Getting presence and recognition on the Internet today is vital for every brand, business or project that wishes to succeed. Nevertheless, it is a complicated task that involves more than just social network popularity or a great idea. Any startup, entrepreneur, small business, project or brand that have decided to venture into the digital world, can guarantee it without argument.
The fact is that it doesn’t matter how hard you have worked on your idea, project or business. You might even have the best product ever imagined, the coolest webpage or the most advanced service in your determined market that without proper SEO, SEM and other crucial digital marketing strategies and tools, in the minds of your potential customers, your brand, business or idea won’t exist. No one will find you, and consequently, no one will ever know about what you have to say or to offer.
As the Internet and the digital world continue to evolve, more sophisticated tools to develop marketing and branding strategies arrive, creating a wide range of features, apps, and products that can help to achieve specific online goals. PPC or Pay Per Click is a term that has been around, basically since digital marketing -as we know it today- started, and it stands among the rest, as one of the best and most reliable marketing strategies at your disposal, to get you going.
SEO vs. SEM
When launching a new website, most of us will look for the most effective and affordable way of positioning our site and getting a presence on the web. As soon as you start researching on the subject, the first question that will probably pop into your head is, should I go with SEO or SEM?
In straightforward words, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the combination of strategies and tools used to make your site organically gain presence, traffic, and popularity by paid search advertising. However, it is essential to understand that one does not exclude the other, but instead, they are both complements of a well-designed digital communication campaign.
On the other hand, it must be pointed out that SEO isn’t free. It requires long hours of hard work, testing, improving and ruling out. Besides, it requires a lot of continuously updated quality content, which also involves a significant investment in time and money. Nevertheless, these are all vital in a successful digital communication campaign and shouldn’t be spared.
With PPC or pay per click strategies, you have an advantage over SEO, from getting virtually immediate results. As soon as you launch your PPC campaign, your numbers and metrics will start collecting juicy data that will mark the path to success. While with SEO, these metrics take longer to move and even though they provide useful information, it is not as accurate as SEM metrics, to make important financial and marketing decisions.
Understanding the PPC basics
Just as its name suggests, pay per click is an advertising method that charges for every click your ad gets. It lets marketers place ads in text, taking advantage of the search engine’s sponsored listings, to reach potential customers. Each time a user clicks on your ad, you will get charged for it. The simple term might sound scary to some. I mean, how many times do you click at a link, button or something while surfing the web or scanning through your social networks?
PPC is one of the most affordable means of advertising today. Especially, when you compare it with the ROI or the return on investment it provides. Once you get it right, it is sweet magic. However, it takes time, knowledge, experience, and dedication to get it flowing. But, let’s go over the basics, to understand how PPC works.
Breaking Down The PPC Method
Internet users are 24/7 searching for products, services, answers and solutions to their needs. Hitting the first spots on a search engine result page of that search immediately translates them into potential customers. It has been proven that most of the Internet users will hit the first results on the first page.
Regardless of your incomparably effective organic strategy and even though most people don’t notice it, Pay Per Click results will always hit the first spots of the SERP or search engine result page. They are usually marked by an AD symbol on the side, and can also appear on the bottom of the page. You might even find other information elements like maps on the SERP, but mostly the rest of the results are the organic ones.
Every time a search engine user types a query on the search box, -for instance on Google- an opening on the spots of the search engine result page gets available. At the same time an auction for the specific keyword that triggered your ad starts. The winner of the auction will get its ad not only on the SERP but also on the top spot, getting bigger chances of leading that user into its webpage.
However, it takes more than bidding the highest amount of money, to hit the first place. Most of search engine platforms like Instagram, Facebook or Google, take into consideration a combination of multiple factors, including bid amount, the quality of the ad, relevancy, loading speed, among many more. This bidding and evaluation system makes PPC pretty impressive, even to all advertisers playing.
The beauty of pay per click lies in that you don’t need a lot of money to beat your competitors. A well-tailored PPC strategy can easily outrank competitors without having to invest high amounts of money. While your competitors are willing to waste big bucks on a single keyword, you could be hitting the first spot, paying just a fraction for that same keyword, by applying practical and smart strategies.
PPC concepts and terms
Pay per click just like any SEO strategy or SEM method can be confusing and overwhelming at the beginning, especially if you are making your first appearance on the scene. Before stepping in, it is essential to have at least a general knowledge about the concepts, terms and other elements critical to being understood. They are about to become your daily seasoning on your PPC recipe for success. Once you get the right balance, you will be in complete control of your PPC marketing strategy.
Most popular PPC platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Bing or Google, work pretty much the same. They have a hierarchy structure that allows you to segment in a detailed manner, your strategy — making better use of your keywords and ads.
Campaigns are the main level of your PPC strategy; they are usually composed of different hierarchy levels. Below the Campaign level, you will find your ad groups, which are composed of your ads and keywords.
Ad groups allow you to organize keywords and ads according to different topics, subjects or other essential characteristics.
Ads are the results that appear on the top and bottom of the search engine result page. Most used ad form is text ads. These are great to generate exposure and get noticed right away on the SERP. In most cases they have Ad extensions, which enhance and boost their efficiency, adding relevant information like phone number, internal site links, business hours, and more. Ad extensions are great to increase the visibility of your ads by making them more engaging to users while communicating more information. Other types of Ads may include a display, shopping list, and video ads.
Keywords are the heart of any online strategy. They work just about the same for SEO and SEM. Therefore, it is vital to understand how to use them effectively. Keywords will represent the bridge between you and your users. Internet users type their queries on the search box. These queries are the actual words used to find results. At the same time, your selected keywords will match the users’ queries triggering your ads. The more relevant your website, ads, and keywords are to the user’s query, the better position you will get on the SERP, and the more likely the user will become a potential customer.
You can also get better control of the queries and keywords triggering your ads, by filtering them with match types codes. These will help to condition the keyword to more broad or specific results. Match types are great allies to get the clicks from the users you want, avoiding to generate irrelevant traffic and wasting money.
Conversions should be considered as your primary goal. They represent a valuable action from your users and website visitors. Regardless of the type of business, website, or project, you are managing; your ultimate goal is to obtain conversions. They can be a form of submission, a product purchase, hiring a service, downloading content, installing an app, signing up for a newsletter or even making a phone call. A conversion can represent whatever you and your project consider a valuable action.
Some PPC platforms allow tracking the conversions, what a great tool to keep track of your campaign’s ROI or return on investment. Of course, most popular PPC platforms provide a lot more data and information than just the conversions. Therefore, it is essential to get familiarized with the metrics to make the most of your PPC strategy.
How to build an effective PPC strategy
We all use search engines to look for answers to our urgencies. This includes not only the solution to a problem but also products and services to our needs. On the other hand, Google, and the rest of the search engine platforms have created extremely efficient algorithms that provide highly relevant results to your queries. Therefore, the results, -including ads- are generally highly relevant and engaging with what the user is looking for. With more than 4.4 billion individuals utilizing the net worldwide and more than 3.5 billion users active on different social media platforms, it is a unique opportunity to bring attention to your idea, project, brand, products or services.
Once you get your PPC campaign going, you will get instant visibility to the relevant audience. Even without getting a click, by appearing on the first spots of the SERP, you will be creating strong brand awareness, at no cost. You will also be able not only to easily reach your target audience but to delicately tailor it, in such a particular way that the clicks you get are genuinely worthy and most likely to convert. This will generate more leads at lower costs while expanding your customer base. You can target your audience based on demographics, location, keyword usage, and time of day, just to mention some.
Following PPC best practices
Now that we have a better idea of how to use and how effective PPC campaigns can be, let us focus on how to make it as efficient as possible, reducing the trial and testing period. The first and most important thing of all is to concentrate on selecting the best and most relevant keywords on your campaign. Remember they are the heart of your PPC strategy.
When selecting your pay per click campaign keywords, try selecting the ones that are most relevant according to your website goals, products, and services. The more relevant and specific they are, the better traffic they will provide. Keep in mind those long-tail keywords that are not so common. Long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, but less competitive.
There are several ways to select your keywords. You can use different tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, by asking your friends, family, and people in general, how would they search for a specific thing, service or product? You can also try typing a related word on the search box and following the automatic suggestions. Even though you believe you finally have the best keywords possible, it is vital to keep a constant metric analysis and optimization to keep your keywords updated, competitive and relevant.
Once you have chosen them, you can begin establishing your campaigns hierarchical structure. Keep in mind your selected landing pages and Web site’s content to classify and create your ad groups and ads. Your ads have to be engaging, attractive and they need to have call-to-action features.
Finally, it is vital to focus on and select your negative keywords. Negative keywords are essential and the best way to filter and rule out irrelevant traffic to your website. You can also improve your keyword traffic by effectively applying the keyword match types.
PPC trends to look for in 2019
SEO and SEM, rules, algorithms and qualifications, tend to change as fast as customers volatile shopping decisions. However, with patience, experience, and hard work, you can keep track and anticipate the most effective PPC strategies and trends to follow. At Impressions Agency we can expect that for the rest of this 2019, most effective PPC campaigns and procedures will continue to focus on:
Search engines are giving huge importance to videos when placing ads on the search engine result page. Besides, a video is one of the best alternatives to set a remarketing campaign. Videos are also great options to boost your social engagement.
SEO, SEM and other digital communication strategies are increasingly focusing on mobile targeting. Overlooking mobile advertising and optimization is a huge mistake today.
Maybe it is still fresh, but voice search is most certainly on the rise and when used can provide leverage to those who are still wondering what the new Internet navigation trends are.
PPC has the versatility and accessibility to be perfect for just about any project, idea, business or brand that wishes to venture into the digital world. It can provide immediate dividends but requires knowledge, experience, and talent to make the most of it. Contact Impressions Agency today and boost your Website to success.