How to Run an Effective PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaign from a Local PPC Marketing Agency
What is PPC (Pay-per-click) Advertising?
Pay-per-click advertising is a type of digital advertising that refers to the model in which the advertiser pays for results. As the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, ensuring that you’re only paying for results — making it a highly attractive option for the hungry business owner or marketing professional.
Though PPC advertising is among the most popular types of digital advertising, many platforms also offer CPM (cost-per-mille) advertising in which advertisers are billed per 1,000 impressions. This is popular among social media and display campaigns when reach is important and advertisers value the number of users viewing their ad over the number of clicks it receives.
Where can you run a PPC campaign?
The PPC model of advertising was popularized by Google in 2002, which is why most people think of Google Ad campaigns when they think of PPC. But a ‘PPC campaign’ nowadays commonly refers to the type of advertising conducted on most major self-serve platforms such as Meta (Facebook & Instagram), Spotify, TikTok, and programmatic ad platforms.
How Does PPC (Pay-per-click) Advertising Work?
Google campaigns are run on the self-serve Google Ad platform and serves ads to users while they’re browsing the search engine results pages. Advertisers input targeted keyword lists along with other detailed criteria such as location and audience intent. The advertiser then sets a limit that they’re willing to pay for a click (called a bid) and the platform compares their bid to those of competitors to decide if and when the ad will be shown. Though Google has a proprietary algorithm, this basic model is used across all major platforms. Recently automated or “smart” bidding has become more popular among advertisers large and small, which can help streamline a campaign’s efficiency while requiring less oversight and direct intervention on the part of the advertiser.
Advantages of PPC Advertising
Earn Immediate Results
PPC advertising has many obvious benefits over other forms of advertising including the ability to reap real results for your dollars. According to Wordstream, the average Google Ad campaign has a 3.17% CTR – but it’s not atypical to see Google Ad CTRs push into the double digits once they’ve been properly optimized.
Low Barrier to Entry
PPC ad campaigns can be quick and easy to create and don’t require large lifts in terms of creative resources. In most cases, self-serve platforms have easy, streamlined sign-up processes that allow advertisers of any level of digital experience to begin a campaign. Minimums on self-serve platforms tend to be low compared to traditional forms of advertising like TV or radio where the cost of advertising comes with a steep price tag and foggy results.
In most cases, PPC advertising allows you to project results before you even launch a campaign, giving you an estimated number of impressions and clicks you can expect for your ad budget before your campaign launches. This can be especially useful when you’re pitching a campaign to a client or marketing department and looking for buy-in.
How to Develop a Successful PPC campaign?
Though PPC campaigns are undoubtedly a useful tool to have in your toolbox, running a successful marketing campaign of any kind is not without its challenges.
In order for your pay-per-click campaign to yield results, proper planning is crucial. As a PPC marketing agency, we specialize in defining sensible goals and structuring campaigns to maximize output. Here are a few ways we approach strategy for our PPC campaigns:
- Understand the goals: Having a clear understanding of what your goals are is imperative to success. Setting goals will help your marketing team understand what you’re looking to achieve from a campaign and allow you work through nuances of the platform such as targeting capabilities and proper ad placements.
- Do your research: Unless you’re a seasoned pro (and even if you are), doing research on the audience you’re looking to reach is greatly beneficial. You should conduct keyword research to see what users are searching and audience research to understand the segments you should include in your campaign targeting.
- Develop a marketing strategy: A cohesive marketing strategy helps you and your team to see the big picture. PPC advertising may be an important part of your marketing plan, but it is likely just one piece of a larger integrated strategy. Understanding where PPC falls within this is crucial to setting budgets, developing creative, and ensuring success.
- Establish KPIs: Defining your goal is only one part of outlining a successful plan; you need to understand how you’ll measure them. Depending on the objective of your campaign, you may choose to measure clicks as your primary goal, or perhaps video views or landing page form fills are most important.
Structuring a PPC campaign for results
In order to ensure success in your PPC campaign, it’s important to follow a few best practices:
Concise ad groups: Making sure your ad groups are as specific as possible will allow you to deliver unique creative to a highly targeted audience. Make sure your ad groupings are as specific as they need to be to ensure your ads are reaching the right audience.
Testing multiple variations: All PPC ad platforms will allow you to submit more than one ad variant, allowing you to test multiple creative and messaging at the same time. It’s best to take advantage of this and increase your chances of finding an ad variant that converts at a high rate.
Setting reasonable budgets: Setting a healthy budget is crucial to seeing results. Most self-serve platforms will suggest a budget for you if you are unsure how much to spend. You can also test bids and budgets after your campaign is launched.
Getting Better Over Time
Once your campaign is launched, your work is not done. Even if your campaign is successful right out of the gate, it will require some ongoing effort to ensure it continues to be effective over time.
Continuous optimization: PPC campaigns require constant maintenance to ensure your account is in good health and your campaigns are running well. Some things you might do on a weekly basis include: raising or lowering bids to keep up with competitors, pausing underperforming variants, analyzing keyword performance, and setting bid adjustments for certain keywords, audience segments, or times of the day.
Iterating on creative: On a regular basis, you’ll want to analyze your creative to understand what images and messaging resonate best with your audience and develop new creative based on your findings. Even if you can’t identify trends in your creative performance, it’s good to refresh your creative on a regular basis anyway – audience fatigue can result in less interest and less results over time!
Being smart about budget: It’s important to let a PPC campaign run for a minimum of 30 days before making any budget changes. However, you don’t want to wait too long and miss out on results. If one ad group is underperforming, consider reallocating that budget towards ad groups or variants that are performing well.
Analyzing & reporting: Analyzing data is essential to making decisions about creative, budget or bids. It also gives you a benchmark for improvement over time. Compiling your data into a report is helpful to share with marketing teams or agencies who can advise on where to go next.
Should I Run a PPC campaign?
It depends! PPC campaigns are easily accessible because of low minimum ad spends and user-friendly ad platforms, so anyone who is willing to learn can dip their toes in. In order to understand whether you’re in a good place to run an effective campaign, ask yourself the following:
- Do I have a good idea of my overall marketing strategy, and how PPC fits into it?
- Do I have the budget to invest and a long enough runway to see results?
- Do I have the resources (personal time or staff) to dedicate to maintaining my campaign?
- Am I prepared to make changes to creative or messaging?
- Am I capable of developing appealing ads or do I have the funds to outsource this work?
- Do I have a basic understanding of KPIs such as click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS)?
Launching your first campaign can be exciting and the ability to see real-time results makes it a compelling choice for digital marketers and ambitious business owners alike.
As a PPC marketing agency, we’ve seen some truly incredible results over the years and always look forward to engaging new clients who want to see results quickly. Whether you’re just starting in PPC or are already running successful campaigns, we can help take your business to the next level with our PPC expertise. Reach out to start the conversation.