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An Essential Guide To Running A Pay Per Click Campaign

What is a Pay Per Click Campaign (PPC)?

Are you running an offer or promotion? Want to advertise your company quickly?

A Pay Per Click campaign may be just what you need to reach your target audience.

How Pay Per Click (PPC) works

You place a keyword or phrase loaded advert on Google Adwords.  This advert is displayed on the right hand side of the screen when you do a Google search.  When a person uses Google and searches for an item or information e.g. flowers, adverts containing that keyword will appear on the right hand side.  If somebody clicks on your advert, they are taken to your website.  You are then charged for the click on your advert (you pay per click), regardless of whether or not the customer buys anything off you. You should and can set a budget for how much you want to spend. When the amount you specify has been used up, Google will let you know that your credits are running out.  At this point you can apply more credits to your account. If you allow the credits to run out, your adword will cease to appear on the right hand side of the Google search.

Should I run a Pay Per Click campaign?

This depends on your business type and if you are running a promotion or offer.  A Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign could work well for you if the products or services you sell are seasonal.  Take for example a florist. There are certain times of the year when everybody is looking to buy flowers (Valentines day, mothers day) or someone who sells fireworks (bonfire night).  They may benefit from a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign for the few days leading up to a specific date.  If you run a business that does not have significant peak periods, you may be better off investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  Saying that, if you have a special offer on or want to promote a start up business, then a PPC campaign may be the best way to go. In general, a pay per click campaign can provide very quick, instant results. It can be tailored to a specific budget, but it can be expensive and very competitive.  Alternatively you can make your website search engine friendly (SEO).  Search engine optimisation of your website can take time, but over the long run can be more beneficial for your business.

How can I set up a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign?

Developing a pay per click campaign can take some time and know-how to set up. You can do it yourself using Google Adwords.  The cost of a pay per click campaign can also vary. It depends on the keywords and phrases you use. The more popular the keyword, the more it will cost you.  However, you can run a pay per click campaign for as long or as little as you like. It can be turned off on certain days or hours during the day.

There are 3 stages to running a PPC campaign:

  • Planning and research
  • Managing the campaign
  • Optimising the campaign

1. Planning and research

A very important stage. Miss this stage out and it could cost you a lot of money! You should look at who your competition is and what they are doing.  Pay attention to what their advert looks like, how often they change it and how long their advert runs for.  You may need to keep a track of this for around 3 weeks to get a better picture. Use Google’s free keyword research tool.  It provides keyword suggestions and guideline information for ad position, estimated cost per click, level of advertiser competition and search volumes for each phrase. Alternatively, you could you Wordtracker (www.wordtracker.com), a commercial keyword research tool.

2. Managing the campaign

You can vary your advert to find out what keywords and variations to your advert works best.  Small changes can make a huge difference.  Adwords offers a free facility to test which advert gets the best response in terms of clicks.  You can use your Adwords account to access statistics about your campaign e.g. no of clicks, cost, average position of your ad, the number of times your ad has appeared. Other things to bear in mind: Make sure the first page your visitors land on (landing page) is relevant to what they are looking for. For example, there is no point in your visitors landing on a page about house plants, when they are looking for bouquets of flowers.

3. Optimising the campaign

Use the statistics provided by Adwords to change and modify your advert.  Conversion tracking tells you about visitor behaviour e.g. did they purchase anything or did they sign up.  Google has developed a tool to measure these conversions to help you identify how effective your advert and keywords are.

What is Google analytics?

Google analytics is a free service that provides you with statistics showing you how people found your site, how they explored it and which are the most/least effective pages on your website.  If you have an e-commerce site, there is a whole section on product performance as well as reports on transactions and revenue.  All of this can provide you with vital information on how to improve you site and content to match your visitor’s needs, essentially making you more money. It is very easy to install, all you need to do is register at www.google.com/analytics.  It provides you with information in graphical and text form.

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