Sellr Blog

Pay Per Click Advertising

By Angus  |  11 Dec 2014 12:00:00


How To Make Pay Per Click Advertising Work For Your Business

Even if you have no experience of selling online, it is likely that you are at least vaguely familiar with Pay Per Click advertising. As a new merchant at the stage of planning how you are going to attract more visitors to your website, PPC, commonly referred to as AdWords in reference to Googles PPC platform, is probably a method you have considered.


In this post I plan to cover the basics of PPC advertising, the advantages and the pitfalls, so that you can have a go and make it work for your business. In future posts I will go into more detail but my aim here is to get you started experimenting with this form of advertising.


Why Should You Use Pay Per Click Advertising?

PPC can be a very cost effective and efficient way of driving traffic to your website. For new businesses operating in competitive industries, optimising your website to rank high up in the natural search results can be a long and tricky process. PPC gives you the opportunity to advertise your website on the first page of Google from day one so you can be confident that you are getting seen by your target audience.

No other advertising method allows you to target who sees your advert as precisely, and none that I am aware of charge you nothing for exposures but only for every interested lead your business gains.

On top of this, where almost every other form of advertising requires a significant upfront investment despite significant unknowns, experimenting with AdWords is extremely flexible and allows you to invest as little or as much as you want.

The system works by setting a maximum bid for the price you are willing to pay per click on your advert, in exchange for your advert appearing prominently when your chosen keywords are searched.

Googles’ Keyword Tool lets you discover which relevant search terms for your offering are most popular and through the AdWords software you can create and monitor your campaign.


1 - Pay Per Click Basics

Despite its obvious advantages, you should be very careful to begin with when experimenting with AdWords. Here are the essentials you should know before investing any money.

The system exists first and foremost to make Google as much money as possible. A bit cynical I know, but if you remember this at all times then you should avoid getting caught out and making some of the most common and costly mistakes.

Your aim meanwhile is to keep your Average Cost Per Click (i.e. your total spend / number of clicks for a given period of time) as low as possible, whilst at the same time maximising your click conversion rate.


2 - Choosing Your Keywords

Due to the CPC on many popular Keywords being over £1 (for your advert to be displayed on the first page), to keep your average CPC low you only want your advert to appear in front of prospects who will be genuinely interested in your offering.

Choosing your keywords is the first stage of an AdWords campaign. The most obvious ones to start with are your branded keywords as these are cheapest in terms of CPC and due to their relevance will have a high conversion rate.

You may have heard people referring to the Long Tail strategy, which is the idea of bidding on lots of specific keywords rather than the most generic terms. This is again because the CPC for these specific keywords is lower and in theory should have a higher click / conversion rate as they are targeted more accurately.  

When choosing your keywords you are given the option of Broad Match, Phrase Match and Exact Match to determine which how relevant the search term has to be to trigger your advert being displayed.

Broad Match = Includes all your keywords in any order with any other words.

“Phrase Match” = Includes all your keywords in order with any other words.

{Exact Match} = Includes your exact keywords in order.

When you are getting started always use Exact Match! You can add as many keywords as you like and it is important to remember that an Exact Match keyword can also be a phrase, for example “Bath hotels”.

Broad Match on the other hand would potentially display you advert to someone searching for “worst hotel bathrooms” or “hotel bathroom products”. Considering the number of searches taking place on Google every day, it’s not hard to see how having people who’ve searched for completely unrelated queries clicking on your advert can rapidly deplete your budget.

Once you have identified your keywords you should assign these to Ad Groups. Each Ad Group should contain a theme of similar keywords, so continuing our previous example; you may have an Ad Group called Bath Hotel and another one called Weekend Break Bath. Once you have these groups set up, by typing the group name into Googles Keyword Tool you can find the most popular relevant search terms for that group and then add them on exact match to your campaign.


3 - Writing Your Advert

The only thing left to do now is to produce your advert. This includes a page title and then two lines of copy beneath this briefly describing your offering. There is understandably a temptation to make this as broadly appealing as possible as you would when writing copy for any other form of advertisement.

At this point we must remember that we only want people to click on our advert if there is a reasonable chance that they will purchase from us. For this reason using words like “free” to draw people in is a big no-no as we will end up paying for poor leads and our cost per converted click will shoot up.

You should aim to make your copy distinctive so that it stands out but with a call to action that is only likely to appeal to qualified prospects.

This is something you will definitely want to experiment with and every Ad Group should have its own advert tailored to the search query it’s answering.   


4 - Start Experimenting!

In experimenting with your campaign, you should take full advantage of Googles targeting options, for example only displaying your advert and certain times of the day (e.g. your opening hours) and with specific Geotargeting which can be adjusted as incrementally as per Kilometre.

Having different Ad Groups makes it very easy to compare which keywords and adverts are working and which should be changed. Google provides many different metrics for you to measure the success of your Ad Groups which can sometimes get confusing.

Click Through Rate (CTR) shows the number of clicks you advert receives / the number of times that it is shown. A high CTR % tells you that your advert is attractive to your audience, and if you are achieving this well within budget it means that you are targeting your advert effectively.

The most important metric to the success of your business however is Cost Per Converted Click. This is the true cost to you for every sale that you make, and will show you if the Average Cost Per Click you are paying is acceptable and whether your Click Conversion Rate is good (a reflection on the content of your website).

When you get more experienced you may wish to add some Phrase Match keywords or potentially have your advert shown to people in international locations. To begin with however, the best advice is to keep tight control of you spend, experiment with different strategies and then scale up your budget once you’ve seen what works for you.  


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