Monday, June 23, 2008

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) – Do’s and Don’ts

If you are new to PPC (Pay Per Click), you may find the whole process a little daunting. You’re not alone – it can be confusing if you don’t do your research.

The way I look at it, you have 3 options:

  1. The big 3 (Yahoo, MSN and Google) have services available to help you with your campaign.
  2. You can hire a reputable firm to help you with your SEM (that can cost you a bundle).
  3. You can do the a little research and try your hand at it.

I worked for a company that practiced a couple of the options listed above as well as just blindly going at it on their own (without researching).

What happened?

When they first signed up, their CTR (Click Through Rate) was non-existent. They barely had any impressions and not one person clicked through to their website.
Result: Google canceled their campaign for them.

Next, they signed on with a high profile SEM (Search Engine Marketing) firm and paid roughly seven thousand a month for advice and management of the campaign as well as their advertising dollars that they had budgeted per month (another thirty thousand).
Result: They spent a ton of money to have many visitors to their website, but the ROI (Return on Investment) was a big bust!

Moving forward, they decided to just pay the search engine team to manage the campaign. It was cheaper than the former option, however the search engine team didn’t really manage the campaign quite as closely as they would have liked.
Result: More money spent, less than desirable outcome.

Finally, with a little research – they managed the campaign in-house, reduced the amount spent per day and cut out the middleman.
Result: Their conversion rates increased and the ROI improved.

It wasn’t the easiest route, but it certainly was the wisest. An important factor was that they paid attention to their analytics and search results, used campaign ad variations as well as landing pages and they did A/B testing.

With a little research, you too can take control of your PPC advertising. You don’t need to pay an expert. If you do decide to go with an expert, be on the lookout for a company that is bringing more traffic to your site without converting. If that’s the case, you are just paying to have more people visit your site but you aren’t making any sales. Every time someone clicks on your ad in a search result, you are being charged for that visit. If they aren’t contacting, leaving their email address or purchasing your product, you are throwing your money away!

5 Steps to taking control of your PPC advertising:

  1. Tracking. You need to track the results of your ad campaigns and find which ad groups are working for you. The search engine provides you with CTR’s, but you’ll need to check your analytics to see where they went from there. The tracking needs to be at keyword level so that you can tell which ones are working for you.
  2. Testing. You need to split test your ads. A tiny change can make a huge difference. Is your call to action producing results? You can optimize the title, copy text and url to improve your CTR.
  3. Utilizing negative keywords. Removing unnecessary words that don’t pertain to your product or service will limit the number of CTR’s that aren’t relevant – resulting in using up your ad dollars quickly.
  4. Relevant ads. If you use the same keywords for all of your ads, you won’t know which ones are working with which ads. It’s better to split them up.
  5. Geographical targeting (Geo Targeting). The big 3 allow you to target your keywords to your biggest performing areas. If you are selling sheepskin boots and your sales come from colder regions, you can target those areas for those keywords.
I’m a big fan of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in conjunction with PPC. I believe you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

You can do a Google search for some PPC tutorials and get started learning how to manage your campaigns to produce great results. If you consistently monitor your campaigns and analytics, you’ll know soon enough if this form of SEM is working for you.

Good luck!

Joanne

3 comments:

Search Engine Optimization Company said...

PPC is very difficult. Can you recommend any good guide on it?

Complete Business Systems said...

I recommend that you read the guides for each search engine that you're participating in a PPC campaign with.

Google has one, MSN too, and Yahoo.

You can also do research by reading what the experts have to say on their blogs and websites for help.

Other than that, books are always a good source.

Martina said...

PPC is very difficult can he recommend any good guide on it.