What Is PPC?
Did you know that PPC advertising improves a brand’s visibility by 80% on average? As one of the main advertising channels used across the web, pay-per-click can be seen across Google and other search engines, social media, mobile, shopping and more and to this day, provide businesses with a way to reach new customers instantly. Despite the fact that there are over 615 million devices with ad blockers currently, the potential reach for PPC is still monumental, with 65% of buyer-intent keywords being paid clicks, and 46% of all search clicks going to the top three paid advertising positions.
With all of this in mind, a PPC campaign can understandably produce incredible results for a business, but what exactly is PPC and how does it work?
So, What Is PPC?
Anyone who’s searched anything on Google in the past few years has probably come across the ads. These ads sit comfortably at the top of the results pages, offering brands visibility above even position 1 – want to reach this point? You’ll need to invest in PPC.
Pay per click (PPC) is a form of advertising found across a number of search engines. While Google is certainly leading the way in terms of ads, Yahoo and Bing also have a shared PPC platform – Bing Ads – that offers businesses the chance to reach audiences almost instantly. For the purposes of this guide, however, we’ll be focusing on Google.
In order to secure an ad position in the SERPs, marketers essentially bid for keywords by setting an ad spend for each ad or keyword relating to their business. By targeting the right keywords and investing a set budget into the campaign, these businesses can try to secure an ad on Google. They will then have to pay for every visit they get to their website and the price charged for this is referred to as cost per click.
How Does It Work?
In order to secure a position in Google’s ad listings, advertisers and marketers will need to do a lot more than simply building an ad and hitting play. The PPC landscape, particularly on Google, is a competitive one, particularly for ‘big money’ keywords. This is where the Ad Auction comes in.
Ad auctions are triggered each time a search query is made. The query is broken down into related keywords, at which point Google will visit pools of ads relating to that one particular topic. When you build an ad, you can make groups of keywords for each ad, from which Google can pick out the most relevant for the auction depending on the search query. This is called ‘broad match’ ad auctioning.
However, winning the auction for the position takes more than just ad spend or keyword relevance. While you might’ve invested hundreds into your campaign, the quality of your ad itself will also play a valuable part in the likelihood of securing that position. Much like on-page content, PPC ads are given what is referred to as a ‘quality score’. This score will consider the relevancy of your keywords, the ad text and your URL, as well as the user experience of your landing pages. Securing a high quality score isn’t always simple and for this reason, marketers need to pay attention to their keyword relevance and the quality of their proposed landing page.
This score, alongside your cost per click bid, will determine your ad rank by multiplying these numbers together. The higher the ad rank, the better your position in the ads for any one query. For example, if you were giving a quality score of 8, and your cost per click was 3, your ad rank would be 24. Those with the highest ad rank will fill the top four positions in rank order.
If you secure this position, Google will then determine how much you pay in terms of cost per click. This is calculated by the following equation:
The Ad Rank of the Person Below You / Your Quality Score + £0.01
In other words, if your quality score was 8 (with an ad rank of 24), and the person below you ranked 20, then your cost per click would be £2.51, which is £0.49 less than the original bid.
It is possible to lower your cost per click, through improving the quality of your ads and reducing your ad spend, however, this can take practice.
Pay Per Click vs. Organic SEO
Comparing SEO and PPC is a fruitless task – both forms of marketing have their own benefits and when integrated into a larger campaign, can help to produce significant and lasting results for your business. However, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both can provide an insight into how they work together most effectively.
In the ways that SEO may struggle, PPC can bridge the gap and vice versa. Where SEO takes a while to implement, PPC can offer visibility in the meantime, and in moments where PPC may take the backseat, a successful SEO campaign can capture organic reach. For this reason, an integrated campaign is often the suggested way to go, but for those with limited budgets or who are trying to get their visibility off the ground to begin with, PPC can be a useful way in which to do so.
How We’re Tackling PPC In 2019
Our PPC experts are always hard at work looking into the changing trends in pay-per-click campaigns. With the constantly shifting landscape, being able to design ads that capture an audience’s search intent in real time requires constant monitoring of our client’s metrics on Google Ads. We’ve taken a particular interest in some of the big PPC stories this year, not least including Bing’s new Google Ads import features, the new Budget Planner tool for Google Ads campaigns, the loss of average positions and, of course, the launch of Google’s new policy manager, also on the ads platform.
While our clients primarily work within Google Ads, our PPC managers have expertise across all search engines, which is why we have paid such close attention to Bing’s decision to update the editor. This update has made importing Google Ads onto the competitor platform all the more detailed, with the option to change bid amounts, budgets and even the landing page URLs without losing any of the core ad text. You can now choose which parts of the ad you want to import and our teams have been utilising this capability, alongside close monitoring of Google Ads metrics, to determine and form the best ads on Bing.
Google’s new budget planning forecasting tool, on the other hand, is offering a more streamlined way to determine how different budgets could affect our client’s PPC campaigns. For those looking to invest more into their campaigns, we can more accurately determine the likelihood of anyone budget producing more noticeable or substantial results or advise them on how to proceed if this isn’t the case.
What’s caught our attention the most here at Absolute Digital Media, however, is Google’s move to remove ‘average positions’ from the Google Ads platform. Until now, it’s been possible to view the average position that anyone ad campaign has met over the course of a given period of time. This was simply listed as a decimal (e.g. 1.4, 2.3, etc.) and offered an easy way to report where our clients were ranking on average within ads. With Google’s move to remove this particular metric, we’ve been working to produce new ways of reporting for our clients, and this has come in the form of Search (Absolute Top) IS and Search (Top) IS. These are:
- Search (Top) IS – This metric offers a percentage, calculated from impressions you have received in any of the top locations for a particular ad campaign, compared against the estimated number of impressions you could have received.
- Search (Absolute Top) IS – This is the number of impressions you received in position 1 within the ads, divided by the number of estimated impressions you were eligible to have received.
By considering these new metrics, we are able to calculate how our clients can adapt and improve upon their ad campaigns to reduce CPC, improve reach and in most cases, maintain the absolute top position should their budget allow.
We are continuously looking for new trends within the PPC world and consistently moving to prepare our clients campaigns to withstand any upcoming changes. For more information about our PPC services or any of our other specialisms, feel free to contact our team on 0800 088 6000, today.