What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Attracting people to your web site gets harder every year as more sites pop up on the Internet, all biding for attention. So how do you compete? One way is to implement PPC advertising, also known as Pay-Per-Click advertising.

Pay Per Click Advertising

The principle behind PPC advertising is that each time a customer clicks on the ad link, a small sum is paid by the ad owner to have the Internet surfer directed to a specific web site. As advertisers only pay the host when the ad is clicked, the idea is to carefully focus your advertisements to attract potential buyers from your target market. This should be a strong point of consideration when creating your ad as you will need to select the keywords relevant to your business. Generally, a web site owner looking into PPC will bid on these keywords and use them as the basis of the advertisement.

Note: The price of keywords and phrases can vary depending on the search engine used and the competition for the specific keyword and phrases that you are after. Since there are many companies offering the PPC service, including major players such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and Facebook, you would be wise to do your homework before you commit to one.

While deciding on the wording and / or images for your ad, you’ll also need to consider geographic targeting, set a budget and cap, and decide on an ad format. As mentioned, you may prefer all-text ads or wish to include graphics to create a banner. Graphic ads can be quite popular as they benefit from the detail of text while also providing visual appeal. A number of banner formats exist. Would one of the following suit you?

  • Banners — Horizontal ads
  • Vertical banners — Vertical ads
  • Skyscrapers — Taller version of the vertical banner
  • Rectangle Ads — As it suggests
  • Buttons — Smaller than a banner ad
  • Custom fit – Ads tailored to your site’s look and feel

Depending on your site design, budget and specific advertising requirements, you’ll be able to hone in on an appropriate PPC ad format.

Once your PPC ad campaign is in operation (for instance, using Google AdWords), you will see it displayed as a ‘sponsored link’ at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Taking precedence over ‘organic’ search listings, they are more prominent to viewers.

PPC Adwords

If looking into Google AdWords when doing your research, note that there are FREE online tools that are great for getting started. The Traffic Estimator in particular provides some very helpful information once you submit your keywords and phrases. A great resource, it allows you to select target locations and languages, and receive crucial search data including:

  • Global Monthly Searches
  • Local Monthly Searches
  • Estimated Avg. CPC (Cost-Per-Click)
  • Estimated Ad Position
  • Estimated Daily Clicks
  • Estimated Daily Cost

This core information better positions you to make decisions regarding keyword choice, approximate daily costs, budgeting and competition for your keywords and phrases.

The popularity of the PPC advertising method not only sits with search engines but extends to social media such as Facebook. Even when just considering the number of your current Facebook ‘friends’, the ease of networking and the already massive user-market of the platform, the potential and cost-effectiveness of Facebook Ads is quite appealing.

Facebook PPC Advertising

As Facebook Ads highlights, there are:

  • Over 500 potential customers
  • Tools to control the amount of money you commit to the ad
  • Options to target your market according to location, age and interests
  • Methods for testing both image and text-based advertisements

Another word of caution – ensure you plan well before starting with PPC advertising. If you choose to implement a number of ads that incorporate different keywords for instance, you run the risk of significant costs — not only for the various keywords themselves but due to the sheer number of click throughs that can potentially be generated.

Like any form of advertising, the more users that buy your services, the smaller your advertising outlay will be. PPC is no different. By finding a balance between the relevant keywords to your business and their associated CPC, you’ll experience superior results.

With a well thought out plan of attack, consisting of ad budgeting and monitoring, PPC can be a great way to attract new customers.

Michael Soininen

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