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PPC Basics: Answering 6 Common PPC Questions


Hey everybody, it’s Tyler Bouldin here from the Web Strategy Team, and today I’m going to be answering some of your most burning questions about PPC. You may hear PPC referred to as pay-per-click, AdWords, Google Ads, Bing Ads, or simply just paid search. It all refers to the same thing.

Essentially, whenever you do a search in any search engine, the first few results are gonna be paid ads. The way that those ads show up is entirely based on advertisers who target those particular keywords with their paid campaigns.

They’re called pay-per-click or PPC ads because whenever somebody clicks on one of those ads, you pay only for that individual click, and the amount you pay definitely changes depending on how much other advertisers are willing to bid or pay for that exact same click.

We’ve collected thousands of questions in this bowl and what I’m going to do is pick them out one by one and answer them. All right, so our first question is…

What are a few common PPC mistakes and how can I avoid them?

I think one of the biggest mistakes that we typically see with a pay-per-click campaign is targeting the wrong keywords or using the wrong keyword match type.

When you’re setting up your campaign, the most obvious thing to do is go after the shortest or most broad way to target your product or service.

So an example would be, if you sell shoes, the first thing you’d probably think of is, “I want to show up in Google if somebody types in shoes.” But, because you have to pay for every single click that you get, you wanna target people that are as far down the sales funnel or the buying process as possible, and if someone’s just searching for shoes, they probably have a lot of research left before they’re ready to make a purchase. A better keyword would be something like, “red men’s Nike shoes.” If you’re targeting something that specific, it’s a lot more likely that somebody knows exactly what they’re looking for, and at that point, they’re really actually ready to buy.

Another big mistake that we see people make quite a bit is targeting keywords, but then not reviewing the actual search terms that the ads are showing up on, and continuing to make adjustments to what you’re targeting based on the results.

So on an ongoing basis, you should be looking to see, if you do have any campaigns that are not run on an exact match strategy, if there are weird variations of keywords that you should exclude from your future campaigns by adding them to the negative keywords list. You’re never going to see a campaign that doesn’t have some kind of inefficiency or some keyword that you accidentally target and you didn’t really want to, but what you should do is do your best to actually avoid continuing to spend money on those terms by telling Google, “Hey, I don’t want to rank for this keyword again.” So on a regular basis, make sure that you are going through and reviewing the search terms that you actually did see come through from the campaign, and keep that negative keyword list as up to date as you possibly can.

All right, heading into our next question here.

What does a PPC specialist do?

So when we say a PPC specialist, that can be somebody in-house at your company, it can be a consultant, or it can be an agency like WebFX. Regardless of what model you have or who you’re working with, the best way to describe what a PPC specialist should be doing for you, is that they are treating your ad spend the same way you’d want a financial advisor to take your retirement money.

Basically, they’re gonna take that ad spend and invest it the best way they can to generate the best possible return on investment for your business.

Even within Google’s ad platform, there are tons of different ways to build the campaigns, lots and lots of different things that you can do to target different keywords in different ways, and there’s really not a one size fits all strategy that is the absolute right fit for every business. So, as the PPC specialist is building and then monetizing and managing those campaigns on an ongoing basis, they really should be continuing to improve the return on investment that you’re seeing.

And if you feel like the campaigns are being managed, but you may not really see that return or even if the return’s not there yet, things aren’t even really getting better, then it could be a sign that either the PPC specialist who’s working with you maybe doesn’t have the resources or the knowledge to drive the results that you need. Or, of course, there’s always the possibility that pay-per-click just may not be a good channel for your business. All right, next up…

When should I use PPC vs. SEO?

Super common question. This is one that my team receives quite a bit. I would say that the short answer to this is you should use PPC in any situation when you need to see either a little bit of a faster return, or it’s a very short term marketing goal.

So some examples of this would be, a seasonal business, whose business is really only strong for maybe two or three months out of the year. PPC’s a great way to drive that traffic in a short amount of time.

PPC’s also a really great way to get a little bit of maybe the headlights on an overall search marketing strategy, by going after and testing new keyword groups before you work them into your long term SEO plan.

So if you are going after a really consistent or steady group of keywords with your SEO, and you think that there may be a different product or service or keyword tactic that you want to try, what you can do is use paid search to target those keywords for maybe even a few weeks or a month. And if you begin to see some incremental improvement or you feel like there is some value in the campaigns that you’re running, then you can work those keywords into your SEO strategy, and on an ongoing basis, you’re not having to wait months before you know whether or not that SEO plan was a good idea.

All right…

How long does it take for PPC to work?

One of the biggest benefits of paid search is that it really does work a little bit more quickly than what you’d see with search engine optimization, email marketing, social media. It will probably take 30 days or so to build the campaigns out, get everything ready to launch. The performance of the campaigns is definitely going to improve over time as we begin to see what’s working, what isn’t working, and make those adjustments on an ongoing basis.

But, you will be able to drive traffic as soon as those campaigns go live, so it is several months faster than what you would see with a search engine optimization strategy. Oh, okay, this is a good one…

How do I measure success in a PPC campaign?

With a paid search campaign, in particular, I think that success is actually a little easier to measure. With search engine optimization, content marketing, you can certainly track that back to an ROI, but, it does take a bit longer to see if the investment that you made is really going to turn into a positive return for your business.

With paid search, you can see exactly how much you’re spending in every campaign, in every ad, and every keyword and that traffic that you’re driving in should be turning into an ecommerce sale, a lead, a call, or whatever your point of conversion is.

So on a weekly or monthly basis, the person that’s managing those campaigns can take a look and see, ‘we spent this much money, did we get whatever a good return on investment is out the other side’?

So if you’re seeing your return on ad spend improve over time, or if you’re seeing that your cost for every lead is a number that you feel like is profitable for your business, based on your close rate and the number of leads you need to pay for the actual campaign that you’re running, then that campaign’s probably performing pretty well. On an ongoing basis, whether it is an ecommerce strategy or a lead driven strategy, you really should be seeing a slow, incremental, improvement in the performance of the campaigns, as the person who’s managing it is making changes to the keyword targeting, the bid types, and everything else that can be adjusted within the overall paid search platform. All right, and last but not least…

What is the cost of PPC?

This is a difficult question to answer I would say, but the cost is definitely going to change depending on the keywords that you’re targeting, the geographic area that you’re in, and more than anything else, how many other people are bidding on those terms.

Typically, a good pay-per-click budget, or what we’d expect to see, is somewhere around $1000 a month to really get the most value out of those campaigns.

And as long as you’re seeing that return on investment, you should be able to move that budget up at a regular pace, and continue to see the same percentage in terms of return on investment.

And if you hire an outside specialist, like WebFX, whether they’re a Premier Google Partner like we are, or just familiar with the platform, you can expect to pay something like $400 to $500 a month to manage those campaigns. As your ad spend grows, it’s likely that that flat fee will turn into some kind of percentage of the ad spend so that as your spend goes up and down throughout the year, or the tactics change, you don’t have to continually adjust the management fees that you’re paying back to the agency. Thanks so much for watching.

We really appreciate your time.

If you have any questions about Google Ads, PPC, or anything search ad-related, we would love the opportunity to tell you a little bit more about what an agency like WebFX can do for your company.

If you’ve never run Google Ads before, and you’re curious about maybe what the return on investment could be, or whether it is a good marketing channel for your company, we’d love to have one of our consultants tell you a little more about what WebFX can do to help drive a positive return on investment through the Google Ads platform. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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