Pay-per-click means you pay only for a click on your ad. That click will typically lead to a “landing page” on your website. In effect, through PPC advertising management, you will be paying only for a visit to your website. This is unlike traditional advertising, where you have to pay for showing the ad. Even if a print or broadcast ad does not generate a single response, you still have to pay.
Showing an ad in a popular print publication could cost you hundreds of dollars with no guarantee of any response. Compare that with PPC advertising management, where you will usually have to pay only a few dollars for each click. For companies providing high-value services, each site visit through that click could potentially generate thousands of dollars in revenue.
How do you manage your PPC campaign to generate high revenues at low ad costs? That is the topic of this post.
Key Elements of PPC Advertising Management
Let us start by looking at the key elements of PPC advertising management. The ad copy itself is only one of these elements.
- The Landing Page: When someone clicks on your ad, that person lands on a page at your website (or other destination). This is the landing page. The page is designed to get the visitor to take some action such as:
- Buy what you sell
- Download a special report or whitepaper in exchange for the visitor’s email address
- Subscribe for your newsletter that will provide information or tips or guidance on a topic of interest to the visitor
- Keywords: Keywords represent the search terms people actually use to search for your kind of offer, or something related to that offer. For example, if you sell business consulting services, keywords such as “how do you start a business” will be relevant. Keywords are important because you will have to provide the keywords that will trigger your ads.
- Ad Copy: PPC ads have to be short, typically with a Headline, a Destination URL, and two lines of body copy. With these elements, you will have to:
- Catch the attention of prospective customers
- Make them feel that you are offering something they are looking for
- Get them to take the desired action
The outline above is for a search ad campaign. There are other types of PPC campaigns, such as display and video ads.
- In display ads, you can display an image that is better at catching attention. Instead of search results pages, these ads are shown on online publications. You can select the publications by selecting the “interests” the publications cater to. For example, for your business consulting services, you can select “business start-up” or “business management” as target interests.
- For video campaigns, you can create videos that describe your offer or help your prospects with “how-to” or other types of valuable information. You can then upload these to a platform like YouTube and set up a campaign to get visitors to the videos. Alternatively, you can show an ad inside an existing video that is popular among your target audience.
In this post, we focus on search campaigns. Search campaigns are particularly effective in achieving sales. Your ad appears just when someone is searching for what you offer. For example, your ad offering business start-up help could appear when someone is searching “how to start a business.”
Search campaigns start with keyword research in PPC advertising management.
Keyword Research in PPC Advertising Management
As mentioned earlier, keywords represent search terms that people are actually searching with. Keyword research is an exercise in PPC advertising management to create a list of these search terms that are relevant to what you sell. Once you have a list, you tell the search engines to show your ads when someone is searching with one of these terms.
That way, you make your ad highly relevant to what the searcher is looking for.
How do you build a list of keywords that are highly relevant?
- If you already have a website that is receiving traffic and generating sales, start the process by looking at the search terms that are bringing the traffic. You can do this by using your analytics program.
- Review these terms to identify those that converted into sales or other desirable actions (like an e-book download). Start your keyword list with terms so identified.
- Next, ask yourself what words would a searcher use to search for your offer. It would be even better if you can find a prospective customer and ask this question. If you are starting from scratch with no traffic generating website, this will be your first step.
- Once you have a starting list created as above, you can use keyword generation tools to find new keywords. The tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner You need a Google account to access this tool. The tool will generate a list of terms that people are actually using to look for your kind of offer.
- WordStream Keyword Generator
- Wordtracker the original keyword tool
- Keyword Tool can generate keywords for several platforms
Building a list as above is not enough. You have to segment the list into sub-lists of closely related words – words that reveal an interest in the same thing. For example, the consulting services company might find keywords for:
- How to start a business
- How to raise money for a business
- How to market a product
Each of these words reveals a different intent. You have to create separate groups, with each group focusing on queries that have a common answer. With such tightly focused groups, you can create highly relevant ads and landing pages. Naturally, this will lead to highly productive ad campaigns.
PPC platforms provide Ad Groups for such focused keyword grouping.
PPC Text Ads
In PPC advertising management, search campaigns work with text ads, unlike display ads that can accommodate images. Text ads have to be extremely compact with less than 200 characters that have to accommodate the heading, description, and destination path. A good ad will have:
- Heading that immediately grabs the attention of your target group
- A description that creates a desire to find out more about the offer
- A Call-to-Action that tells the visitor clearly what to do next
Text ads are typically the first point of contact with your prospective customer. The prospect searches with a specific search term and comes across your ad.
In addition to the characteristics mentioned above, the ad must be:
- Highly relevant to the keyword so that the search engine displays it when the keyword is searched
- Preferably include the search term so that the searcher feels it is relevant
- Lead to a landing page that delivers on the promise made in the ad, in sufficient detail and clarity to induce the visitor to do the desired action
Search engines usually allow enhancements to the text ads such as extensions (such as a phone number) and site links (links to other pages of your site).
PPC Landing Pages
A visitor “lands” on a landing page upon clicking an ad. It is with the content of the landing page that the advertiser has to persuade the visitor to complete the desired action. The action could be making a purchase or downloading an e-book in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
An ideal landing page will elaborate on what was hinted in the ad copy. It will have:
- A strong heading that is relevant for the keyword and the ad copy, a heading that compels the visitor to read further
- Concise copy explaining clearly how your offer will deliver the value the prospective customer is looking for (and do it in a unique and more effective way compared to similar offers)
- A clear call to action that leaves no doubt as to what the visitor should do next
- A lead generation form that is easy enough for the visitor to complete and submit, and preferably delivers something of value in return (such as an informative e-book on something of interest to the visitor)
- A pleasing design that puts all the above elements together in a clean and uncluttered format
Setting up your AdWords Account
- Visit Google Ads
- Create your account, either under your existing Gmail account or by creating a new account
- Provide details about your time zone, currency, etc.
- Set up billing information. Providing your credit card details might be the best option as it speeds up things and allows you time to pay
- Create a Campaign. Each campaign should have a clear objective such as selling a specific product or creating awareness about your company
- Under the campaign, create Ad Groups with each group containing about 20 closely related keywords and 3 to 5 text ad versions. Having different ad versions will allow you to project different selling points and see which one evokes more responses
- Look at your keywords list. It is the keywords that will trigger your ads. Which ones are really relevant? And which ones could be false triggers? Segment the former into tight ad groups and set the latter as negative keywords.
- Create text ad versions. See earlier comments on how to create good ad copy for PPC. Have 3 to 5 versions of an ad under each ad group
- Create Landing pages that will be consistent with the keywords and ad copy. See landing page design tips in the last section.
- Set your budgets and bids. Budgets are what you are comfortable spending per day. Bids are what you are willing to pay for a click against a keyword or ad group.
- Look at other settings for the campaign, such as locations to show the ad, times at which to display ads, etc.
- When everything looks fine, give the go-ahead to Google to start the campaign (until then you can use the Pause option to stop the ads from showing; just select that option under Status)
- Set up conversion tracking following AdWord’s instructions
Last but not least, in PPC advertising management, you have to monitor performance key performance indicators, such as Impressions, Clicks, CTR, Conversions, and more.