Spending a fortune on traditional advertising and not seeing the return on investment? You’re not alone. Businesses worldwide are struggling financially, and the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t helped the situation.
Then there are the businesses that are spending big on online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as the Google Display Network. It was working great; plenty of traffic converting into sales. But then it stopped working and they don’t know why.
So, what kinds of businesses need PPC? That’s an easy answer; any business that wants to grow their customer base, increase sales, market their products and services, and drive success through an advertising medium that is cost-effective.
If you need help to figure out the best PPC channels for your business or, indeed, how to make your PPC advertising work for your company, you’ve come to the right place. With 90% of desktop searches taking place on Google and 65% of people who click on ads making a purchase, it’s time to align your business goals with your online advertising marketing strategies.
What is PPC advertising?
Firstly, let’s start with the basics and a short explanation of PPC advertising and its benefits. Online pay-per-click advertising is utilizing a digital marketing channel, or platform, to promote your products or services, driving traffic and conversions from popular search engines. The benefit of online PPC advertising is that it provides a way to directly target and reach a specific audience.
The most popular PPC advertising platforms are Google Ads and Bing Ads, which belong to Microsoft. Each online advertising platform incorporates different types of ad formats, such as:
- Search advertising
- Display advertising
- Video advertising
- Shopping advertising
- Social media advertising
- Display remarketing advertising
- Gmail advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Programmatic display advertising
- Remarketing/retargeting advertising
Types of PPC Channels
Input PPC advertising into any of the search networks and you will be inundated with ads, and that’s exactly the point. Everywhere you look online or across social media platforms, audiences are invited to advertise their business. Active users of the internet are searching for products and services online through social media networks and popular search engines.
With Google Ads reporting that PPC advertising can boost brand awareness by as much as 80%, you’d be forgiven for wanting to be part of the action. But before you jump feet first into the realm of online advertising, it’s important to understand the types of PPC campaigns available to you.
The majority of PPC ad networks provide different types of PPC ad formats, from search and display advertising to social media advertising, remarketing and shopping channels. Links to articles, blogs or e-commerce platforms are added, giving active users a direct link to your products or services.
- Search ads – the most popular of the ad formats, search ads are above and below the search engine results. They are displayed when a user searches for specific keywords. They contain a headline, a URL and a short description. The aim of the search ad is to encourage visitors to click through to the business’s landing page. Ad extensions that incorporate further information can be added.
- Display ads – this format has a wider target search area and location. Search ads appear when a specific keyword(s) has been used. Display ads are a great tool in capturing a bigger audience network based on a set of parameters. In addition, display ads show in different locations as well as across different social media platforms. Indeed, over 2 million sites reach more than 90% of online users. Display ads can also be used in the form of banner ads or as personal email marketing ads that are text only in a user’s inbox, until they are opened and the images appear.
- Social media ads – you know those ads that appear down the right-hand side of your social media page, they are social media ads. A form of social media ad that has become very popular is live streams. Social media ads on Facebook and Instagram doubled in a week. Social media networks are powerful platforms for both B2B and B2C advertising.
- Remarketing/retargeting ads – they are online ads that target users that have previously interacted with a business’s website. They are ideal for re-engaging an audience, such as users of abandoned shopping carts.
- Google Shopping – previously known as Product Listing Ads, it is a PPC ad platform for businesses provided by Google. Businesses run ads for their products and users search for products, view and compare them online. When users search for a specific product, the display ads appear in the search results. However, if using this format, businesses will need to combine Google Ads with Google Merchant Centre.
- Other PPC ad networks – there are a plethora of PPC ad networks that businesses can use. As well as Google Ads and Bing Ads, which are the popular networks, and the social media platform ads from Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, there are also Twitter ads, AdRoll, Bidvertiser, Yahoo Gemini, BuySellAds and RevContent. Each platform is individual and for some businesses, maybe a better option than competitive Google Ads.
Online advertising is far more visual in today’s digital marketing space. Videos and video ads attract more attention and therefore generate greater engagement with active users. YouTube is the major player in video-based PPC networks, generating highly successful conversion rates.
So, what is the major difference between PPC channels like Google Shopping and other marketplaces like Amazon? It’s all to do with their algorithms. The algorithm for PPC ad networks like Google Shopping is designed to sell ads, whereas the algorithms on channel networks like Amazon are designed to sell products.
How to Choose the Right PPC Channel for your Business
Now that you know the main PPC ad formats, how do you get started with new PPC channels? Choosing the right PPC network channel for your business and the placement of your ads is crucial to the success of your PPC advertising campaign.
Within popular PPC networks present a suite of tools and several advertising options in terms of the placement of ads, target audiences and budgets. Bant.io helps businesses develop PPC campaigns that are based on proven strategies to generate leads, conversions and revenue.
Not only does the PPC network need to meet your business’s requirements, it has to achieve your set campaign goals. Without campaign goals that are clearly defined and set metrics by which to measure the campaign’s progress, such as click-through rates and conversion rates, there is no way of knowing how successful the campaign is in terms of conversions to sales, and return on investment.
The use of digital marketing channels is ever-increasing. Competition is fierce across multiple industries and using a digital advertising platform is popular with marketers. When choosing your PPC network channel, there are four considerations:
- Define your target audience – no marketing or lead generation campaign should proceed without defining your target audience. Are you targeting a B2B or B2C audience? Other considerations could be age group, location. If you’re looking to target a B2C audience, there’s no point looking at LinkedIn for your ads network because it is primarily a B2B social media platform. Because PPC advertising is a relatively quick and easy marketing strategy, and doesn’t take a large budget, it’s worth testing lesser-known PPC advertising channels to see if conversions are successful or not.
- Choose your keywords and phrases – consider your audience and the keywords and phrases, or long-tail keywords, they are likely to use to search for your product or service. Remember that your audience will likely use more than one. Indeed, the Pew Research Center found that the average American uses as many as three social networks at the same time. PPC platforms like Google Ads incorporate automated technology that will source relevant keywords and phrases based on specific words.
- Create good content – it’s all very well having the right keywords and phrases in place but unless your content is engaging and draws attention, your ad is not going to generate the clicks you are looking for. Your content marketing is just as important as planning your keywords and phrases. You have a limited number of words in which to not only attract your visitor but to convert them to click through to your landing page.
- Consider where your ad will be displayed – closely linked with your target audience is where your ad will be displayed, consider the reach of your PPC ads. This is particularly relevant with display ads as they are highly visual. For example, if you are targeting an Asian audience, Google is not going to be the best choice as it is banned in China. In this situation, it’s better to use a channel that is popular in that country or region, such as Baidu Tuiguang. It is worth noting that Google removed the SERPs PPC sidebar option but other channels, such as Bing, still offer this feature.
- Assess the cost of PPC advertising and your budget – before you press the start button, identify how much an online PPC advertising campaign is going to cost. Different PPC advertising platforms charge different prices; therefore the average cost per click varies. Due to the increase in PPC advertising, and with over 50% of marketers planning on increasing the PPC advertising budget, this is an important element. For example, the average CPC (cost-per-clicks) on Bing is $1.54, which is 33% lower than Google Ads. The key to maximizing any return on investment (ROI) is to consistently monitor your campaign’s progress and adjust your marketing budget and bids accordingly.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a PPC Channel
PPC advertising campaigns are a way of reaching your target audience through multiple channels, such as online search engines and social media platforms. As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to plan and break the process down into clearly defined steps. There are three principal questions that must be asked in selecting the right PPC channel for your business:
- What is your business goal? Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, target a new audience, generate leads or increase visibility in your local area?
- Who is your target audience? What audience demographics should you be targeting? Are they local, national or international? What PPC network is going to best serve your audience?
- What is your PPC budget? Remember that different PPC networks charge different fees. Also, some keywords and phrases are more expensive than others.
As many as 45% of small businesses now invest in PPC advertising; that’s not to mention the 78% of digital marketers that rely on Google Ads and social media ads to promote their message. It is clear that PPC advertising and the increase in PPC networks are here to stay. But choosing the right PPC network for your business is crucial.
Which generates more sales, SEO or PPC?
There is a misconception that SEO is the same as PPC; it’s not. Yes, both are designed to generate clicks from online searches, but they are very different advertising channels. SEO, or search engine optimization, is based on organic marketing and although clicks are free, it takes time to build awareness. PPC advertising is far more instant and involves paying per user click.
What is the best PPC channel – Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn or another?
This largely depends on the audience you are looking to target, their demographics and location, and your business goals. For B2C targets, networks such as Facebook or Instagram will work better, whilst B2B targets are more suited to LinkedIn or Twitter. Google Ads and Bing Ads are the most popular, although are more expensive.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads is an online advertising platform that is run by Google. The network enables people to create an online ad, in a variety of formats, which will reach their target audience to generate interest in their products or services. It is a pay-per-click advertising platform, i.e. you pay for every user click on your ad.