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PPC tips and advice

PPC advertising is in many ways a simple form of targeted advertising. However, the services being provided to advertisers are continually developing and the marketing principles to run an effective campaign need to be followed. We've seen many PPC campaigns wasting significant amounts of money through poorly structured and targeted campaigns, or inefficient management that doesn't make the most of the available data to get the best results.

All clients of the Web Search Workshop benefit from our clear explanations and expert advice about effective PPC advertising, with our management or training services helping companies make the most of this powerful form of advertising. In this section we have listed below some of the main strengths and weaknesses with PPC advertising, and have also linked to articles that have been published from our monthly newsletter, focusing on some of the key features and principles of PPC advertising.

Strengths and weaknesses of PPC advertising

Firstly, PPC advertising has a number of strengths compared to other forms of marketing, either online or offline:

PPC is Targeted and Relevant

As with all forms of search marketing, the main benefit of PPC advertising is that it's targeted at people who are actively searching for your products or services, so that they are already likely to be 'warm' prospects and better disposed to your marketing messages. This results in PPC advertising being one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing there is, reflected by the increasing popularity of this medium.

PPC is Cost-effective

PPC advertising requires very little investment or time to set up, making its use realistic for any size of business. As the cost of the advertising is controlled by how much companies are prepared to bid, PPC is often very cost-effective and targeted, with the advertising controlling the activity through the use of in-depth data that's generated from a campaign. However, as competition increases and bid prices rise, advertisers need to ensure that they are converting visits as effectively as possible to sales or enquiries.

PPC is Measurable

Conversion rates from PPC leads can be measured through tracking code added to a site or from website analytics, so that advertisers are able to calculate the cost per sale and conversion rate that pay-per-click is generating. This makes an effective PPC campaign very easy to justify compared to other forms of advertising. You can also monitor clickthrough rates (adverts served vs adverts clicked) to measure the effectiveness of your search terms and advertising messages.

PPC can be Immediate

You can set up a PPC campaign immediately with Google AdWords and within the space of a few hours on Yahoo! Search Marketing. All the major pay-per-click tools also allow you to control your budget and bid levels online, which means that you can easily alter your activity and spend in line with business objectives such as market penetration, sales promotions and catering for seasonal variations.

However, pay-per-click advertising can also be a highly complex area, which can present a number of business issues:

Intensive management required

Bidding against competitors, testing strategies and monitoring budgets all require significant management skills and time in order to provide the best results.

Not all clicks are equal

Making sure that the people who click on your ads are likely to generate a lead or sale is critical to the success of a pay-per-click campaign, and there are a number of pitfalls to watch out for. Bidding on very general keywords by an advertiser may well lead to a high level of clickthrough cost from unlikely customers. Targeting the right kind of user in your ad text is also important and it often pays to be specific in what you are offering. Once a user clicks through to your site, it must actually provide them with a relevant offering, providing a specific landing page and improving the user's journey to a lead or sale.

Multiple clicking by competitors

There is some concern that competitors may spend time clicking on your adverts in order to increase your costs. Google AdWords publish an FAQ stating that they use a number of methods to deal with this (likely to including monitoring of IP addresses and monitoring of click patterns). They advise using a tracking URL alongside checking your site's web server log to identify suspicious traffic.

How sustainable is it?

Many other methods of web promotion allow you to achieve sustainable results without investing large sums of money (although hard work and astute decisions are almost certainly required). Pay-per-click is very much like traditional advertising in that as soon as you stop investing in it, you will lose any benefits immediately. In some areas the marketplace for keywords has become very competitive and will become more so, as new businesses start to use the medium, meaning that over time if may become less cost effective.

Previous newsletter articles

The links below are to articles that have been reproduced from previous newsletters we have published, containing tips and advice about PPC adverting and developments in the market, including changes to Google AdWords. Please follow the links to read the articles, or to keep up to date with future articles, please sign up to our newsletter or follow our web marketing blog.

 

Some recommended PPC books:

To set up a pay-per-click advertising campaign, or for more advice on the most effective approach to search engine marketing for your business, contact us now for more information. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.