Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing (Google AdWords)

Occasionally referred to as Cost Per Click or CPC marketing, PPC is search engine marketing where you pay for results.

When searching on Google after entering a phrase you will see a central column of (usually) 10 results, in the online marketing world we call these natural or organic results and they are the websites which Google deems the best match for the search term.

If your website appears in the organic results and a visitor clicks through the link to your website this click costs you nothing, 1000’s of visitors could enter you website every day for no cost to you.

Surrounding the 10 organic results are usually some adverts, there can be up to 3 adverts on top of the organic listings and up to 8 more down the right hand column for popular search terms.

These adverts are placed and managed through Google AdWords which is a Pay Per Click marketing system and an advertiser here pays Google for every click on the ad.

How It Works

To use Google AdWords you simply have to create an account and enter some payment details, you then get the opportunity to enter keywords and phrases which you think people searching for your business or product would enter into Google.

Once you have selected your keywords you then write a short advert and tell Google the page which you want visitors to come through to when they click on an advert.

Finally you tell Google how much you are willing to pay for each click and how much you want to spend as a maximum each day across all your keywords and adverts.

Google then takes your information and begins displaying your ads, it can be a very quick process and from starting a new account to getting your ads showing and visitors arriving can take as little as an hour or so.

The Auction Process

Let’s say you run an ecommerce website selling TV’s. You could set up AdWords, put in your details and start running ads quickly. There will also be competitors who are running ads on the same keywords therefore Google needs a way of deciding which adverts get shown in which order.

To make this decision Google look at more than just the highest bidder although this certainly plays a big part.

When you set up your adverts it automatically analyses whether the keyword you are bidding on and the advert you have written are a good match, it doesn’t want to show visitors ads which are not relevant so making your ad closely match your keyword is a good start.

Google also look at your website and the page which a user would end up on after clicking your ad, again the better match you have for a keyword the better the results will be.

It also takes into account the speed of your website, the overall performance of your account as a whole and the amount you are willing to spend to determine a ‘Quality Score’ for each keyword. This quality score is responsible for organising the display order of the adverts.

Because of this an advertiser with a high quality score could get their ad shown above yours whilst costing them less money per click than Google charges you, for this reason it is very important to setup the AdWords account correctly.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of PPC

PPC can be a good fit for many businesses, here are the main advantages:

  • Quick to get up and running and instant visitors for your site
  • Highly targeted, display your ads at the moment someone is searching for information or products
  • Controlled costs, budget limits let you know how much you are going to spend each day
  • Global reach, advertise globally or in specific regions with the click of a few buttons

For the new advertiser though there can be some major issues with AdWords advertising:

  • Costs can be prohibitive, if visitors click through but don’t like your offer then you can spend a lot of money for little return
  • Once the money stops your advertising ends instantly, often with other marketing methods you pay once and get benefit over a period of time
  • AdWords can fool you into thinking setting it up is simple however some easy to make mistakes can lead to you spending far more than necessary
  • If you don’t set limits correctly you can end up with massive bills, there are many horror stories of people ‘forgetting’ to switch it off and been sent bills for tens of thousands of pounds.

Overall AdWords is a fantastic marketing tool and offers unparalleled reach for big and small businesses alike, the key is to carefully work out how much you can afford to spend on a visitor based on your websites conversion rate and average profit per sale, per lead or per client.

To discuss a new AdWords campaign or for help managing and optimising a current account simply get in touch and we can talk through your needs.