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Pay-Per-Click Ads 101: Explaining PPC for Your Raleigh Business

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is something many Raleigh business owners have heard of, but some aren’t sure how to start, whether it’s a good idea or how it works. Plus, if you start reading into the finer points of PPC, formulas, and tactics, your eyes might glaze over from boredom.

So let’s break it down:

PPC Defined
Pay-per-click advertising is just what it sounds like: it’s your ad on a website, and you pay based on the number of clicks that ad receives. PPC ads can appear on search engine websites and regular content sites and pricing differs based on which you choose. In the image below, we searched “dog grooming Raleigh” and found two ads above the map.

Buying PPC
PPC ads are usually based on keywords. Your Raleigh business should compile a list of keywords relevant to your business before placing a PPC ad. The best PPC ads rely on actual traffic data and set specific goals. Google has a program called AdWords to sell PPC on its search sites.

Pros
PPC has some advantages compared to other forms of advertising. Cost is, of course, one example: You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it easy to set a budget. You also “bid” on keywords, so you know how much it’s going to cost upfront.

In addition, by using PPC, your business can gauge how effective that piece of advertising is. The clicks offer a way to measure attention and interest, not just in the ad but on whether the site on which it is located is valuable.

PPC also offers business owners a way to target consumers searching for specific terms. related to their business. Many consumers searching for a product or service turn to the Internet first, making a PPC ad on the side of the search results a helpful tool for bringing traffic to your site.

Finally, believe it or not, people really do click on ads. One study showed that if there is no right-hand column, about 45 percent of people can’t tell the difference between organic and paid search results. Search ads on Google also have a much higher average click-through rate than the typical web banner ad.

Cons
Research is crucial for a PPC campaign to work properly. Many business owners get excited about a campaign, but then feel frustrated when they don’t see an increase in customers. First, you must target the specific set of keywords that people actually use and that match your business. Then, you must create a strong ad, optimized to grab attention, and compel the click.

Another potential con is the pay-per-click model. Knowing the upfront cost is useful, but with pay per click, you are always paying for those clicks — whether that person converts into a buyer or clicks for just one second and then turns away. It doesn’t take long for those clicks to add up, and if your business website isn’t set up to help convert, then PPC might be a waste of money.

One other downside is that once you end the PPC campaign, you’re likely to notice a dip in traffic to your website. UPDATE in 2018: Check out some more recent info on PPC and what’s changing.

More questions about PPC? Ask us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Or email us at info [at] thedeptofmarketing.com.