Feature Article (Pub: July 08) Pay-Per-Click marketing - what to consider when using paid search by Joe Ogden

Unlike an organic search campaign, a PPC campaign is very much a quantifiable entity, if set up correctly, you know exactly how much your advertising costs and pretty much what you get out of it. It is an ideal business model for working out your ROI (return on investment). Obviously this can be carefully 'estimated' with organic search but you can never be as sure of the variables involved as you can with a good, well set-up PPC campaign.

PPC, for the most part, is fairly straightforward, but there are certain aspects of any PPC campaign that need to be considered and well thought through from the start. A PPC campaign always 'grows' with time, as the only real way to see if your campaign is working is to review the stats - other than an increase in business. However, it is crucial to try and get it right from the start to save on budget leakage; the better you know your market the cheaper it will be for you to run the campaign.

The crucial aspects of any PPC campaign - as in business in general - is to know the products and services you sell. That is know how to market them well, know your customers and know how they search for your products and services in the major search engines.

Like organic search marketing and as with organic search, paid search relies on keywords; it is important to complete some keyword research to find out what phrases people are using to find products and services within your market place. The keyword research will also show you any keywords that are effective - high search volume and not much competition - and those that are most popular and therefore most likely to cost you the most. Keyword research, both in organic and paid search, is a crucial aspect of how successful a campaign is.

Once you have established who your online customers are and how they are behaving within the major search engines, then it is time to set up your campaign. There are different ways in which you can set your campaign up depending on the PPC supplier you choose but below are some considerations:

  • Consider how you will split up your products and services - do any fit together nicely in the same ad campaign? or are they better suited split up into categories? - these will form the basis of your ad groups.
  • Consider your budget, make sure you understand how much you want to spend and stick to it, there have been cases of bidding wars to get the number 1 spot for a particular keyword, and it has cost them a lot of money. Consider your budget and stick to it - you can always increase it at a later date if necessary.
  • Write compelling and concise ads for your Adgroups making sure they let the search engine user know exactly what you offer and what they can expect from the site.
  • Choose the landing pages carefully, make sure they match your ads and there is compelling and relevant content on them.
  • Consider your competitors - what sort of ads are they running? Learn from them and take bits that you think are effective - obviously try and keep your ads as unique as possible to help them stand out

Ultimately a PPC campaign is like any other advertising medium on the internet, make sure you are selling your products and services as effectively as possible and to the right web users. It is vital that you set up analytics and conversion tracking to ensure you have all the data you need to review and tweak your campaign to make it as cost effective and productive as possible.

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