PPC Campaign Types: How to Find A Mix That Works for Your Business
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The extent of the damage done to the digital marketing industry throughout the chaotic events of 2020 is hard to gauge, and experts don’t expect to have a clear picture for the next several years. But it’s also nothing new for marketers, as digital marketing has always been a challenging landscape, with ever-evolving technologies trying to keep with equally shifting consumer needs.
Despite the uneven ground persisting as we reach the midpoint of 2021, marketers are gradually regaining their footing and establishing the specific challenges coming into this year, and the strategies to face them.
Omnichannel Marketing Strategies
One strategy many have embraced is an omnichannel marketing strategy, as it’s become clear that no business can rely on a single advertising channel to generate leads and income. In fact, with most companies pointing at customer data acquisition and quality lead generation as major pain points when it comes to budgeting for an effective marketing strategy, it’s become a necessity that companies utilize every channel available to better engage with potential customers and sustain relationships with existing clients.
While social proof marketing, video and blog content, directory and social media management, and other forms of marketing are becoming increasingly important, traditional paid marketing strategies still hold significant weight. Follow along as we break down what pay-per-click (PPC) marketing entails for the marketer, how PPC can be leveraged into different types of marketing campaigns, and how to combine those strategies into the right mix for your organization.
What is Pay-Per-Click Marketing?
At the top level, pay-per-click, or PPC, marketing is an alternative to traditional paid advertising. Rather than pay a static amount for a specific advertisement to show up in a specific way for a set amount of time, as with traditional television ads and previous models of digital advertising, PPC advertising is structured so that instead, the advertiser only pays when a viewer clicks on the advertisement. Doing so will bring them to a pre-established landing page built for lead conversion, specific product pages, and other purpose-built destinations.
The key to PPC marketing is that each click costs the advertiser a certain amount of the budget they’ve allotted to the campaign in question, so then the advertiser is buying traffic rather than exposure and hoping that it generates traffic. It’s a very useful tool for increasing sales, creating new leads, and building brand awareness.
The Structure of PPC: From Platform to Campaign
It’s important to understand that PPC is a method of marketing that can be used across a number of different types of marketing campaigns. A business wanting to set up a PPC campaign must first choose the platforms through which the ads will appear, then decide how the account will be structured, and finally, which types of campaigns will be leveraged in the overall PPC strategy.
The Main PPC Platforms
In the search engine game, there are really only two major players, one of which has a commanding advantage over the other. Google Ads, which has evolved through several iterations over its 21-year history, is the primary platform companies are using for PPC activity. However, Microsoft’s Bing platform is keeping the longstanding tech giant in the advertising game with Microsoft Advertising.
Establish Your Business’ Ad Groups
Before starting a PPC campaign, you have to align your marketing efforts with the services and products you sell. Identifying which categories are relevant to the specific product or service you plan to advertise is crucial. While you might have an overarching theme to your campaign, your product or service is sure to fall into any number of subcategories, so you’ll have to lay this out at the beginning.
The themes you choose for your overall campaign and the relevant subcategories will in turn help you to identify the audience you’re trying to reach. Your audience should be segmented in such a way that you can reach specific geographic and or demographic audiences so that your PPC advertising can be designed to appeal to an intentionally limited subset of consumers.
Appropriate Keywords and Negative Keywords
How do you zero in on your audience? You do it through the use of keywords, and with the rising use and popularity of voice search, longer-form phrasing that mimics user inquiries. In the advertising platform, you have to choose keywords and determine their match type. Setting the right mix of match types across the scope of keywords is crucial, as it sets the relevancy and weight each holds in the campaign.
Match types range from broad, exact, phrase match for the longer key phrase clusters, and negative match. Negative match keywords are especially helpful as they further refine the relevance of the client’s search that triggers the PPC advertisement to appear by excluding searches that include specific terms. An example often used to explain this is that if your campaign is looking for potential clients who are ready to buy, you would include “free” as a negative keyword in order to ignore inquiries looking for free products or services.
Ad Copy and Content
Once keywords and audience are established, your marketing team or agency can go about creating the ads that will then be distributed via the appropriate campaign channels. Ad format and content are directly determined by campaign type and overall marketing strategy.
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PPC Campaigns At Your Disposal
Once you’ve got the foundations in place, you can start to craft PPC campaigns across the internet that meet your business’s marketing needs.
The most popular and most often leveraged PPC campaign takes place directly on the search engine platforms. When you search on either Bing or Google, you’ll find that not all of the results are organic. Preceded by a small stylized “Ad” marker, the site owners of these results have paid to appear at the top of your results list or in other strategic locations on the search results page. This method of advertising is highly effective because you’ve paid to appear in positions relative to the organic results that searchers will naturally expect to be of a higher quality than results further down the page.
Similar to the search advertising positioning, if you sell products specifically, you can set up a PPC campaign and be part of the product carousel that appears when users search for related terms or products. Properly formatted high-quality images, these ads can be extremely effective.
Moving your advertising efforts from the search engines onto the pages of the search engines’ partners, display advertising allows for a much more targeted campaign. From the site’s visitors to look-alike consumers, you can also work with industry-specific directories and resource websites to appear to specific users and on specific pages. You have more freedom in terms of content, and you can effectively use both visuals and text copy to their best advantage to entice potential client’s to click through to your marketing funnels.
Optimizing Remarketing PPC Campaigns
Even the best inbound marketing funnels aren’t necessarily capable of converting every single lead on the first pass. The most effective marketing solutions are those built with the long game in mind, and remarketing campaigns can be the most effective strategies you can incorporate into your overall marketing approach. When a client visits your website but ends up not committing to a purchase, that doesn’t make them a lost sale.
Customers might be pricing out options so they can determine their budget, or they might be researching reviews to find the best option for them. Whatever the reason, the seed of interest has been planted. A remarketing ad requires a tracking pixel working in the background of your landing pages tracking and organizing visitors based on behaviors.
If they leave the site, you’ll be able to target those specific visitors in your display ads with ads designed to draw them back in so that they click on the advertising again, this time landing on conversion pages designed specifically to address concerns or pain points keeping them from converting.
Understanding Your Audience, Your Product, and Your Goals Will Determine Your Proper PPC Mix
Paid advertising tactics such as PPC campaigns are only a facet of your overall marketing strategy. Which methods and how you deploy them largely depend on three primary factors. Your target audience is the most important of the three, as your audience will inform every component of your PPC campaigns. If you don’t understand your audience, you won’t have the right keywords, and you won’t be marketing to them in the right places.
Once you understand your audience and the pain points you’re trying to address, you’ll better understand the product or service that you have to provide, and it will become easier to market. You can create visual and written content that highlights your product’s key selling points in order to better inform those who might be searching out such products.
And finally, you need to understand your marketing goals. In which stage is your business, and what purpose do you need your PPC campaigns to fulfill? Increasing sales, driving leads, and increasing overall brand recognition are the perfect tasks for PPC campaigns.
Keeping it Current: The iOS Privacy Changes And What They Mean for PPC
Marketing and advertising is an ever-shifting landscape full of professionals who have learned to adjust to the times and embrace the latest trends in an instant. We adapt, we develop expertise, we endure and thrive no matter the challenges before us. Just as the marketing industry starts to find its legs on this side of the pandemic in 2021, the industry took another hit, albeit this one a little more subtle.
Earlier this year, Apple announced their iOS update in which users are able to opt out of tracking due to privacy concerns. Where that leaves PPC and other paid advertising methods that rely on user data is not entirely clear at this early stage, but it’s worth noting that with mobile users playing such a huge role in measuring and tracking user trends, it’s likely that it will become more challenging to track the success of campaigns or to perform remarketing campaigns.
Partner Up for Success
It’s situations like this that make the case for partnering up with experienced B2B marketing service providers. Such disruptions to lead generation and conversion can be difficult for even the savviest of marketing professionals to manage.
To properly navigate the PPC sphere in the months to come, it’s going to take an extremely knowledgeable approach. Unless you’ve got the budget and experienced team on staff already to handle such a major shift, it’s best to have support from professionals who already know the field.