Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Just to make sure everything is clear… On this page we’re looking a pay per click advertising from the perspective of the advertiser, that is the business that is hoping to attract valuable visitors by paying for the ads. If your interest in PPC is that of a publisher, please see our page about contextual advertising and Adsense.
We shall be using the framework of Google Adwords for this discussion, but the other PPC options are similar in all key ways.
Pertinent Variables in PPC:
The objective of pay per click advertising is to bring quality traffic to your site in the most cost-efficient means possible. These are the most important variables in helping you achieve that goal.
- Bid on targeted keywords
- Write ads that are closely tied to those keywords
- Create landing pages on your site that are also highly relevant to those keywords to receive the visitors who have clicked on the advertisement
- Monitor and adjust your bids on each keyword
- Carefully track the actions of the visitors who have come to your site using those advertised keywords
Grouping Targeted Keywords in PPC:
Within an advertising campaign, you can set up an unlimited number of groups of keywords. For example, if you sell jars, you might set up ad groups such as these:
- Keywords related to the central phrase “buy jars”: buy glass jars, buy ceramic jars, buy clear jars, buy yellow jars.
- Keywords related to the central phrase “free delivery”: free delivery all jars, free delivery red jars, etc.
- …you get the idea…
There are two benefits of this approach. 1) You can write an ad that you know will grab the attention of the searchers, since the advertisement mentions a feature or benefit that is clearly important to them. 2) Google will consider the ad to be relevant to the keywords upon which you are bidding, and that results in a lower charge.
Create Separate Landing Pages for Each Ad Group:
This is not as difficult or time consuming as it may seem. All you really need to do is duplicate a basic landing page, then change a headline and, perhaps, a sub-headline and a few lines of copy to include the key phrases paralleling the keywords of the respective ad group.
This effort has the same basic advantages of creating the ad groups and creating different ads for each. That is that the visitors who arrive on that page will find the specific key phrases for which they had searched, and Google will see that your landing page is highly relevant to your keywords (favorably impacting your overall cost).
Monitor and Adjust Your PPC Bids on Individual Keywords:
As you improve your ads and their relevance, you will begin to see that your average cost per click (CPC) decline and/or that your ad will be positioned higher in the paid listings for a given search. You can begin to gradually lower your maximum bids. Use the data that you analyze from the next variable, tracking, to help you determine how far you may want to lower your bids, if you decide to lower them at all.
Track Your Visitors:
You can use your own tracking software or use Google Analytics to track the actions of the visitors you attract in your pay per click campaign. You want to know which keywords (and, by extension, which ads) are better at generating desired actions. The desired actions might be, for example, signing up for your mailing list, buying a product or both.
If, after a significant number of clicks, certain keywords have not generated any useful actions, you can discontinue advertising those keywords. Alternatively, if you notice other keywords creating a lot of sales, you may want to increase the budget for those so that you can get them to drive even more traffic.
One bit of data that is extremely useful, is that good traffic software will let you know the exact key phrase that a visitor used. For example, a visitor might have searched for “free delivery of glass or ceramic jars to Memphis.” On such a search, they may have clicked on the ad that your offered for “free delivery glass jars.” If you get enough such searches, you may decide that you should create a new page on your site optimized for that specific key phrase. Eventually, then, you may be ranked in the organic (unpaid) listings for such a search and receive free traffic.
Indeed, many Internet marketers do not actually expect PPC advertising to pay for itself, but they may use it for research purposes such as identifying high converting keyword phrases or to compare the conversion ratio of different variables within the copy of their landing pages (headlines, sub-heads, font color, images, etc.). PPC can drive traffic quickly, so it is extremely useful for these sorts of research efforts.