The Basics of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most popular strategies used by Internet marketing companies to bring in new visitors to websites. If done right, it can be extremely effective; if done wrong, it can be a serious financial drain on your business. So what does doing it right entail? Here’s a crash course in PPC:

How PPC Advertising Works

PPC advertising is used on several platforms (such as Facebook and Amazon), but the market is dominated by Google. Basically, companies pay to have their links show up the “paid results” section at the top of search results. This works by businesses bidding on certain keywords through Google AdWords. Then, when that keyword is used in a search query, the company’s link appears. As implied by the name, the business only pays each time the link or ad is clicked on, no matter how many times it is displayed to users.

The Importance of Ongoing Analysis

One of the most important aspects of a successful PPC campaign is choosing the right keyword or keywords. Choosing irrelevant keywords (even if they’re popular and get a lot of clicks) can lead to high traffic but a low conversion rate, meaning that people come to your site but don’t become customers. This will result in a low return on investment, since you’ll be paying for all those clicks without getting anything back. For this reason, it’s important to constantly monitor any and all keywords in a campaign, do competitive analysis and just generally ensure that all the keywords you’re using are worth their cost.

Choosing a PPC Management Company

Because the process of choosing and analyzing keywords takes such specific expertise, most businesses hire a PPC management company to handle the day-to-day logistics of PPC campaigns. When you’re choosing an Internet marketing agency to manage your campaigns, there are a few things you should ask about.

Find out how much of the company’s focus is on PPC (as opposed to other Internet marketing strategies such as search engine optimization and content marketing); while it’s a good idea to work with an agency who can look at the big picture of branding and marketing your business, your PPC shouldn’t be an afterthought. Also ask about the company’s reporting policies and transparency — which data will be shared with you, how often and in what format? And always establish in advance what metrics will be applied in order to determine the health and ultimate success of a campaign, especially if the company’s PPC management pricing is tied to performance.

Do you have any more tips to add on choosing a PPC management company? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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