Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising has quickly become one of the most used advertising methods in internet marketing (iMarketing) today. The popularity has grown due to the strength, power, and cost flexibility that PPC advertising offers to an internet marketer.
PPC advertising can be described as an online advertising method in which a marketer places an advertisement and pays a specified amount each time that a visitor clicks on the advertisement. Available in both text and image formats, PPC ads can be easily set-up, customized, and revised by any marketer with even basic computer and internet skills.
The internet giant, Google.com, was built upon the PPC advertising concept and today generates its revenue through small, sidebar advertisements on its search pages. Each search result page generally consists of natural search results and paid advertisements (PPC ads) that are located along the right-hand side of the page.
Each PPC advertisement consists of an ad title, ad text, and a clickable web link. The placement of each ad is ordered according to the search engine company. Some search engines rank ads only on Cost-Per-Click (CPC) value (from highest to lowest). Others use complex, multi-criteria optimization algorithms to calculate a ranking of each ad.
Ads are triggered only when specified keywords are searched for by a user. Keyword-based search allows for further customizing by advertisers. In general, advertisers would like to find least competitive keywords to assure maximum ad exposure at the lowest possible cost. The other end of the spectrum involves bidding on highly competitive keywords. This situation requires a much higher CPC to be specified in order to still achieve an acceptable ad placement.
How to Get Started
Getting started in PPC advertising is easy and can be accomplished for only dollars out of your pocket. The steps include completing a registration form with your most basic personal information such as name, address, phone, business information, and a credit card. The most popular PPC advertising venues are Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN AdCenter.
After you’ve registered with a PPC advertising company, you’re within minutes of placing your first ad campaign. An ad campaign is defined as a paid advertisement that is set-up with specific ad criteria such as the ad title, ad text, destination URL, display URL, keywords, and specified CPC.
Additional ad campaign criteria may be specified depending on the PPC advertising company. Some offer national, regional, or local advertising options to limit your ad to be seen only by users in the requested areas. Other options may include targeting your ads to specific sites or ad networks.
Most PPC advertising companies provide detailed written instructions for both sign-up and for setting up your advertising campaigns. Some even offer step-by-step video tutorials to assist you.
There are six basic items that an internet marketer must understand in order to set-up any PPC advertising campaign:
Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
The title is the main header (first line) of the PPC text ad. You need to use this line to grab the attention of people who see your ad. The title must draw attention to the ad in a way that gets the reader to read the ad text. Keeping a common theme between keywords and related titles is important to drive ad relevance. Some PPC companies allow the use of wildcards to automatically place keywords into ad titles.
Ad text can be described as the body of your text ad. Most companies will limit your ad text to a maximum number of characters per line. Google Adwords, for instance, limits you to 35 characters on the first and second ad text lines, respectively. Now that you’ve captured the attention of someone with your title, you need to use your ad text to intrigue them even more so that they’ll click your link to visit your site.
Display URL is the web address that is shown in your text ad. This is the URL that the user will see. The destination URL is the actual web address that the potential customer will be sent to when they click on your text ad.
Most companies will require that your destination URL be the same as your display URL to keep you from ‘bait & switching’ a potential customer. You are typically allowed to display the root URL to your website and then send a person to a subpage of your site.
For example, the following is typically allowed for display and destination URL’s:
Display URL: http://www.YourSite.com
Destination URL: http://www.YourSite.com/PageName.html
This is considered an acceptable shortening of the URL since the root of the destination URL is used for display. Typical techniques such as URL cloaking or web page redirects are not acceptable methods for PPC advertising.
One of the most important aspects of campaign set-up is the selection of your keywords. Developing your keyword strategy will ultimately determine the success or failure of your PPC advertising campaign. Many keyword tool generating tools exist in the marketplace today. The main PPC advertising companies each offer a form of a keyword suggestion tool to assist you in identifying keyword terms.
The last piece of information that you will have to specify to complete your campaign set-up is your maximum CPC. The higher the value you set as your maximum CPC, the more exposure that your CPC ad will receive. Typically, with a higher CPC you’ll also experience a higher rate of clicks. However, CPC is only one factor of many (i.e. headline, ad copy, etc) that will affect your actual click rate.