Learn about PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing. Learn about what PPC is, how PPC works, typical results, what PPC costs, and how to find PPC experts and tools/services to help.
PPC advertising is how you advertise on Google, Yahoo and Bing, the most popular search engines. Facebook and LinkedIn also sell PPC (pay-per-click) ads.
Key things to know:
- 94% of consumers research products online before buying and 60% use search engines as their go-to online shopping resource. Source: Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Study
- 97% use online media when researching products or services in their local area. Source: BIA/Kelsey consumer tracking study
- 75% who are looking for a store, price or product information search online before or during a shopping trip. Source: Deloitte LLP Survey
Where are they doing all those searches?
- More than 65% of all searches are done on Google, so their PPC advertising program called AdWords is the most popular. You can buy PPC ads through AdWords on Google and also choose to place ads on other websites and blogs through Google’s AdWords network. AdSense is Google’s name for their system to place ads on your site or blog.
- Facebook’s advertising is the next popular. Buying PPC ads on Facebook is like buying a direct mail list. They give you a list of criteria to choose from to select who you want your ad to appear to. For example, you can select people on Facebook in a particular town who like baseball and are in a certain age range.
- Yahoo’s PPC advertising system is called Yahoo! Advertising Solutions and Bing’s PPC advertising is called Microsoft Advertising. You can buy Yahoo PPC ads through Microsoft’s system too.
- If you want to reach business people, LinkedIn sells PPC ads.
These are the five major options for where you can buy PPC ads. Most large websites and blogs accept PPC ads through Google or another ad network.
PPC means you pay only when someone clicks on your ad.
It’s not hard to create and buy search ads. It does, however, take quite a bit of talent (plus trial and error) to create an effective search ad program that attracts profitable new business leads or direct sales. Smart of you to be looking for advice and tips on what works and what doesn’t. That will accelerate your success.
TIP: PPC search advertising takes time to set up. There’s a lot of testing and experimenting required to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That takes a lot of time that many small business people don’t want to spend. Why don’t you hire an expert in SEM (search engine marketing and advertising)? Get them to set things up for you and train you how to manage it.
How to Hire a SEM (search engine marketing) Expert
Key things to know about PPC ads
1. The cost of entry is very low. You can establish a PPC campaign with a budget of as little as $2 per day if you want to (not that we’d recommend that). You set the total amount you want to spend daily or monthly, and the search engine will do the rest. You position of your search ads. The top positions (1-3) on Google are above the natural search results. The ads on the right hand column (positions 4-9) are less expensive because they get fewer click-throughs.
2. Since typical response rates for search ads are very low (1%), if you don’t spend much money, you won’t get many clicks and so search advertising won’t be very effective for you.
3. Search ads are easy to implement. Both main players (Google and Microsoft AdCenter) offer robust tools to make it easy for you to implement, manage and measure your program. These tools have been created for small businesses and novices to use, not power user media buyers. You can do this yourself.
Know this: You will need to invest time initially but then once you know what works, you can just set a fixed budget and look at the metrics once a week, not every day.
4. Prices are based on the popularity of the keyword or phrase and advertiser demand. The more times people search on a word, the more popular a word is. If advertisers are bidding for these terms, prices increase. Ads for some words and phrases can cost as little as a few cents, to as much as $20 for the most popular words where there is the most competition from advertisers.
For example, the term “health insurance” is something someone might use primarily when they are in a buying mindset researching information on health insurance plans. To purchase top placement on the keyword “health insurance” would cost $10.82 per click as of this writing.
TIP: There are a lot of “long tail” keywords/phrases that cost $.05 to buy. These will be terms like, “red shoes with high heels” or “dog collars with leash”. These are very specific search terms, indicating the person is looking for something very specific and may have spent time searching for “head terms” (dog collars, shoes) and gotten a lot of irrelevant results. They may be more ready to buy.
But there will be far fewer people searching for these long tail search terms. Conversion rates should be higher for these terms but you’ll need to buy a lot of long tail terms to drive any type of volume. You can also write keyword-optimized articles for these terms to get the traffic for free through appearing in natural (“organic”) search results.
5. Prices vary from day to day (and minute to minute) because prices are determined by supply and demand. Generally the cost per click only ranges up or down a few percentage points unless it’s a time-sensitive keyword or one associated with a current event that’s getting a lot of press coverage.
6. You can target beyond keywords. Local targeting is available for ads displayed on Google. They also offer the Google Ad Network and can display your ads on other websites that offer relevant content.
7. You’ll need to create and produce the ad, but that’s not difficult.
Search ads, often referred to as “PPC” or “Sponsored Search” ads, are always simple text ads. They generally include four lines of copy so you have to be very creative and convincing in just a few words. You should look at this type of advertising like a science experiment. You make a hypothesis (guess) about what combination of words and offer will work best to attract qualified leads and then you test, learn and adjust.