How PPC Works

PPC specialist's hands working on a mouse and keyboard

How PPC Works

If you’ve been researching digital marketing options for your business, you’re probably seeing a lot of talk about PPC. PPC stands for pay per click advertising. PPC ads are online advertisements for your business. You pay a small amount each time a user clicks on them and only when they click on them. 

PPC ads differ from other advertising methods because you can track exactly how many people have seen your ad, how many of them clicked on it, and what they did after they interact with your ad. This is thanks to the advanced tracking offered by online ads platforms like Google ads. 

While basic PPC ads can be set up in a matter of minutes, businesses are unlikely to have much success with them if they do not have a thorough understanding of the platform they are using and a strategy for getting consistent ROI (return on investment). PPC ads can be highly effective at driving traffic to your website, helping you gather leads, and promoting your products, but require some expertise to set up and manage effectively. You might be wondering what professional pay per click ads services entail. So, let’s look at what Carden Digital’s PPC specialists do for our clients.  

What Is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC stands for pay per click. While PPC can refer to any ad which is charged on a ‘per click’ basis, it generally refers to sponsored search ads which appear at the top of search engines like Google and Bing. They are triggered when a user searches for a keyword related to your products or services.  

When a user makes a search request on a search engine like Google, they will normally see a mixture of organic and paid results. The organic results are selected based on how relevant Google decides those websites are to the user’s search. The paid results will be displayed based on the keywords that the user has entered. Various advertisers will likely be bidding on the same keywords. These paid results are known as PPC ads. 
Why Use PPC Ads? 
The main purpose of PPC ads is to drive traffic to your website. This means PPC ads are only one part of the advertising process, because you still need to have a compelling web page to send your ad traffic to. It doesn’t matter how many clicks your ads get if your website isn’t up to scratch once users land on it. 

The best thing about PPC search ads compared to other advertising methods is the ability to show ads to potential customers at the exact moment they are searching for products and services like yours. For example, you can display an advert for women’s trainers to someone who has just searched “best women’s running shoes”. Compare this to a billboard ad, where you have to rely on someone noticing the advert, and then remembering your brand the next time they are shopping for shoes (which could be months in the future). 

However, it can be easy to overspend or waste your available budget if you are too broad with the search terms that you target. You need to think carefully about which keywords would suggest a customer is ready to convert to a sale. For example, a user searching “Nike women’s running shoes, size 8, blue” is probably closer to making a purchase than someone search “best women’s running shoes”, who is more likely to be just browsing for ideas. Both these users are worth targeting, but if you had limited budget, you would want to focus on the user who is closer to making a sale. 
How Much Do PPC Ads Cost? 
The price of each ad click depends on several factors, but the two most important ones are: 

– Competition from other businesses bidding on those keywords 
– How relevant your ad text and web page are to the keyword being targeted. 

The cost can vary a great deal depending on how competitive your industry is. Sectors like Insurance or IT support are incredibly competitive and can cost upwards of £15 per click, clicks on ads for other industries like window cleaning are less competitive and might only cost a few pence each. Whichever industry you are in, the best way to reduce the cost of your das is to improve the quality and relevance of your ad text and website. 

To help judge the quality and relevance of different advertisers, platforms like Google give each ad and web page a quality score. The higher your quality score, the more of a discount you get on your ad clicks. Doing things like including the keyword you are targeting in the actual text of your ad can help increase your quality score. 

What Types Of Results Can You Expect From PPC? 
This varies depending on your industry, however using Google’s Keyword Planner, you can get a fairly good estimate of how many searches your chosen keyword gets each month, as well as the estimates amount of clicks you will get on your ads and what they will cost. Using that data, it’s possible to work out an estimated R.O.I. 

At Carden Digital, we always do thorough research before launching any campaign and are fully transparent about the results we think we can achieve for you. 

Are There Downsides To Running A PPC Campaign? 
There is always a risk of wasted ad spend. But this can be remedied by effectively using negative keywords to try and cut irrelevant searches. 

How Does PPC Work?

Below is an overview of the steps we take when setting up a new PPC account as well as how we manage these campaigns on an ongoing basis. 

Understanding Your Business  
Like all our digital marketing services, it starts with a conversation. Our account managers sit down with the new client and learn as much about their business as they can. This includes details like:  

  • The products/services they are looking to promote  
  • Their profit margins on an average sale  
  • Their main competitors  
  • Their available marketing budget  
  • Their other marketing efforts  
  • Their goals and expectations   

Keyword Research  
The first step in building an effective PPC ads campaign for a business is to build a list of keywords to target. These might be single words or short phrases like “car rental” as well as longer, more specific phrases like “how much is it to rent a BMW for a week?”. In PPC research, several types of keywords need to be considered. We consider non-branded phrases that describe your goods or services in addition to branded terms (such your brand name and product names).  

One of the aims of keyword research is to find a mixture of keywords that will allow you to capture the largest possible relevant audience without draining your budget. A crucial factor in achieving this is negative keywords. 

Negative keywords are words that will stop your ads being triggered if a user includes them in their search. For example, we often add words like “training”, “jobs”, “apprenticeships” and “vacancies” as negative keywords to prevent ad spend being wasted on users looking to apply for jobs instead of making a purchase. 

Building Your Campaigns And Ad Groups 
How we segment your campaign can make a significant difference to its performance. For example, if our initial keyword research generates a list of fifty keywords, simply dumping all of them into a single campaign is unlikely to lead to particularly good results. Instead, we will segment the keyword into different campaigns and ad groups focused on different customers.  

Depending on the business, we might segment the campaigns to target various locations, and then segment the ad groups to focus on the various products that you sell. This means that when it comes time to write the ads, they can be more specific and targeted to a particular audience. 

Landing Pages  
With every new ad account, a big decision needs to be made about whether to send the ad traffic directly to the client’s main website, or whether to build separate landing pages which act more like single page brochures to advertise the benefits of choosing the client’s business. The decision of whether to build landing pages is based on several factors, including the stage of the customer journey the ads are targeting, the quality of the existing website and whether the website already has success converting organic search traffic.  

If new landing pages are needed, our PPC specialists work in tandem with our Brighton-based web developers and content writers to craft a compelling, single-page website to drive conversions and leads.  

Writing the Ads  
To effectively stand out, we ensure your ads have catchy headlines and descriptions that appeal to your ideal clients, while also being relevant to the keyword that triggered it. The ‘quality score’ of your advertisement is raised by having well-written, properly structured and pertinent ad text, and thus lowers how much you will pay for each click on your ad. Our PPC specialists will work with our content writers to ensure that your ad text is well-written, accurate and encourages potential customers to click.  

Monitoring Search Results 
Multiple times a week, our PPC experts check the search terms which have triggered our clients’ ads to appear. From this list of searches terms, they can find new potential keywords and negatives, as well as gather more data about the types of searches your target audience is making. 

Adjusting The Campaign  
Over time, it will become clear which keywords, ads and landing pages are performing well, and which could use improvement. Our PPC specialists will review the performance of an account regularly. Any elements which are performing below the account average will be addressed. This can include making changes to ad headlines and descriptions, pausing keywords and adjusting landing page content.  

The bidding for each keyword may also need to be adjusted. If a new competitor has launched an ad campaign in the local area and is outbidding you, we may need to increase the bids for those keywords. We will always have a discussion with you before increasing your overall budget though.  

Preparing Monthly Reports  
Whether it’s PPC ads, social media marketing, or search engine optimisation, data is at the core of everything we do. One of the best things about digital marketing campaigns is that every click and every penny spent can be tracked. For each of our customers, our team uses this data to supply useful and simple-to-understand monthly digital marketing reports.  
As a PPC customer, your report will include:  

  • Total ad spend  
  • How many users saw your ads (ad impressions)  
  • How many users clicked on your ads (clicks)  
  • Average cost per click (CPC)  
  • What percentage of people who clicked on the ad converted to a sale/lead (conversion rate)  
  • A list of the actions we have taken since the last report to improve the ads campaign  
  • Our plan of action for the following month 

Different Types Of PPC Advertising

– Search Engine Advertising 
These ads target people who are searching for specific keywords or phrases. 
– Display Advertising 
Display ads are images or videos which play in the banners or sidebars of various websites. 
– Social Media Advertising 
Social ads appear in a social media feed and generally target users based on their interests. 
– Content Network Advertising 
When you use content network advertising you can choose the sites on which you want to display your ads, or you can place them contextually against articles or websites related to your content (for example, placing insurance company adverts next to content about insurance). 
– Remarketing Advertising 
If you’ve ever looked at a pair of shoes online, and then seen ads for those same shoes appearing everywhere you go online, that’s remarketing. It’s particularly effective for advertising items on an e-commerce website. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in PPC

While every campaign is different, there are some key mistakes which can hold a campaign back or lead to a lot of wasted advertising spend. The most common are… 

– Not planning your campaign properly 
– Having a website which doesn’t function properly on mobile 
– Choosing keywords which are either too specific or too broad 
– Having a website which loads too slowly 
– Not testing different ad copy and landing pages 
Avoiding these mistakes will help you increase the return on investment for your campaign. Using professional PPC management services like ours is the best way to avoid these mistakes.  

Need Help With Your PPC Campaigns?

By now you should have a clearer picture of what our PPC ads consultants do for our clients as well as all the elements that make up a successful PPC campaign. If you have an ad campaign which isn’t performing as well as you’d like or are thinking about starting online advertising and digital marketing for the first time, speak to our team today

Dave King

Dave King

Dave King is the Co-Founder and Director of Carden Digital and the wider Carden IT Group. Dave’s background is in IT services, but he has experience across the online space. His love of all things digital lead him to create a digital marketing branch of the business, with a focus on paid advertising, SEO, web development, social media, graphic design and content writing.