More and more often, research and business are conducted online. As business professionals, one of your main goals should be to drive as much traffic to your website as possible. You can do this through search engine optimization or through pay per click (PPC) advertising.
In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed the difference between PPC and SEO, so we won’t go into that here. Rather, we’ll discuss what PPC is, the best practices, and how to use it for your business.
What is Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising?
Simply put, pay per click advertising is where, as an advertiser, you pay when someone clicks on your ad. Rather than receiving free visits to your site, like you do through search engine optimization (SEO), you’re paying for potential customers to visit your site. There are a few different platforms advertisers can use that are considered PPC advertising: social media advertising, specific website ads, and the most popular, through search engine advertising.
How Does Search Engine PPC Advertising Work?
We’ll talk about Google primarily, but Bing also offers advertisers the opportunity to run PPC ads. Google uses the advertising platform, Google AdWords to run advertising campaigns. We discussed the Google AdWords campaign types in a previous blog.
From a very basic, high level perspective, search engine PPC advertising works when an advertiser determines the keywords that they would like to target for their ad. These words are possible terms that searchers are typing into Google (or Bing) that are relevant to the advertiser’s products/services. Then, the advertiser builds an ad and makes a landing page that the ad links to. Both the ad and the landing page should contain information that is relevant to the searcher. Then, Google AdWords uses their algorithm to determine whether or not your ad will be shown and where it will be shown on the search results page. Because a lot of people may be vying to be visible for a certain keyword, your bid amount, ad relevancy, and landing page relevancy are all taken into account. Google AdWords can be pretty complicated, but the goal is to show the right people the right ads that may answer whatever questions that made them search for those keywords to begin with.
With Google AdWords, everyone is happy: the searcher is happy because they found the information they are looking for, you are happy because the right people are coming to your website, and Google is happy because they’re making money.
How Does Social Media Advertising Work?
Social media advertising works in a similar way to search engine advertising. You are creating an ad that is relevant to people who you want to attract, but rather than focusing on keywords that searchers are using, you’re focusing on interests and activities that the social media platform is predicting certain people like and do. For instance, for Facebook advertising, you are picking various audience attributes like location, age, gender, and interests and then Facebook is using the information they have about its audience to determine whether or not to show a specific ad.
Like AdWords, your bid amount and ad relevancy determine when and to whom your ad is shown. But, unlike AdWords, the people who are shown your ad aren’t specifically searching for information related to your ad. They are watching videos, looking at memes, and interacting with family, friends, and coworkers. As such, your ad has to make them stop scrolling and pay attention since they aren’t specifically seeking out your business or services.
Setting Up Your PPC Advertising Campaign
To start PPC advertising, first determine the goal for your ad: are you driving traffic to your website, wanting more followers on a specific platform, looking for leads, etc.? Your goal will help you decide what type of PPC advertising is appropriate for this particular campaign. It’s also possible to run multiple ads on multiple platforms—maybe you would like to capture those searching for products/services relevant to your business and you also want to increase your brand awareness on social media. It’s really up to you where you would like to start.
Once you determine the platform, figure out who your target audience is, where they are located, and what interests/actives/education level they have if developing a social media ad and what search terms they could be searching for if developing a Google AdWords ad.
Next, create your ad and set your budget. Decide how much money you would like to spend (don’t worry, you can increase or decrease this amount later) and whether that amount is a daily, weekly, or monthly budget. Enter in all the information in your PPC ad platform and wait for it to be approved. Once approved, it will start running.
PPC advertising is a great way to immediately drive traffic to your website. When driving traffic organically to your website takes a long time, PPC ads can supplement your traffic until you get the organic growth you’re looking for. Either way, PPC ads can be very beneficial to you and your company.
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