Pay per click campaigns are great for delivering valuable results if used carefully and terrible if used randomly.
Beginners often spend money on PPC campaigns without fully understanding how to use them.
Veterans learn from their mistakes and pay close attention to their return on investment.
The key to getting a great ROI is using the campaigns for targeting high-value content.
What is Pay Per Click?
ay per click is a form of advertising whereby the advertiser pays the advertising network (such as Google AdWords) only when someone clicks on the ad and not for the delivery of total ad impressions.
The advertiser typically sets a monthly budget and is billed automatically up to the limit of that budget.
Then the advertiser — or someone representing the advertiser — builds a PPC campaign by:
- Choosing keywords to sponsor
- Creating the ads that target those keywords in search results
- Identifying and improving the landing page that the visitors see when they click on the ad
- Tracking the results
- Adjusting the campaign to improve the clickthrough rates or by targeting other keywords
strategy starts with a series of goals, objectives and tactics that deliver the return on investment necessary to make the campaign a success.
Four common goals are:
- Increasing site audience
- Growing ad revenue
- Making a transaction
- Acquiring members or registrations
The measurable objective that goes with each goal is a number whose benefit is much greater than the cost of the campaign.
In the case of the first goal, increasing site audience, the intention should not just be a temporary boost of visitors that dies off once the campaign ends.
Instead, it should be focused on other long-term metrics such as return visits, which indicates the original visitor had a positive impression and is willing to return again.
For many sites, especially content sites, this benefit also impacts growing ad revenue.
PPC Optimization: Landing Pages
ay per click optimization is a well-balanced mix of the keyword, the ad and the landing page. All three must work in unison to create the most effective result.
The landing page may be the final destination, but it has the top priority in optimization.
It must have one or more prominent keywords that show up in the page title, headline, body copy, graphic, etc.
The content of the page must be high quality and deliver on the promise provided in the title and headline.
Ideally, it also will have at least a strong selling point if the goal is transactions or member acquisition.
If the goal is audience and revenue, it should have several prominent links that lead the visitor to other important pages on the site.
PPC Optimization: Keywords
nce the landing page has been optimized for the best user experience, it should be natural and easy to identify the best keyword or set of keywords that will be used in the campaign.
It’s a good idea to have a set of keywords for the sake of the next important step.
Most major PPC providers have a keyword tool that allows clients to research the popularity and cost of each keyword. The Google Adwords keyword tool is one good example.
The landing page may produce five easily identifiable keywords, but the research tool may show that three of them don’t receive much traffic in the search engine and another one is way too expensive.
That leaves just one for the campaign.
But one may be enough, especially for beginners.
PPC Optimization: The Ads
ow that one keyword has been identified for the campaign, it’s time to put it to use in the ad itself. A typical text ad has four elements:
- The headline – about 25 characters long
- The description – about 35 characters
- The display URL – another chance to sell
- The destination URL – the path to the landing page
The keyword should appear at least once in the ad, but it absolutely should appear in the headline because the headline is the largest element in the ad display.
It also may be helpful to put it in the description and the display URL if possible.
Note that the keyword usually will appear in bold, so having it appear three times in bold in the ad will improve the odds of a click.
t is critically important to manage the campaign by tracking the results on a regular basis — monthly is OK but weekly is better.
If the campaign is large and expensive, daily tracking is better yet.
Think of effectiveness in two ways — at the network level and at the site level.
At the network level, effectiveness is measured by the clickthrough rate.
In addition, Google AdWords will provide a “Quality Score” of 1 to 10 for a keyword and its related ad text and landing page.
A good mix will get a score of 7 while a great mix will get a 10.
If the number drops too far below 7, Google will start to punish the mix by charging a higher cost per click for that keyword.
At the site level, the effectiveness of the campaign will be measured by the original goals and their ROI — audience, revenue, transactions, memberships, etc.
If the ROI is not high enough for the cost, revise the keywords, ads and landing pages and try again.
Keep trying and eventually the pay per click campaign will pay off.