What if we told you there was a direct way to get in front of your target audience in a matter of minutes? What if we also told you there was a way to further bolster your SEO efforts? 

Those aren’t just empty words. PPC can make them a reality. But first, it’s essential to understand: What does PPC stand for? The answer is pay-per-click.

Behind this three-letter acronym lies lucrative opportunities that can help your business reach new customers. In fact, PPC ads can boost brand awareness by 80% and produce an average ROI of 200%

PPC can be a bit confusing for those just getting started, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. While PPC has several benefits, there are drawbacks to watch out for to ensure you set up your business for success. 

As shown in the table of contents below, we discuss what PPC stands for, along with what it is, why it matters, how it works, and much, much more. If you have any questions as you’re reading this, don’t hesitate to contact the PPC experts at Big Leap

Table of contents: 

What Is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a form of advertising where you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. 

PPC: 

  • Uses a precise, targeted approach, aiming for specific audiences who type in certain keywords or visit a specific site or landing page
  • Gives you access to real-time data (via PPC platforms) that help your team measure the success of your campaigns and make necessary adjustments 

Quick Examples

Here are just a few quick examples of PPC ads you’ve likely come across as an online user. Keep these in mind, as we’ll dive deeper into them in just a bit: 

  • Search results at the very top of the search engine results page (SERP) that have “Ad” noted next to them 
  • Sponsored ads you see while scrolling through your social media feeds
  • An ad that appears from an online shop you recently visited, even though you’re now browsing another site 

In a Nutshell…

PPC is a way of buying visits to your website rather than trying to earn those visits organically via SEO. It provides guaranteed reach, which allows you to get your brand directly in front of those who matter most to your business. 

The 5 Main Types of PPC Ads

A good way to further explain and understand PPC is by delving into the five main types of PPC ads: search, display, retargeting, social, eCommerce, and retargeting. 

1. Search

The next time you look something up on Google, take a good look at the very top and bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). You’ll find listings with an “Ad” marked beside them. These ads are search PPC ads powered by Google Ads

2. Display

Display ads are image- or video-based ads placed on websites where your target users browse through. Google’s Display Network helps you reach numerous sites, apps, and Google-owned properties to post your ads on. 

Check out this banner display ad at the top of the Forbes homepage: 

3. Social

Paid social ads are ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You pay to have your ads show up on a user’s social feed, profiles pages, and more. 

Here’s a sponsored paid social ad on LinkedIn: 

4. Shopping/eCommerce

If you’re a business that sells products online, eCommerce ads is probably the most profitable area to explore. These are carousel ads you’ll find at the very top of the SERP when you type in keywords relevant to sales (e.g. “women’s shoes for sale”). Shopping ads generally include an image, price, and a short product description.

5. Retargeting

Retargeting allows you to show your ad to users who have visited your site. Maybe they didn’t complete a purchase, or maybe they were only browsing a specific product or service. You can create personalized display ads relevant to these past actions and show those ads on other sites your users browse through. 

So yeah, that time you felt like a brand was following you around the web was very likely due to remarketing efforts. Here’s a brand and product I was looking at yesterday and encountered again later while scrolling through my Facebook feed: 

What Are the Main PPC Platforms?

So you know how PPC works, but where exactly can you get started? There are 5 main platforms/networks where you can host and grow your PPC strategies: Google Ads, Microsoft Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and AdRoll. 

Google Ads

Google is the almighty search engine that has nearly 93% of the search engine market. So it makes sense their display campaigns via Google Ads reach over 90% of global internet users. 

Formerly known as AdWords, Google Ads is Google’s online ad platform that shows ads across the Google Search Network—a network of sites and apps where your ads can appear. 

This network entails two groups

  • Search Network: A collection of websites, like Google SERPs, Maps, and Shopping, and other partner search sites that promote search ads. 
  • Display Network: A collection of Google-partner apps and sites, like Google Finance, Blogger, Gmail, and YouTube, that show display ads. 

By default, new ad campaigns are shown across both networks to give your ads the most visibility. Depending on how your ads perform, you do have the flexibility to exclude a network or specific sites. 

Microsoft/Bing Ads

While Google is the most popular search engine, investing in Bing search ads (in addition to Google) might be worthwhile for your brand:

  • Though an underdog compared to Google, you’ll likely run into less competition, which makes it easier for your ads to stand out. 
  • You can reach users through platforms like Xbox, Windows App store, MSN, and Outlook—this can help you own more spaces on the web. 
  • You can enjoy lower costs-per-click (CPC) rates, which might bring in better ROI. The average CPC is 33.5% lower on Bing when compared with Google. 

Facebook Ad Manager

With Facebook Ad Manager, your team can run PPC ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. These can be photo, video, or carousel ads that are placed in a variety of spots such as the sidebar, desktop and mobile news feed, and audience network. 

LinkedIn Text Ads

If you’re a B2B company, you might have some interest in advertising on LinkedIn’s Text Ads platform. It lets you select specific professional audiences you want to reach (via company, job title, job function, etc.) and create your own text ad. You establish your own budget and control costs with either a PPC or CPM (cost-per-impression) pricing model. 

AdRoll

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that advertises to users who have already visited your site. While you can set up retargeting ads in Google Ads, the benefit of using AdRoll is that you can display ads on Google and social media sites. So you can kill two birds with one stone. 

How Does PPC Work?

Let’s bridge the gap between the types of PPC ads and the PPC platforms we just discussed. In other words, how does PPC work? 

There are several components to PPC:

Budget

PPC works by setting up a daily or monthly budget. Google suggests if you’re a PPC beginner, try an average daily spend of $10 to $50

Your budget will depend on a variety of factors such as:  

  • What can you afford to spend
  • What types of audiences are you looking to target (the broader your audience the more money you’ll need to likely spend)? 
  • How many leads do you want to gain via PPC? 

Also, Google Ads provides helpful tools to help you figure this out. Some of these tools are: 

  • Cost-per-click (CPC) bid: This helps you set the highest amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click (a.k.a. your max. CPC bid). As you launch your campaign, your actual CPC might end up being lower, and this will be shown in your account’s “Avg. CPC” column. 
  • Performance planner: This helps you optimize your budget across existing campaigns. 

Ad Auction

Paid ad networks typically entail an auction system that essentially determines your ad’s worth. 

For example, Google has an ad auction that picks and chooses which ads should be displayed and in which order. The ad auction takes place every time a user searches on Google or visits a site that shows ads. 

Google’s ad auction evaluates three areas: 

  • Your CPC bid: This is your maximum CPC you’re willing to pay, but it might end up actually costing less. Also, you can change your bid at any time. 
  • The quality of your ads or Quality Score: Google looks at the relevance and usefulness of your ad and the site/landing page it links to. You can look at your Quality Score—an estimated score Google provides that conveys the quality of your ad in comparison to other ads. 
  • The expected performance from your extensions and other ad formats: When you create an ad, you’ll have the option to add additional information (e.g. address, phone number, store rating, or additional webpage links). These are ad extensions. Google Ads gives an estimate on how well your ad will perform based on these extensions and the different ad formats you create. 

These three factors above ultimately determine your Ad Rank. The higher your rank value, the better ad ranking position you get. 

So even if a competitor has a greater max bid than yours, you can still win a higher position if you have higher-quality ads (quality always wins!). Here’s a chart from SEM that paints a helpful picture of this: 

Ad Groups

Kicking off a search ad campaign involves creating an ad group. Ad groups contain one or more ads that share similar goals. They’re a way to organize your ads by common theme or keywords. 

For example, if you’re an outdoor company that sells workout apparel, you might have one ad group with “women’s running shoes” and another with “women’s bike shorts.” Then underneath each ad group, you’d create variations of keywords searchers might use in their queries. 

Keywords

Like SEO, keywords play a pivotal role in PPC search ads. It’s important to map out your keyword themes by your audience’s search intent. 

Match Types

Every keyword needs to be assigned by match type. Match types determine how closely a keyword needs to match with a user’s search query. That way, Google will know which ads to show. 

There are three main match types: 

  1. Exact: Keywords must exactly match the searcher’s query or share the same intent. 
  2. Phrase: Keywords should moderately match the searcher’s query. In other words, the meaning of the keyword can be implied. 
  3. Broad: Keyword can loosely match the searcher’s query. Ads may show searches that relate to your keyword but don’t necessarily contain the exact keyword. Broad match is the default match type keywords are assigned. 

Negative Keywords

Each time a person sees your ad but doesn’t click because it’s irrelevant to them, your CTR (click-through rate) declines. And this CTR dip can negatively impact your Quality Score. Negative keywords can lend a hand with this.

Negative keywords are words that shouldn’t be targeted. The purpose is to help your ad campaign to better focus on terms that are important to your leads. 

For example, if your target customers are searching for “free lawn chairs”, they aren’t looking to buy anything. By adding “free” as a negative keyword, you’re telling Google Ads not to show your ad for searches containing that word. 

Negative keywords help you: 

  • Protect your ad from irrelevant queries
  • Maximize your visibility to the queries that actually matter to bolster your chances at a click or conversion

Audiences and Segments

Search, display, and retargeting campaigns generally require setting up audiences. Audiences are made up of segments or groups of people with specific interests, goals, and demographic information. 

Under each audience are segments, which are more detailed similarities your audience/users might share. For example, they can be people who have visited specific site pages or apps or people with similar search and purchasing intentions. 

When setting up your PPC ad campaigns, you’ll have to indicate an audience to display specific ads to. This creates a personalized user experience, which is what PPC is all about!

Tracking Codes

When it comes to retargeting ads, tracking codes are central. For example, if you’re using Google Ads, add a cookie ID to your website so your visitors will be added to a remarketing list. Once they’re added to the list, they’ll see your retargeting ads on other sites they visit.

The same concept applies to retargeting emails. Anyone who opens your email with a retargeting HTML code will see your retargeting ad across the web. 

Why Does PPC Matter?

PPC matters, because it can work as a strategic short-term tactic in leveling the playing field between you and your competitors. It can: 

  • Produce fast and profitable results
  • Be cost-effective, since you only pay when visitors click on your link (plus, you have complete control over how much you spend)
  • Help you earn a good ranking, even with low domain ratings (the algorithm changes that come with SEO have little effect on PPC ads)
  • Directly connect you with ideal customers 
  • Give target users more chances to convert
  • Provide easy access for your team to test and control ad campaigns

And the results are pretty impactful. Here are some insightful facts that further illustrate the benefits of PPC your business can enjoy:  

  • For every $1 spent on Google Ads, businesses can earn an average revenue of $2
  • PPC ads can boost brand awareness by 80%.
  • 62% of B2B marketing professionals have used and seen ROI from paid social media efforts.
  • Retargeted display ads are 70% more likely to convert site visitors than regular display banners. 
  • With retargeting ads, 26% of shoppers who abandon their shopping carts are likely to return and complete their purchase. Without retargeting, the chances of completing their transactions decrease to 8%. 
  • Google Ads results that have purchasing keywords (e.g. “buy”, “purchase”, etc.) receive 65% of clicks

What’s the Difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO and PPC are popular and vital growth strategies among marketers. So it’s essential to understand how they both work. 

Here are the three key differences between SEO and PPC

  1. While traffic from SEO is free, traffic from PPC requires a cost. 
  2. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy—it requires consistent time and effort to see results. PPC is a short-term strategy that brings quick results. 
  3. SEO focuses more on providing valuable content (i.e. educational content users can actually apply towards their pain points), and PPC focuses more on crafting content intended to sell. 

Why They Need Each Other

There’s a popular misconception that it’s all about PPC or SEO—that you just need one or the other to keep your business afloat online. 

The truth is, you need both PPC and SEO to truly thrive. One is not inherently better than the other. SEO and PPC each serve different purposes and together, they help amplify the long-term viability of your business. 

Maximizes SERP Coverage

SEO and PPC both share the same ad space—the SERP. So by investing in both, your brand can own a larger portion of the SERP, with some listings in the ad space up at the top and organic listings below. 

Not only can this maximized exposure bring in more traffic and engagement, but it can also boost your credibility. People will be more likely to trust your business when it’s well-represented on the web. 

Keyword Symbiosis

In addition to SERP coverage, keywords play an important role in both SEO and PPC strategies. And by streamlining keywords between both, you can further bolster your visibility and traffic. 

For example, keywords that have proven to be successful in a PPC campaign can be applied to your SEO strategy to optimize your site pages. Conversely, if you’ve been doing SEO for quite some time, you already have keyword data that can guide your PPC strategy. 

Maximizes Brand Awareness and Conversions

Even if a target user clicks on your ad and ultimately decides to ditch your landing page, all is not lost. Sure, it’s disappointing, but they just became aware of your company. When they search for similar products or services in the future, they’ll likely remember your brand and click on one of your organic listings or revisit their cart and complete their purchase. 

In the end, PPC can help generate brand awareness, which can encourage users to engage with your organic listings and convert.

Popular PPC Acronyms & Terms to Know

What can we say, digital marketing is a gift that keeps on giving acronyms and terms. You’ll encounter quite a few of them as you explore the PPC landscape. To preserve some of your mental space (and sanity for that matter), we’ve included explanations of each to make your PPC journey just a little bit easier. 

CPC

CPC stands for cost-per-click, or the amount of money you spend when a user clicks on an ad. 

CPC = The total money spent / Total number of clicks

Though related, PPC and CPC aren’t the same thing. PPC refers to a style of paid advertising. You can think of it as the umbrella term that overlooks various campaigns and revenue models—among them CPC—that entail PPC. 

In the PPC world, there are two types of CPC to be aware of: 

  1. Max. CPC: The highest amount you’re willing to pay for a single click. 
  2. Avg. CPC: The actual amount you’re charged for a single click. 

CPM

CPM stands for cost-per-mille, or cost-per-thousand. It’s a metric that shows the cost per one thousand impressions (i.e.when someone sees an ad). So instead of paying for clicks, you’d pay for how many times the ad is seen. The CPM pay model is generally offered on paid social and display ad campaigns. 

CTR

CTR, or click-through rate is the percentage of impressions that result in a click. 

CTR = Clicks / Impressions

So if your ad gets 1,000 impressions and one click, your CTR is 0.1%. 

A high CTR indicates your ad is relevant and useful. A low CTR indicates the opposite. CTR plays a key role in determining your Quality Score, which affects your Ad Rank. 

Quality Score

Google’s ad auction evaluates your PPC ad and gives it a Quality Score. It taps into three components that help Google score your ad: 

  • Expected click-through rate (CTR): What’s the likelihood that a user will click on your ad? 
  • Ad relevance: How well does your ad align with the user’s search intention? 
  • Quality of landing page: How useful and relevant is the landing page your ad guides users to? 

Ad Rank

Ad Rank determines how the ads that participate in the ad auctions are ranked. The better the Ad Rank, the higher the position. 

Ad Rank is a combination of the the following factors: 

  • Quality Score
  • Max. CPC
  • Expected CTR

Keyword Match

Keyword match indicates how closely your keyword needs to match with the user’s search query. There are three types of keyword matches: exact, phrase, and broad. 

Negative Keyword

A negative keyword is a word or phrase that stops your ad from being shown to users. The purpose of negative keywords help protect your ad from irrelevant queries and help you earn a better CTR—a critical metric that impacts your Quality Score and Ad Rank. 

Is PPC Right for My Business?

Determining whether PPC is right for your business requires examining the pros and cons of PPC. Every business is different. We encourage you to review these with your team to decipher if PPC is right for you and if so, the frequency and scope at which you believe is appropriate for your online campaigns. 

The Pros of PPC

If you’re looking to target a specific audience, PPC can be a positive short-term solution to get your brand right in front of them. 

  • Offers fast results, which makes PPC ideal for short-term objectives and temporary campaigns 
  • Provides guaranteed reach through specific and granular targeting
  • Allows you to discover niche audiences and market to them on a more personal level
  • Offers more chances for your target audience to convert 
  • Provides access to measurable data and results 
  • Entails fairly easy maintenance

The Cons of PPC

Though PPC is a fast and easy way to boost your visibility and conversions, there are elements to it that might be drawbacks for your team and business. Keep these in mind as you map out your options. 

  • You’re required to pay for every click—whether that click turns into a conversion or not.
  • PPC’s “pay to play” tactics are more advantageous to those who have bigger budgets.
  • Once you stop paying, your traffic and lead sources fizzle out. 
  • PPC isn’t a long-term strategy, which might attach you to a quick-fix mentality. 
  • You might receive fewer clicks—70 to 80% of users ignore paid ads.
  • Web browser tools like ad blocker can make it challenging to reach your target audience.

[We can use the pros and cons infographic from this SEO pillar piece]

The Takeaway…

Avoid getting your head buried too deep into PPC. Yes, the results can be fast and profitable, but if you solely rely on PPC to acquire revenue, it can cause you to lose sight of the big picture. 

Because in the end, a holistic marketing strategy that encompasses SEO, content marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more with your PPC efforts will ultimately safeguard the viability of your business. 

6 PPC Metrics You Need to Track

It can get pretty overwhelming navigating through the PPC world. Our words of advice? Stay rooted in data and all will be well. 

Here are six important PPC metrics that’ll help you assess the effectiveness of your PPC campaign. Each section:

  • Defines the metric
  • Explains why the metric matters
  • Discusses how to assess the effectiveness of the metric with some insights on relevant industry standards

1. Clicks

What

Clicks refer to the number of times users click on your ads. 

Why

Clicks are the simplest and most commonly used metric to identify your performing ads vs. non-performing ads. In other words, clicks indicate how effective your PPC ads are. If a particular ad resonates with your target audience, they’ll feel compelled to click on it. Otherwise, they’ll simply skim over it and continue scrolling down the webpage. 

How

PPC platforms like Google Ads keep track of the number of clicks your ads receive, so you can easily see those in your account. 

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

What

CTR, or click-through rate is the percentage of impressions (how many people see your ad) that result in a click. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks by impressions. 

CTR = # of clicks / # of impressions 

So if you have 4 clicks and 100 impressions, your CTR would be 4%. 

Why

Your CTR illustrates how enticing your ad is. And if you’re doing search ads, it can indicate how well the keywords align with the ad and the user’s search intent. 

CTR also plays a vital role in your Quality Score—a score given on a scale of 1-10 that reflects the quality of your ad compared to your competitors. This score ultimately determines your Ad Rank—a value that determines your ad position. The higher the Ad Rank, the higher the position your ad will show on search results. 

How

You can see your CTR in your PPC platform. What’s considered a good CTR depends on the industry you’re in and how competitive it is. But here are some industry benchmarks from Wordstream you can compare your rates against to see how well your Google search and display ads (GDN) are doing: 

Source: Wordstream

3. Conversion Rate

What

Conversion rate is the average number of clicks that actually convert, or take the action you want them to take. This action can be anything like purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a guide. 

Why

Conversion rate is a good metric that indicates how successful your PPC ads are. So if your conversion rate isn’t very high, it might just be time to optimize your ads. 

You can also compare your PPC conversion rate to the conversion rates of your other marketing campaigns—this comparison can help you identify which channels are reeling in the most conversions. Knowing this can help your team reprioritize strategies and map out your budget more wisely

How

Google Ads allows you to easily track conversions. You’ll be required to

  • Select the specific type of conversion you want to monitor. Again, this can be purchases, specific actions on your website, and more. 
  • Set a value for each conversion. For example, if you’re tracking purchases, you’ll want to add in a transactional value. If you’re tracking newsletter sign-ups you can set a fixed value. Overall, the value of your conversion should reflect how much a given conversion is worth to you. 
  • Indicate how many conversions to count per click or interaction. For example, you can count three purchases as three conversions. If you’re tracking guide downloads, you can track multiple downloads from one user as one conversion. It’s all up to you. 

Here’s a list of average conversion rates across industries for your reference: 

Source: Wordstream

4. Quality Score

What

Quality Score is a value that reflects how your ad quality compares to other advertisers. A value is assigned from a scale of 1-10. The higher the score, the better quality your ad reflects.  

When Google submits your ad for auction, it evaluates your PPC ad and assigns it a Quality Score. The search engine calculates your score based on three factors: 

  • Expected CTR: How likely your ad will be clicked on when someone sees it 
  • Ad relevance: How well your ad aligns with user intent 
  • Landing page experience: How relevant and effective the landing page your ad leads to is

Why

Simply put, quality matters. Quality Score is one of the factors that determine your Ad Rank.

It’s crucial you make sure to focus on user intent and experience to give your ads the best Quality Score possible. Your target audience and Google will thank you. 

How

You can check your Quality Score in Google Ads under the Keywords panel. 

Keep in mind, each of three factors—expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience—that determines your Quality Score is compared with other competitors ads that show up for similar keywords over the last 90 days. 

Each factor is rated as “Above average,” “Average,” or “Below Average.” You can use these ratings to make the necessary adjustments. Be sure to also check out this handy guide on five ways to use Quality Score to improve your ad performance. 

5. Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

What

Cost-per-click (CPC) is a value that tells you the price you are paying for each click. 

When it comes to Google Ads, there are two types of CPC you should be aware of: 

  • Max. CPC: Your max. CPC is the highest amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click. So if you set a $3 max. CPC bid, you won’t pay more than $3 each time your ad gets clicked on. 
  • Actual CPC: After you launch your campaign, your actual CPC will likely be lower than your max. CPC. 

Your actual CPC is calculated by dividing your competitor’s AdRank (specifically, the competitor who ranks directly below you) by your Quality Score. The value is then added to .01 to get your actual CPC. 

Actual CPC = Competitor AdRank / Your Quality Score + .01

Here’s a chart from SEM that paints a helpful picture of this (imagine that you are “advertiser 1”: 

Why

Your CPC is important, because if it’s too high, you’ll have difficulties reaching a healthy ROI. Clicks and costs add up quickly, so you should look at your CPC to make the right adjustments sooner rather than later. 

Not to mention, your max. CPC is one of the several factors that determine your Ad Rank, so it’s an essential metric to consider. 

How

In Google Ads, you have the option to choose between two types of bidding

  • Manual bidding: You select your bid amounts.
  • Automatic bidding: You set a target average daily budget. Google Ads then automatically adjusts and sets your max. CPC for you). 

Then, over the course of your campaign, you can track your actual CPC in your accounts “Avg. CPC” column. 

Here are some average CPC rates across industries. How does your CPC compare?  

Source: Wordstream

6. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

What

Cost per acquisition (CPA), also referred to as cost per conversion, is the cost you pay to acquire a customer. 

CPA is calculated by dividing the total amount you’ve spent on a PPC campaign divided by the actual number of customers you’ve acquired. 

CPA = Total Ad Spend / Total Attributed Conversions

So if you’ve spent $10,000 to gain 20 customers, your CPA would be $200 per customer. 

Why

You can drive all the conversions you want, but if they aren’t being driven at a cost that’s profitable, your PPC campaign might not be performing as well as you think it is. So your CPA is a good indicator that your investments are worthwhile. Not to mention, it indicates you have the potential to boost your ROI. 

How

In your Google Ads account, you’ll need to set up your CPA metric in the Campaign Groups panel. You have the option to establish a target CPA biddingthe average amount you want to pay for a conversion. Google will use your target CPA to acquire as many profitable conversions.  

Overall, the lower the CPA the better. A low CPA indicates you are converting at a profitable rate and receiving a good return on your ad spend. 

Here are some industry standards to gauge how your CPA is doing: 

Source: Wordstream

Look out for These 11 Common PPC Mistakes

The last thing you want is for your marketing efforts and budget to go to waste. Explore these 11 common PPC mistakes to know what to avoid to keep your PPC campaign on the right track. Each mistake listed has a solution and an opportunity to learn and improve. 

PPC Mistake #1: Pushing for First Position

Scaling up too speedily can be tempting if your campaign is doing well. After all, throwing more money at it will only be beneficial, right? Actually, this is a common (yet false) belief. Increasing ad budget too quickly can kill your campaign’s momentum and impact your return on ad spend. 

PPC Best Practice

Take moderate, maybe even slow, steps to scale. An Advertising ROI Calculator is an indispensable tool for figuring out your projected monthly budget, expected CPC (cost-per-click), and return on ad spend.
PPC Mistake #2: Ignoring Negative Keywords

PPC Mistake #2: Ignoring Negative Keywords

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to negative keywords. Negative keywords are what you don’t want Google to include in the search results where your ad displays. For example, if you only offer online gaming subscriptions, you don’t want Google to show your ad when someone searches for “free online games”. That would mislead the clicker and waste your budget. 

PPC Best Practice

Add negative keywords to your Google campaign. Excluding these time and money wasters can immediately improve your ROI.  

PPC Mistake #3: Writing Unemotional Ad Copy

By not using emotional language, you’re neglecting the natural human response. People want to get excited about something, whether it’s about how much money they’ll save or how something will solve their problems. No one needs a boring ad.

PPC Best Practice

Clearly state the main value proposition of your ad, but give it some oomph! The best way to do that is with emotional copy that compels a reaction. Examples of power words for headlines are:

  • Guaranteed
  • Enormous
  • Authentic
  • Urgent
  • Just arrived
  • The truth about
  • Obsession
  • Daring
  • Refundable
  • Last minute
  • Simplified
  • Confidential

PPC Mistake #4: Neglecting the Quality of Your Landing Pages

Say someone does click on your ad and they find themself on your landing page—what will they find? A long load time? A page that is irrelevant to the ad? Unengaging content? These are all big mistakes and won’t bring you the benefits of PPC, but will hurt your budget.

PPC Best Practice

Avoid customer confusion, frustration, and abandonment by being mindful of their journey. Give them the experience they expect and want to have while on your site, which is a quick and convenient (and even fun) way for them to learn and buy the products or services you offer. That’s why they clicked!

PPC Mistake #5: Letting Location Targeting Slip

Depending on how local your business is, your ads need to target nearby audiences to get you the most bang for your ad buck.  

PPC Best Practice

There are two tactics you can use, location targeting and user location:

  • Place ads according to the business’s service area to target the most relevant audience.  
  • Mention the user’s location in the ad to increase engagement compared to ads that aren’t personalized. 

PPC Mistake #6: Forgetting Ad Extensions

Google’s ad template is a little limiting, and sticking to their basic recipe makes a bland ad that’s not worth consuming. But with ad extensions, setting specificity feature on each ad means marketers can notably increase:

  • Click-through-rates
  • Quality score
  • Ad rank
  • And other important metrics

PPC Best Practice

They’re free, so if you’re not using ad extensions you’re making a big mistake. Here is Google’s advice for getting the benefits of ad extensions:

  • Enable all ad extensions (at least, the ones that make sense for your business). Google found that each extension can uplift CRT by 10-15% on average.
  • Control CPCs with bids, not by ad extension removal. It’s more cost-effective that way. 
  • Make ad extensions that are highly relevant and of the utmost quality. Google does some of this automatically, but doing your part will help prioritize your ad. 

PPC Mistake #7: Being too Broad

Casting a wide net is a practical (yet problematic) method for catching tuna and trash since it’s ineffective for zeroing in on a prize catch. The same is true when trying to capture conversions. 

PPC Best Practice

Don’t try to target everyone who could use your products/services. Keep your eye on the people who are most likely to purchase. 

PPC Mistake #8: Avoiding Ad Schedules

Your customers and potentials are creatures of routine, so if you’re not catering to their online habits you’re missing out on the best conversion opportunity. Google’s default ad schedules are set to be consistent throughout the day, but this isn’t ideal because your customers aren’t in prime buying time at all times. 

PPC Best Practice

Allocate your money properly by spending the most during the times that are likely to bring in the most revenue. To do this, create an ad schedule that displays ads or changes bids during the times of day when your customers are most active.  

PPC Mistake #9: Risking Your Brand Name and Budget

Oftentimes, keyword research and competition will guide pay-per-click campaigns even to the detriment of a brand’s own reputation. It happens when marketers bid on a competitor’s brand name with the intent of “stealing” potential customers. We don’t recommend this method because your competitors can fight back by doing the same to you. Also, don’t commit click fraud (see below). Essentially, the risk isn’t advantageous in the long run so there’s no benefit to this unethical behavior. 

PPC Best Practice

Stop bidding on your competitors’ names and start focusing on optimizing your own ad campaign, keywords, and reputation. Also, protect yourself from invalid clicks (click fraud) that can affect your business. Globally in 2019, advertisers lost about $5.8 billion to click fraud. It happens each time an unethical competitor or disgruntled customer clicks on your ads with the purpose of making you lose money. If you see a sudden increase in traffic, do some digging to identify the cause and request an invalid traffic investigation if the reasons seem suspicious. 

PPC Mistake #10: Setting and Forgetting Your Campaign

You got your PPC campaign up and running—good for you! Just don’t fall into the trap that so many others do. What trap? Of simply sitting back, letting your campaign do the work, and waiting to reap the rewards. While that sounds like a dream scenario, it’s not how reality works (unfortunately). 

PPC Best Practice

Collect data, analyze performance, and track success. Doing these three tasks is so important if you’re going to run an efficient and effective campaign. Your bidding strategy, ad placement, video length, and more depend on this knowledge.  

PPC Mistake #10: Setting and Forgetting Your Campaign

Without testing your PPC campaigns, you’re driving blind and having no idea if they’re effective at reaching your goals. Even if you are testing, if you’re focused on the wrong metrics, don’t expect a real significant ROI. 

PPC Best Practice

For an ROI that makes sense (and much more than cents), you must go beyond the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions. Set a projection, benchmarks, and goals. Then look at actual revenue generated from each PPC campaign, taking into account the customer’s lifetime value. Reallocate costs accordingly. 

Partner with a Big Leap PPC Expert

That’s right, on top of our SEO team, we also have a dedicated PPC team who can take on the challenging and annoying stuff when it comes to managing your campaigns. 

From helping you map out your strategy to establishing the right metrics to fixing issues that come up, our paid advertising team will be your trusted guide. Now that you know what PPC stands for, you can plan how to utilize it in your marketing efforts. Reach out to us to learn more about what we can do for you.