What are PPC and Google Adwords?
Google Adwords is Google’s advertising platform for its search engine. So these are simply ads which are shown in Google’s search results.
When someone searches on Google, the top 3 results displayed are typically ads, followed by “natural” search results.
For local business searches, local search results, with a map showing where the top 10 businesses are, are usually shown above wider natural search results.
Ads are also shown on the right of the search results.
Pay Per Click refers to the charging system; advertisers pay when viewers “click” on an Ad, at a pre-agreed rate, which could be anything from 1 pence to £100 per click. Advertisers effectively “bid” for the advertising space, based on keywords – ie search phrases. The specific rate paid will depends on how competitive the keyword is.
Google also runs a separate advertising system, which is called Google Adsense and which allows banner ads to be displayed across its network of approved websites.
What’s Special About PPC?
Of course Google is the biggest search engine in the world and particularly in the UK – by miles. But that’s not the real reason why Google’s PPC Advertising is so powerful.
The key is the nature of advertising in a search engine setting: Your ads are shown to people who are specifically looking for exactly your services and products.
This immediately changes the relationship with the prospects who respond to your ad, compared with say Facebook ads, or traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines etc. In these cases, you are trying to attract people’s attention – which is primarily focused elsewhere.
With Google PPC, the prospect is searching for you. They are specifically looking either to buy or at least to find out more. So you are half way there before you start; it’s a much easier to start a “conversation” and build a valuable, long term, relationship.
Before Google PPC ads came along, not so long ago, this was virtually unheard of in marketing, outside Yellow Pages. It’s obviously the perfect opportunity to get your business in front of exactly the right audience, at the right moment.
Clearly, it means that these prospects are more likely to buy or to sign up for information on your website, opening the opportunity for Permission Marketing – so conversion rates are much higher than traditional ad response rates.
What is particularly interesting is that research consistently shows that most searchers on Google do not even realise that some of the results displayed are ads.
Pay Per Click – Paying for Results
With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Today, it’s easy to forget how significant it is to be paying only for clicks ie only for people interested enough in your Ad to take action and click on it. You do not pay for all the other people who may see it, but are not interested in looking further.
Most advertising obviously works on the basis that you pay to have it appear in front of people regardless of whether they are actually interested and regardless of whether they respond. Which is an expensive way to find out that they aren’t.
This means that you can discover very quickly if your campaign will be successful or not; probably within a couple of days. If you are not getting the response you hoped for, you can cut the campaign immediately, without wasting more resources on it.
So if you haven’t chosen the right keywords, perhaps and so aren’t getting to the people who are truly interested in what you are offering – you will find out very quickly, before you invest large amounts.
So this is extremely low risk advertising (providing you convert effectively), compared with paying for an advertising campaign, possibly over several months, with significant costs and no guarantee of results – and no refunds if your response is poor.
Local Advertising – better targeting and keeping costs down
With Google Adwords you can choose to advertise locally ie for your ads only to show up to people within a certain area. This is done by tracking computer IP addresses and mobile phones.
Obviously this is particularly powerful for smaller local businesses, as the cost is much lower and there is no waste due to people outside your area clicking on ads.
When Google first launched, ads were shown right across the UK, but now you can target a specific town or city. Even if your business is national, or even global, you may well still want to use local advertising to focus your budget according to your target demographic; most businesses have some geographic bias in their customer profile.
What About Bing and Yahoo?
Google is the biggest search engine in the world and in the UK, by miles. So this is the place to start and to focus. It’s the best place to test and measure, to maximize your campaigns’ effectiveness and your returns.
Once your have a successful campaign up and running though, it’s a good idea to roll it out – Bing and Yahoo have far fewer searches (Bing has 10% of the UK search market), but they often have higher click through rates and lower costs.
You may have heard people saying that Google Adwords is not as effective as it once was. This is really a bit of a myth; there are just as many searches being carried out. Plus costs have actually dropped.
However, what has happened is that Google has changed the placement of some of its ads, with just 3 being shown above the natural search results, while the rest remain over on the right and the results for those on the left are now dramatically better than the others. When left position ads were introduced they immediately got slightly better results ie click through rate (CTR). Gradually the emphasis has shifted; by last year left hand ads got a CTR 10x better – and now in 2015 it is 15x.
More significant still is the impact of mobile phones. Only the left hand position ads show up at all on mobile searches – and 50% of all searches are now on mobiles.
So the positioning of ads has become ever more critical. Many businesses are unaware of this discrepancy – and more importantly how to ensure their ads appear on the left as much as possible – so they have seen reduced CTRs and poorer results from their campaigns.
So if you are not getting the results you used to, it may be time to look closely at your campaigns and brush up your skills. It’s important to use the latest techniques to be successful in getting left hand position ads and then to convert effectively through well designed website pages.
Getting Great Results
These are the keys to successful PPC advertising with Google Adwords:
- Correct selection of keywords
- Excellent ad, relevant and with great copy
- Getting your Ad positioned correctly – this is based on a secret algorithm, which includes your “quality score” and your bid price
- Effective conversion on your website – this is about a well designed landing or sales page, probably with video and compelling copy, with an irresistible offer
- Test and measure – repeatedly
If you are new to Google Adwords, we do recommend you try it, as it is the most consistent way to source good leads, if you get good at it – but just make sure you learn how to do it well. It’s well worth the investment of your time, as it will bring you consistent, ongoing prospects and customers.
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