How pay-per-click search advertising works
With search engine pay-per-click (PPC), you want people searching for your product or service to find you, click through to your website and buy.
With PPC, you can:
choose one or more PPC providers according to your business model
target particular demographics according to your marketing strategy
define keywords that best describe your product or service
bid an amount per click on each keyword that you feel will give your ad an advantage over your competitors – this is known as the cost per click or simply CPC
create small ads to specification and submit these to your PPC provider
pay your PPC provider your bid price for that keyword each time an internet user clicks on your ad
The usual way businesses use PPC advertising is through sponsored match. When users search for information, the search engine returns a search engine result page (SERP). The SERP presents the most relevant organic and sponsored links to the queried keywords.
Where will your ad be shown?
Sponsored links – ie ads placed via PPC that match the search term – normally appear above the natural or organic listings. There is usually a subtle indicator that the listing has been paid for.
Even if the search engine displays your ad, its position is not guaranteed, nor will it be the only one. Other adverts may top the list or be more relevant than yours.
To help your website get a higher search engine ranking you should:
make the right bid for your keywords
use search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics to boost the visibility of your website in search engines
use well written and effective copy for your adverts and website – see how to write effective copy for PPC ads
Creating a pay-per-click campaign
You need to start your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign by considering your business objectives. These could include converting website visitors into buyers or generating sales leads. You should consider:
the visitors you want to attract – ie your target audiences
when to activate your ads and for how long
how to structure your account – ie how you will divide ads into groups and campaigns according to product, location etc
the ultimate goal of your ads – eg purchase a product, complete an enquiry form
how to monitor the success of your ads and adjust them to make continuous improvements
whether you want to create and manage the campaign in-house or use a specialist search marketing agency
Setting a PPC campaign
You will need to consider and create the following elements in a paid search campaign:
Campaign name – make it descriptive.
Demographic targeting – the locations, languages, devices etc, that your campaign will target.
Budget and bidding – how much you will spend and how.
Ad group – an ad group shares one set of keywords, and can contain several ad variations. There can be several ad groups within a campaign
Keywords – a collection of words that will display your ad when someone searches for the specific words. Try to make keywords targeted and relevant to the landing page that you link to. Read how to choose the right keywords for your PPC campaign.
Ad – this is what the customer sees when they search. An ad includes a headline, ad copy, a display URL and a link to a specific landing page. See how to write effective copy for PPC ads.
Part of setting your campaigns includes getting your account structure right. It is important to group similar products together in a meaningful way. See the diagram below for an example of how an account might be structured: