Navigating Pay Per Click Advertising

What is PPC advertising?


Pay-per-click advertising or PPC is an online advertising platform in which advertisers pay each time a visitor clicks on one of their online ads.


There are many types of PPC ads, but the most common type is a paid search ad. These ads appear when people are searching for things on the Internet using a search engine like Google. This could be anything such as a mobile search for “restaurants near me” (on their phone) to someone shopping for a special gift for a birthday. All of these inquiries trigger a search engine to display pay-per-click ads.


PPC ads are not limited to search engines. Social media platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and LinkedIn have platforms for businesses to place paid ads.


How does PPC Advertising Work?


On search engines, PPC ads appear on the top and bottom of the pages for a particular search. When the user clicks the link on a PPC ads it directs them to a page on their website. Social media like Yelp are similar to search engines but are limited only to its platform. Other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn PPC ads appear in social feeds, or in messenger feeds.


Search engines use a sophisticated identity technique when a PPC ad is clicked. So the myth of repeatedly clicking the same ad from the same person does not count multiple times against the cost of each click.


For search engines, ads will appear alongside the regular results. (Often called “organic results”.) advertisers cannot simply pay more money to ensure their ads appear more prominently than a competitor’s ads. Ads are subject to the “Ad Action”, an automated process search engines use to determine the relevance and validity of advertisements that appear on search results.


Social media paid advertising have different paid advertising models. Some require you to pay more money to beat out the competition in a particular business category and location. This is counter-productive and can trigger a localized paid ad war and can cost local businesses more money with diminishing returns. Search engines tend to provide more transparency and a more level playing field for everyone in paid advertising.


Advantages of PPC Advertising


For both search engines and social media platforms, the results are immediate. Your ads will start appearing once the campaign is turned on. In many cases, this is much quicker than ranking on page one of the search engines organically through search optimization (SEO) techniques.


For local businesses, search engines and social media platforms provide insight tools to specifically target locations and demographics for your paid ads. Search engines like Google provide excellent ad targeting tools and optimization recommendations to improve your ads while your campaign is running.


“Over 40,000 searches every second.” – Google


Another advantage that many don’t realize is business visual exposure. Even if the user does not click the ad, the ad is shown on the page. This is known as an “impression”. The user may see the PPC ad several different times before clicking the ad or reaching out. For example, running a small PPC campaign with a handful of different ads on a search engine like Google can yield over 18,000 impressions per month. That’s a lot of exposure for a small budget. I find that the same budget amount on social media like Yelp only produce one-tenth the number of impressions.


Although the quality of campaign tools varies from search engines to social media platforms each provides valuable insights on how well each PPC ad is performing. This can be used to make modifications and instant improvements to strengthen your campaign. Google provides ad and campaign recommendations to improve PPC performance.


Disadvantages to PPC Advertising


To put it quite simply, stop the money flow (stop the campaign) the PPC ads go away don’t appear until the campaign is turned on again. Thus ads are not everlasting.

PPC Budget – Know Where Your Money is Going


Budgets can be set on PPC campaigns so that you do not go over your daily/monthly allowed amounts. Once an allowed amount is reached the campaign is automatically placed on pause (i.e. no more PPC ad impressions) till the new period is reached. When starting outpacing your budget on a daily basis is an excellent approach to see what ads are initially performing best.


PPC ad campaigns on search engines use a keyword (search term) price to base the cost per click. Keywords will have different prices depending on popularity and how they are used in a PPC ad. Initially optimizing a PPC ad is determining what search terms are being used month over month. There are plenty of search terms on search engines that have little to zero monthly volume. These are either seasonal or search terms that were once popular and are not now.


A PPC budget is like a garden it always needs constant attention for the plants to grow.


I find PPC campaigns on social media platforms have a more expensive customer acquisition cost than search engines. Although some social media platforms might be more suited for a particular type of customer it might be well worth to check out your options before you commit to one platform.


Success Media Services can help your online marketing efforts by designing a right-sized digital marketing strategy for your organization. This can include discussing your options on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising vs organic growth on search engines and social media.  Contact us today to see how we can grow your business on the Internet.

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