New to PPC advertising? This blog post will take you through some of the basics.
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. No doubt most of you will have already seen, and clicked, on a PPC ad when searching for things on Google (PPC campaigns can also be run on MSN and Yahoo, but we’ll focus on Google AdWords today.)
It’s called pay per click because an advertiser only has to pay once a user clicks on the ad and not when the ad is shown. So, you only pay for traffic that decides to visit your site. Google’s PPC system is called AdWords.
Through the Adwords system campaigns can be run across:
- Search – the main Google search page
- Search partners – these site use Google’s search functionality like AOL and Sky
- Google Display Network (GDN) – a large network of websites form the GDN and accept a range of text and banner adverts
- You Tube – a number of campaigns can be setup and managed through AdWords
PPC works on an auction model. Basically, this means that the advertiser with the highest cost per click (CPC) appears in the highest position. However, it’s not quite that simple. There are a number of factors that Google takes into account when determining ad position, including quality score, ad relevance, landing page relevance and even page load times, to name but a few.
PPC facilitates a high degree of control and transparency. Ad messaging can be changed instantly, daily budgets and CPC’s can be amended any time and activity can be set live and paused instantly. Every part of the campaign is tracked, so, over any time period, you can see how many clicks you’ve had and how much they’ve cost. If conversion code is added to the website, AdWords can show if those clicks have led to a lead, sale or enquiry. This is incredibly powerful because the account can be optimised to a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) to ensure that the leads and sales being generated are cost effective. Having this level of detail not only means that you can see what’s working, but, more importantly, what’s not working. With other forms of advertising, it’s much harder to measure how successful a campaign has been.
PPC ads appear on the main Google search page, either at the top, above the natural results, or to the right of them. Normally a maximum of 10 ads can appear on a page.
One very good reason to run a PPC campaign is there’s a high chance that your competitors are also running one. If they are, they may be stealing potential customers from you. Even if you’re number 1 organically for a keyword, a paid ad will appear at the top of the page.
Monthly budgets don’t have to be massive to run successful campaigns. As there’s a lot of transparency and control with PPC it’s easy to stay on top of budgets and measure the success of campaigns.
Some of Crafted’s clients run offers or time sensitive messaging, which can all be controlled through the PPC campaigns. AdWords allows you to be responsive to the search landscape, allowing more opportunities to generate extra onsite conversions.
PPC jargon busting
To help you make head and tail of paid search jargon, I’ve put together a small glossary of PPC terms:
Impressions: An impression occurs when an ad is served on a network or search engine. The number represents how often the ad is shown and not necessarily seen.
Clicks: When a user clicks on an ad.
Click Through Rate (CTR): clicks / impressions x 100 = click through rate. This can be used to measure the performance of your ads. CTRs vary greatly depending on keyword match type and across brand, generic and high volume terms.
Average Cost Per Click (Avg CPC): Cost per clicks are not fixed, due to the auction platform PPC operates in. Therefore, CPC’s are generally shown as averages.
Average Position: The average placement position your ad achieves over any given time period.
Campaign: A campaign is made up of ad groups. Many settings are applied at campaign level, such as daily budgets, location targeting, ad extensions and many other bidding and targeting options.
Ad group: Ad groups sit within a campaign and contain keywords and the creative (ads). Ad groups should be tightly themed and contain related keywords.
Keywords: Keywords are words or phrases that, if they match a search, trigger an ad to be served. Keywords come in different match types. There are currently 5 different match types. Broad, Phrase, Exact, Modified Broad and Negative
Creative: The text ad that gets displayed on the search engine. All ads have character limits. AdWords ads are as follows:
Headline - 25
1st Description line - 35
2nd Description line - 35
Display URL - 35
Written by James Giles