In praise of PPC: Five benefits of pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is advertising that you pay for when someone clicks and are typically associated with search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. PPC has been around since the ‘90s and had sometimes been discounted by modern marketers looking for the sizzle of social or other digital ads. But there are real benefits to PPC, particularly now. Here are five—and how to get started if you’re not currently doing PPC advertising for your products, service, or company.

Five benefits of PPC

1. It’s cost effective: With PPC advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and it takes less budget to make a dent. A good rule of thumb is to spend $75 per day in order to get a good read on traffic and then conversions. Compared to other types of advertising, that’s a bargain. Companies set the budget so they can control costs—which is even more critical during uncertain times.

2. It’s targeted: Your PPC ads aren’t shown to just anyone: They’re served to the audience you choose through targeting. You can remarket to people who have visited certain pages on your website or downloaded one of your offers, and target people who match your current customers or have the right interests. You can also choose what time they’ll be served the ads, so your dollars aren’t wasted.

3. It’s flexible: PPC advertising is incredibly nimble. You can turn it on and off quickly—and adjust ads on the fly based on how well certain ads are performing over others. Compared to traditional media like TV spots, PPC ads give you a lot more control. In an environment like we’re experiencing now, when messaging needs to change quickly as not to appear tone deaf, this becomes particularly important.

4. It’s resource light: PPC ads are text based, so there’s no heavy design time needed to get them ready for prime time. All you need is a wordsmith, a call-to-action (CTA), a target audience and a budget—and you’re really to roll.

5. It’s easily trackable: PPC ads incorporate with search engine monitoring tools like Google Analytics to give you real-time data on how your ads are doing. This can help you determine whether to scale back or ramp up budget in accordance with target response. In addition, this real-time data can help you A/B test larger campaign messages so you can make a more informed decision about wording to use for digital radio spots, virtual collateral, and other materials that are costlier to produce and harder to change.

Getting started with PPC
If you’re thinking of incorporating PPC into your advertising campaigns, start small with a test campaign in the beginning to see how it goes. Identify your goals, such as whether you’d like to increase clicks to a product page on your site, generate sign-ups for a trial, or just drive people to your company page overall.

Decide which PPC network to use, be it Google AdWords or Bing Ads—which is responsible for ads for both Bing and Yahoo search engines—or one of the smaller networks like Bidvertiser. AdWords is the most used of the options—and for that reason, prices can be costlier when compared to other networks. But its tools and incorporation with the largest search engine make it attractive.

With your network in place, set your keyword priorities based on your thoughtful keyword research that you likely did to optimize your website. Haven’t revisited your keywords lately? We can help.

Next, create your content according to the content guidelines for the network you’ve chosen. They all have character limits and it’s a good idea to A/B test different message options to see which gets better traction.

After adding your target audience, set your budget and launch your campaign. It’ll take anywhere between one and three days for your ads to be approved. Be sure to log in to your dashboard and monitor ad performance so you can see what is working and what isn’t and adjust budgets and messages accordingly.

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