The A,B,Cs of PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising)

Pay-Per-Click Advertising is a very complex subject, but to put it simply:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is advertising you pay for only when your audience interacts with your message.

You’ve probably seen these little ads bordering the top and outer right edges of your Google search results.

PPC on Google (Google AdWords) is very important, because it can get you on the first page of the results very quickly, even if you just launched your website. Advertisers compete for top positions in the ad listings through a variety of factors, but the major one is bidding.

PPC only targets users who are actively searching for your products or services. In the case above, the user is searching for “travel,” and the advertisers are several popular travel websites.

AdWords campaigns include many (sometimes thousands) of keywords. By listing these keywords, you are saying, “If someone types this word/term into the search engine, I want my ad to appear.” All of the advertisers in the example above have “travel” listed as one of their keywords.

Each keyword gets its own bid. So “travel on an elephant through Africa” is likely less competitive (and less expensive) than “travel.” There’s no real way to see what others are bidding; you can only see where they’re placing in the lineup and then adjust your bids accordingly. After reviewing the stats from today, the person in charge of the Hotwire PPC account will see their ad was appearing in 10th place and may raise their bid to get in a better position.

Each advertiser writes their ads, aligns them with the appropriate keywords, and selects a page on their website to direct the users to. Most advertisers have several different ads running that target specific keywords. So if you were to search for “hotels,” the same advertisers above may show up, but the wording in their ads will likely be different.

Many options are available to make your ads even more relevant to searchers, including geo-targeting, day-parting, negative keywords, match types, and more.

PPC Advertising allows you to track the success of each campaign and learn more about your potential customers. What keywords were the most popular? Which ads did they respond to best? What time of the day do most people search for my product?

How well are your customers finding you?