May 29, 2014
Thursdays with Amanda: Everything You Wanted to Know About PPC Advertising
by Amanda Luedeke
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Some weeks ago, I talked about keywords and PPC advertising. My husband, who used to be Google-certified (before he switched gears to work in the hobby game industry!), agreed to answer whatever questions you could throw at him to the best of his ability. Remember, his knowledge base is a few years old, and I’m sure things have changed. But I’m also sure that his insight is valuable for any author thinking about doing a PPC ad campaign!
1. Can you talk about what you did for clients?
To sum it up, I managed PPC advertising campaigns for several different clients to achieve specific goals. But what does that mean? Here are some definitions:
What is PPC?
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising are those ads that are at the top and/or to the side of the search results page on Google (Bing has it too, but I didn’t work with theirs very much). I created and managed these ads for my clients using the Google AdWords program.
How does it work?
Every time anyone uses Google to search for something, PPC ads are triggered based on the words they used to search, also known as keywords. A keyword then tells your Google AdWords account to show the ads that you have created that are linked to that keyword. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you are charged for that click based on the bid you have put on that keyword.
2. How much does a solid PPC campaign usually cost?
It really depends on how competitive the keywords you’re trying to use are. When you create your campaign, you will select keywords that you want your ads to be triggered by. You also have to set a maximum bid on each keyword, stating how much you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad. Every time someone searches for a keyword, ads are triggered based on that keyword, but the position of the ad on the page is based on the keyword bid. Now, highest bid doesn’t “buy” the top spot. Google uses an algorithm to determine the relevancy of your ad based on the information on your website. For example, this prevents a refrigerator company from having an ad that advertises “Abs in 60 Seconds” that directs you to their website using keyword “abs,” and placing a bid of $50 per click to make sure their ad is on top. So, you don’t have to have the highest bid on a keyword, you have to have a good bid paired with a relevant ad.
That being said, let’s talk about overall pricing. You can run a PPC advertising campaign for as little or as much money as you want to put into it. Just remember, if you’re paying $50 a month for advertising, and your keywords are set at $5 per click, 10 clicks and you’re done for the month, so you as the advertiser need to make sure your dollars are being spent to achieve your goal. For instance, a law firm that only takes on 1-2 new clients per month might be fine with 10 clicks per month, and may be willing to pay $5 per click.
My advice here is to start out with a budget, and re-evaluate your budget after at least a month of your ads running. You may find you need to spend more in advertising, or less, depending on your goals.
3. What words or phrases work best?
This was my favorite part of PPC advertising! There is no “magic phrase” that gets you the best ad. Instead, this is where you get to experiment! Google AdWords keeps data on all of the ads that you have created, and it will always try to show the most relevant, highest performing ads. That leaves you to experiment with what works best for the ads you are creating. When I would create a new ad, I would make several variations with the same message, and have them all active at the same time to see which one performed better. After a week or two, I would take a look at my ads to see which one is standing out better. I would then create more ads with variations on the “best” ad. I would change out one or two words, or maybe change the order of the phrases, and send those out to see how they performed. Be creative!
4. What are common mistakes?
Common pitfalls I’d see for people managing their own PPC campaigns would be to not track their ads and keywords closely. You need to be monitoring everything! Does Ad “A” work better at the top of the page, or 2-3 spaces down? Test, collect data, make a decision. Is Ad “B” bringing the right audience to your website? Test, collect data, make a decision.
You’ll also want to be patient with your ads and your keywords. You can’t make an informed decision on just a week’s worth of data. Give them time so you can get a good distribution of data.
5. Fraudulent Clicks?
Never fear! Google has already got this covered for you. Google’s got an algorithm for this too, and will monitor your ads and keywords to prevent this from happening to you. Google will not charge you for what it thinks are fraudulent clicks. It works really well, and I never had a problem with how they did it. I didn’t work with Facebook, so I am not sure how theirs works.
6. What age groups does PPC target?
One of the best features of PPC advertising is the fact that you can target specific demographics or areas. You can set parameters to have your ads only shown to people of a certain age group or sex if you want to. You can then tailor your advertising to that demographic.
7. Where should your ad go?
You’ll always want your ad to link to your own website, or a website that you have permission to link to.
8. What does a strong campaign look like?
A strong campaign is one that achieves your goal. Do you want people to come to your website? Do you want people to come to your website and sign up? Do you want people to come to your website, sign up, and make a purchase? Do you just want people to know about your product?
A strong campaign is only as strong as its advertiser. You’ll need to be constantly monitoring your budget, your keywords, and your ad performance if you want to maximize the dollars that you’re investing into your campaign.
There you have it, folks! Let’s all thank Tad for taking the time to answer these questions, and let us know what you think about PPC advertising in the comments below!
Not sure I’ll ever reach the level of publishing that this becomes a viable option, but it was certainly interesting to learn about PPC’s. Even as a consumer, I’ve wondered about those ads.
Very helpful. Thanks so much for sharing this.
Very informative Amanda and Chip! Thank you for breaking down how it works and how to best manage the ads.
Thanks for reading!