Understanding Pay Per Click
Pay-Per Click (PPC) is a method of advertising where an advertiser pays only for ads when a user clicks on the ad (or link within the ad). Most often, when someone refers to PPC, they are referring to ads placed through Google AdWords, most commonly appearing in the search results. Typically, these show up as the top two or three ads of a Google search result with a yellow background, and on the right of the search results.
Google PPC ads can be created and managed by anyone with a Google account and a credit card (and there are almost always special offers sent to you if you own a business or have a website. The system is relatively simple to manage, and Google will even offer to help you set up the account with a contact phone number. Despite this, many companies and freelancers charge significant money for Google PPC management. This always leads to the question, “Is it worth it to pay someone to manage PPC?” While you may be fully capable to manage the PPC account yourself, here are some important questions you’ll want to ask.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Can I effectively create a landing page in order to maximize conversions?
This is probably the singularly most overlooked element of a PPC campaign, and probably the most essential. Someone searching in Google and landing on your site has a much different behavior pattern than a user coming from social media, or a returning customer. You need to capitalize on that. A conversion optimized landing page is essential to turn a browser into a customer. After all, if you get great traffic from PPC, but nobody converts to a customer, you’re not making any money (unless your goal is ad revenue, but that’s a story for another day).
Make sure you create a special landing page for PPC and direct visitors to that page, not your home page. Make sure it has clear calls to action – contact form and phone number prominently on the site. Take out needless side menu items. I’ll even often take out main menu navigation so customers don’t get sidetracked and wind up leaving rather than contacting. Also, provide the essential information – who you are, what you do, and most importantly, why someone should choose you. If you can’t create a landing page, you need to find someone who can. No question.
Do I have the time to manage a PPC campaign effectively?
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. You may have some extra time in your schedule, in which case it’s a great idea to manage your own campaign. But, most people have enough on their plate already, and their time is best spent leading from their strengths. If you can be very effective at a task (whatever it is you do), and manage a PPC campaign adequately, why would you take time away from what you do really well? Have someone else take care of it. Usually, experts can do it in a lot less time, and it frees you up to do what you do best. It’s kind of like when you pay a secretary to answer phones. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you need to focus on what you do best. Same goes here.
Can I do enough keyword research to make sure I’m targeting correctly?
Have you spend any time utilizing Google Trends? How about Google’s keyword research tool (now keyword planner)? Do you know what to look for? How about with exact match, phrase match, and broad match? If you choose the wrong keywords, you could virtually be throwing money away. Make sure you know enough about the keywords people are using and have the data to back it up. If you can do this, great! The tools really aren’t that difficult to use and understand. Everything is out there, it just takes time to learn. Make sure you know the keyword research tools well enough before investing too much money.
Do I know how to integrate Google Analytics with a PPC campaign to make appropriate adjustments?
There are tools within Google AdWords that can help you measure the effectiveness of your campaign, but they don’t tell the whole story. What do users do once they get to your site? This is data available in Google Analytics. It’s not too hard to set up (under the “Tools and Analysis” tab in AdWords) and will give you a ton of data. You’ll also need to have Google Analytics set up. If you don’t know how to set up Google Analytics, let me know and I’ll be glad to set that up for you. Also make sure you are using auto-tagging (under My Account, Preferences). It’s not difficult to set up, but if it’s not done right, it can be frustrating when you find out your data isn’t tracking correctly.
Do I understand elements like quality score?
There are a lot of elements in AdWords, some are important and some aren’t. Improving a quality score (determined by expected click through rate (CTR), ad content, and landing page experience) can actually reduce the amount that you have to bid for top spots. You can actually bid less than the competition and still rank higher. Other elements like ad extensions can greatly increase the appeal of your ad, resulting in a higher click through rate compared to your competition. Do your homework and understand these, or see if you can get someone to help.
Do I have experience writing compelling ads for an online audience?
The amount of bad ads through AdWords is astounding. Do a Google search right now and look at the ads. How many of them would you actually click? Some are good, some are grossly irrelevant, and some just aren’t compelling. Make sure you understand the habits of internet users. Yes, they are different than ads in a magazine. People simply behave differently online. Write good ads, or hire a copywriter who can.
Is it worth it to pay someone to manage PPC?
So, is it worth it to pay someone to manage PPC? Well, if your budget is limited you can probably figure out PPC basics and have at least limited success. I wouldn’t recommend doing anything above your budget – don’t kill your business with added costs. However, if you have a large enough budget (let’s say over $500), It’s worth it to see if there’s someone who can put a little time into your account. The money you take out of your ad budget will more than pay for itself if you get someone qualified to manage your PPC campaign.
With that said, also beware – there are a lot of people who will take your money with almost little to no experience, qualifications, or measurable return. If you doubt whether or not someone is qualified to help your PPC campaign succeed, try to come up with some creative payment or incentives. If someone is confident, they’ll be willing to take some risk – just make sure you’re willing to compensate for above average performance.