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A Handy Beginner’s Guide to Understanding PPC

When you think you’re ready to take your business to the next level, you’ll want to start running PPC campaigns. 

PPC advertising– a popular and effective form of online advertising– when done right, will bring you a steady stream of new leads. 

This means you have to make sure you’re all set for success and that everything’s in place before you get started, so you can fully maximize on your marketing gains from your various ad campaigns.

Jump to a Sector! 

I

Getting Started with PPC

PPC stands for pay-per-click, and it’s essentially online advertising. You run an advertisement online, and when people click on your ad to visit your website, you pay the advertising channel. Hence, “pay-per-click”.

For many small businesses, PPC is a highly targeted way of buying visits to their business website. Hopefully, your new online guests like what they see on your site– what you have to offer, then engage with it, and ultimately, end up as conversions.

Remember, before the internet, advertising was a rather costly investment for any business. You had radio and TV, magazines and newspapers, as well as outdoor media like billboards and signages. 

As traditional media channels, these were great ways to get the word out about your products and services, and they still do have a place in today’s marketing mix. It’s just that if you’re just starting out as a business, investing in these can break you if you don’t do it right.

Today, SME’s have a wealth of digital marketing tools at their disposal, many of which can be done at a very low cost. PPC is certainly one such digital marketing tool, and it’s pretty effective in that:

  • PPC is highly targeted. You choose which market segment or demographic sees your ads. This means you get higher-quality leads-- leads that are a lot more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
  • PPC gives you high-quality traffic. Pay-per-click advertising allows you to reach people exactly when they’re looking for something online. Believe me, leads don’t get any hotter than that!
  • PPC is measurable. For any given campaign, you can see how many people have seen you ad, and how many of these have actually taken action.
  • PPC has a low barrier to entry. You can advertise to your target audience just in the same way as the bigger brands or more established players in your space. A small investment on online ads goes a relatively long way.
  • PPC allows you greater control. You can scale up or scale down your campaigns whenever you wish, run multiple campaigns, or stop them all completely.

Pay-per-click ads can take on many forms, but by far the most common is the paid search ad.

It’s as simple as this: when people go online to search for something, there’s a good chance they’re either about to buy something, or considering to buy something soon.

Search ads appear when people type in a particular term, phrase, or question using a search engine. Sure, Google still commands a huge bulk of total online search volume, but other search engines like Bing and Yahoo can still yield some considerable results.

Thanks to the fact that just about everyone has a smartphone, and smart assistants and home assistants are on the rise, voice search is also gaining quite a bit of prominence.

Search queries can be anything along the lines of:

“best gift ideas under $20”

“termite pest control in rocklin ca”

“sacramento root canal dentist reviews”

Or even full questions like:

“Who sells grass-fed beef near me?”

“Where can I buy a Salvador Dali mask?”

“How much will it cost to have my locks replaced?”

One of the cool things about pay-per-click ads: you only pay if someone was actually interested enough in your offer that they click on your advertisement.

Other forms of PPC ads can include display ads (like banner ads you see on certain websites) and remarketing efforts (for folks who may have visited a particular site but haven’t quite bought anything that time).

II

Why Should I Use PPC For My Business?

You might be thinking, “Hang on a minute. I’m doing just fine with my social media and my website. Why should my small business use pay-per-click advertising now?”

And you know what? You’re probably right– you are doing just fine. You’re probably making some good business right now with what you’re doing.

But imagine for a moment: what if you could bring in even more business right this moment? 

If the prospect of bringing in a steady stream of new hot leads (to nurture and convert into sales) for your business greatly appeals to you— which it would, if you’re a business owner–  then PPC is definitely for you.

Pay-per-click advertising helps you, your business, or your brands gain a lot of visibility online real quick. This upsurge in online visibility translates to more high-quality traffic to your website (or landing page), which in turn can be nurtured as leads down your sales funnel, ultimately converting into new business.

With PPC, you can quickly build up:

  • Brand awareness
  • Audience reach
  • A pool of hot new leads
  • Conversions (from your pool of leads)
  • Profits (from your conversions)

SEO can achieve this exact same thing, but it will take you months to rank for the keywords you want, even under the best conditions. 

So now you get the bigger picture: you have a bunch of keywords you want your products and services to rank for. If you want them to rank right now (so you can start bringing in business), use PPC

PPC advertising is great as you’re ramping up, as long as you’re implementing your ads correctly, as long as you can handle all your new leads, and as long as you have the ad budget to spare. 

For your long-term, organic (i.e. non-paid) traffic, that’s where SEO helps you. (We’re covering SEO in a totally separate article, if you’d like to check that out.)

III

How Do I Get Started With PPC?

Now that you’ve decided to do some online advertising, let’s get a few things ready before you dive right in.

1

First off, get your website or at least a landing page you’re dedicating to your online ad campaign up and running. You’re about to receive a lot of new guests into your home (so to speak), so you want to make sure people are comfortable once they arrive.

2

Next, be clear on what exactly you’re promoting for this campaign. We suggest you stick to one product or one service for the duration of a particular campaign. Later on, when you get the hang of it, you can run multiple campaigns– each one showcasing a different promotion.

3

Review your target audience. Do you have a clear idea which market segment you’ll be reaching out for this PPC campaign? Demographics? Location? Interests? Media habits? The more specific you get, the better, because it only shows you really know your audience.

4

Prepare a budget. We know you’re excited to run your campaign right away and get going, but for your first campaign– at least until you’re comfortable with the PPC process– set aside a few hundred dollars, maybe around $200 to $500 for your first run.

5

Know your options. We have a section below on the different advertising networks you might want to consider using for your PPC campaign. Each has its own pros and cons, and each one can be best leveraged towards a particular market segment. 

6

Start signing up for your accounts. You might choose to do Google Adwords or Facebook ads for now, so go right ahead and sign up for an account. You’ll be given access to a dashboard where you can access your campaigns, study different ad scenarios, look into different market segments, and so on.

7

Make your projections. Using the info you have on your target audience, start running a few ad scenarios so you can have an idea how much you might be spending each day, how many people will you be reaching, and what sort of ad they’d see on their end.

8

Craft your ads. Whether it’s plain text, or a bit of video, images, or other rich media, make sure you come up with something relevant and interesting to your target audience. Remember: you’ll be competing with other ads too, so just on your ad copy and choice of media, you’d want to somehow cut through all the noise and connect with your intended market.

9

Manage your expectations. Think of PPC as betting in a casino, except that instead of winning chips, you win more business. And on that same note, in the same way you can win, you can also lose as well. Unlike a casino, however, there are a lot of things you can do to swing the odds in your favor. The point is: so long as you know what you’re doing, so long as you’re keeping an eye on things, you’re going to be just fine.

10

Make adjustments. At the end of every campaign, review your stats and see what you can learn from them. Fine-tune your online advertising strategy and feel free to test things out: maybe a different ad copy, or a slightly more focused market segment. You can even study trends across your different ad campaigns over time to see what works (and what doesn’t).

IV

How Does PPC Work?

The short of it is: you create an ad for one of your promotions, place it on an ad network online, and people get to see your ad.

So as you can see, when it comes to online advertising, there are three parties typically involved: the advertisers, the ad network, and the publishers.

Advertisers

These are businesses, brands, or individuals who use PPC to promote their products and services. Essentially, the advertisement comes from these guys, and the advertisers are footing the bill for the ad campaigns.

In this case, you’re the advertiser. 

Ad Networks

When users click on an ad– whether via search, or via display ads– the advertisements pay the ad network.  Depending on the keyword, the target market segment, and how heavy the competition is, a click on an ad can range from a fraction of a cent to several dollars. 

See, it’s a game of supply-and-demand. Obviously, more competitive spaces or niches– meaning to say, spaces or niches where you expect to find a lot of other advertisers– will command a higher cost-per-click. 

Within an ad network, ads are subject to an ad auction– an automated process that determines (among other things) relevance and validity of ads that appear on search engine result pages (SERPs).

So where we’re talking about ad networks, we’re referring to the folks over at Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, and just about any other search engine or social network out there.

Publishers

Websites that partner up with the ad networks to earn revenue from displaying ads are known as our publishers in this case.

When visitors of these sites click on ads served by the ad network, they get a little share of the revenue. How much publishers receive in the end depends on the cost-per-click of the ad, and the number of visitors who clicked on the advertisement.

This is how ad networks extend their reach: with an ever-growing roster of partner websites and blogs, their advertisements can now reach a much larger audience.

 

So when advertisers run PPC campaigns, they are often given the option of having the ad run just on the ad network, or have it run among the network’s partners as well.

With many publishers (partner websites) in tow, advertisers can have a less per-click cost than they normally would. At the same time, the ad network makes more money, and more publishers get a slice of the revenue pie. It’s a win-win all around for everybody!

V

An Overview of Various PPC Ad Networks

There are a good number of ad networks worth considering when you’re thinking about advertising your products and services. 

Google, of course, is still the top choice as far as options for PPC go, but have a look at some of the other ad networks as well– as these might not only yield promising results, they also don’t burn through your ad budget as much.

Advertising on Google

Google Ads is Google’s online advertising program. As the tech giant continues to dominate online search, Google also has a formidable network of partner publisher websites.

Over the years, the Google Ad Network has grown tremendously in terms of reach, and has a ton of options for you as an advertiser.

The Google Search Network

Everyone knows that the most coveted position in search is the top of the search engine result pages. 

Normally, you’d need months of diligent SEO work to get there organically. But with paid ads on the Google Search Network, you can have your advertisement appear right there on top before all other entries (given a particular search query, of course).

Google Local Service Ads

If you are a local serviced based business then Local Services by Google may be just the ticket.

This form of paid ads works similar to Adwords, in that you can manage how much you would like to spend by raising or lowering your average weekly budget. Google may spend slightly less or more than your assigned weekly budget in any given week, but it will never exceed your monthly maximum budget.

In this platform you’re charged per lead rather than by click.
With Google Local Service Ads, increasing or decreasing your budget will directly impact the number of leads you generate.
 
When starting off with Local Service Ads, it’s recommended that you budget for at least 20 leads per week to get the most out of your new ads. Lead prices may vary depending on location, job type and type of lead.
Leads usually cost $6 – $30 per lead.
Example : $6.00 x 20 = $120/week
 
Note: Not all service industries or regions have access to Google’s Local Service Ads. See the list below for a general guide.
 
  • Locksmiths
  • Plumbers
  • Garage Door
  • Electricians
  • HVAC
  • Air Duct Cleaner*
  • Appliance Repair Service*
  • Auto Glass Service*
  • Auto Service Technician*
  • Carpet Cleaner*
  • Event Planner*
  • Handyman*
  • Home Improvement Pro*
  • House Cleaner*
  • Junk Removal Provider*
  • Lawn Care Provider*
  • Mover*
  • Painter*
  • Pest Control Technician*
  • Pet Care Provider*
  • Pet Groomer*
  • Photographer*
  • Roadside Assistance Service*
  • Roofer*
  • Tree Service Provider*
  • Tutor*
  • Upholstery Cleaner*
  • Water Damage Service Provider*
  • Window Cleaner*
  • Window Service Provider*
*Not all services are supported in all markets.
*Not all services are supported in all markets. Most large metro areas in the United States have Local Service Ads. Today, the following markets are serving Local Service Ads:

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  • Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  • Louis, MO-IL
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

The Google Display Network

According to external sources, the Google Display Network (or GDN) reaches 90% of all internet users, and has more than two million partner websites– sites of all kinds, sizes, and niches.

This includes all Google properties (e.g. Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, etc.), sites with Google AdSense, sites with the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and so much more.

The GDN allows you to run text ads as well as other formats– image ads, video ads, and rich media ads.

Unlike the Google Search Network, the GDN scans the content of the partner website a user happens to be on, and display the most relevant display ads to the user.

You can show ads on specific sites of your choice, and you can narrow down your target audience according to demographics, interests, and topics. 

PROS

  • Google Ads is one of the best places to advertise. Done correctly, they convert really well. Also: they have an extensive Help Section, and everything is pretty organized.

CONS

  • Google Ads can get quite expensive, especially with very competitive spaces. Pricing can also be quite high.

Advertising on other search engines

Don’t count out Bing just yet. True, Google dominates search, but that doesn’t mean you have no further use for the Bing Ad Network.

Bing is owned by Microsoft, and the network has three main search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. Your ad campaigns on this network will show up on all these three search engines, as well as their various owned and operated sites and partner websites.

Other Bing Network fun facts:

  • Bing has 34% of the desktop search engine market worldwide.
  • There are more than 5 billion searches done on the Bing Network each month.
  • 136 million unique searchers use the Bing Network, including 63 million that are not reached with Google Adwords.
  • Users of the Bing Network are slightly more mature, with nearly 75% over the age of 35. Almost half of the users on the Network have a household income of $75,000.00 or more.

As you start running ads on the Bing network, you’ll notice a good number of advantages that it has over Google Ads. 

For starters, Bing Ads has a lot less competition for the same keywords. And less competition means a lot cheaper CPC’s. This means it’s possible for you to achieve the same results on Bing as you might on Google, but with just a fraction of the cost of your overall ad spend.

Bing Ads also offers more control over your ad campaigns. You can set your campaigns differently across certain time zones, which is great for international campaigns. Bing also allows you to target only users on either desktop, tablet, or mobile. You can even control which gender and age demographics see your ads.

Advertising on Facebook

Probably the next best advertising network next to Google is Facebook. 

Despite what you might think about Facebook, the numbers don’t lie: Facebook is still growing, and people spend almost an hour on the social network each day.

In fact, as far as social networks go, Facebook advertising is considered to be the most effective paid option, according to the vast majority (96&%) of social media marketers, according to an eMarketer study.

Facebook has a huge amount of data from its users, and as such, it has a good idea of who they are, what they like, what their online usage habits are, and so on.

As you continue to use Facebook, the Facebook algorithm bumps up items on your feed that it thinks you’re more likely to engage with, and that includes products you might want to buy, events you might want to attend, or sites you might want to visit.

Many of these “suggestions” are actually targeted Facebook ads, and so you can see how different this approach is.

Facebook puts value on a more seamless, less obtrusive way of serving you advertisements. Basically, you just look at it as you scroll down your feed. If you like it, you click on it. If you don’t, you just keep on scrolling (and another ad eventually comes up).

It’s this user experience-friendly approach that makes Facebook so terribly effective, giving your ad placements the benefit of being more readily accepted by the market segment you’re targeting on the social network.

So your Facebook ads can show up:

  • Inside the news feed on desktop
  • Inside the news feed on mobile
  • On the right-hand sidebar on desktop
  • On the audience network on mobile
  • On Instagram

Ads on Facebook can be managed via the Facebook Ads Manager. Later on, when you’ve got the hang on placing ads on Facebook, you can also use the Power Editor later on.

Advertising on LinkedIn

If most people are on Facebook, your more serious decision-makers, opinion leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs are on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has positioned itself nicely as the go-to social network for business professionals. Over time, LinkedIn has grown its suite of tools so that marketers and advertisers can now tap into this prime market segment.

Through the Campaign Manager, you can now launch your own ad campaigns on LinkedIn:

  • Inside the news feed on desktop
  • Inside the news feed on mobile
  • On the right-hand sidebar on desktop
  • On the audience network on mobile
  • On Instagram

One of the good things about LinkedIn is that it’s rather cost-efficient. You can spend a daily amount, perhaps as little as $2 a day for a month or two and see how it goes.

Advertising on Amazon

You gotta hand it to Amazon: the online merchant center has made door-to-door shopping so convenient (and so addictive) that it continues to be one of the largest companies in the world today.

Especially if your own company sells products on Amazon, advertising on the ecommerce platform makes total sense.

Amazon knows exactly what its customers are buying, and has so much data on consumer spending, online shopping habits, personal preferences and more.

Think of Amazon ads simply as the Amazon version of Google AdWords: as users type in products they’re looking for on Amazon, advertisers can boost their visibility by bidding on specific keywords.

Your products with ads on Amazon also gain the benefit of getting a boost on organic rankings. The extra sales generated by your ad campaigns is indeed a strong ranking factor within Amazon, and so the better you sell, the higher your ranking on search results.

These function similar to Google search ads.
Self-serve Ads
These function similar to the Google Display Network; Amazon has a vast number of partner publishers as well, which means your display ads can also show up on other partner websites as well.
Premium Ads

Through your seller or vendor account, your options for advertising on Amazon include:

  • Sponsored product ads
  • Headline search ads
  • Product display ads

Amazon advertising costs are (generally) a lot more cost-effective compared to Google AdWords or Bing, perhaps on the same spending level as Facebook ads or Google display ads. Given that people on Amazon have a stronger intent to buy, your advertisements on the network can greatly benefit your sales.

VI

How Can We Help You With Your PPC Ads?

LOJO can guide you in planning, developing, running, and monitoring your PPC campaigns!

If you think you need some assistance setting up your pay-per-click advertising campaigns, our crack team of PPC commandos here at LOJO are more than ready, willing, and able to get the job done for you.

Talk to us today and let us know what you have in mind for your ads and promotions. Our Google Adwords-certified team can then assist in the selection of proper keywords to bid for. 

We’ll also help you in putting together a few awesome ads to run, and set you up just nicely so when traffic starts coming in, you’re already set up to better capture your leads and work towards converting them.

We have the tools, the experience, and the expertise to manage your PPC campaigns on:

  • Google AdWords
  • The Bing Ad Network (which includes Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and more)
  • Facebook Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Amazon Ads

We’ve already been running PPC campaigns for clients for the last six years now. A lot of the campaigns we’ve done have been for local businesses targeting the neighborhoods of Roseville, Rocklin, and the Sacramento area. But we also have a growing clientele for online ads throughout the United States and in different countries all over the world.

Give us a call today to speak with a member of our team for more information, and let’s talk about your PPC requirements and other online advertising needs.

What PPC plans do you offer? 

Let’s talk about what sort of ad budget you have in mind to promote your products and services. Based on your requirements and some initial projections, LOJO can gladly recommend the best PPC ad management package for you.

Here are our available PPC ad management plans, and the corresponding monthly service fees and inclusions. 

PLAN - WHITE DWARF

$325/month

(plus one-time setup fee of $350)
  • Ad management on one (1) advertising platform
  • Support for up to two (2) PPC ad campaigns
If you’re looking to get your feet wet in online advertising, or if you’d like to keep your PPC campaigns on maintenance mode, you’ll want to go for this starter PPC ad management plan. Focus on one advertising platform of your choice as you ramp up your sales and start building new business!
PLAN - RED GIANT

$499/month

(plus one-time setup fee of $600)
  • Ad management on up to two (2) advertising platforms
  • Support for up to four (4) PPC ad campaigns
Great for most SME’s who have already had some success doing PPC: you now know which products you should be focusing on, how to set up your campaigns, and so you’d want to keep the ball rolling as your new leads are steadily streaming in.
PLAN - HYPERGIANT

$749/month

(plus one-time setup fee of $900)
  • Ad management on up to three (3) advertising platforms
  • Support for up to six (6) PPC ad campaigns
For when you have a fever, and the only prescription is more PPC! Great for businesses with multiple brands or products that require online advertising. Great for active e-commerce operations, and well-established brands looking to get a bigger piece of the pie online.
  • Keyword Research 

Keyword research includes searching for words or phrases related to a companies products or services. The objective is to find the keywords that are the most relevant to the business, and see how often these keywords are searched and how their search volume changes over time. 

  • Ad Copy Development 

Ad creation is both a creative and scientific process, whereby an ad is made that looks good as well as speaks to the needs of the audience. 

  • Bid Setup & Research 

Most PPC advertising works off of a modified bid auction. This requires research and planning to be sure a budget is properly created and spent to yield maximum results.

  • Landing Page Recommendations & or Creation 

A landing page is required to set up an ad campaign and is meant as the destination point for the audience after clicking on an ad. Ads can either be created as part of the campaign set up or an existing website page can be recommended for use. 

  • Conversion Tracking Implementation 

Conversion tracking shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ads – whether they purchased a product, signed up for your newsletter, called your business, or downloaded your app. When a customer completes an action that you’ve defined as valuable, these customer actions are called conversions.

  • Bid Refinement

A key part of any PPC plan is refining the bid amounts to keep a campaign competitive and performing without overpaying.

  • Ad Optimization Text Ads 

A text ad is a written form of marketing communication that advertisers use to promote their product or service on the Google Network.

  • Landing Page Optimization 

Landing page optimization is one part of a broader Internet marketing process called conversion optimization, with the goal of improving the percentage of visitors to the website that become sales leads and customers. 

  • Landing Page Maintenance 

Landing page maintenance consists of content, form and or offer changes as applicable. 

  • CTR Analysis 

Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page. It is commonly used to measure the success of an ad campaign for a particular website. 

  • Keyword Refinements

Keyword refinement happens as the effectiveness of each keyword changes over time. New keywords are selected to increase overall campaign results. Bid Refinements: Pricing for individual keywords and groups changes constantly as competition and ad performance fluctuates, bid adjustment is needed to maximize profitability. 

  • A/B Testing 

A/B testing or split testing, is the comparison of two versions of a landing page or ad to see which one performs better. As ads and pages are shown to similar visitors, the one that gives a better conversion rate, wins.

A Note on LOJO’s PPC Plans

Not included in the plans above are the actual ad spends that go directly to the advertising channel, as the actual prices may vary depending on the following factors:

What Determines Ad Spend (Budget)?

  • Your desired market segment/s
  • Your choice of ad network
  • The competitiveness of your preferred keywords and search terms
  • Your desired reach and outcome

Ad budgets differ greatly from customer to customer, and from campaign to campaign. LOJO will provide you with the best possible recommendations on what sort of media buy you should be investing in based on your desired results.

Included in all the plans above:

  • PPC Setup (See Campaign Set Up Above)
  • PPC Ad Management & Monitoring (See PPC Management Above)
  • Monthly reports
  • Customer support

Jump Start Your Lead Generation

With a new PPC campaign you can start making the phone ring right away. Just set up a time to talk and let us show you how.