Click allows a business to display its adverts to very targeted customer groups. It’s far more tailored than an SEO strategy (where your business is listed in the ‘organic search results’), and ensures only those people who meet the targeting requirements are showed the adverts.
A per per click campaign is intent-driven.
This means we can advertise directly to searchers who demonstrate the intent to make a particular type of interaction. This could be the intent to:
- learn more information about a subject (research intent)
- find a specific type of business (navigational intent)
- make a purchase (transactional intent)
Part of an Overall SEM Strategy
Pay per Click is often just one part of the total Search Engine Marketing strategy. Businesses looking to build brand awareness and generate traffic will run a PPC campaign alongside to complement their SEO strategy, social media marketing and email marketing.
A well-oiled digital marketing strategy will use several of these elements for maximum reach & effectiveness.
The true power of Pay Per Click is the ability to target the people we want to ‘see’ our ad, and click on it.
Think of it as watching people walk past our shop, then spending a small amount of money to invite the ‘right’ customers in. We can ‘ask’ questions about their buying habits, buying intent, and more, to gauge if they’re likely to be a good customer.
Keyword targeting – show our ads to people who type certain keywords or key phrases into Google, e.g. ‘Hotels in Manchester’, ‘cheap car insurance deals’ or ‘where’s my nearest mcdonalds’.
Location targeting – specify the user location by country, city, or radius around a town.
Device targeting – show our ads to users on mobiles, or desktop PCs, etc.
Who Uses PPC?
PPC works well for highly transactional businesses. i.e. driving traffic to websites with a clear conversion purpose.
- Online retailers trying to sell products
- Hotels looking to sell rooms
- Travel companies looking to sell flights & holidays
But PPC is also extremely effective at creating brand awareness, without necessarily aiming to ‘sell’ anything directly.
PPC for Traffic Generation
The classic Pay Per Click campaign is based on paying for clicks, with a monthly budget, to bring visitor traffic to a website.
Once the campaign is linked to the Google Analytics account, we can obtain a vast amount of information on the quality of the traffic, along with the resulting conversion actions.
Through a process of continuous work & refinement, we can arrive at a highly effective process of bringing our target audience to the door.
PPC for Building Brand-Awareness
The ‘other side’ of Pay Per Click. Less concerned with traffic but more focused on views and impressions. Pay for CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rather CPC (cost per click)
This is valuable where front-of-mind is important, competing in highly competitive market places.
Google’s display network allows for graphic, highly-visual ads, and the nature of its responsive ads means we can display adverts across a huge range of websites that make up the Google Display Network.
Typically a brand-building campaign will be run alongside a traffic campaign.
Measuring the Results from a PPC Campaign
This is the bottom line.
Is our PPC campaign working?
Pay per Click is a proven method of bringing visitor traffic to a website, but once those people have arrived, what happens next?
Clearly we’re aiming for a positive ROI (return on investment), and this requires a certain conversion rate:
- Submit an enquiry form
- Purchase a product/service
- Make a phone call
- Sign up to an email newsletter
- Download a PDF document
- Follow us on social media
We can assign a value to each of these, and configure Google Analytics to measure them all.
This process is often much easier for transactional businesses (retailers, etc), but can prove more difficult for service businesses, where a website can be little more than an information brochure, and measurement of success is less obvious.
In situations where the resulting enquiries are sent in to the business by email or phone call (and therefore into a whole new sales funnel), knowledge of that conversion process can be used to refine the ROI calculations.