Whatever kind of business you run, it’s critical you optimise the return on your advertising expenditure, generating the highest possible sales revenue for every £1 you spend.
But working out where to invest your budget for maximum effect can be difficult, costing you time and money. As the American retailer John Wanamaker neatly summed it up: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
That was more than 100 years ago, but today’s business owners still face the same challenge, although they do have one advertising tool at their disposal which Wanamaker could never have dreamt of – the internet.
The way we purchase goods and services has changed dramatically in recent years, and as the emphasis shifts from the high street to the internet – bricks to clicks – a search engine enquiry is increasingly likely to be the first step in the purchase process.
Over 6 billion internet searches are made every day, and the initial point of search has become a key advertising battleground, with businesses employing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and Pay Per Click (PPC) to get the attention of prospective customers and direct them to their websites.
In this post, we’re going to focus on PPC, so you can decide if it’s right for your business.
PPC allows you to bid to have an ad appear in a prime position within the search results when a relevant search is made, enabling you to advertise online directly to people who are actively looking for your product or service.
Each time a prospective customer clicks on your ad and is directed to your website, your business will pay a small fee to the search engine. Google AdWords is the best-known and most popular PPC platform, but there are many others.
When you make an online search, you are presented with two types of search results; organic results (displayed in the middle of the page), and paid results from businesses using PPC (displayed at the top of the page). An ad appearing on a search results page is also known as an ‘impression’.
Every time someone searches, an auction determines which ads will appear and in which order based on two key factors: how much an advertiser is willing to pay for a click (a bid), and a quality score – an estimate of how relevant and useful an ad and the web page it links to are for someone seeing the ad.
The quality score is important, ensuring it’s not just the highest bidding business that wins the ad space, but the business with the highest-quality ads. Essentially, PPC rewards good performance, which means that the better an ad is, the higher the click-through rate will be and the lower the per click cost will be to the advertiser.
With PPC, you have complete control over your expenditure, setting a limit on the budget you’re willing to spend, and you can use different ads for different areas of your business, assigning keywords and phrases that will determine who your ads are shown to.
SEO is organic, can take time to deliver results, and requires investing time to create keyword-rich content, while PPC can be turned on virtually instantly, delivering immediate online visibility and web traffic. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, and an integrated strategy that includes both is ideal, but whereas SEO success is based on earning web visits, PPC gives you the ability to buy them, fast-tracking your return on investment.
It’s certainly possible to manage PPC campaigns in-house, and plenty of businesses opt to do so, but it can be a very labour-intensive and time-consuming process.
A successful PPC campaign will mean dedicating resources to tasks such as researching keywords, managing bids, and maintaining landing pages, and crucially, will require the expertise necessary to keep pace with an ever-changing landscape, as the main search engines constantly refine their algorithms.
While a range of free and paid-for tools are available to help make PPC management easier, for many businesses, outsourcing to an agency with PPC expertise makes good commercial sense.
If you’d like to use online advertising to generate more high-quality sales leads for your business, send us a message or give us a call now on 0118 380 0131 and let’s have a chat!