5 places to run ads for your business.
Pay per click advertising is a great way to get visitors when you need traffic and you need it now. But it’s risky: With poor setup or poor ongoing management, you can spend a fortune, generate many visits, and end up with nothing to show for it. This article will provide you with a high-level view of pay per click advertising, outline some general strategies, and provide an example of what to do, and what not to do.
Pay per click advertising can generate traffic right away. It’s simple: Spend enough, get top placement, and potential customers will see your business first. If folks are searching for the key phrases on which you bid and you’ve placed a well-written ad, you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated.
So PPC advertising is fast: With some systems, such as Google AdWords, you can generate targeted traffic within a few minutes of opening an account.
PPC advertising is also nimble: Where organic search engine marketing or other forms of advertising can lag weeks or months behind changing audience behavior, you can adjust most pay per click campaigns in hours or days. That provides unmatched ability to adjust to market conditions and changing customer interests.
PPC can also be a bargain: Sometimes, you can find keyword ‘niches’ for which the top bid is a fantastic deal. These are longer, highly specific phrases, that not everyone will have taken the time to pursue; “long-tail search terms”. In this case, PPC is a great option because you can generate highly targeted traffic to your site for a fraction of the cost of any other form of paid advertising.
So, balancing the good and the bad, where does PPC fit in? As a focused advertising tool.
But PPC advertising can run up costs extremely quickly. It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war over a particular keyword and end up spending far more than your potential return. ‘Ego-based’ bidding, where a CEO/marketer/someone else decides they Must Be Number One no matter what, can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Also, bid inflation consistently raises the per-click cost for highly-searched phrases.
This inflation is caused by ego-based bidding and by the search engines themselves, who impose quality restrictions on many keywords. These quality restrictions increase the cost per click even if no one else is bidding.
Junk traffic can also suck the life out of your campaign. Most, but not all pay per click services or providers distribute a segment of their budget to several search engines and other sites via their search partners and content networks. While you certainly want your ads displayed on Google and/or Bing, you may not want your ads showing up and generating clicks from some of the deeper, darker corners of the Internet. The resulting traffic may look fine in high-level statistics reports, but you have to separate out partner network campaigns and carefully manage them if you’re going to get your money’s worth.
Finally, pay per click advertising does not scale. If you get more traffic, you pay more money in nearly direct proportion to that traffic – your cost per click stays constant, and your overall cost increases.
Compare that to search engine optimization, where you invest a fixed amount of effort and/or money to achieve a better rank, and your effective cost per click goes down as you draw more traffic.
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