What is Paid Advertising? (PPC)
PPC, or pay-per-click, is often utilized to get instant results with minimal effort; however, those results often come at a premium price depending on your targeted audience. In short, you are paying for advertisements to appear on websites or search engines and you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.
There are a few things you need to take into consideration before you run your first PPC campaign.
Depending on your advertising platform, you have certain controls over who actually gets to see your advertisements. Most platforms follow a similar model as would be found with Google Ads. In this model, you write an ad, decide what terms it should show up for, and then you place a bid. Your bid and keywords determine when, how often, and where your ads are going to show up.
If you are utilizing Facebook for your advertising needs, you get a completely different method of determining who gets to see your ad. From here, you get to decide the demographics of who gets to see your ads. Rather than using search terms, you get to tell Facebook to display your ad to males between the ages of 24 and 50 who live in the London, England and are teachers. Or you may cater your ads to women between the ages of 27 and 30 who live in the United States and earn more than $50,000/year.
These are the two most common forms of PPC. That’s not to say there aren’t other options out there, but most likely you’ll run into one of these two.
Obviously, there are times when you’ll want to use a Google Ads style campaign over a Facebook campaign. If you are a local business trying to get in front of people actively searching for what you have to offer, then a Google Ads PPC campaign would be more beneficial. If, on the other hand, you are trying to get your product in front of a large audience, then Facebook would be the better choice.
When it comes to standard PPC, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. The costs are decided by your bids when you start your campaign. If you have a high bid, your ad will be shown more often. At the same time, you will be paying more per click than anyone else. You need to find that line where you are getting impressions (one impression is your ad being viewed one time) and paying minimal costs for every click. That can take some time and patience, though.
You do have another option, though. This option is known as CPM, or cost per thousand impressions (M = 1,000 in roman numerals). This is as simple as it sounds. You pay a set amount (again, based on your bid) every time your ad is viewed. If you have a bid of $5.00 CPM, you will pay about $5.00 for every 1,000 views of your ad. Simple enough.
This is really where you need to do some research into your product and decide which campaign would best suit you. You can run a CPM and get only 2 or 3 clicks. At that point, you may be better off moving over to PPC as the cost would then reflect the number of clicks. Of course, at that point, your ad may get better positioning resulting in you getting more clicks (and, of course, paying more). In which case, you may think you would have been better off with CPM. And it can go back and forth like that. That is why you need to watch your campaigns and adjust as needed.
The Ad and Your Landing Page
As with any form of advertising, if your ad is terrible, you won’t get anyone clicking on your ad either way. You need to make sure that your ad is eye-catching and draws your potential customers in.
At the same time, you need to evaluate your landing page, or the page the ad takes the user to when he or she clicks on your ad. There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to your landing page. Does it take too long to load? Is it interesting enough to keep someone’s attention? Does your ad reflect your landing page? To make sure you have a solid landing page that checks off all the boxes, you need a great web design company.
When you get into paid advertising, you need to make sure you can afford to run split tests. What this means is that you need to run several concurrent ads – and pay for them all.
What you want to do is set up multiple ads with multiple landing pages and run them all through CPM and PPC. Essnetially, you should have the following at a minimum:
- Ad 1, Landing Page 1, PPC
- Ad 1, Landing Page 1, CPM
- Ad 1, Landing Page 2, PPC
- Ad 1, Landing Page 2, CPM
- Ad 2, Landing Page 1, PPC
- Ad 2, Landing Page 1, CPM
- Ad 2, Landing Page 2, PPC
- Ad 2, Landing Page 2, CPM
With some monitoring, you can begin to whittle away the ads that aren’t doing so well and decide on one ad that has the strongest click-through rate while paying the least for those clicks.
Of course you don’t have to set up that many campaigns, but if you are looking to optimize your ROI, you would want to ensure that you are getting the most for your money.
Once your campaign is set and ready to go and it begins, your results are literally just what is being reported back to you. That sounds odd to say, I know. However, there literally is no proof that your ad is shown to those that you are requesting to have it shown to. You are taking the word of the advertising platform and you will have to live with that. I’m not saying that they flat out lie and run your CPM campaign by only showing your ad to 100 people and reporting it as 1,000 (though it could happen with bots regularly scouring the internet). I’m sure they are displaying accurate numbers, just maybe not to your exact specifications.
For a better understanding, check out this post regarding social media, and view the video about one-third of the way down. That video does a better job at explaining why paid advertising campaigns might not be as legitimate as we all wish they would be.
At the end of the day, there is a lot to consider when dealing with paid advertising. There are some people out there that absolutely crush it with paid advertising. Then again, there are way more out there that seem to find no luck with it.
It is still a very lucrative platform for getting your business out there in front of potential customers. And a lot of businesses utilize the services (see how much Google makes in advertising here). All I can say is monitor your campaigns like a hawk. Don’t start a campaign and just walk away or you might end up as just another contributor to the billions of dollars Google earns without you seeing anything back.
For those who have actually made it this far, you are probably wondering what the alternative is for paid advertising. If you want your business to be seen by those actively looking for your products and services, I will always tell you that SEO is the way to go.
With SEO, you more or less know what you’re getting in to. You are moving your business up towards the first spot in the search engines. Once there, you have the potential to earn more business than in any other position, including ad spaces.
The biggest problem with paid advertising is that your ad is clearly labeled as an advertisement. For many, that is an instant turn off as we are bombarded with ads everywhere we go.
Want to watch a 15-second YouTube video? You have to watch a 30-second ad first. You want to read an article on a news site? Let an overlay advertisement sit on your screen for 15 seconds first. We see ads everywhere.
When the average user is looking for your products, they want what they perceive as the recommendation from the search engine, not a paid advertisement.
I will always recommend SEO over paid advertising. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lethal combination of the two. If you’re interested in San Antonio SEO services, please fill out our Discovery Application and we will get back to you as soon as possible.