The Ultimate Guide to PPC Strategy

The Ultimate Guide to PPC Strategy

With mobile online usage finally surpassing desktop, now, more than ever, it’s crucial for your business to have a competitive PPC strategy.

In fact, Google has embraced the shift in demographics and has been in the process of rolling out mobile-first indexing which places emphasis on mobile-optimized websites.

In the past, you may have focused your marketing efforts on increasing your organic reach through on-page search engine optimization (SEO), but you need to start investing in your paid reach as well.

Why? Well, think about your behavior when you run a Google search on your phone. You’re looking for speed and convenience, which means you are most likely to select the first option which will always one of the paid ads that are placed above the other search results.

Read on to find out how to kickstart your first PPC marketing campaign or for tips to refine your current one.

What is PPC Marketing?

PPC is an acronym for “pay-per-click”. With this type of advertising, a company pays a fee to Google, or other search engine, each time a prospective customer clicks on their text advertisement displayed on a search engine.

I know what you’re thinking, but what about all the financial effort and time you spent on SEO and increasing your website’s search engine rank?

Don’t worry, those efforts have not been wasted. Far from it. While SEO increases your organic reach, PPC and other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) increase your paid reach. Having your website well optimized for the relevant keywords will significantly aid your PPC strategy as your website will have a higher Quality Score in the eyes of Google (more on this later).

PPC marketing is one of many pay-per-click advertising strategies which includes paid social media marketing and display marketing, however, search engine advertising is the most popular format at the moment.

What are the Benefits of PPC Marketing?

Firstly, one of the major benefits of PPC advertising is that it is very easy to get started. The key to a successful PPC strategy is constantly making changes based on how your ads and keywords are performing, so the best thing to do is just get started.

Another benefit is that it’s easy to track how PPC campaigns are performing. We’ll talk more about AdWords and Google Analytics later but know that it tracks a ton of data including impressions, clicks, and conversions.

Additionally, when you use PPC advertising, you have complete control over the budget you spend on your campaigns. Through AdWords, you can set daily and monthly budget limits while managing the costs of your current keywords and conversions.

Finally, what we consider the most significant benefit of PPC advertising is the ability to create and display hyper-targeted ads. AdWords gives you the tools to test different variables including the content of text ads and target demographics. Ultimately, this enables you to increase your reach and attract previously untapped groups of prospective customers.

Sign Up for Google AdWords

While Google AdWords isn’t the only PPC platform, with control of 97% of mobile paid spend in 2017, it is by far the largest.

You use the platform to create text ads for your business. Based on the keywords you’ve bid on and the amount of your bid, Google will display your ads when they’re relevant to the user’s search query.

Google uses a complex algorithm that analyses the cost-per-click (CPC) bid and Quality Score (more on these terms later) of every company targeting a specific keyword to determine the order that ads are displayed in.

Read on and learn about how to kick-start your first PPC advertising campaign.

How To Start Planning Your PPC Strategy

I know we said earlier that it’s easy to get started, but don’t jump in just yet! As with any business venture, your digital marketing team needs to have a solid plan before they get started.

Firstly, what are your business goals and how will you evaluate success? Maybe you want to increase your email sign-ups or build brand awareness. Whatever your goal is, you need to define its parameters and identify how you will assess your progress.

Next, you need to run an audit of your landing pages. Since your company pays every time your ad is clicked on, it’s important that those clicks lead to conversions. You need to design your landing pages so that they have a high chance of getting the user to interact with your website and perform the desired action

Finally, you need to start thinking about search queries that customers would use to find your product or service. The best way to get started with this is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think about the search queries that would lead them to your service or product. Run these searches to get an idea of who your competitors are and how they’re targeting their customers.

Keywords Research is the foundation of your PPC Strategy, so plan to dedicate a considerable amount of time to this step.

Brainstorming Keywords for Your PPC Campaign

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is a good start for brainstorming keywords. The next place you should look is on your company website. This will give you more ideas for what brings users to your website.

Keywords fall into three main categories; brand terms, generic terms and related terms. Brand terms are a combination of your product or service and your company’s name whereas generic terms focus on the product or service. Related terms cast the widest net, these are keywords that are tangentially related to your product.

For example, if we are planning a PPC campaign for the fictitious food tours company “Tucson Eats”:

  • Brand terms – Tucson Eats tours, Tucson Eats cost, Tucson Eats reviews
  • Generic terms – food tours in Tucson, food tours in Tucson Chinatown, best food in Tucson
  • Related terms – Tucson restaurants, Tucson public transportation, Tucson tourist sites

Additionally, there is a fourth category which is competitor terms. In this case, that would mean bidding on “Food Tours Tucson” and “Taste of Tucson Downtown. However, bidding on these terms will come at a considerable expense.

Once you’ve compiled your lists under these categories, think about similar alternatives that people may search for. For example, with the related term “Tucson restaurants”, you should also add “Tucson cafes”, “Tucson bars” and “Tucson food trucks” to your list of keywords.

Include Voice Search Keywords

Possibly the most important trend changing how we use search engines over the past few years is the emergence of voice search. Google received seven times the number of voice search queries from 2013 to 2016.

You need to make a separate list for voice queries because we conduct voice searches in a slightly different way than text searches.

All of search engine marketing and search engine optimization is built on the concepts of speed and efficiency. This is why we search “best taco truck Tucson” and other grammatically incorrect phrases.

However, we’ve been conditioned to treat digital assistants like people. You have to acknowledge the voice assistant before it will start listening, so now we phrase our voice searches like a normal question, “Hey Siri, where is the best taco truck in Tucson?”

Add these “human-sounding” queries to your list of keywords.

Refine Your Keywords

The next step is to create a condensed list of the strongest keywords from your list. You can use the Google Keyword Planner inside Google Adwords for this purpose.

The Google Keyword Planner can tell you the monthly search volume for each keyword as well as its competition rank as determined by AdWords.

The competition rank of a keyword influences the cost of targeting these terms in your advertisement. If a keyword has a high competition rank, it will be more expensive for you to rank highly for it.

When using the Keyword Planner, look for keywords with a high monthly search volume and a low competition rank. This will allow you to make the most of your PPC budget by targeting keywords that are easier to rank for.

Add Negative Keywords

Use negative keywords to avoid targeting users who are looking for a similar product but in a different location or price category. Google will omit your ads for any search that uses these terms.

For example, if you are the owner of a luxury hotel, you would want to put words like “budget” and “cheap” on your negative list to avoid having your ads clicked on by users who are certainly not going to book at your hotel.

If you’re uncertain about these at the beginning, don’t worry. Look at your search query reports in Google Analytics to see what people are searching for when they find your site. Use terms from that list as a starting point for your negative keyword list.

Creating Your PPC Strategy

There are four parts to a successful PPC marketing campaign; the keywords, the text ad, testing your ads and adjusting them.

Setting Up Your Keywords

You need to set your parameters for keyword matching in AdWords. This is where you tell Google how you want to be matched to user’s search queries.

There are four match types to choose from in AdWords.

To cast a wide net, choose broad match, which will bring up your advertisement for a broad range of queries, even ones that do not include any of your keywords. This may be helpful for growing an audience, but it also means that you’re paying for a lot of extra clicks that may be unrelated to your business.

A slightly narrower option is the modified broad match which displays your ad when your keyword is part of the search query.

Finally, the most discriminating distinction comes from a phrase or exact match. With these options, Google will only display your ad when the search query exactly matches that of your keyword.

Creating Your Text Ad

All your research has brought you to this point. Now you need to create an advertisement that entices readers to not only click on your link but to take the next step in the buyer’s journey as well.

The basic PPC text ad displays a headline, the page URL, and a short description. The PPC world is buzzing about Google’s newly launched expanded text ads which offer twice as much real estate when viewed on mobile and a longer description field.

The most important part of your text ad is the call-to-action (CTA). Many brands are already taking advantage of the expanded title text and using this field to include their CTA.

We recommend trying unique CTAs in your ad copy. Instead of the traditional options like “Click here” and “Buy now”, you can grab the reader’s attention with phrases like “Imagine” and “Get Free” before your offer.

PPC Campaign Management

Once your campaign is up and running, it’s important to monitor how it’s progressing. Below are some of the metrics you’ll need to understand in order to evaluate your campaign’s performance and make adjustments accordingly.

Quality Score

Google determines your Quality Score based on your click-through-rate (CTR), ad text and how your AdWords account has performed over time.

This score is important because it impacts both your ad’s ranking and what you’re charged when your ad is clicked on.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

CTR measures how many times your ad is clicked on compared to the number of times it has been displayed (impressions).

So what is a good CTR? Well, it depends on your industry.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Versus Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)

As the names imply, the CPA only counts users who complete a specific action. In this case, the one you decided on right at the beginning of this process when you were setting your PPC campaign goals.

The CPC, on the other hand, is the price you pay for each click on your PPC campaign.

A/B Test Your Ads

The final piece in the PPC strategy puzzle comes down to testing. This is how you make sure you’re not wasting time creating compelling content.

A/B Testing is a simple process where you write two ads and run them simultaneously. After a certain amount of time, see which is performing better and remove the other. Write a new second advertisement, and run the test again.

Get Started With PPC Marketing Today!

Even if you currently enjoy a steady stream of traffic to your website due to organic reach, implementing a PPC strategy is essential.

Otherwise, you are most certainly losing prospective customers to your competitors.

Don’t have the time or manpower to set up your own PPC strategy? Contact the PPC Management experts at IntoClicks and we can help you get started or take care of it for you.

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