Whenever you’re looking to generate visitor traffic to your site, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most worthwhile options to consider. But before shelling out extra dollars, it’s important to know how PPC works, what you can hope to get from this type of advertising, and above all else, what not to do. So, first thing’s first:
What Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
Put simply, pay-per-click advertising is a model that enables advertisers to display ads for goods and services whenever users enter relevant keywords into search engines. The advertisers are only charged when a user clicks their ad.
How Does Pay-Per-Click Advertising Work?
In order for ads to appear first in a search engine, businesses must determine which keywords they’d like associated with their ads. Since ads are subject to what’s known as an “Ad Auction,” businesses must then determine the maximum amount they are willing to pay for a click on each ad.
For example, if you choose to bid a maximum of $1.50 on the keyword ‘data visualization,’ and that happens to be the highest bid, your ad will likely be the first to appear to a user. Assuming 50 people click on your PPC listing, the search engine will charge you a maximum of $75. But although bidding the most gives you the highest chance of ranking #1 in sponsored results, it’s not a science, and a “quality score” can also affect your rating.
Why Can Pay-Per-Click Advertising Be Challenging?
If you’re not careful, PPC costs can become unsustainable. While a few ad dollars here and there might seem harmless, and bidding wars over particular keywords can be tempting, you could end up overspending with few returns. This phenomenon is most commonly referred to as “ego-based bidding,’ which is when a marketer or business owner decides their ad must occupy the #1 spot no matter the cost.
Another problem to look out for is junk traffic. Some pay-per-click services spread their budget over several search engines, which can mean ads show up on less-than-ideal parts of the Internet. This can lead to an increase in traffic, but then you have to figure out how to separate partner network campaigns, and manage those if you’re going to get the most out of your money.
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