Open any web browser and use the Internet, I’m willing to bet you will come into contact with pay-per-click advertising (PPC) at some point during you web usage.
You see pay-per-click ads on top, bottom, and to the right of all pages in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo as well as social media websites, Facebook to be more exact.
Pay-per-click advertising, also known as ppc advertising or search marketing — a more search engine optimization common or generalized name — is an effective method and internet advertisement system to drive profitable and targeted traffic to one’s website.
In today’s post, I hope to shed a little light on the pay-per-click advertising, and how to effectively use pay-per-click advertising in such a way that you can make it a profitable search marketing method to drive and convert targeted traffic.
Let’s jump in and get started with the good, the bad and ugly in pay-per-click advertising.
The Many Faces of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
As with everything pertaining to internet marketing and advertising methods, you’ll have many website owners who swear by pay-per-click advertising and are effectively using ppc advertising to increase their website traffic, and convert highly targeted traffic for pennies on the dollar.
Satisfied website owners have mastered pay-per-click advertising to the point of treating ppc advertising much like a light switch or a water faucet, they turn it on and sales pour in.
Because they have successfully mastered pay-per-click advertising using cost-effective keywords, the website owners’ organic search rankings also receive a little boost – which this statement has not been formally stated or confirmed by Google or Bing but from experience, I have experienced my own organic search rankings increase when using pay-per-click advertising.
And as there are satisfied website owners with tremendous success, there are unsatisfied website owners who have had the nightmare ppc advertising experience of raking up thousands of dollars in clicks from junk traffic or traffic that is not targeted, and not having a single visitor to convert a sale on their website.
This type of less than stellar pay-per-click advertising performance typically occurs due to a variety of reasons but not limited to the following:
- the lack of effective on-page optimization of the landing page
- not making use of negative keywords
- not operating ppc adgroups and campaigns as distinct keywords
- not knowing enough about their customers to target their purchasing attributes
- not testing small and measuring results
What is Pay-Per-Click or PPC advertising?
Unlike search engine optimization which takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to see a return on investment, pay-per-click advertising has been synonymously given the name “instant website traffic”.
Just as the name indicates, pay-per-click advertising is just that: paying for ads clicked by people.
Adding a little deeper explanation, you place ads referencing your website in an advertising network to be displayed to targeted potential customers.
Those ads are then displayed and clicked by potential customers in search or need of your products or services.
The Pay-Per-Click Ad Ecosystem
In a high-level overview of pay-per-click advertising and its moving pieces and players, website owners willing to get traffic pay a publisher such as Google, Facebook or other 3rd party advertising platforms.
The publisher owns the advertising platform where PPC ads are displayed and potential customers click the ads.
Google is one of the biggest networks with YouTube and Facebook following close behind.
Website owners of PPC ads are charged only when potential customers click on ads being displayed on the publisher advertising platform.
Pay-per-click ad pricing tend to follow a fixed-cost or maximum value per click schedule, automatic bid, and ads optimized by conversion or click-through-rate.
In addition to ads being displayed on publisher platforms or ad networks, pay-per-click advertisements can be placed directly on search engines or inner content pages of other websites.
Pay-Per-Click Ad Target Types: Search vs Content.
These other websites, such bloggers, directories, and an assortment of websites displaying ads, are also defined as search targeted and content targeted pay-per-click ads respectively.
Search targeted ppc ad results are displayed directly at the top, bottom or right hand side of search engine result pages when the user searches for specific keywords.
Search targeted pay-per-click ads tend to receive the most exposure in search engines when located at the top, with the bottom being next and right side being less effective.
However, having ppc ads displayed at the top of search engine results pages can be very expensive as you will have to set a very aggressive pay-per-click budget, or operate very efficient campaigns with very strict, streamlined, and targeted ad groups and ads.
In addition, the quality and click-through-rate of your pay-per-click ad must also have a stellar rating if you want to maintain a cost-effective pay-per-click cost.
Content targeted ppc ads will be displayed on the pages of keyword relevant websites.
So for instance, you own and operate a chair rental business and recently launched your optimized website targeting potential customers in need of chairs to rent for festivals, weddings and special events.
As you await your search engine optimization efforts to take effect and increase organic search traffic to your website, you enlist the help of PPC ads using content targeted ppc ads that are being displayed on websites where your potential customers engage daily.
Using content targeted pay-per-click advertising, ads are shown to targeted traffic (e.g., wedding, special events, or sporting events websites, etc. as opposed to untargeted traffic (e.g., outdoor fishing, cycling, or real estate websites).
Because your ads are shown to targeted traffic, there is a greater opportunity for you to convert more potential customers looking to rent chairs than just random targeted traffic not interested renting chairs and draining your pay-per-click budget.
Profitable Pay-Pay-Click Advertising Methodology
As previously stated, pricing for ppc ads tend to be fixed-cost or maximum value per click schedule, automatic bid, and ads optimized by conversion or click-through-rate.
Many pay-per-click advertising networks and service providers offer a fixed or flat-rate price per click pricing model.
It is highly recommend that your pay-per-click budget be pre calculated and defined to a monthly or daily spending limit when first starting pay-per-click campaigns.
I personally believe you should start with one pay-per-click advertising network at time until you have mastered it, maxing out and receiving all of the targeted traffic your website and budget can handle before moving to the next pay-per-click advertising network.
Although the growing list of pay-per-click advertising platforms and networks are endless, I’ve had stellar pay-per-click advertising success using Bing, Google and Facebook ads for a variety of niche websites I own.
Once you select a pay-per-click ad platform, start small, test frequently, and measure your way to profitable success.
Start small with a set of test campaigns to test theories about your selected keywords as well as ads.
It is suggested that you typically run a campaigns with 2-3 ads each for 3-5 consecutive days at a max budget of $10-25 per day to obtain a large data set of results to measure and review.
Review the data, and wash, rinse and repeat the process until you have 3-4 pay-per-click ads converting profitable customers.
If your ppc ads are sending traffic to you website, but traffic is not converting, then might I suggest that you test out different content, call-to-actions, or various design elements.
Personally, I tend to focus on the number of profitable customers and not on my click-through-rate, although the click-through-rate is important in regards to the overall ad quality rating by some pay-per-click advertising networks.
I say this because it is easy to declare a ppc ad the winner based on high click-through-rate, yet the same ppc ad could cost you an arm and a leg because the sent website traffic is not converting from visitors to paying customers.
In the end, I’ll take a lower click-through-rate on an ad that is sending me profitable business any day as opposed to a ppc ad that is doing nothing more than sending traffic.
Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Your Business?
I can only speak from my own experience.
However, I will say broadly that pay-per-click advertising is and can be a very effective internet marketing strategy as can any other marketing or advertising tool.
Used correctly, pay-per-click advertising can supplement traffic in conjunction with search engine optimization efforts until SEO efforts increase organic search traffic to your website.
There are many companies and businesses using both to drive profitable sales although SEO efforts tend to take longer to deliver the level and quality of traffic that pay-per-click advertising delivers.
Be sure to do your homework, thoroughly researching and considering the pros and cons of ppc and seo before making a final decision.
In addition, pay-per-click can be used as a way to test certain theories, or even product or market testing on a small scale before a larger commitment is made to scale the release of a product or service to a larger market – many ebooks, books, softwares, apps and emerging market industries and niches take this approach.
However, one of the most important distinctions to make in regards to pay-per-click advertising is that your pay-per-click campaign solely depends on the ability and aptitude of the person or team responsible for managing and operating the campaign to profitable success.
Have you ever tried pay-per-click advertising for your business? Leave us a message below and tell us your story.