Pay Per Click 101
Pay Per Click (PPC) activities have had significant impact on online businesses for over a decade now. Changes in online marketing have made PPC an activity that is usually recommended as a part of a larger online marketing strategy rather than a stand-alone initiative. Nevertheless, PPC activities still hold a significant part of revenue generating activities directly affecting performance and bottom lines.
PPC allows for charging for advertising of a site or business on search engines, networks and content sites. Advertisers typically bid for keyword phrases they determine are relevant for their target market within the search engines, and then pay the host when the ad is clicked. Alternatively, payment can be charged in the form of a fixed rate, which is a form more typical of content sites and blogs.
The overall aim of PPC activities is to reach potential purchasers and get them to click the ads. The following are some activities we found to be helpful when optimising PPC campaigns for some of our clients. Hopefully this will help you get started in the PPC world:
1. The aim is to reach target markets, so try and eliminate random clicks on the ad. They simply cost money and generate no revenue. Focusing on buying and converting terms will help you pre-qualify potential purchasers. Narrowing down broad match options and keywords to ‘long tail’ terminology will help you make sure that people who click on the ad are more likely to convert to actual clients.
2. Putting your prices in the actual ad will also help sift out and qualify potential purchasers.
3. Provide people with an incentive to give away their email address or contact information. Since most online purchases are done only after research, the majority of online conversions will visit a site several times before purchasing. To keep track and interact with potential buyers, getting their contact information can be highly valuable. This will also save you future costs since you will be able to directly interact with highly qualified leads directly.
4. A/B testing can be simply done and is a fantastically effective way to optimize ads. Having two or more versions of an ad running simultaneously will allow you to measure performance and determine which elements of an ad work better for specific products or markets.
5. Complete the Google AdWords (link here: http://www.google.com/adwords/learningcenter/ ) tutorial on how to get started with PPC campaigns. While it is a time consuming and at times, boring activity, it will give you a good head start in your attempt to understand the world of PPC. However, keep in mind that the tutorials will show you PPC from the Google AdWords perspective, and while those provide a good overview, they are biased.
6. Conversion tracking is necessary to measure performance and account for the effectiveness of each keyword or phrase used. While most free tracking mechanisms do not track sales, they will still give you a good indication of performance, traffic and volumes. The most commonly used tracking platform is Google Analytics. It is fairly comprehensive, will provide most of the information a business might need, and is totally and completely free.
7. Keep constant track of your campaign, performance and budgets. While PPC is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make money online, it is labor intensive and requires constant care, updating and optimisation.
Once you are past the initial stages of PPC or do not have the time/ resource to constantly monitor, optimize and keep up with market developments, the best thing to do is to hand activities over to a professional agency with fantastic PPC experience. Make sure the agency can show successful case studies across a wide range of industries and with different clients.
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Tino Nombro, MD of Ambergreen
Tino has worked at the cutting edge of online marketing for over twelve years. As one of Ambergreen’s founders he has shaped the direction of Ambergreen and developed the strategic consultancy the agency delivers.
His enthusiasm for ensuring companies embrace online and achieve outstanding results comes from a strong understanding of business combined with expert knowledge and experience of the Internet.
As well as playing an important and hands on role with clients, Tino is a respected member of the business community and a strong and dynamic business leader. His vision and energy have been a key factor in Ambergreen’s success.