Internet Advertising Campaigns (PPC)

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on Pay Per Click advertising each year. This fact indicates that this method of advertising works. Read on to discover exactly what PPC advertising is and how it works.

1. Pay Per Click Basics

There are many Internet advertising campaigns, however, those utilizing PPC methods are by far some of the most popular. Pay Per Click is so named because the advertiser actually pays each time someone clicks on their ads as opposed to paying a flat fee for their ads. These ads may cost the advertiser as little as .01 per click or as much as .50 or more per click.

When you take out an ad in a newspaper or even on the Internet, such as a banner ad on a particular website, you pay a flat fee no matter how many people see the ad, or in the case of the Internet, click on it. While a newspaper has a diverse audience, using PPC in your Internet marketing advertising can help you target your audience better because, to a large degree anyway, only the people who are interested in your niche market will even see your ads.

Say a consumer is searching the Internet for televisions. Now, he or she may just type the keyword "television" into the search engine or they might go ahead and type in "flat-screen TVs." Either way, if you are an advertiser trying to sell televisions and you have bid on that keyword, your ad is going to appear as one of the sponsored listings on the search results pages. While you won't make a sale every time someone clicks on your ad, you have a head start because this person is already interested in the type of product you are selling.

2. Making Money Without Paying When Others Click

There is a way to make money with PPC advertising without paying for it and millions of people are also making these Internet advertising campaigns work for them every day. You do this by placing advertiser's ads on your website or blog and when other people click on them, you get a percentage of the revenue that the ad generates. In this way, the advertiser is paying the owner of the search engine and the owner of the search engine is paying you.

While the advertiser isn't going to make any money unless people actually make a purchase, you will make money when people simply click on the ads, whether or not they make a purchase. What's more, since you don't have to have your own website to get in on this opportunity, you can make money using PPC with absolutely no expense whatsoever! Now, it sounds easier that it actually is. While there are people that make a good amount of income using these Internet advertising campaigns, not everyone does. Some people make only pennies and some make no money at all.

3. Click Fraud

No article on Pay Per Click would be complete without touching on what click fraud is, how it happens, and how it can be prevented. Click fraud can happen in a couple of different ways. Remember, advertisers bid on keywords and then place ads that reflect those keywords. They then pay based on how many times each ad is clicked. Unfortunately, unscrupulous competitors may come along and click on those ads for the sole purpose of driving up the advertiser's costs.

Fortunately, most search engines now have the technology in place to know when that happens and put a stop to it. Another way that click fraud can happen, although search engines are able to track this too to a large degree, is when someone has PPC ads on their site and they get their friends to click on the ads just to generate revenue for themselves. Since these clicks didn't come from natural searches by people who are truly interested in the advertiser's products, the advertiser is paying for clicks that won't result in sales.

4. Bidding on Keywords

We've already stated that advertisers bid on keywords, but let's look just a little deeper at how this actually works. Before you take part in one of these Internet advertising campaigns, though, you should have a budget in place as to how much you are willing to pay for each particular campaign. Although the concept works the same for large companies as well as the lone Internet marketer, unless you have an open-ended budget for advertising, you'll want to create an advertising budget and stick to it.

It may not sound like much when you are paying mere pennies for each click, but remember, you are playing to an audience of hundreds of millions of Internet users, so those pennies can indeed add up. One of the benefits of PPC advertising, though, is that you can have a pre-set limit as to how much you are willing to pay for a particular ad. Let's say you're paying just .01 per click. That means you'll only pay $1 for every 100 clicks your ad receives; $10 per 1000, etc. Now, say your advertising budget is $100 for this particular campaign. That means that 10,000 people can click on your ad before your ad will be pulled, having reached your pre-set limit.

5. Recognizing PPC Advertising

Consumers should know how to recognize PPC advertising. Why is this important? It is important because most consumers only look at the first few pages of a search engine's results when they are doing an online search. PPC advertising appears right next to those results, only those ads appear there because someone has paid for them to appear there and not because they are the result of an organic, or natural search. There's nothing wrong with this but it is helpful to the consumer to know that if they click on a sponsored ad, they will likely find more than just information about their keyword. In all likelihood, they will land on a site that is trying to sell them something.

Sponsored ads can be found above and to the right of the regular search engine results. Those that appear first are from marketers that are paying more per click than those further down the list. Here again, it's all about the bidding when it comes to these particular Internet advertising campaigns. Marketers that are willing to pay more for certain keywords will see their ads much higher up the list than those who pay much less. This will result in more clicks, which will likely result in more sales.

6. Using PPC as an Internet Marketing Strategy

Marketing experts estimate that more than 80% of all online sales begin with someone typing a keyword or key phrase into a search engine. Whether or not you use Pay Per Click as one of your Internet advertising campaigns, you want your site to be among the first that the consumer sees after initiating the search process. However, it can take months for even the best optimized sites show up in the search engines, which is what makes PPC advertising such an attractive option.

When you utilize PPC advertising, your ads appear immediately. Some marketers use PPC as a stepping stone until their sites show up in the search engines naturally or until their sites show up high enough in the search engine rankings to provide them a steady stream of traffic. Then again, for those who receive revenue instead of pay when the ads are clicked, there's no reason to stop using PPC as an Internet marketing strategy.

Most Internet marketers combine strategies, campaigns, and techniques at least until they discover what works best for them. With so many keyword searches leading to sales, though, one would wonder why someone wouldn't give PPC a chance. Most serious Internet marketers keep careful records as to how many sales they make using the different marketing strategies so they can tell at a glance which campaign is working and which one isn't.

7. Setting up a PPC Campaign

You'll need to do an exhaustive keyword search when you're ready to set up your PPC campaign. It does take a little homework in order for PPC Internet advertising campaigns to pay off; however, driving targeted traffic to your site will be well worth the initial effort you expend if you realize a boost in sales. You want to be careful when you're choosing the keywords you're going to be bidding on. Keywords that are widely popular will, of course, cost more per click than ones that aren't as popular, however, you'll also be competing with many other sponsored ads.

You'll also need to decide who is going to write the ads. While ads magically appear with little effort for those who place advertiser's ads on their blogs or websites, for the advertiser, there is much more work involved. Many Internet marketers write their own ads while others choose to hire someone else to write the ads for them. In fact, if you so choose, you can hire a person or a company to run your entire PPC campaign.

8. Using Split Testing in Your PPC Campaigns

Split testing, sometimes referred to as A/B split testing, is an important tool every Internet marketer should use on a regular basis. Split testing allows you to evaluate which ad or campaign is working the best for you; that is, which one is generating more sales. There are a variety of ways to implement split testing. You could have 2 completely different Pay Per Click ads running that would send users to the same site and then keep track of which ad is generating the most traffic. Then you would know which ad to keep and which ad to drop.

You could also use split testing to see how much traffic is coming via your paid ad and how much traffic is coming through other means, such as organic searches, forum posts, email signatures, and any other way that you are promoting your site. Some marketers use split testing by having 2 sites or ads that are completely the same except for one change, such as a headline or a particular keyword.

You should use split testing regardless of how many Internet advertising campaigns you are running so you can realize which campaign is bringing in the most sales. Realize, too, that the most traffic doesn't always equal the most sales; just because there are visitors clicking on your ads or coming to your site, you are not guaranteed sales. One ad could be bringing in far more traffic than another ad, yet the other ad could result in more sales, so in order to know what is truly working for you, you should always be testing your Internet marketing campaigns.

9. Keeping up With Your ROI

Split testing will help you keep up with your return on investment, or ROI as it is commonly referred to. This is an important consideration for the Internet marketer because even though you might be making sales, you must be aware of how much it is costing you to make those sales. For example, if your PPC campaign is costing you $100 yet you're only making $80 after you pay for your advertising, then you need to be aware of this so you can tweak one or more of your Internet advertising campaigns.

For years, we've heard of brick and mortar shopkeepers speak of their overhead. They have to pay rent, utilities, insurance, pay for stock, and pay employees. The Internet marketer, on the other hand, can open up shop without spending a fraction of what the brick and mortar entrepreneur faces, however the same principle applies.

You will usually see your ROI expressed as a percentage and it's important to pay attention to this percentage because two completely separate Internet advertising campaigns may cost you the same amount of money in advertising costs, yet have a much different ROI. Although it's not hard to figure out these numbers yourself, for those Internet marketers that pay an outside firm to run their PPC campaigns, they will be provided with a chart, spreadsheet, or graph that will list their ROI on each campaign. This information can then be used to adjust their marketing campaigns so they can best use their resources to earn a positive return on their investments.
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