Looking to attract new customers? If you plan on staying in business, the answer is probably yes.
The trick is finding those customers, and finding the right customers to target in the first place.
The good news for you is that the best Pay Per Click (PPC) channels can make this whole process downright easy.
That’s why we’re giving you a complete guide to three of the best paid advertising networks on the market. Keep reading to find out how they can boost your business, what you get for your advertising money, and how they play into your marketing solutions.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through this guide:
Google commands a staggering amount of the search engine market–a whopping 78.81% of search engine traffic in the United States.
When it comes to search, Google is king.
And when it comes to PPC, Google Ads (recently rebranded from Google AdWords) is quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread.
How It Works
It helps to start looking at it from the customer side.
Every time someone types a search into Google, a new Google Ad auction is created. Every advertiser with a keyword that matches the search goes into the auction. Ads are put in order based on Ad Rank, which is basically:
Ad Rank = Quality Score x Bid
The highest bidders with the highest Quality Scores have the highest Ad Rank and are consequently higher on the list. The highest Ad Rank gets the first ad position on the page, all the way down to the last page position or the last qualifying ad.
As an advertiser, your starting bid is always the minimum required to beat the Ad Rank of the next competitor below you.
The pros of Google Ads over other PPC options are reasonably clear-cut.
For one thing, traffic…quality traffic.
Google commands a far higher percentage of search engine traffic than any of their competitors. That means that when you show up on Google, you’re making yourself visible to millions of customers who are already eager to buy.
The other benefit is that you don’t have to wait. If you bid is higher than the competition, your Ad Rank is higher, which means you can show up in search results within a couple of days after launching a campaign. Talk about quick results!
Plus, as marketing efforts go, Google Ads can be fairly cost-effective if you do it right. You set your budget for each campaign, and you only pay when your bid wins.
That said, the cost is also one of the downsides of Google Ads.
You usually have a higher cost-per-click (CPC) for Google Ads than other platforms. After all, you pay when you win, but you have to pay more in order to beat out the competition.
There’s also the fine art of mastering Google Ads, which requires a masterclass all its own. Many users struggle to figure out how it works and wind up paying more than they need to in order to rank.
We can see you rolling your eyes. Facebook? Really? Aren’t we supposed to be advertising on search engines?
Here’s the thing: Facebook made $4 billion in revenue this year from advertising.
How is that possible? Because, despite the skepticism, the controversies, and Gen Z’s love of Snapchat, Facebook remains the largest social network in the world, with 2.234 million active users as of October 2018.
When you consider that 80% of Americans use Facebook, it doesn’t take much to understand why Facebook is a top PPC channel for marketing your business.
How It Works
So, how do they work?
The good news for dedicated marketers is that Facebook offers you several different advertising options. You can promote your website, but you can also promote your page, posts on your page, or even actions users took.
For businesses, targeting audiences is simple and straightforward.
Facebook lets you choose what users you want to target based on their location, demographics, or (unique to Facebook) their profile information. Targeting based on profile information lets you target users based on their interests, not just what they search.
From there, you create an ad and bid. Your bid is placed either by the click or by the thousands of impressions you receive.
The biggest benefit of Facebook is the number of targeting options available to you when you craft your ad.
Using Facebook Ads, you can target users on everything from their location to their interests to their relationship status to their connections.
Interest targeting is the most useful (if misused) targeting tool. You have two options:
- Broad category targeting
- Precise interest targeting
Broad category targeting covers categories like Fantasy, Gardening, Consumer Electronics, and more. Facebook recently added more niche categories like, Expecting Parents, Engaged, and Away from Hometown.
Precise interest targeting allows you to target users based on specific information in their profile.
For example, let’s say you specialize in geek products, like Harry Potter mugs. You can set your ad to target users who have Harry Potter listed as an interest on their profile.
This is where many advertisers falter. They aim for the broadest possible categories, figuring this will broaden their chances of attracting their desired audience. But these groups aren’t target-specific and will lose you a lot of money.
It’s a better idea to use broad category terms like ‘yoga’ as a starting point. Focus on the products those consumers use, like yoga mats, or the magazines they read, like Yoga Journal. Those specific items and specific brands of items are what you want to target.
Think about it: when your customers search the Internet for these brands and items, they’re usually doing it because they’re interested in spending money there.
So, if you target them based on those interests, your ad has a better chance of convincing them to spend money on your website.
However, as with all good things, there are downsides to Facebook Ads.
The biggest downside is that, although Facebook ads look more like organic newsfeed content than regular ads, they tend to have a lower clickthrough rate than ads on sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Why is that?
When users see your ad, they aren’t necessarily looking to spend money the way they would if they searched ‘women’s high-heeled sandals’ into Google. Your ad happens to be there, which means you may not catch them in a buying mood.
If you’re clever about it, you can still use this to your favor by getting a user to follow your product or service so they will return when they’re in a buying mood.
It also needs refreshing more often than search engine ads.
As we said, you’re best served by Facebook Ads if you take the time to target a very specific customer niche. That way, you can ensure you focus your time, money, and effort on a customer that’s worth the trouble.
The problem is that because your customer base is smaller, they’re going to burn through your ad copy faster. And that means you’re going to have to refresh your copy more often if you want to keep their attention.
Once upon a time, YouTube was the home of cat videos and video blogs.
Today, YouTube is not only the second most popular social media platform, it’s also the second largest search engine on the Internet.
According to Google, searches related to “how to” earn the most attention of any content category on YouTube, even more than music clips or gaming. This makes YouTube an excellent channel to put your brand in front of your audience at the start of their buyer’s journey.
YouTube also has one critical advantage over other PPC networks: our brains are primed to process information from YouTube more readily than other information.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s actually worth far more than that since we process visual information about 60,000 times faster than text. That seems like a lot, but it makes sense when you recall that about 90% of information sent to the brain is visual.
That’s good news for your advertising campaign because you can pack a lot more information into video advertising than textual advertising. After all, the human brain is designed to handle the workload.
How It Works
With that in mind, let’s talk about how YouTube PPC advertising works.
YouTube supports a few different ad types, including:
- TrueView ads
- Bumper ads
- Outstream ads
TrueView ads are basically tailor-made for PPC campaigns, as you’re only charged when users actually watch and interact with elements of your video ad. There are two types of TrueView ads: in-stream and discovery.
In-stream ads are played before, during, or after other videos. Users can skip them after five seconds. You’ll be charged when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration of the video if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or when the user interacts with the ad, whichever comes first.
Discovery ads are designed to promote video in places of discovery, such as the search results list, the YouTube mobile homepage, or next to related YouTube videos. It contains a thumbnail and some text inviting viewers to click and watch. You’ll only be charged when viewers click on the video.
Then, there are bumper ads, which are a video ad format designed to help you reach more customers with a short, memorable message. Bumper ads are six seconds or shorter and play before, during, or after another video. They use cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions, so you pay each 1,000 times your video plays.
Finally, outstream ads are mobile-only ads displayed on partner sites and within apps. They begin playing with the sound off, encouraging users to tap and unmute. You’re charged when more than half of the ad screen is shown for two seconds or more based on viewable CPM.
Like other PPC channels listed here, YouTube allows advanced targeting options that allow you to focus on customers based on:
Unlike its cousin, TV advertising, YouTube gives you a much higher capacity to track your success–and only pay when you see real user engagement. In addition, you can see how engaged users are with your ad. For example, you can see at what point people stopped watching the ad, or when they interacted.
Plus, you can engage with your viewers in real time, since YouTube allows users to leave comments on a video that give you even greater insights into their preferences and reactions.
Unfortunately, YouTube does have a few downsides.
For example, since YouTube is a free platform, you have little control over how your brand is presented. And since customers constantly face dual branding (your branding and YouTube’s branding) this can be confusing at times.
In addition, YouTube may pair your ad with a video based on the tags, only for you to find out later that the video wasn’t related to your ad at all. This hurts your viewer engagement, and if a viewer has already seen your ad on an unrelated video, there’s a better chance they’ll skip it.
What Kinds of Businesses Need PPC?
Now that you know the best PPC channels on the market, it’s time to ask the important question: does your business need PPC?
Many sites think that if they’re not an e-commerce site, they don’t need to bother with PPC. But that’s a critical misconception that could cost you a lot of potential business.
Ask yourself this: will you do business with anyone under the sun?
Chances are, you’re a business with a specific customer base in mind. If that’s the case, you need PPC to help you advertise to the right customer for your business.
Whether you’re a mobile app, a law firm, or a brick-and-mortar shop, your business could stand to benefit from PPC.
The Benefits of PPC Lead Generation
Many digital marketers will tell you that content marketing is the name of the game these days. But PPC lead generation is an essential component of your toolbox.
The problem for many content marketing methods like blogging and email marketing is that they have to get in front of the right customer.
PPC can skip that step. You can get in front of customers who are interested in your product or service, and you can do it quickly. Better still, it’s a marketing tactic with an ROI you can track down to the penny. That means that if you’re smart about it, PPC can be remarkably cost-effective.
Need Help Figuring Out the Best PPC Channels?
Now you know all about the three best PPC channels available. The question is: do you know how to use them?
If you’re still don’t know the difference between Google Ads and a long-tail keyword, we’re here to help. We’re a results-driven digital agency offering strategy, coaching, and full-service marketing solutions for businesses wanting to stay one step ahead.
Ready to get started? So are we. Click here to get in touch with us today.