PPC Advertising - What is PPC and which one is right for you?
What is Pay-per-click?
Pay-per-click is an advertising facility offered by search engines (in parrticular Google Adwords or Microsoft Adcenter).
Advertisers bid against each other for prominence within the ‘advertising’ section of the search engine. The more you pay for a bid, the higher your listing will be featured.
Why do you need PPC Advertising?
- You have a new website, and it’s going to take a while for your site to feature in organic searches.
- You may be getting good rankings on the natural search results on certain terms but not on others. It is difficult to rank highly on a large number of search terms, so PPC Advertising is an ideal way to "fill in the blanks".
- You have a new product or a special offer, and you don’t have time needed for organic searches.
How does PPC Advertising work?
You choose either CPC (Cost per Click) or CPM (Cost per thousand impressions or Cost Per Mille ). CPC lets you specify an amount that you are prepared to pay each time a user actually clicks on your ad. CPM lets you specify how much you are prepared to pay for 1000 views of your ad.
- CPC is right for you if you are looking for visitors that actually click through to your site, and you pay for each one that does. This is for you if you want to make sales immediately.
- CPM is right for you if you want as many people as possible to see your ad, even if they don’t take action – useful if you want to make visitors aware of your website/product/launch.
You set yourself a daily budget (some sites do have a minimum), and your advertising campaign continues until your money runs out, and then it starts again the following day.
Once you have opened an account what can you expect?
Most PPC campaigns offer a similar package, although the costs and quality can vary quite widely.
They should all offer:
- A keyword suggestion tool – this allows you to study the current response to various search terms, and allows you make your choice more confidently
- Targeting – this allows you to specify the demographics of your preferred visitors. Targeting can be very specific; allowing you to select area, age, gender and time of day
- Bid Estimator – gives an idea of what others are paying for similar search terms
- Reporting – shows the response to your PPC campaign, providing information to improve your results
Who offers PPC Advertising?
PPC is most commonly associated with the major search engines, although it is available on a huge number of sites.
Here is a list of some of the better known ones:
Google AdWords is the largest paid search marketing option out there, with around 70% of all PPC traffic. This is the obvious place to start any new PPC campaign.
Overview: AdWords ads are displayed as “sponsored links” above, and to the right of the search results on Google. To further increase traffic, Google pays other websites to display AdWords on their websites, so your ad can appear on sites owned by businesses related to yours.
It can provide a good return, and should always be the first point of any paid search marketing campaign. Google AdWords is certainly the most dominant, but its strength is also its weakness - the most traffic, but also the most competition! Regular and careful optimization will certainly make a difference.
Microsoft adCenter – The 2nd biggest PPC player, but still only a fraction of the size of Google.
Overview: Always worth considering, the advent of Bing has made Microsoft adCentre even more important. Bing is still very new but could well become a force to be reckoned with. MSN should always be considered by businesses whose target market is home-based. There will be more of these likely to use MSN/Bing than business searchers. There is research that suggests MSN/Bing users are more likely to trust paid search ads. So, although there may be less traffic, there is more chance of your ad on being clicked on.
Facebook –Facebook PPC is ideal for specifically targeted audiences. Like most social network sites, there is an awful lot of information about the individual users. This allows a level of targeting not available to Google and others. Facebook PPC will let you select very specific demographics to create your campaign. The downside is that Google users finding your ad are actively looking for a similar product, whereas FaceBook users may not be actively seeking your services.
Are there other PPC providers?
Some of the better 2nd tier PPC sites include:
- MIVA – Underrated. A good search engine
- Marchex AdHere – Very effective, produces quick results.
- ABCSearch - Solid targeting, decent traffic sources, and good customer service.
- 7Search - A smaller search engine with good quality traffic. Good interface.
- Kanoodle - a smart addition to your search campaign.