PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is a form of online advertising in which advertisers accrue costs when users click their ads. Advertisers bid on the perceived value of a click in relation to the keywords, platforms, and audience type in which it originates.
PPC is used for all types of campaign goals, including:
- Increasing sales
- Generating leads
- Promoting brand awareness
PPC is all about relevance. Users are searching for specific products, services, and information at any given time. Advertisers have the ability to show a targeted ad at the exact moment this search is occurring. For example, if a user searches for “blue running shoes,” an advertiser can show an ad speaking to “blue running shoes.”
Through both targeting settings and account structure, advertisers can run successful PPC campaigns as long as relevance is paramount.
Run on Google, Search Partner sites, and Display Network sites, Google Ads is the largest pay-per-click platform. Google Ads was launched in October 2000 and has gone through several iterations over the last 17 years. Google Ads is geared toward the entire spectrum of companies from small businesses to Fortune 500.
Similar to Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising is a pay-per-click platform showing ads on the Microsoft and Yahoo networks. The platform also utilizes Search Partners. Microsoft Advertising is primarily keyword-based advertising. As of 2017, Microsoft Advertising has 137 million unique desktop searchers on the Bing Network*.
Campaigns and Ad Groups
Advertisers begin by choosing keyword themes and creating individual campaigns. For example, a PPC professional may create a campaign with the theme “Coffee Tables”. Within this campaign are themed subcategories, called ad groups. These ad groups may include:
Oval Coffee Tables
Long Coffee Tables
Round Coffee Tables
Each ad group then contains themed keyword variations. For example, the “Oval Coffee Tables” ad group may contain these keywords:
Oval coffee tables
Coffee tables oval
Oval coffee tables on sale
Every keyword must be assigned a match type, which defines the queries for which ads will show. There are seven keyword match types:
Exact – Query must be typed in exactly
Exact (Close Variant) – Query must be typed in exactly, but can include misspellings or other variants
Phrase – Query must be typed in correct order, even if there are additional terms before or after the query
Phrase (Close Variant) – Query must be typed in correct order, even if there are additional terms before or after the query. Query can include misspellings or other variants
Broad – Query can be typed in any order and will potentially show ads for similar searches
Modified Broad – Query can be typed in any order, but must include terms that contain a plus sign
Broad (Session-Based) – A form of broad match that takes into account other queries from that user’s search session
Here is a table of the match types, keywords, and potential search queries.
Along with the positive terms, negative keywords can be added to help remove unqualified traffic. For example, someone who searches for “free coffee table” isn’t looking to buy. By adding “free” as a negative keyword, the advertiser’s ad will not show when a query containing this term is typed. For a company selling high end products, “bargain” or “cheap” related terms may make good negative keywords.
Audiences are groups of users segmented in a variety of ways. Most often audiences are used in remarketing. Audiences can be created based upon specific pageviews, time spent on site, pages per visit, and more. Similar to keywords, audiences are bid upon based on relevance. For example, advertisers may bid more to remarket to shopping cart abandoners vs. homepage viewers.
Expanded Text Ads
Once ad groups are created and the keywords chosen, ads can be written. Ads should include the targeted keyword theme, any value propositions, and a call to action.
Google Ads text ad structure and character limits are as follows:
Headline 1 – Up to 30 characters (including spaces)
Headline 2 – Up to 30 characters (including spaces)
Description Line – Up to 80 characters (including spaces)
Path 1 – Up to 15 characters
Path 2 – Up to 15 characters
Ads cannot contain excessive capitalization, punctuation, or misleading statements. Keep in mind that the display URL will combine the root of the final URL with Path 1 and Path 2.
It should be noted that Expanded Text Ads replaced traditional Text Ads in both Microsoft and Google. While still currently eligible to serve within Google Ads, advertisers can no longer create new variations of the traditional ad format. For reference, this consisted of a 25 character headline and a pair of 35 character description lines.
Every ad group should contain at least two ads for testing purposes. Here is an example of an “oval coffee tables” ad:
Here is an example of a mobile version of the “oval coffee tables” ad.
You’ll write one version of the ad copy that will be automatically formatted for both desktop and mobile. When writing your copy be aware that it will show on both desktop and mobile and make sure the copy works well on both formats.
Upon clicking, visitors should be taken to a page that continues the ad messaging. This is called the landing page, and it should contain a selection of oval coffee tables with messaging around free shipping.
Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
Product Listing Ads are square units used in eCommerce PPC campaigns that contain product titles, images, and prices.
PLAs utilize Google product feeds, and must be connected to a Google Merchant Center account. Microsoft Advertising contains a similar feature called Product Ads that also requires the use of a Bing Merchant Center account.
Advertisers can run Display Network campaigns that utilize image ads. These ad units show within and around the content of millions of sites across the Display Network. You can choose to create a responsive ad that will automatically adjust size depending on where it is shown or utilize the 19 standard image sizes below.
- 200 x 200
- 240 x 400
- 250 x 250
- 250 x 360
- 300 x 250
- 336 x 280
- 580 x 400
- 120 x 600
- 160 x 600
- 300 x 600
- 300 x 1050
- 468 x 60
- 728 x 90
- 930 x 180
- 970 x 90
- 970 x 250
- 980 x 120
- 320 x 50
- 320 x 100
- Etc. And More!