Digital marketing has many facets, and small businesses that don’t engage in digital marketing are miles behind the competition.
Tools like website development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing are all part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Nevertheless, there is one missing component in most beginner marketers’ strategies: PPC ads.
Learning new PPC skills on your own (especially while running a business) can be intimidating. As human beings, most of us fear the unknown, especially if the unknown is a paid form of advertising as opposed to free sources such as Google My Business and social media marketing. But avoiding PPC ads is a missed opportunity if you fail to take advantage of it.
As such, let’s take a cursory look at PPC ads to demystify what it is, how it works, and what its advantages are.
What Are PPC Ads?
For starters, note that PPC stands for Pay Per Click. Though there are many providers of PPC marketing, the main powerhouse in the PPC world (unsurprisingly) is Google Ads. Basically, if you opt for Google Ads, Google will post a link to your website at – or near – the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google Ads may not always place your link in the number one slot because there may be multiple competitors vying for the same keyword.
If you’d like to see an example PPC ads in action, simply Google the keywords “auto insurance.” Notice how the first several results have the bold word ‘Ad’ next to them. This signifies that a company paid Google to show up before all of the organically ranked results. As I’m sure you can see, it’s a great way to leapfrog over currently high-ranking websites who are at the top of the food chain with regards to organic SEO.
How Much Do Google Ads Cost?
And, as the name implies, your business pays Google a fee every time a Google user clicks on the ad. However, do be aware that there is no set fee for any keyword; rather, there is variable pricing that fluctuates, typically based on the popularity and competition for a given keyword (typically called an auction.).
Google has a bidding algorithm to see which competing businesses and websites will pay the best rates.
But how can anyone determine how much a Google Ads campaign will cost if the bids are variable in nature? Well, you can set a budget so that your ad campaign ends once you’ve set a certain threshold. That could be a number or a period of time.
PPC Versus Ad Blockers
Ad blockers are both a blessing and a curse. To the average user, an ad blocker is a godsend because it fends off pesky and invasive pop-up ads, some of which are merely annoying while others can be malicious. From the perspective of a marketer, ad blockers harm revenues. According to Statista, the total number of ad block users in 2020 in the United States alone is a projected 26.4 percent.
When considering ad blockers, you might be wondering if they also block PPC ads, thus negating your marketing efforts. Fortunately for you, most ad blockers don’t block PPC ads as they would pop-up windows by default. The reason for this is that PPC ads are non-intrusive.
Do be aware, however, that some ad blockers have settings the user can configure to block PPC ads.
Why Use Google Ads as Opposed to Other Platforms?
The first and most obvious reason to use Google Ads instead of other ad platforms is that Google dominates the lion’s share of the search engine market. As such, your ads have the potential to reach a larger audience than other media alternatives.
In addition, the Google Ads platform has sophisticated tools the allow a wide range of targeting to present your ads only to relevant users who have an interest in or need for your product or service. While other platforms do admittedly have targeting tools, Google’s advanced targeting platform combined with its sheer volume of daily queries makes it a no-brainer.
Conversely to targeting tools, Google also provides its advertising customers with ways to separate the wheat from the chaff with special filters. These filters are called negative keywords. Essentially, a marketer can create a list of keywords that prevent an ad from being displayed should those keywords appear in a user’s query.
For example, let’s pretend an antivirus software company wants to set up negative keywords for their Google Ads campaign, but the business wants to make sure the ads are only displayed to leads who have an interest in making a purchase.
An appropriate negative keyword could be ‘free’ to prevent the ad from being displayed to Google users who make a query like ‘free antivirus software.’ This tool helps optimize the efficiency of the Google Ads campaign by weeding out unqualified leads.
Advantages of PPC Ads
There are many advantages to PPC ads, but there are three in particular.
Firstly, be aware that you only pay Google when a user clicks on your ad. Other types of advertising charge for simply displaying the ad. And don't worry, you aren't charged for multiple clicks from the same user. So your competitors can't easily run up your budget.
Secondly, it’s advantageous because it’s a completely new source of traffic for your website. This is especially beneficial to new businesses that don’t have an established online presence yet desperately need to drive traffic to their site.
Thirdly, note that PPC ads are completely separate from SEO. I’m not saying that Google doesn’t update its PPC algorithms from time to time, but it isn’t nearly as profitable as SEO campaign. PPC gets you to the top of search quickly, but you're not building any long term value for your business.
Success Isn't Easy
Running a successful PPC campaign isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of marketing. Not only does it need continuous monitoring, but it also requires a marketer to constantly readjust and refine his or her marketing strategy to achieve maximum efficiency for your ad spend. If you don’t have the time or skills required to run a PPC campaign to acquire boatloads of qualified leads, reach out to us today.