Saturday, March 15, 2008

PPC Advertising Is Not For Novices

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a challenging, dynamic endeavor. You can't just set it up and walk away from it. PPC advertising requires constant monitoring and tweaking to be effective.

Those who first launch a PPC advertising campaign are usually disappointed by the results. Expectations are high; results are low. That's because the initial launch parameters are just a starting point (i.e., your best guess based on keyword research, etc.). From that point on, be prepared to make adjustments to inch towards desired results.

The tools to refinement are provided by the PPC vendor. Google, for example, has excellent tools...if you know how to use them. For example, what ads and what keywords are giving you the best results? Narrow down your market attack to get more bang for your advertising dollar.

Here are some other parameters to employ in optimizing your advertising campaign:
  • Set up your ads to run during daylight hours (why spread your budget over ad impressions in the middle of the night?).
  • Focus your ads geographically (city (also by zip or radius from a zip), region, country, language, etc.)
  • Unless you are selling consumer products or really know what you are doing, avoid settings that display your ads on other Websites, but do take advantage of having your ads appear on major auxiliary search engines (e.g., AOL).
  • Target your keyword bids to get your ads to appear in positions 3 to 5 - your money will go further and you will still get good results.

Of course, the purpose of PPC advertising is to sell something or capture a sales lead. Hence, your real measurement of success is not how many ad clicks you get, but how many of those click-throughs turn into useful conversions that lead to more business.

Most PPC advertisers take the clickers to the home page (or an internal page) of their Website. What happens thereafter, nobody knows because there is no easy way to track clicker behavior. Most wander around and leave the site because material germane to the reason they clicked on the ad is not readily apparent. And there is no way of knowing how many ad click-throughs turn into customers or at least prospects. So, these advertisers spend a lot of money without any means of determining whether their advertising bucks are worth the effort.

That's why it is critically important that you have special landing pages where ad clickers find content relevant to the ad AND the ability to make a purchase or fill out a form to acquire an incentive. Completing this desired process is the goal of your campaign, and by arriving at a "thank you" page afterwards, you can measure how many ad click-throughs actually result in achieving this goal. Inserting special code into a "thank you" page allows the PPC vendor to report how many conversions your campaign is achieving and the cost for each. This is the real cost for your PPC advertising.

By tracking your PPC advertising results through the entire sales process, you can measure your return on investment. For example, if you sell Widgets at $10 each and the PPC advertising cost to achieve a sale is $1, then it's working for you. If PCC advertising costs $10 per resultant sale, then you probably want to re-think your marketing strategy.

PPC advertising is not for the novice. You can burn through a lot of money very quickly with little or no results. In the long run, small businesses are much better off by employing a professional, such as Pacifica Endeavors, who understand the pitfalls and can fast-track PPC advertising while saving them money. The result can be a dramatic growth in sales within one-to-two months, which more than compensates for the advertising expense.

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