If you know what pay-per-click (PPC) is but you don’t know where to start or how to develop a PPC strategy for your brand, you came to the right place.
In this post, we’ll cover the key benefits of PPC, explore different types of PPC and share a step-by-step guide to developing your own pay-per-click strategy to drive measurable results.
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What Is PPC?
Pay-per-click is a type of digital marketing where you, an advertiser, pay a fee to a publisher every time someone clicks on one of your ads placed on their platform. You set an ad budget and only pay when a user actually clicks on your ad.
Most PPC advertising strategies function on an auction basis, meaning that you, along with other advertisers, bid on chosen keywords. When a user searches for these keywords, an auction takes place to determine which ad will be displayed.
Types of PPC Strategies
Pay-per-click marketing strategies are very effective provided that you choose the right type of PPC ad type for your business.
The most common ad types include:
Paid search ads are the most common type of PPC ads, and the most popular paid search platform is Google.
With Google Ads, you can choose keywords that you want your ad or ads to rank for. You bid on these keywords by setting a maximum cost per click CPC, which is the amount you’re willing to pay for a click.
When a user enters one of those search terms into Google, your ad appears at the top of the organic search results, provided that it’s relevant and that you outbid your competitors.
To determine which ad will be displayed, Google conducts an auction considering the maximum CPC, your ad relevance, and the keyword’s search volume.
While search ads appear when users are searching for a product or service, display ads appear when users are browsing websites related to your business. These can be image, text or banner ads that target a particular audience.
Google has a Google Display Network where you can target your audience based on demographics, interests, hobbies and other factors. Display ads are a great way to reach a specific audience that has shown an interest in your ad/product and are likely to convert.
Social Media Advertising
Social media ads are displayed to people browsing social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.
Given the fact that these social media platforms have millions of users (or billions in Facebook’s case), they are a great opportunity to get more exposure and reach your target audience.
For example, if your target audience is made up of various professionals and entrepreneurs, LinkedIn might be a good choice. If your audience tends to be younger, Instagram ads are a great way to reach them. Choose a social media platform where your target audience is most likely to see your ad.
Video ads are just what they sound like: ads in video format that are displayed to users on YouTube, websites and apps. For example, YouTube shows skippable and non-skippable ads and you only pay if a user chooses to watch at least 30 seconds of your ad or clicks on it.
This is a great way to reach wider audiences who are not yet aware of your product/service.
Benefits of a Pay-Per-Click Strategy
Whether it’s a PPC search strategy, video ads or display ads, there are many reasons to use PPC in your marketing efforts. A PPC strategy is:
One of the biggest benefits of PPC is the fact that you can drive results very quickly. For comparison, increasing your rankings organically through SEO can take months or even years. With a pay-per-click strategy, you can build a website, create an account on your PPC platform of choice and get more traffic right away.
PPC marketing strategies allow you to track and measure results based on your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). You can measure the click-through rate, impressions, website traffic, conversions and other metrics.
Another benefit of PPC is budget-friendliness. Most platforms allow you to set a daily budget and set your maximum CPC based on what you think a click is worth. When your daily budget is spent, the PPC platform will stop displaying your ad for the day. This allows you to control your ad budget.
Combining your PPC and SEO efforts is very beneficial. Your PPC strategy can help you test keyword groups and see which perform better so that you can refine your SEO strategy to focus on these keywords.
How To Develop a PPC Strategy
Following a step-by-step process can help you plan and effectively launch your PPPC campaign.
To develop your PPC strategy:
1. Define Your Goals and KPIs
What do you want to achieve with your PPC strategy?
Before moving on with the next steps, you need to define your targets for your PPC campaign. Some of the most common PPC goals include:
- Drive sales
- Increase conversions
- Boost brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
When you figure out the specific goals you’re looking to achieve with PPC, you will define the most important KPIs you need to track to monitor your ad performance. All PPC platforms offer PPC reporting, but metrics vary.
2. Determine Your Ad Budget
Determining how much you’re willing to spend on your pay-per-click campaign is crucial. This is also why it’s important to define your goals so that you can direct your ad budget towards them instead of wasting money.
Focus on the keywords that are most likely to drive results and set your maximum CPC and your daily ad budget.
3. Research Your Competitors
Before you set up your PPC campaign, research your competitors and their strategies to see what methods they use and what drives success for them.
You can use Semrush or any other competitor research tool for this purpose or you can simply use Google. For example, if you sell organic foods and you want to bid on the keyword phrase “organic foods,” do a Google search and see what paid ads appear at the top of the results. These are your competitors.
4. Research Keywords
Keywords are at the heart of a PPC strategy. Define the keywords you need to target in your pay-per-click campaign that are most likely to drive clicks.
You have researched your competitors by now and know what keyword they’re targeting, but you also need to think about your target audience and terms they’re most likely to use when they’re searching for a product or service.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool for researching keywords, but there are many other tools to help you with this as well.
5. Build Optimized Landing Pages
Build and optimize your landing pages before you set up your PPC campaign.
Why is this important?
Because when users click on your ad and it takes them to your website, they expect to find relevant content and clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons. If your ad takes them to a generic page that is not user-friendly, optimized and aligned with your PPC efforts, you are wasting clicks because the user will leave your website without converting.
The best indicator of whether your landing pages are relevant and easy to navigate is your bounce rate. If it’s high, you need to work on optimizing them for user experience.
6. Choose a PPC Platform
When you know your specific goals, your budget and you’ve analyzed your competitor’s paid search ads, you’re ready to choose a PPC platform for your business.
Some of the most popular PPC platforms include:
- Google Ads
- Microsoft Ads
All of these platforms function similarly. You set a maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click and if you win an auction, your ad is displayed. But the platforms differ in features and functionalities.
If most of your target audience uses Facebook, this is a good choice for your pay-per-click campaign. If you’re targeting a very broad demographic, Google Ads is a safe way to go since it’s the largest platform with billions of searches per day.
7. Create and Test Ads
Finally, you need to create your ads and test them. Write your ad copy while making sure it’s clear and to the point. You have very little room to grab your audience’s attention so don’t waste ad space with fluff.
Then, create two versions of your ad and test them to see which one performs better. You can try different headlines and decide on a metric you will use to measure performance.
Google’s A/B testing is a great way to test your ads. Based on that, you can optimize your PPC campaign to drive better results.
A useful tool for creating ads is Facebook’s Dynamic Creative Ads, which automatically generates optimized versions of your ad based on your components, including image, title and video.
Wrapping Up On PPC Strategy
Pay-per-click advertising brings many benefits for your brand, including fast and measurable results, cost-efficiency and the fact it works well with SEO.
You also have plenty of options and can choose between search ads, display ads, video ads and social media ads, or combine all of them if, if that makes the most sense for your brand.
To develop a PPC strategy:
- Define your goals and KPIs
- Determine your ad budget
- Research your competitors
- Research keywords
- Build optimized landing pages
- Choose a PPC platform
- Create and test your ads
Following the above-mentioned steps will help you plan and execute an effective, detailed PPC strategy that is guaranteed to bring great results.
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