When most people think of pay-per-click (PPC), they think of the ads that appear at the top of Google search pages, right? Here’s the thing – PPC offers so much more, and it’s not all about Google (sorry Google!).
Bing (including Yahoo! and AOL), YouTube, Facebook/ Instagram and LinkedIn all offer forms of pay-per-click that can help to build brand awareness, increase conversions and top your competition. And I know I said it’s not all about Google but, of course, some of it is. As well as Google’s Search Network ads, PPC leverages Google Shopping and Google Display Network too. Oh, and don’t forget about remarketing campaigns – they’re yet another type of pay-per-click that can really help to boost conversions.
Now let’s take a closer look at these platforms and how they can help you to meet your business goals.
Paid Search Engine Marketing (PSEM)
Google Shopping is the ‘go-to’ platform for selling e-commerce products. Online shoppers are generally more likely to click on Google Shopping ads than other type of ad. So, if you want your goods to fly off the shelf, it’s the place to be.
What do they look like? Google Shopping ads comprise of an image of the product, and a small section of text: price, product description, seller, reviews and any sales promotions. So, for shoppers with slight shopaholic tendencies, it’s a sticky, sweet cobweb of temptation!
Unless you’re selling tech, items tend to be of low value on Google Shopping. However, this doesn’t mean that your product has to be the cheapest on the market – it just needs to remain within a medium band and have a convincing USP or price justification. If this fits with your products, Google Shopping can, therefore, help you to increase brand awareness, stifle e-commerce competition and increase conversions. Good work Google, good work.
Google Display Network (GDN)
Google describes its Display Network as being ‘at the right place, at the right time’. It works on the premise that when you show ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re selling, you are more likely to reach your target audience. Who knew?!
Made up of approximately 2 million websites (and apps), GDN reaches a whopping 90% of people on the internet. It offers a wide range of targeting methods including:
- Demographic – location, gender, age and interests;
- Placements i.e. specific websites; and
- Contextual i.e. websites relating to a specific topic.
So how does it work?
The Google Display Network is a form of interruption marketing. It allows you to show ads to users passively searching for content related to your website. You know when you’re surfing the net and spookily relevant ads keep popping up? That’s GDN at work. It’s great for raising brand awareness.
As you’d expect with a Google product, the Display Network has powerful reporting capabilities. It has everything you need to help you optimise your campaign for increased sales and return on investment.
People don’t tend to think of YouTube as a search engine, but it is, and it’s a powerful one. Smart use of it can spread your brand message far and wide, leaving your competition standing.
Running an ad on YouTube allows you to connect with potential customers in a meaningful way at the precise moment they search for a word relating to your business. With Google AdWords for video, you can easily develop YouTube video campaigns in a wide range of formats, including YouTube, Masthead and TrueView. With over one billion hours of YouTube videos being viewed each day, on every topic imaginable, it’s definitely a PPC platform worth considering.
Bing Search Network
The Bing Search Network includes Bing, Yahoo! and AOL search engines. It’s similar to Google’s version in that it shows text ads to users actively searching for terms related to your website. Bing holds approximately an 18% share of the UK search market and is generally used by an older demographic. If that’s your target market, it can be a useful tool for stifling competition and increasing conversions. It’s also generally a cheaper option for B2B as some businesses block access to Google’s search engine.
Bing isn’t as much of a bargain basement as Google Shopping either. Your product(s) can have a higher price tag with a USP that sets it apart or justifies the price. For example, a 5-year guarantee, or an award-winning status. Why is this? Bing Network’s searchers generally have a higher income range than Google searchers, and they also tend to spend more. Ka-ching!
Paid Social Media Marketing
Before we can move onto the types of pay-per-click offered by Facebook/ Instagram and LinkedIn, it’s important to be clear on the difference between organic social and paid social media marketing. Feel free to roll your eyes and skip forward if your granny knows how to suck this egg.
A quick definition:
Organic social – using the free tools available on a social network, such as posting, sharing, commenting on and liking, to help build a social community and engage with it.
Paid social – paying to display adverts or sponsored messages to social network users within and outside of your social community, based on specified targeting settings. Ads are generally charged on a cost-per-click basis.
And back in the room. Now let’s look at the types of campaigns available.
The world’s favourite social networking site has itself an extensive range of PPC ad formats including slide show and video. Like the Google Display Network, Facebook can target certain demographics including job titles, likes and followers. This platform is a good choice for raising brand awareness, promoting events, and boosting sales promotion campaigns.
Facebook ads aren’t just a tool for the B2C marketer either. Research in 2017 revealed that in addition to 72% of B2C marketers reporting that Facebook was their top social advertising channel, 43% of B2B marketers said the same. That’s worth knowing, don’t you think?
And let’s not forget Facebook’s little sister – Instagram. She’s growing at quite a speed and has totally captivated the under 25s with her pretty pictures. If you’re market is young, it’s where you need to be.
LinkedIn is particularly beneficial for recruitment and B2B campaigns. As you’d expect from a professional networking platform, LinkedIn’s targeting methods are grown up and perhaps the most advanced out of all of the platforms. Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers multiple ad formats and targets location, age, gender, interests, followers and job titles. You can even specify companies, and job titles within a company e.g. ‘Director at 2C Digital Marketing’. With such accurate targeting options, you’ll have no problem hitting the bullseye.
Remarketing is not a platform but a type of campaign that can be used across Google’s Display Network, Facebook/ Instagram and LinkedIn. It targets users who have already clicked on your website using responsive ads (display remarketing) or a shopping ad of the last product they clicked on (dynamic remarketing). It’s another interruption marketing tactic that can have that ‘ooo spooky’ effect, helping to gently nudge interested users to re-visit your site.
You can also create remarketing lists – a nifty little tool that targets users who have taken a specific action on your site, rather than just visit it. It’s clever stuff. Take the outdoor clothing manufacturer, Craghoppers, as an example. They targeted their shopping cart abandoners list with a sales promotion ad that brought them a 711% return on investment – now that’s impressive!
There’s no denying that Google’s Search Network is an important aspect of PPC, but it’s not where PPC starts and ends. In reality, there are a wide range of platforms where pay-per-click can be used to raise brand awareness and increase conversions.
As with any type of marketing, it’s a case of different horses for different courses. When you’re selecting your PPC approach, have a clear understanding of your target audience and which platforms they hang out on. Keep your over 60s ads off of Facebook, and your skateboard sales off of Bing! If you take the time to get this right, pay-per-click could become your new best friend.
For more information and support on PPC networks, contact our Director, Sara Toussi, at email@example.com or call 0117 973 0754.