Paid advertising through Google AdWords is a growing market, one that’s provided 95% of Google’s $60 billion in annual revenue. Pay-per-click makes up a large majority of that revenue. If you want to join the over 1 million businesses that use this platform to draw in high-intent traffic, check out this PPC guide from a Kansas City marketing agency first. We’ll break down the different parts of PPC, offer ways to track results, and show you how to quickly snag a first page spot without investing months into SEO efforts.
What is Pay Per Click?
Pay per click is when you’re charged for every click on your ad. Whether the visitor converts or not, you pay the price. This means you need to be sure that you’re getting the right attention (high intent searches) and not overpaying. The formula for cost per click is:
(competitor AdRank/your quality score) + .01=Actual CPC.
The good news is that your CPC will always be less than or equal to your maximum bid, meaning you’ll be able to easily track your spend.
Don’t Give Up!
One of the worst things you can do is give up on your campaign too early. There may be some bumps in the beginning, but that’s only because you’re still trying to work out which words to target and where to allocate spend for the greatest ROI. Spending too much too fast can also be detrimental to your campaign’s success, so a Kansas City marketing agency will start things off slow.
Google’s been trying to enhance click-through-rate by making the ‘Ad’ identifiers harder and harder to notice. Visitors click through to your landing page thinking it’s a part of the organic results! Another bonus to AdWords is that it tells you which keywords are resulting in high conversion rates, giving you info that you can use to bolster your SEO efforts.
The Magic Formula
AdWords marketplace is set up like an auction, but quality, relevancy and bid amount are all taken into account to determine your ranking position. This ensures users are getting what they want out of the search engine (high quality content that answers their query) and the search engines get what they want (your money!). Because it’s set up like a formula, the highest bid doesn’t always win. Lower bids with a higher quality score can beat the competition, ensuring advertisers do their best to create a positive user experience.
How to Lower Costs
If you’re looking to cut back on the amount you’re spending for bids, you can raise your quality score and refine your reach. To raise your quality score, you can increase click-through rates with compelling ads, build out closely related ad groups, and optimize ad text and landing pages to be more targeted. By achieving a quality score of 6 or higher, you’re given a 16%-50% decrease in CPC. On the flipside, accounts with a 4 or lower quality score may have to pay 25%-400% more. The quality score is a metric based on the user’s experience on your landing page, relevancy of your website and the actual ad itself.
Google takes into account your past click-through-rates and predicts future rates to determine how accurately your ad addresses a query. Google also looks at your account history to make sure you’re a credible brand with high-quality products/services.
The landing page is what sells the visitor once they click on your ad, so you want this puppy to be equipped with engaging/informative visuals, a clear call-to-action button and relative content. If a query and ad for instrument rentals brings up a page dedicated to instrument maintenance, you’re wasting YOUR money and your visitor’s time. Landing pages that aren’t mobile friendly or look sketchy (ie: stock photos that still have watermarks), send up a red flag for Google AND your visitors. You can run a Google PageSpeed test to check the load time of your landing page. Slow load times will result in visitors bouncing before the conversion takes place.
Narrowing Focus and Finding Keywords
A Kansas City marketing agency can expand your reach by finding new PPC keywords using tools like SEMrush. Using the keyword magic tool, we can search related keywords to discover average CPC and the competitive density for others bidding on that keyword. In addition to adding on higher quality keywords, we’ll eliminate those with low click-through-rates or conversion outcomes. You might also want to eliminate ones that are too expensive.
Splitting ad groups can be a great way to improve CTR and quality score, since you can hyper focus your ad text and landing pages. Overlapping keyword themes can slash your quality scores, so make sure your theme applies to all keywords within the group (ie: Michael Kors purses vs. Gucci purses).
Another way to fine-tune your campaign is to refine your reach by identifying negative keywords. These are phrases that aren’t actually related to your business (though they may seem so) and are therefore unlikely to convert. Instead of wasting spend on these searches, you can narrow your focus and save money.
Types of Bidding
With the manual setting, a Kansas City marketing agency is able to control your bids for each keyword and set the max cost you want to pay for clicks. This is ideal for those who have the time to invest in individualized bidding and the experience to set appropriate bids. You can also allow AdWords to ‘maximize clicks within your target budget’. That way, AdWords can bid to generate as many clicks as possible within your budget.
Enhanced CPC uses proprietary data that Google is privy to (ie: searcher location, web browser, etc.) to create a campaign that’s even more likely to result in conversions. Keep in mind that bidding may be more competitive with this option. If you prefer more control, you can use the enhanced CPC along with your own bid adjustment tools. With automated bidding, the bidding process is set up to help you reach a certain goal for your business with little intervention on your part besides identifying the goals you want to shoot for.
The purpose of bid adjustments is to make sure you’re spending the right amount of money on the right people. Look at CTR demographics in terms of location, device, days of the week, etc. and adjust your bidding strategy accordingly. You want to focus your efforts on bolstering the campaigns that are doing well—not the ones that are struggling.
Using the AdWords Reporting tool, a Kansas City marketing agency can see which ads are converting and which aren’t. You’ll be able to sort information into several categories to make adjustments easier.
- The Time dropdown lets you see what days/times your campaign is most successful.
- The Conversion reporting feature breaks down conversion by name or purpose, allowing you to place different value levels on every conversion and adjust accordingly.
- If you want to check on your landing page, use the Destination URL filter to see how specific URLs are performing.
- Demographic data isn’t available for all campaigns, but it can tell you how different demographics are reacting to your campaigns. With geographic reporting, you’ll be able to sort by country, state, etc. to see where you should be focusing your funds. All of these reporting tools can be used to fine-tune your campaign.
Site Links and Ad Extensions
Perhaps the easiest way to increase your click-through-rate is site links and ad extensions. With site links, you have the ability to add in additional calls-to-action within your ad copy at NO EXTRA COST. Extensions show when they’re predicted to improve your performance and your ad’s position and your Ad Rank is high enough for extensions to show.
Keep in mind though that since sitelinks/extensions draw more attention and have higher competition, your ad spend should be expected to increase. You may also be charged for certain interactions that extensions provide, such as phone calls to your business or download buttons. You will not be charged for clicks on review extensions or seller ratings. The limit you will be charged is for two clicks on any ad and its extension.
Some of the more popular extensions are location extensions (encouraging users to visit a physical location), call extensions (add a call button to your ads), sitelink extensions (link to other pages on your site), and review extensions (quotes or rankings from published sources). The cool thing about location extensions is that they can include a location, call button and link to your business details page. For a complete list of extensions, check out this guide from Google.
By combining PPC with SEO and targeting the same keywords, you can dominate in search results. When a user sees both your ad and organic search result listing on the first page, they peg you as a leader in the industry. If you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, this a surefire tactic to see results. A Kansas City marketing agency can help you manage multiple marketing campaigns. Go teamwork!
If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of how PPC could be applied to your business, contact us! As a Kansas City marketing agency, we can advise you on which internet marketing tactics to pursue and aid you in implementation.