What Is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Do you spend money in online advertising and drive revenue through your website? Don’t have any PPC campaigns running on Google, Yahoo or MSN? You may want to familiarize yourself with what PPC is and how it can help your company.

Paid search ads, or text ads, appear above or next to the natural search listings on search engine results pages. Advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on by a searcher, hence the term, Pay-Per-Click. The great thing about PPC advertising is that you are reaching the consumer while they are actively engaged in searching for your product. By tailoring your ad copy to the type of keywords you have in your campaigns, you can reach customers at different points of the sales cycle and have different ad copy speaking directly to that stage.

For example, if you sell shoes on your website and have the keyword, buy shoes online, you know that someone that finds your ad by searching this term is probably in the beginning of the sales cycle and is looking for a place to purchase shoes online. You would write ad copy that tells them why your shoe website is the best by using your site’s value propositions (i.e. Free Shipping, Large Selection, Up to 20 percent off, etc.). To reach consumers further down the sales funnel and ready to purchase, you would include more brand/product specific keywords in your campaign as consumers that are searching for more specific terms have already done their research. For example, if you have the keyword, nike air force 1, you could write ad copy tailored specifically to that product (e.g. Great Deals on Nike Air Force 1). By having specific ad copy that speaks directly to the searcher, they are more likely to click on your ad and you’re also more likely to drive qualified clicks to your website.

Keyword selection also plays a large part in successful PPC campaigns. You want to advertise on keywords that are relevant to your website and its offerings. Keeping with our example of a shoe website, you would not buy keywords related to socks if you don’t sell them on your site, even though socks are indirectly linked to shoes. Since you don’t offer that product on your site, you would not purchase sock-related keywords as it would essentially be wasting money by paying for clicks that are not likely to convert.

There are also many tools available to track campaign response to help you determine which keywords are getting clicks and which are driving revenue. This data will help you analyze your return to make sure you’re not wasting money on keywords that are not driving revenue. There are also tools available to help manage you keyword bids based on their actual return. While there is still no perfect solution for tracking and bid management, there are some very good tools available in the marketplace. And in all honesty, any tracking, even if limited in its capability, is better than no tracking at all.

There are many nuances to setting up PPC campaigns correctly. Some best practices that will help to promote long-term growth and success of your campaigns include developing an overall campaign structure and setup strategy. Once up and running on the engines, it takes daily management and performing reporting analysis to get your account fully optimized and running at its peak.

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