Pay Per Click Management - PPC
What is PPC - Pay Per Click?
Pay-Per-Click is a paid form of advertising and the concept is fairly simple. Businesses bid to be placed at, or near the top of the search results for particular keyword phrases. The bidding is done on a “per-click” basis, meaning that a company pays a specific amount every time the engine sends them a visitor. In addition, the top results also show up in the results of many of the popular search engines (usually listed as “sponsored” or “featured” results).
Advantages of Pay Per Click Management Services
Pay-Per-Click campaigns have some advantages over traditional search engine optimisation. First of all, they require no changes to a current site’s content or look to obtain top positions, just a willingness to pay (albeit we recommend a specific landing page where possible). Also, the implementation of a pay-per-click campaign is relatively quick - it can take just a few minutes to start getting targeted traffic, versus sometimes months for standard SEO - Search Engine Optimization campaigns. Finally, unlike search engine optimisation, the implementation of a PPC campaign is relatively easy, and does not necessarily require any specialised knowledge (although experience with search engine marketing and keyword research is a definite advantage).
Organic Listings are more trusted than PPC
Pay per Click campaigns are less trusted these days than organic listings. The reason for this is that to become organically listed with a high position takes time and is dependent on content and keywords. Google, for example notes the age of the site and ranks it accordingly. It’s so easy to instigate a PPC campaign - anyone can do it. A site created this morning can be using the system 5 minutes after it is uploaded - it’s that quick and easy.
However, it is a fantastic way of driving new business so we generally recommend the use of both systems, SEO organic listing and PPC campaign to really get your sales moving. SEO may take many months to show positive results, but PPC is an instant fix.
Limitations of PPC Advertising
Of course, there are limitations to this type of advertising. New bids can lower the positions of other firms, and many will react by raising their bid to regain a previous ranking. Monitoring of positions becomes crucial. These campaigns can also become prohibitively expensive, depending on the competitiveness of the keyword phrases and the aggressiveness of the competition. In addition, many of the “savvier” search engine users have learned to recognise PPC results as paid advertising and bypass them without consideration.
THE PROCESS of PPC
Determining Visitor Worth
Determining how much each website visitor is worth is vital to the success of a pay-per-click campaign. If it costs £50 in click-throughs to make a £40 sale, the campaign has failed. The formula is relatively simple, but some specific historical data is necessary. In the most rudimentary form, it is the profit from the website over a given period divided by the number of total visitors for the same period. If a site netted £1000 in profits from goods or services in a given period, and there were 2,000 visitors during the same period, each would theoretically be worth .50 pence (profit divided by visitors). But this is only the breakeven point. Depending on the desired profit margin, the optimal price to pay per click would probably be something much less than .50 pence. Popular keyword phrases can often run more than this, so it then makes sense to bid less money on less popular terms to pay an acceptable amount per visitor.
Selecting Keyword phrases
As with typical search engine optimisation, keyword research is critical to the success of a PPC campaign. Unlike typical search engine optimisation, there aren’t practical limits on the number of phrases to target. Usually, there is no extra cost to add as many keyword phrases as possible. This makes the keyword selection process easier, since there is not a good deal of resources committed to optimising a site for a particular keyword set. Under-performing keywords, while still an annoyance, do not cost extra (except for the time involved in setting up the account). To help identify keyword phrases, we use tools that allows advertisers to see how often particular search terms are actually typed in their engine. It also gives out popular suggestions based upon the terms we enter.
With a typical search engine description, the object is to entice as much traffic into a site as possible in the hopes of converting that traffic into customers. With PPC, a different approach is necessary. It is undesirable to pay for unlikely prospects, so the description is designed to eliminate the “time wasters” while attracting highly targeted traffic. For this reason, the description should describe exactly what the business offers - a company wouldn’t want to pay for every visitor looking for “insurance” if they only sold home contents insurance, for example. At the same time, proven marketing copy techniques should be employed to insure that the description is enticing enough to attract ideal prospects.
Monitoring and Analysing
It is crucial to the success of any PPC campaign that it be monitored regularly, since positions can and do change every day. Since the top three Overture, MSN AdCentre or Google Ad Words results are what typically show up on most partner engines (some display more), the competition for these spots can be fierce, and bidding wars are common. If the price gets too high, it is usually prudent to withdraw and pursue a different key phrase (the only way to really “lose” a bidding war is to pay too much for each visitor!). Apart from position monitoring, it is important to track and analyse the effectiveness of individual keyword phrases on a monthly basis. Viewing click-through rates and studying visitor habits can lend valuable insight into their motivations and habits, and help to further refine a Pay-Per-Click campaign.
At the start
At the beginning we suggest that you test a PPC campaign for around a month. You need to allow a budget of around £400 to do this. In that period we create minimal restrictions to see what visitors are clicking through to your site and at what time of the day and from where.
After a month the campaign needs to be refined and analysed to see what keywords produced the most positive results and how these converted into sales. If you spend £400 on a click campaign in a month but get a £4k return in just one contract, it could be a good money spinner for you depending on your profit margins. You also have to take into account the cost of acquisition of a client as explained in our Life Cycle Value explanation in earlier pages. If this new £4k client stays with you for 3 years, then your investment is really worthwhile.
CONCLUSION of PPC
Pay Per Click campaigns can bring large numbers of highly targeted visitors to your website. However, these campaigns can become prohibitively expensive (and unlike “traditional” search engine optimisation, the costs of any PPC campaign are likely to increase in the near future due to the increased popularity of this form of advertising). It is crucial to the success of the campaign that you pay a reasonable price for each visitor, that each visitor is highly targeted, and that you monitor your positions to maintain your exposure over time.
We monitor your campaigns during their lifecycle. In our experience, it can work very well and create major results. If you have an offer or distressed stock that you want to get rid of quickly, this is another reason to try it. Shopping on the internet for goods is all about the cheapest price - so if you can compete here, it is worth testing.
It becomes more of a challenge when you are selling services, but can bring profound results. There are never any guarantees as we do not have any control over the end users, however, what we can ensure is that your campaign is fine tuned to make it as viable as possible.
Note: There are also complications when it comes to running PPC advertising going to a site that is built entirely in flash. Why? Because you can’t point the ads to a specific page of the site. All ads have to be pointed to the homepage. Now this can have massive implications on your conversion rate, if for example you are advertising a specific product through a PPC campaign and lead a customer straight to the homepage for themselves to again find the product, chances you are going to loose that customer.
We hope you found this information useful. We would like to remind you that this subject is best served, and more effective as part of a complete marketing plan or strategy, rather than in isolation. For further expert advice please contact us to discuss your requirements or post a question in our blog.
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