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PPC: A Jungle survival guide

What is PPC?

Pay Per Click advertising (also referred to as paid search) is a digital marketing term used to describe the activity of advertising your site on other websites or on search engines and paying the host company each time someone connects to your site.

This is a popular emarketing strategy because you don’t pay to list, you simply pay for clickthroughs – so you only actually pay for the traffic that is driven to your site. The result is you get maximum exposure for your product, while being in total control of the amount you want to spend on your digital marketing campaign.

What’s more, PPC allows you to clearly track the effectiveness of your ad campaign and make adjustments as and when necessary to improve its performance.

PPC is an excellent tool when used to form part of a holistic digital campaign, plugging the gaps that SEO can’t fill.

Below is an infographic, courtesy of unbounce.com, which explains how the PPC auction works, including Ad Rank calculations and how the all-important Quality Score can influence your position.

Market size/Industry trends

In the UK, the paid search market is valued at £3.19bn, which goes a long way to explaining why the good folks at Google can afford their amazing offices and subsidised canteens, and why Facebook is valued at up to $100bn! Jungle has vast experience in the PPC market and has identified some emerging PPC trends:

e-Competitiveness
Over the last 12 months, along with advertisers investing more of their budget in pay-per-click (PPC), we have been seeing more first-time investments in PPC. This increased competitiveness is resulting in an increase in cost-per-click rates. To avoid bidding wars that can adversely affect your ROI, make sure you employ the services of a digital marketing specialist, who can help you analyse your maximum cost-per-lead.
Mobile
Mobile PPC continues to grow in 2012 as more and more companies focus on developing mobile-specific websites. Jungle’s experience shows that the goals that drive success for desktop campaigns do not always translate successfully to the mobile user. So we will formulate imaginative, specific strategies for your digital mobile campaigns right from the outset.
Call tracking
Now that Google has launched bid-per-call in AdWords, we’re beginning to see more and more advertisers going back to the old days of including a phone number in ads using call metrics. If you want to go down this route, Jungle can put technologies in place to track PPC generated phone calls, enabling us to accurately attribute leads and sales back to your PPC campaigns and make better optimisation decisions.
PPC and online display
As PPC formats offer ever more online media type features, such as remarketing (sometimes called remessaging) and display, the lines between PPC and display media are beginning to fade. It is therefore important for advertisers to understand how they perform in comparison to search campaigns. Jungle can help you to do this by putting clever strategies and technologies in place to analyse the performance of remarketing and display campaigns and clearly understand the overall impact your PPC media campaigns are having on your ROI.
Social and PPC
We all know how social media can fuel SEO, but the growing trend for it to fuel PPC – how does that work? The answer is retargeting or remessaging, a digital marketing strategy that allows you to target users who have visited your website with ads to entice them to return to your site and complete a conversion step. With Google+ and AdWords launching Social Extensions, it’s likely that social will integrate more and more with PPC in 2012.

How does PPC work?

PPC follows many similar principles to SEO. The aim is to appear at the top of the paid search results (the results shown down the right hand side of the screen) each time an internet surfer enters a search term that you have placed a bid on.

Whilst it used to be the case that you simply bid more than your competitors to appear at the top of the results listings, Google and the other search engines are now more sophisticated and take into account around 30 factors to determine where your advert should be placed. The price you are prepared to pay for the click does still matter, but only if your ad is relevant, you have a quality landing page and your website is easily navigable.

How do I work out how much to bid?

We use clever online technology to help you work out exactly how much each click to your page is worth by looking at average conversion statistics. We produce in-depth reports that make it easy to see your profit margins for each PPC search term and identify which are the most successful and cost-effective.

Which terms should I bid on?

We’ll help you generate a list of terms that will increase your brand awareness and boost your sales. We’ll do this by working with your internal teams to generate a comprehensive list of terms that we believe will cover the market/industry or product you are promoting, as well as conducting external research, reviewing your competition and adding a good dose of creative and commercial thinking.

How does PPC work with SEO?

We believe PPC can plug the gaps that SEO can’t fill. SEO will help improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic but is a long term strategy and can’t cost effectively target every single search term used by Internet surfers. PPC works in tandem with SEO by being able to quickly target more niche search terms in response to the changing needs of your business.

Advantages of PPC

  • Ability to reach potential customers for search terms you’re not ranked highly for organically.
  • Ability to track a surfer’s movements once they have clicked onto your site, and work out whether that person’s click is converting into a sale (or indeed, where they are falling out of your sales funnel so you can fix it.)
  • Simple to work out how much your traffic is worth to you and how much you can afford to bid on a search term.
  • Ability to appear at the top of the search results almost immediately with a well-structured campaign.
  • Increase your search engine presence, increase the amount of targeted traffic you receive and take a paid search spot away from your competitors by bidding on search terms that you are already ranked highly for organically.

Disadvantages of PPC

Although paid for media comes with many benefits, you should also be aware of the pitfalls of going down this route without a good PPC management and internet marketing specialist on your side.

Inflation

The increased number of PPC advertisers coming into the market over the last few years has pushed up the bid price for individual keywords and phrases by an estimated 20%. Which, in turn, effects the actual click-through-cost (CTC) to your business.

To ensure companies receive higher ranking than their competitors they have to regularly increase their bid price – which means extra outlay without additional benefits.

In order for your business to avoid this situation, Jungle will put in place strategies and technologies that will enable you to respond and adapt to developments quickly and cost-effectively.

Click-through fraud

When your ad is displayed on third-party web pages you’re vulnerable to click-through fraud. This is because these websites receive money for the amount of clicks the ads they host receive, so there’s a temptation for some unscrupulous owners to click ads in an attempt to generate revenue. Jungle use specialist technologies to identify and eliminate fraudulent clicks.

Glossary

We thought this bite-sized glossary of key words and phrases might prove useful.

Ad Copy:
The headling, persuasive text and display URL displayed on the results page of a search engine.
Adsense:
A quick and simple way for website publishers to earn money by displaying relevant ads on their website’s content pages. The ads are specifically aimed at either a site’s visitor’s search criteria or matched to its target market’s characteristics and interests.
Ad Scheduling:
A process whereby you set time slots when your advert will be shown, allowing you receive the most valuable traffic when it is available to you.
Bid Price:
The maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for your search keywords.
Conversions:
Getting people to do something on your website or as a result of visiting your website – buy something, phone for a quote, leave a comment, click a button.
Click Through Rate (CTR):
The number of clicks on a link or ad as a percentage of ads or pages served.
Daily Budget:
The maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on your ad campaign each day, when your budget limit is reached, your ad will stop showing.
Exact Match:
Specific keyword matching where the search query must be exactly the same as the ad keyword.
Google Trends:
A tool from Google that allows you to see how Google search volumes for a particular keyword have changed over time.
Keywords:
The key search query typed into a search engine.
Negative Keywords:
Specific keywords used to stop the appearance of non-relevant searches so your ad doesn’t appear and therefore lose you money.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising:
The activity of advertising your site on other websites/ search engines and paying the host company each time someone clicks through to your site.
Reach:
Your reach is the total number of unique users who will see your advert over a given period of time. It determines the presence and online exposure your ad will get.
Traffic Estimator:
A tool that can be used to predict advertising performance before the commencement of a digital campaign.

Useful Links

http://www.ppchero.com/

http://www.mashable.com

http://www.seomoz.org

http://www.adwords.google.co.uk

http://www.webmasterworld.com

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