Online shopping is here to stay…
… and it’s the best thing ever for marketers.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at PPC advertising and each PPC marketing Platform individually, but there are other ways to market yourself too, such as through SEO. If you want to learn more about SEO strategy, click here.
Seriously. Online shopping gives you access to bigger audiences that can span across the entire world.
Who can say no to that sort of reach? Hopefully not you.
Because it’s there, and if you’re not tapping into it, someone else will.
Assuming you’re keen to get more reach (and honestly, who isn’t?) you should know what options are out there for you to advertise on.
Alrighty. Let’s jump right in..
PPC Marketing Platform #1: Google AdWords
Google AdWords is Google’s offering to PPC marketing. Since Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world, Google AdWords is a great option when it comes to PPC marketing.
Google provides four main types of advertisements:
- Search Ads appear on… you guessed it… Google searches! When someone searches for – let’s say a plumbing service – they will be offered a variety of plumbing services at the top of their search results (that is, if anyone is advertising their plumbing services via PPC).
- Display Ads are visual advertisements that Google claims to display on over 2 million websites and apps. They can be any combination between text or image-based, or a combination of the two.
- Video Ads show on YouTube and help you to market to people who are watching video content.
- App Ads allow you to target the trendiest form of digital media in a way that is geared specifically towards featuring on this platform.
The great thing about Google AdWords is the depth of targeting that it allows. You can narrow down your target audience by a variety of factors, including:
- Location Targeting allows you to position your brand within a specific location and choose to reach out only to people within a particular radius.
- Device Targeting allows you to adapt your bids and prioritisation between different devices.
- Demographic Targeting allows you to target people based upon criteria such as age and gender.
Another great aspect of using Google AdWords is the fact that you have access to a fantastic dashboard full of information. You can manage multiple different accounts on one profile – making it super easy for agencies to use Google AdWords.
There are other fantastic tools available to users with a Google AdWords account, such as Keyword Planner. Keyword Planner allows you to discover new keywords and see a variety of statistics about them.
For example, you can see above that the term ‘PPC’ gets 1-10k average monthly searches. There is not much competition to get your advertisement that targets the keyword ‘PPC’ shown, and you can expect to pay anywhere from R12.22 to R20.68 to get placed at the top of Google.
You may have noticed that the average monthly searches metric is pretty vague. 1000 and 10 000 are two very different search numbers, yet we don’t know which one is a more accurate measurement based upon these statistics.
Thankfully, we can get more accurate information if we start a campaign. We can also download keyword results in spreadsheet format.
PPC Marketing Platform #2: Amazon
Amazon is arguably Google’s biggest competition – and not just when it comes to paid advertising. But marketing is certainly where Amazon shines.
Amazon is the ultimate platform for buying and selling goods online. As such, they’re kinda big on allowing people to advertise their products.
It works pretty similarly to Google AdWords – you choose your product, say how much you want to bid for clicks, and set a budget.
They also offer a premium offering that provides extra utilities such as insights, performance measurement and Amazon-specific devices.
A significant difference between Amazon and Google Advertising is that Amazon doesn’t deal with text advertisements. They focus specifically upon display and video advertisements. They also offer sponsorship offerings which involve working with advertisers to push their marketing efforts during specific events such as Black Friday.
The competition between Amazon and Google – specifically within the display advertising networks – is destined to continue into 2018 and beyond and is likely to ensure that we continue to see competition between the two tech giants. This will probably end up being fantastic for marketers, since it could initiate innovation in how marketers can get their products and services out to people.
PPC Marketing Platform #3: Bing Ads
Bing Ads is the dark horse in the room. While it doesn’t have close to the reach of Google, it offers fantastic value for marketing to the group who do use it.
Bing is the primary competition to Google in the search engine world because Microsoft owns it and installs it by default on its Windows 10 browser, Edge.
Bing Ads is often overlooked by people looking to advertise their products, meaning that if you utilise it, you’ll probably have less competition than on Google. This can potentially mean placing higher than you do with Google AdWords, which in turn can give you a higher CTR.
Bing Ads offers useful targeting options such as device targeting and location targeting. However, it only offers text ads, and you can only target their search engine results pages – not advertising slots on websites or apps.
Bing’s advertising platform also offers the incredibly useful option to import your Google AdWords campaign into Bing Ads. This means you don’t have to create your Bing ads from scratch.
Bing is clearly self-aware that it is Google’s inferior as far as popularity goes. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the potential reach you could get from advertising on their platform.
Bing Ads’ unique selling point is that you could potentially earn better ROI with it than with Google AdWords. This is clear when one reads their Bing Ads landing page. While it’s probably not worth using Bing Ads instead of Google AdWords, you should still consider using it to complement Google AdWords.
PPC Marketing Platform #4: Facebook
Facebook advertising is incredibly powerful. It is the most popular social media platform in the world, so it makes sense that it is a valuable place on which to advertise.
Facebook is particularly great at retargeting. This is because surfing Facebook is a regular staple in a massive portion of the world’s daily schedule. As a result, it’s a reliable avenue to pick up prospects again after they’ve visited your website.
This is by no means the limit of Facebook advertising, however. Other forms of targeting are particularly valuable on Facebook too. This is because Facebook is an incredibly diverse melting pot of ideas, topics and cultures. As a result, it becomes increasingly easy to narrow down your target audience to one that is likely to be interested in your advertisement.
Submitting an ad to Facebook’s ad auction involves sorting out three elements:
- Firstly, you need to choose your budget. You can choose between daily limits or campaign budgets. You’ll set a maximum bid that you’re willing to pay in each auction.
- Secondly, you need to specify your audience based upon specific targeting criteria such as age, gender and location.
- Finally, you need to design your ads. You have a variety of options, including videos, images and text. Prepare something that will serve your specific needs and will be attractive to your audience.
Once your advertisements are out there, you’ll want to know how they’re doing. Facebook offers Ads Manager, a utility that lets you measure how your ads are performing.
- You can use split testing to work out which versions of your advertisements work best, which will keep you informed for your future efforts.
- You can also use the mobile SDK, which will help you to connect actions on your app to your ad campaign.
- Facebook’s pixel allows you to connect actions on your website to your Facebook advertisements. It will also help you to develop custom retargeting audiences.
PPC Marketing Platform #5: Twitter
Twitter is an underrated medium on which to advertise.
The ability to create native advertisements on a platform that rewards short, direct content should not be underestimated. Much like with search engine PPC, you are significantly limited in your character counts. Twitter has made its name as the ‘short-and-sweet’ social media platform, so users are expecting to see copy that gets to the point quickly.
What this means is that well-written advertisements, combined with attractive imagery, can be a very effective addition to your digital marketing arsenal.
Twitter operates in a similar bid system to Google’s PPC model. You will get to choose between automatic and maximum bidding.
- Automatic bidding will leave the decision making to Twitter’s algorithms, where Twitter will seek to automatically optimise your bids. It will look to balance your budget with maximising your objectives.
- Maximum bidding will allow you to set the maximum bid amount you’re willing to pay. You won’t necessarily pay that amount for every advertisement – rather, you’ll pay one cent/penny above the second highest bid.
There are also a variety of campaign types available:
- Conversion Campaigns will only cost you if someone clicks on your link. This means you save money on people who see your advertisement but don’t want to take up your offer.
- Followers Campaigns will charge you for each follower you acquire as a result of your campaign.
- Tweet Engagement Campaigns will charge you for every engagement. Impressions that don’t result in engagement will not cost you anything.
- App Installs/Re-Engagement Campaigns will charge you for every app install and open, with every other form of interaction and action free.
- Promoted Video View Campaigns will only charge you for video views. The standard qualification for a view was 50% of the video in view while playing for 2 seconds, or choosing to view the video in fullscreen. However, Twitter have also offered the opportunity to bid on 100% of the video visible for at least 3 seconds.
- Awareness Campaigns are standard impression campaigns and function as a CPM option.
PPC Marketing Platform #6: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the premier place to find professionals. As such, it’s a great place to enact B2B marketing campaigns.
There are over 500 million people on this social media platform, making it one of the biggest in the world. As such, the reach available is substantial.
LinkedIn offers three main types of advertising. Each of these provides specific value within its context.
- Sponsored Content allows you to promote your content within your prospects’ feeds. You can promote a variety of content types. You also have the opportunity to embed lead generation forms within your prospects’ feeds. This allows you to gain leads, increasing your database building efforts.
- Sponsored InMail lets you send messages directly to your prospects. While some prospects will ignore traditional advertisements, they’re more likely to notice a new InMail direct message. This is a great form of advertising for encouraging action.
- Text Ads are traditional advertisements that attract prospects to interact with your brand. You can choose between PPC and CPM pricing archetypes. Again, you get to set your budget that you’re prepared to pay on advertising.
LinkedIn also offers a fantastic analytics tool – Campaign Manager. It’ll provide you with the performance metrics that you need to measure how well your PPC marketing efforts are doing.
PPC Marketing Platform #7: YouTube
YouTube is the dominant video platform on the internet. You can view anything from serious political content to cat videos on it. No matter your market, there will be content that aligns with your marketing efforts.
YouTube allows you to play video advertisements and provides a robust set of opportunities that will allow you to optimise your advertising cash. Video is the preferred form of media for internet users, so advertising on YouTube is an incredibly valuable exercise.
YouTube offers a great variety of targeting opportunities, meaning that your PPC marketing efforts can be pinpointed and effective. Some of the targeting methods available to you are:
- Household Income
- Affinity (Target people who already have a strong interest in relevant topics)
The payment side of YouTube advertising is pretty similar to that on the other platforms. You set a budget, and can make adjustments to this budget at any time.
You pay every time someone either views your ad for 30+ seconds, or engages with it by clicking on an element within the ad. You can also choose where your prospects are sent after they click on one of these elements – either to your website or your YouTube channel.
YouTube also offers bumpers. This type of video ad is only 6 seconds long, and are seen to be especially effective when your prospect is on a mobile device. They can either be used alone, or in conjunction with a TrueView campaign.
Bonus PPC Marketing Platform: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an alternative to advertising on the aforementioned big platforms. It can be done in a way that is significantly more organic than traditional online advertising and is an option that you should consider while developing your PPC marketing strategy.
Affiliate marketing involves submitting your products to affiliate programs, which in turn allows website owners to specifically choose to link your product. They will then get a cut out of any conversions that happen when someone clicks through that link.
Let’s say, for example, that you sell shoes. (Pretty stereotypical example, right?) With affiliate marketing, you could submit your product links and any other elements to an affiliate program. From there, a blog that reviews shoes could decide to link to your shoes within a post they’re writing. If someone clicks on that link and then buys your shoes, the blogger would get a commission of sorts.
There are a variety of popular affiliate marketing platforms. Amazon is a market leader when it comes to affiliate marketing – any products that you are selling on Amazon can also be added to their affiliate marketing platform. Another significant affiliate marketing platform is Clickbank.
One of the most valuable elements of advertising with affiliate marketing is that your products will be placed on websites that are very relevant to them. On the downside, you have to give a portion of the sale to a third party. That said, you’re paying a commission of sorts with traditional PPC marketing too – it’s all down to calculating which is most beneficial for your business and offerings.
If you’re hoping to target people who have already shown an interest in your brand, consider implementing a strong content marketing strategy. Content marketing is a whole discussion of its own, but here are the basics:
- Firstly, identify which relevant keywords people are searching for. If you’re a shoe retailer, relevant keywords could include ‘sports shoes,’ ‘best shoes for running’ and ‘hiking shoes.’ You can identify which keywords are the most popular by using a tool such as Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner Tool. You should be targeting keywords with high search numbers and preferably low competition.
- Next, you should create high-quality content around these keywords. For ‘sports shoes,’ you could write an article entitled ‘What to Look For When Buying Sports Shoes.’ Ensure that your content has good SEO value so that you accrue substantial organic reach. You should also use platforms like social media to get your content in front of interested prospects.
- Finally, you should track who consumes your content. Do this with a tool like Google Analytics. Tracking will allow you to retarget the people who have consumed your content.
These three steps can help you to narrow down your audience to people who are interested in what you have to offer and are already aware of your brand.
Now that you have a better understanding of the various opportunities that are as far as PPC marketing is concerned, it’s time for you to implement it in your broader marketing strategy. If you’re worried about the costs, don’t fret – you can set your budget as high or as low as you want. A small investment can result in significant sales growth.
Each of the PPC marketing platforms that have been mentioned in this post offer something unique. As such, your goal should be to balance each of their unique benefits in a way that suits your specific marketing goals and brand image best. What works for one business may not work as well for another.
That brings us to the end of this post. However, if you’re still overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Conversion Advantage. We have PPC marketing specialists who do this stuff every day.
If you’re interested in learning more about the process of lead generation – including our targeting cheat sheet – download our FREE lead generation guide!
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