As one component of a comprehensive Search Engine Marketing program, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising offers companies a highly-flexible, cost-effective means of offsetting shortcomings in natural search rankings and search engine optimization efforts.
PPC is the cumulative process where advertisers bid on keywords or phrases, develop corresponding ads to be displayed alongside relevant search engine results or networked Website content, and pay only when their ads are clicked. Advantages of PPC:
- Highly-targetable – Ads can be served according to advertiser-specified interests, locations, languages, and other parameters.
- Reach & Relevancy – Millions of Internet searches are conducted every day; PPC messages are displayed in response to specific queries, when Internet users are typically further along in the acquisition cycle.
- Real-time Optimization – Advertisers can modify keywords, ads, targeting parameters and budget allocation within seconds of spotting performance trends; reporting periods, metrics and details are fully-customizable.
- Minimal Waste – Advertisers only pay when Internet users click on their ads, maximizing efficiency and online return on investment.
The most successful PPC programs require dedicated time and effort to establish goals, monitor performance and maximize results. One of the most critical components, and least understood, is ongoing budget allocation. Determining budgets is easy; properly managing them requires individualized attention and dedicated expertise.
The process begins by allocating budgets by campaigns, or keyword groupings. A best practice is to spread keywords across a multitude of campaigns, as a greater number of campaigns allows for more granular optimization and budget allocation. Proper allocation goes a long way toward preventing high-volume, highly-competitive (and thus expensive) keywords from rapidly depleting PPC budgets and keeping other important search terms from triggering important ad messages.
With budgets and campaign structures set, the keyword bidding process begins. Although “automatic” bidding is an option, we recommend manually bidding on every keyword purchased. The manual process yields greater strategic control and allows hands-on discovery of keyword trends in real-time. Proper bidding is a complex, labor-intensive process that requires constant monitoring and tweaking for optimal results. Our specialists regularly dedicate the hours necessary to ensure proper management throughout the bidding lifecycle.
Merely spotting trends isn’t enough – PPC program managers must continuously absorb and leverage learned, program-specific intelligence. Because no two advertisers or programs are alike, this requires a great deal of real-time dexterity. We monitor geographic trends, search engine versus display network trends, device/access trends, and even evaluate trends by time-of-day or day-of-week. The result is a better, more efficient PPC program built, measured and continuously-adjusted to meet our clients’ specific marketing objectives. By proactively addressing trends, we maximize PPC results.
Many advertisers and small businesses choose to self-manage and end up abandoning PPC programs before they’ve been given a fair chance to succeed. Others simply never realize their PPC programs’ full potential. Putting PPC in the hands of professionals replaces the guesswork with expertise and infuses PPC programs with new life and strategic focus.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the many benefits and nuances of Pay-per-Click in this article. For more information, visit our previous blog post, 5 Steps to Building an Outrageously Successful Paid Search Campaign.
Ready to begin a Search Marketing Program, or improve your PPC performance? Contact TREW Marketing today.