An Introduction to the Three Biggest PPC Platforms
PPC has completely transformed the way that people advertise on the web.
This is a new form of advertising for what is a very different medium – a very more interactive medium – than television or magazine.
PPC stands for ‘Pay Per Click’. What this means for advertisers is that they are only paying for each click.
If their ad isn’t successful and no one clicks on it, then you don’t pay anything at all.
That can actually mean free exposure sometimes!
A bidding system comes into play whenever an advert is shown and that means that the cost of each click will depend on the amount of competition – again this is good news because it means that some advertisers will be getting nearly free visitors when there isn’t much competition.
At the same time though, because they can set their own ‘maximum bid’ for each click, this means that advertisers can decide precisely how much they are willing to pay for any new visitor.
By keeping this lower than the amount they earn per visitor, they can nearly guarantee they will make a profit from those efforts.
Also important though is targeting and this is where the differences between the different PPC platforms really start to come into effect.
Read on and we’ll take a look at the three big choices when it comes to starting a new PPC campaign.
By far the biggest PPC network is Google AdWords.
When you pay for adverts on Google AdWords, they will appear on the ‘SERPs’ or the ‘Search Engine Results Pages’.
Thus, you need to start by first choosing a keyword that you want to target.
If you are selling hats for example then, you might choose to target the keyword ‘Buy Hats Online’.
Of course it’s important to think carefully about your keywords to ensure they don’t have too much competition.
Google being the biggest search engine means that you’ll gain access to the most visitors – but you’ll also pay the most due to the other advertisers.
Bing Ads is a very similar system but for Bing instead of Google.
Bing is of course the big search engine from Microsoft which accounts for 20% of the market share and an additional 10% through Yahoo!. This is not a small amount.
More importantly, Bing has less competition, meaning that you’ll end up paying less. Specifically, you’ll pay 33.5% less, which is again a big deal.
Bing also has a lot of powerful tools for targeting the right users.
Finally, Facebook Ads work the same but appear on Facebook based on the information that users give Facebook about them.
This can include age, sex and location but also things like hobbies and interests or even job title!
Another big benefit of Facebook Ads is that you can create more media rich options that have images or even short videos.
Likewise, you have the option to choose ‘CPA’ which means ‘Cost Per Action’ and only charges if someone signs up to your mailing list.
How to Find the Best Keywords for Your PPC Campaign
What makes a great PPC campaign?
What makes the difference between a waste of cash that you never get back and a campaign that you can use to continuously keep growing and scaling your organization?
While there are a lot of factors, you could certainly make the argument that one of the most important of these is the keywords.
Your keywords are of course the search terms that you’re going to target.
With both Google AdWords and Bing Ads, you’re going to be advertising in such a way that your ads end up showing on search engine results pages for specific searches.
You can then choose precisely which searches bring up your adverts and this is going to impact on how sees the ads and what difference this makes for your success.
So the question is: how do you go about picking the right keywords? What is the difference between a good keyword and a bad one?
Let’s take a closer look…
The basic idea behind your keyword choice is that you’re going to try and ensure that the phrase you pick is one that the right people are going to be looking for.
Who are the right people? Of course they’re the ones who are most likely to buy your product.
This is also how Facebook Ads work – it lets you choose the type of person you want to target by looking at the details they fill out such as their age, sex, location and even hobbies and interests.
The difference with a search term is that it is also time sensitive.
In other words, a search term will have a bigger impact on your eventual profits because you are showing ads to someone at the precise time that someone is actually looking for your site.
For example, if you’re trying to sell hats, then your search term would be ‘buy hats online’.
That means you’re not only targeting people who want hats but you’re also targeting people who want hats now.
So when picking keywords, think about who and when.
One way you can make this a little more precise and specific is to try and avoid certain search terms from showing your ads.
This is what is known as a ‘negative keyword’ and a good example of this might be the word ‘free’.
You don’t want people to click on your ad if they’re searching for free things, because they won’t be likely to want to buy anything off you – and that means they’re costing you money without earning you anything back.
More important still is to do your research.
That means looking to find out just how often certain keywords actually get searched for, rather than assuming.
For instance, some phrases that might at first sound popular can actually end up being surprisingly unpopular.
This meaning of course that no one ever searches for them and thus they won’t bring any visitors.
Likewise, you also need to research the amount of competition for each keyword and aim for the terms that aren’t saturated!
How to Identify Your Buyer Persona
If you’re going to have a successful PPC campaign, then one of the single most important things to have in mind is your target demographic.
In other words, you need to be sure that you’re showing your adverts to the right people in order to ensure that those viewers are going to convert and become buyers.
Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.
By properly profiling who your buyer is, you can that way create a better advertising campaign that will result in more sales. So how do you do that?
The Basic Demographics
To start with, you need to consider the most basic factors that make up demographics.
That means categorizing your potential buyers in terms of their age, their sex and their location.
Who buys the products that you sell? Are they young or old? Do they have a big income or a small one?
To a large extent, this will be obvious – for instance if you’re selling wedding dresses, then you can safely assume that your target demographic is female.
In other cases though, the demographic might be both or it might not easily fall into one category.
So what can you do in this case to make sure that you’re targeting the right person?
One way to do this is with a little market research. You can look at the metrics of who has bought from you so far for example, or you can simply survey your visitors.
Who is it that buys from you? Likewise, you might be able to find information about other products or brands that are similar to yours.
You can also ascertain a fair amount by looking at your own web stats.
If you have Google Analytics set up, or you have web stats on WordPress, then you can see what people are searching but also the location they’re coming from and even how long each person stays on your site!
But this does not yet give you your full buyer ‘persona’.
That’s because a persona is actually more than just a collection of statistics; a persona is an entire fictional biography based on what a person likes, what their hobbies are and more.
You need to try and get inside the mind of that person in order to better understand what they might want to spend their money on, where they will be at any given time and what they will be likely to search for.
To do this, it can help to have an idea of the ‘why’ behind what you do.
Make sure your brand has a mission statement and think about what it is you want to achieve as a company.
When you do this, you’ll then be able to find people who believe what you believe and who are likeminded.
These are going to be your long-term customers with longer ‘lifetime customer value’.
That means they’re the ones you want to advertise to in order to get the very best ROI in the long-term!
How to Increase Your Conversions
Want to increase the success of your PPC campaign? Then it might pay to look elsewhere, other than the actual PPC campaign itself.
For example, you might want to look at your website itself.
If you can increase the conversion rate on your website, that means that more people will buy products from you.
If more people buy products from you for the same amount of visitors, then that means that you’ll be able to earn more money from your site, which in turn means that you can spend more per click on each visitor.
That in turn means your ad will be seen more, bringing in more customers and scaling up your profits even higher. It’s a ‘virtuous circle’.
So how do you go about increasing your conversion rate? There are a few things you can do…
The main thing that will help you to sell more from your site is good sales copy.
This is the persuasive writing you’ll add to your website that will convince people that your products are worth buying and that they should make a purchase.
So what can you do to increase that sales copy? A whole lot!
First of all, you need to make sure that your sales copy is gripping and that it is holding the attention of your visitors.
People have very short attention spans these days and if they have to wait more than a minute to find out what your site is about then they’ll often just leave without waiting.
To grab them right away, one thing you can try is to use a narrative structure.
That means phrasing your sales pitch like a story – perhaps telling the tale of how the product helped you.
We are naturally inclined to pay attention to stories, so if you do this right, then it will be hard for people to turn away.
Another thing you can do, is to make sure that your readers can skim through your content if they want to.
These days, most people actually do not thoroughly read content and instead just briefly skim over it.
That’s why you need to make sure that you are including all of the relevant information in each headline: so that people can read through quickly and still be sold to.
You also need to make sure you build trust, remove risk and remove ‘buyers’ guilt’.
To do the first part, you can allude to stats and statistics and use ‘social proof’ (like reviews).
To remove risk, you need to make sure that you are offering a comprehensive money-back guarantee.
And to remove guilt, you need to demonstrate how your product is good value. Ideally, it should even be an investment!
The Value Proposition
Most important of all though is to have a ‘value proposition’, which will help you to sell the lifestyle and the emotion that your product is promising to deliver.
How does your product make life better? What’s the dream? Make sure your readers can feel the emotion of being fitter, healthier, wealthier or happier!
How to Use PPC to Build Your Brand
The most obvious way to use PPC is to try and make sales. When you place PPC adverts on Google or Bing, you are paying per click.
This means you can calculate precisely how much each visitor to your site is costing you and that means in turn that you can work out whether or not you’re likely to make a profit.
In other words, look at your number of visitors in a given timeframe, look at the amount of money you make in that timeframe and then calculate an income per visitor. That’s how much you can afford to spend on PPC.
The Power of Brand
Except is it? Because not every visitor to your site is going to of course buy from you the very first time they visit your site.
Much better for you, would be to build your brand and to build trust up to the point where you can sell a ‘big ticket item’, such as an expensive course or a retreat.
If you can do this, you can make much more per customer over time.
Likewise, it might be that by exposing people to your brand, you are later better able to sell to them the next time they visit your site.
The only problem is that it’s much harder to quantify the value of a brand and to know how much to spend on this kind of advertising. So what do you do?
One thing to keep in mind is that you can use a PPC advert in order to get free exposure if no one clicks on it. Remember: this is pay per click.
So no clicks, equals no payment. But just because no one clicked on your ad, that doesn’t mean no one saw it and no one noticed it subliminally.
That means that if you design a PPC advert with a heading and a description that people are less likely to click on, you can build a lot more visibility for your brand!
The other thing you can do is to use PPC by carefully choosing your search term. Normally, the keywords chosen are picked to try and directly sell the product.
The example often used is ‘buy hats online’. Buy hats online is a keyword people will search if they’re trying to buy hats there and then.
But instead, consider making your keyword something that is not sales oriented. For instance: ‘improving VO2 max’.
Perhaps you sell cycle helmets; this is the perfect way to reach and talk with the very same audience.
People who want to increase their VO2 max may well cycle and that means they might need cycle helmets.
This is all about knowing your ‘why’. That means knowing why it is your business exists and what it hopes to accomplish.
If you understand this, then you can find other people who will believe in your brand and want the same thing.
Once you can do that, then you can find people who will likely become loyal followers and fans.
Why Goals Are the Secret to PPC Success
If you want to be as successful as you possibly can be at PPC, then the most important thing to pay attention to is data.
The more data you collect, the more precise and efficient you can be with the way you spend money and the more guaranteed your ROI will be.
And the very best way to collect data? That would be to use goals.
Let’s rewind a little and look at what those are and why they matter so much…
How to Collect Data for Your PPC Campaign
The best way to collect data for your PPC campaign is to make sure you know exactly how much each customer is worth to you.
Once you know that, you can then go on to know how much you can afford to spend per visitor and still guarantee profit (or near as).
So to work out how much money each visitor is worth for you, you first need to look at how much your website is currently earning on a regular basis.
Perhaps it’s $100 a day, which is a result of having 1,000 unique visitors to your site (unique visitors are more important here than repeat visitors).
That’s a very good amount of profit for 1,000 visitors but let’s imagine this for the sake of argument.
So if you are getting $100 from 1,000 visitors, that then means that each visitor is worth 10cents to you.
This therefore means that if you pay 9 cents per click then you should always eventually make your money back.
You can then set your own budget in order to drive that higher and higher.
Why It’s More Complex Than That
But $100 per 1,000 visitors is unrealistic for most people as we’ve already discussed. You’re much more likely to be making $10 per 1,000 visitors or even $1.
So that means you can only spend 1cent, or .1 cent on each visitor…
Or at least that would be the case if it wasn’t for CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) – the fact that some of those customers will become repeat customers.
Likewise, it’s somewhat ignoring the fact that the customers you get through PPC will be worth even more to you.
That’s because those customers will have come from highly targeted ads and they will have searched for your products!
Of course those people are more likely to want to buy from you!
So the thing to ask yourself instead is what the value of each customer is for each search.
And fortunately, Bing lets you do this by setting up goals. A goal is created by using a cookie that can – for example – be placed on your checkout page.
If someone makes it to that page, then Bing will know that that person has completed your goal and therefore they have earned you money.
This then means you can see how much each search is earning you because you can see which advert led to that sale.
That in turn means you can workout the maximum bid for each search term and thereby know precisely where to invest in order to grow!
How to Fit Bing Into Your Internet Marketing Campaign
A great internet marketing campaign should be a campaign that is fought on many fronts.
That means you need to have your fingers in lots of pies and you need to find lots of ways to reach the widest audience possible.
If you rely on just one method to build your brand and gain customers – whether that be PPC or SEO – then you’re going to end up too reliant on that single source of traffic and you’re going to greatly limit the amount of visitors you can appeal to.
This is why it’s important to make sure that Bing fits into your campaign. But it’s also why Bing should only be one part of a much larger and multi-facetted assault.
Read on to learn more about the different aspects of internet marketing and how they should all coalesce into one single strategy.
One thing that every business can benefit from these days is a blog.
Having a blog allows you to create content on your site and this will then give people a reason to come to your site.
Key to understand here is that no one likes being sold to. If all your site is, is essentially one big advert, then you’re not giving people any reason to keep visiting.
You’re not building loyal fans, trust or a relationship. If the visitors don’t want to buy then and there, then they will simply leave.
By creating great content, you give people a reason to want to find you and this will gain you regular traffic.
If you can’t capture sales, then capturing emails is the next best thing.
This converts cold leads into warm leads and it gives you a huge list of people you can potentially sell to.
Social media has a similar end goal to email marketing.
This gives you a way to reach the people who have proclaimed themselves your fans and it allows them to share your content and to help more people find you.
It also lets you build a closer relationship with your potential customers.
Next comes SEO. One part of this is creating lots of great content, which you should already be doing.
The other part of this is having lots of inbound links to your site and lots of people sharing what you do.
You can encourage this by writing great content and being active on social media. This will help you to reach the top of Google and Bing for different ‘search terms’.
Now comes PPC. This is a tool you can use to pay to reach the top of the search engines right away for your chosen keywords.
That means you need to be making money back from these searches, so normally it will be used as means to send targeted visitors right to your sales page or ecommerce store.
You can also use this as a way to ‘test’ the organic keywords to try and rank for with SEO though.
Using Google and Bing makes sure you gain 100% of this audience and it also helps you to avoid direct competition in some cases.
Bing is more affordable and has fewer advertisers competing for the same few spots!
Top Ways That Bing Ads Beat Google AdWords
When it comes to PPC advertising, more and more people are now starting to wake up to Bing and to think about it as a viable option to use alongside Google.
Of course the biggest PPC network with Google AdWords, which people will use in order to appear on Google searches.
This makes sense, seeing as Google is the biggest search engine there is.
But Bing is big too. With 20% of the market (and 30% if you count Yahoo!), this is not an insignificant amount.
Moreover, it is a very good idea to make sure that you have advertising on both platforms in case Google ever changes its policies or in case it ever goes down for some reason.
But you shouldn’t just think of Bing as Google’s ‘poor cousin’. You should think of it as a ‘useful addition’.
In some ways, Bing actually trumps Google. We’ll look at how here and demonstrate why it’s important to make sure that you give Bing the attention it deserves.
Bing is Less Competitive
The first BIG advantage that Bing offers is that it is less competitive.
With fewer other advertisers trying to get seen on Bing, that means that there will be less competition for ad spaces.
Seeing as PPC works using a ‘bidding system’ this is very good news: it means that you won’t have the price of your CPC driven up through a bidding war.
In turn, that then also means that you’ll get more customers for a cheaper amount. Specifically, you’ll pay 33.5% less for Bing traffic!
Bing Has Better Targeting
Another big advantage of Bing is that it gives you some more precise controls in a number of ways. This largely relates to the ‘targeting’ that Bing offers.
For example, Bing allows you to target your ads only to people on tablets and smartphones.
This can be very useful if you combine it with location targeting as it allows you to target people literally out in the street looking for place to stay, eat or shop.
At the same time, Bing also allows you to target your users based on things like their gender and age.
It can do this because it will look at the Microsoft profile associated with the account.
Bing Offers More Control (In Some Areas)
In some ways, Bing also lets you control certain aspects of your ads better.
For example, if you use Bing, then you’ll be able to target based on time of day.
You can control what time of day your ads show and this can then help you to ensure that you’re not showing your ads at 3am in a specific location.
Bing Has Nice Big Images
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a game changer… But Bing’s homepage is really nice.
Go to do a search on Bing and you’ll be greeted by a huge and very attractive ‘photo of the day’.
Someday, that beautiful big image could end up being the one thing Google doesn’t have…
It’s unlikely but it could happen!
Why It’s Time to Pay Attention to Microsoft and Bing
If you’re a marketer or a small business trying to be found online, then there’s a good chance that you will currently spend a fair amount of time performing SEO and probably setting up PPC campaigns.
SEO is ‘search engine optimization’ and is the process of building up your links and your site content in order to make your site more discoverable through Google.
This can help more potential customers find your site, which will lead to more people buying from you (at least that’s the plan!).
PPC meanwhile is ‘Pay Per Click’ and is a method of advertising where you only pay for adverts that actually get clicked.
Often this will mean paying for adverts that will appear on Google searches, which you do by using the Google AdWords advertising network.
But why should you only focus on Google?
Because actually, there are a lot of reasons to wake up to Bing and Microsoft. Here’s why…
The Current Lay of the Land
The reason that most people will focus the majority of their efforts on Google is that they know Google has by far the largest share of search traffic.
This is indeed true but it’s not as much of a majority as you might think.
Because actually, Bing owns 20% of search traffic while Yahoo (which is powered by Bing) earns 10%.
If you aren’t paying any attention to Bing then, that means that you’re walking away from a whopping 30% of your visitors.
This is something that you would never do in any other area of business, so why do it now?
What’s more, is that Bing is actually less competitive than Google for advertising.
Seeing as PPC works on a ‘bidding system’ (whereby you set a maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click and never pay more than that), this means you’ll end up paying less for the same amount of clicks on Bing.
How much less? 33.5%. That means with the same budget, you can afford 33.5% more visitors! That makes a big difference to your business.
The Future of Microsoft
But more importantly, you shouldn’t be putting all your eggs in one basket and entirely ignoring the possibility that someday this might all change.
And there is a lot of reason to suspect that Microsoft might some day have a bigger stake in search.
After all, its market share is currently growing and that’s without considering all the steps it’s making in the right direction.
For instance, Microsoft now makes a lot of hardware. The Surface line of computers is very popular and rumors about a ‘Surface Phone’ are also very interesting.
Then you have the Xbox One and even things like the Microsoft Band.
All of these use Bing as the default search option and all of them use Cortana. What does Cortana do if it can’t answer a question?
It loads a Bing search and puts you on that page!
Microsoft and Bing are continuing to grow, so why not try and get a head start there now?