Pay-per-click digital marketing can seem rather daunting to the uninitiated. But aside from the acronyms, metrics, and strategies, PPC advertising – and search PPC in particular – holds a very unique power. Done right, it can totally transform your business’s online visibility.
With the right marketers on your side, Google’s own PPC platform – simply called Google Ads – can present excellent promotional benefits for an enviably low cost compared to other marketing methods. OLCO Design, and countless other PPC experts, have proven that the right ads, delivered at the right time, using the right keywords, and the right copy, can totally transform a business’s success.
Sidenote for those reading in spring 2020: Essential COVID-19 preparedness measures mean many of us are currently working from home and relying on the internet more and more as a result. As such, we felt it important to mention that offline marketing measures are unlikely to receive much traction for the foreseeable; B2B direct mail marketing is just going to collect on office doormats and if you’re a customer-facing B2C, there will be reduced opportunities to give out flyers.
Online marketing like search and social media PPC is a much sounder investment at the moment, because we’re all turning to online channels for answers, products, and solutions. So there’s really no time like the present to get started with PPC! Get in touch with the team today if you’d like a chat about your options.
But before we discuss the benefits of using Google Ads, we need to explore how it all works and what can generally be achieved.
How does Search Pay-Per-Click Work?
The Google search results page has a lot of features nowadays, from map results to featured snippets. However if you’ve ever Googled a particularly generic keyword like “plumber Birmingham” or “graphic designer” it’s likely that you’ve seen search results shown with a small “Ad” icon nearby. These are pay-per-click search results.
As opposed to “regular” search results achieved through organic search engine optimisation (SEO), these companies are paying Google to appear in this particularly visible, enviable spot. So how does it work? Well, there are four elements to consider when using Google Ads.
When embarking on a search PPC campaign, your first task is to establish what keywords people are searching for when looking for solutions in your niche. Using OLCO Design as an example, we may start out with some very basic, top level keywords like “graphic designer”, “digital marketing agency”, “web design”, etc. Google Ads has a very handy tool called Keyword Planner which helps advertisers expand on these basic keywords, establish the popularity of each keyword in search, analyse historical metrics, and suggest coordinating keyword ideas.
Ads are triggered when searchers type relevant keywords into Google, so naturally you want your ads to display for the most popular keywords within your niche. However, there will be a lot of companies out there targeting your most generic, top level keywords like “graphic designer” or “accountant Bolton” so aiming for these keywords can be expensive.
2. The Ads
Actually creating the ads that end users will see is arguably the most straightforward step. You simply enter the URL (web address) of the page you’d like your ad to point to, add some headline text (the blue, clickable text part of the ad), select a display URL (which is generally a shortened version of the real URL), and a few longer pieces of copy which will display below in grey.
However, you can also add optional “extensions” to these text ads to give searchers relevant supplementary information. There are multiple types of extensions available, from sitelink extensions which share links to other parts of your website, to pricing extensions, location extensions, and even extensions that encourage app downloads.
Additionally, Google has recently released “responsive” ads which allow you to enter numerous headline and copy options. Google will then try out different combinations of these options to see which ones perform the best, and will use AI to continue to serve the best performing versions of those ads. This is an excellent new feature, and can really help you get a handle on the kinds of language work best for you.
If you’d rather people pick up the phone rather than head to your website, “Call Only Ads” do just that.
As with any kind of marketing, targeting your ads towards the right people helps to tip the scales towards favourable ROI and saves on wasted spend. By choosing popular, relevant, and intent-driven keywords, you’re already doing a certain amount of targeting because your ads will only show to those who’ve searched for those terms (or variations on them).
However, there are much more in-depth targeting options available to those using Google Ads. If you only serve a certain geographic area, you can target your ads within that area and even exclude locations that aren’t relevant to you. For example, if you only serve the UK, you can exclude users in other countries from seeing your ads. It’s also possible to target or exclude users within general social demographics like age, gender, and income, and select what languages your customers speak to help Google serve your ads as appropriate.
You can also select what times of day to present your ads. For example, if you know that paying customers tend to search for your services between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, Google Ads allows you to set a schedule to only serve ads during that time.
Most pay-per-click advertising operates through a closed bidding process wherein advertisers state how much they’re willing to pay for a click on one of their ads – this is the “cost per click” or CPC. Though this sounds quite complicated, thankfully you don’t have to set this manually for each keyword or each ad (though you can if you really want to!). Google provides numerous “bid strategy” options to choose from depending on what you want your search ad campaigns to achieve.
If you just want people to visit your website, then focusing on clicks is probably your best option. If you want visitors to carry out a specific action on your site, then you want to target conversions. If you want to focus on just being visible in the ad panel for brand awareness purposes, choosing impressions is probably your best bet.
Then you’ve got to choose how much you want to spend per day. You may have a specific figure you need to work with, but it might help you to refer back to your Keyword Planner data to look at the average cost per click for each of your keywords. This can help you work out how many clicks you’re likely to achieve in a given time considering your budget.
Related Article: An Introduction to Google’s PPC Advertising Platforms
Benefits of Using Google Ads and Search PPC
Now we know what’s involved, we can all agree that a surprising amount of effort goes into such relatively small ads – powerful though they may be! There’s an incredibly steep learning curve involved, so all the better to have an agency like OLCO Design in your corner.
So what are the specific benefits of using Google Ads as opposed to offline marketing methods or other PPC options? Let’s investigate…
- All kinds of PPC marketing allow for much more granular, narrow targeting than any offline marketing avenues can. Offline, it’s simply impossible to target individuals to quite the same extent, with the same accuracy, and the same ease as you can with pay-per-click campaigns.
- One of the main benefits of pay-per-click is simply that – you only pay for the clicks you receive from ads, meaning you only pay when someone has already taken a positive, confirmatory step in your direction.
- The search engine results page is a great place to be visible – full stop. Whether it’s through organic SEO efforts or through PPC ads, you’re getting in front of people who are actively looking for answers or solutions in your niche. They’re a potentially captive audience who may even be looking to “buy now”.
- The instant, digital nature of PPC ads makes them incredibly flexible, meaning you can respond to performance metrics and industry news quickly. You can quickly change your campaigns to reflect new developments; seize fresh, time-bound opportunities; or simply try new things out. It’s also possible to instantly pause campaigns that aren’t working for you – much harder to do with a print ad!
- PPC advertising provides accurate usage data that makes ongoing analysis and appraisal a breeze. You can easily see how many clicks you’ve received, average click through rates, establish cost per conversions, and calculate return on investment. It’s also possible to judge different ads against each other, establishing which ones are performing best. With the help of Google Analytics, you can even see what PPC visitors did on your site when they were there. Similarly, achieving this level of analysis with offline campaigns is difficult, if not impossible.
- Of all of the search engines, Google is the best option for visibility. Not only does it enjoy a massive 87.5% search engine market share in the UK (Source: Statista), but Google also offers a number of related advertising avenues for you to take advantage of, allowing you to build on your paid digital marketing visibility.
- If you’ve achieved all you can with organic SEO, or your search optimisation efforts are taking a while to bear fruit, PPC is a great way for you to be visible in search regardless. Some organisations even use PPC as an alternative to SEO altogether, though we’d advise using both if at all possible.
- On a similar note, organic SEO return on investment can be hard to track and optimisation efforts can plateau over time. With PPC, as long as you have the money, the sky’s the limit!
Your ideal market is already searching online for companies just like you. So if you’re ready to take the plunge with Google Ads (or any kind of PPC advertising for that matter) give the team at OLCO Design a call! Our digital marketing experts will completely manage your PPC campaigns, so all you need to do is sit back and watch the clicks roll in. For a no-obligation chat with us, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 223 1193.