What is Pay Per Click Advertising?
Pay per click marketing, or PPC, is pretty simple: Search engines like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results. These listings appear along with the natural, non-paid search results.
AdWords & Bing ads appear above, below, and to the right side of natural search results
These ads are sold in an auction. You bid what you want to pay for a click on the ad. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number 1 in the sponsored results. Note that I said a chance. There’s also something called quality score that can impact your ranking. More on that in a minute.
If someone clicks on your PPC listing, they arrive at your website, and you are charged the amount you bid. So, if you bid $.15 per click on ‘widgets’, and that’s the highest bid, you’ll probably show up first in line. If 100 people click on your PPC listing, then the search engine or PPC service will charge you $15.00.
Why PPC Advertising is Bad
But PPC advertising can cost a fortune. It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war over a particular keyword and end up spending far more than your potential return.
Why PPC is Good
Pay per click advertising can generate traffic right away. It’s simple: Spend enough, get top placement, and potential customers will see you first. If folks are searching for the key phrases on which you bid and you’ve placed a well-written ad, you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated.
The Role of PPC Advertising
Most businesses can’t afford to solely rely on PPC advertising. It’s too expensive, and bid amounts inevitably climb. But pay per click can fill a few important roles:
Campaign- and issue-based traffic: If you have a short-term campaign for a new product, service or special issue, pay per click can be a great way to generate buzz.
Direct-response business: If you sell a product or offer a service that folks can purchase the moment they arrive at your web site, pay per click is a great tool.
Niche terms: If you are trying to generate traffic for a highly specific keyphrase, PPC can often provide bargains.
Making it Work: Conversions, Not clicks
How do you engineer a successful pay per click advertising campaign? By paying more attention to conversions, and less to clicks.
Where to Go From Here
Pay per click is now a basic Internet marketing tool. Very few businesses can afford to ignore it. But you have to avoid the more-clicks-is-better mentality. Focus on conversion and return on investment, rather than clicks, and you can build a profitable campaign.