Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) is one of the most popular forms of online marketing available today. The seemingly painless setup has made PPC a fast growing method of advertising for businesses and websites of all shapes and sizes. The basic premise of pay per click is that you will pay an amount determined by the competitiveness of your keyword for each click that your ad gets. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your website and end on the URL you indicated in the initial ad setup. Sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how many variables go into every account.
The History of Pay Per Click Advertising
In the words of philosopher George Santayana, “To know your future, you must know your past”, the same holds true for PPC advertising. In 1996 the first pay per click ad was online, although at this time the pricing was based solely upon a pay per impression model. Even though the first online advertising was awkwardly setup and not very user friendly, the ground work hand been laid for the future of paid search. Search engine powerhouse Google burst onto the PPC scene in 1999 with the original version of Google Adwords surfacing just one year later in 2000. Far from its current form, it wasn’t until 2002 that Adwords allowed you to pay per click. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that Google began to consider factors other than the cost you are willing to pay, but the introduction of Ad Score would soon change that. Fast forward to 2013 and you are given a wealth of options when you setup your Adwords or Bing/Yahoo PPC campaign.
At the same time that Google was beginning to dominate the paid and organic search markets, a company known as Overture was also attempting to develop and refine their own version of pay per click advertising. Using nearly the same methods as Google, this company battled for the top spot, but failed to reach it, later being purchased by Yahoo. Again, if you fast forward to 2013 the two primary PPC advertising options are Google and Bing/Yahoo’s combined Adcenter.
So What Make PPC Platforms Tick?
Now that you understand just how paid online advertising got its start, we can take a closer look at just what PPC really is and how you can use it to benefit your online only or storefront business location. As I mentioned briefly above, pay per click marketing is based upon a competitive bidding structure; but what does that mean? Put simply, when you select a keyword, Google or Bing/Yahoo query there database to determine how competitive the term is. The more competition for the term, the higher the cost per click will be. Some keywords are going for $60 per click while others may just cost pennies.
Aside from the competition level of the keyword, the ad quality score that we mentioned above also factors into the cost per click. In order to reach optimal cost per click levels on your campaign, you need to avoid low quality score keywords. In order to avoid having a low quality score, you want to be cognizant of three primary factors: click through rate, keyword selection, and landing page relevancy.
Click through rates is the number of times an ad is clicked on versus the number of times it is displayed. This ties directly into keyword selection as well, if you choose a long tail keyword, you should include that in your ad copy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your ad clicked. Maintaining the continuity, you should also have the keyword in the landing page title as well. Taking these three simple steps can greatly decrease your costs and boost your ad score.
Are Adwords and Adcenter My Only Choices for PPC?
Since paid advertising has become so popular you will find it available in many options. Some websites will allow you to advertise exclusively on their website while others forms of PPC may be part of a small network of niche sites. Sticking with the mainstream options though, Facebook paid advertising is a very popular choice in addition to Google and Bing/Yahoo. Facebook allows users to pay per click or per action, the latter option is useful if you want to gain likes to your page. The interface and basic principles of Facebook PPC are very similar to Adwords and Adcenter. Another maintstream version of single site PPC advertising can be found on LinkedIn, a site known for putting you in contact with decision makers. Again, you will find their interface to mimic that of Adwords somewhat as well.
Which Type of PPC Should I Be Using?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. If your budget allows, you want to reach out to every place where your target customers can be found. If you are new to PPC and want to start slow, Google Adwords is a great place to begin and learn the ropes. If you know that you need to reach more consumers but aren’t sure how, our team would be happy to help. Take advantage of our 15 day free trial to see just what we can do for you.