Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
However, sometimes it's helpful to have a tool that will bring visitors to your site faster and more efficiently than good old organic SEO or content marketing.
That's not to say that you should forsake the more standard inbound methods, but when you pair them with a great PPC bidding strategy, the results can be impressive.
How do you create a bidding strategy that will get the results you want without blowing your budget? Read on for the tips and tricks that will boost traffic, bringing a wider audience to your site than ever before.
We've long touted the benefits of using SEO to drive organic traffic to your site, and we stand by that. However, Google's decision to move paid ads from the sidebar to the top spots of the search engine response page means that PPC is increasingly important. The top 3 ad spots get close to half the clicks on any given page, and without that right-hand column differentiating between paid ads and organic results, 45% of people can't tell which results are paid and which are organic.
Sure, it's a great source of revenue for the search engines— a whopping 97% of Google's total revenue is from advertising. However, it's also got a great ROI for the businesses who invest in PPC. On average, businesses make $2 for every $1 spent on Google AdWords.
Okay, you're convinced. PPC is an important and profitable part of your marketing program. How do you implement it?
How Does PPC Work?
This is where it gets tricky. Yes, PPC is a great resource, but it's not something you can just "set and forget." For the sake of simplicity, we're going to focus on Google AdWords in this post.
AdWords requires users to bid on the keywords that are most pertinent to their product or service and then pay each time a visitor clicks on the ad centered around that keyword.
Whenever a user initiates a search, Google's algorithm determines which advertisers have a keyword match, and then which ads are most appropriate. The ads are chosen based on an advertiser's Ad Rank. That's calculated by multiplying the advertiser's CPC bid, which is the highest amount they're willing to pay, and their Quality Score, which factors in the relevance, landing page quality, and click-through rate.
The advertisers that "win" the top spots can capture the attention of prospective customers at a budget-friendly cost. But how do you capture that prize? Carefully crafted bidding practices.
Top PPC Bidding Strategies
Let's break down a few of the best practices for bidding tactics.
Focus on Clicks
You want the most clicks possible on your ad, right? There are two ways to make a bid in AdWords: manual and automated.
- Manual PPC Bidding— You set your bid yourself, and you've got the power to change it at any time. You're responsible for monitoring the progress of your campaign, and you decide when to raise, lower, and maintain your bids. You've got the power, but you've also got to keep an eye on it at all times.
- Automated PPC Bidding— This gives Google the power to manage your PPC campaign; you set the maximum cost per click (CPC), but only at the campaign level. If something isn't performing as well as you'd like, you don't have the capacity of shifting your dollars away from it toward a better-performing option.
Which is best for you? It depends on how invested you are. If you're ready to track the performances on a daily or weekly basis and modify the bids based on these metrics, then you might prefer manual bidding. If you just want to give it a shot but don't want to put too much time into it, automated bidding might be your cup of tea. There are pros and cons to both options, but it comes down to how much control you want.
Focus on Conversions
This is why you're bidding, right? To increase your conversions? Take the time to set up conversion tracking to determine if your methods are paying off. Fortunately, AdWords has a conversion tracking tool available, which will enable you to see what's working and what's not.
It's pretty detailed— you can set metrics to measure the value of the conversion, the window of time in which it takes place, the category it's classified under, and even how much credit an ad click gets for a conversion. You'll not only see who's converting, but when, how and why they're doing it. Pretty cool, huh?
Focus on Impressions
No, we don't mean what people think about your ad when they first see it. Any time your ad appears on a Google search result page, it's counted as an impression. If you find that the number of impressions is high, but you're not seeing the clicks to match, your keyword is clearly too broad.
Conversely, if your keyword is too specific, you won't get as many impressions, which means that fewer people will see your ad. It's a bit of a tightrope walk, but if you can find the keyword that's broad enough to deliver impressions with the detail that will generate clicks, you're in good shape.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Confused? Overwhelmed? It's a lot to take in. Proper PPC strategy requires a lot of monitoring, and you've got to have the know-how to tweak it once you've completed a thorough analysis of your results.
Here's the good news— we can help. Hudson Fusion assists companies integrate PPC into their current inbound marketing strategies without skipping a beat. We'd love to lend you a hand! Click here to schedule a free marketing consultation to discuss how PPC ads can boost your marketing.