Understanding the Basics of Pay-per-click SEM Marketing Campaign


Maybe you’re one of the savvy business people who learned that the most effective way to hit it big in this highly interconnected and technology-driven world is to have a professionally designed website for your business. You now want people to hear and understand what your website is trying to tell, the core message that will entice people to patronize your products and services.

What you need is to bring in traffic. Website traffic that is.

What you need to establish are specific action steps to attract or draw in website visitors, have them check out whatever you are featuring in your website, and eventually convert them into paying customers. These types of visitors are targeted, meaning they are exactly the kind of market where you want to promote your business.

There are so many ways on how websites can attract targeted visitors, many of which will be discussed in full detail here at Digital Marketing Philippines. But for now, what will be discussed comprehensively in the next sections are the basics of a very effective Internet marketing campaign, Pay-per-Click Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

What Is SEM or Pay-Per-Click Marketing?

In a nutshell, Pay-per-Click (PPC) search engine marketing, or what is sometimes termed paid search, is the process of generating traffic to a particular website by purchasing ads on search engines using keywords that are relevant to their target site visitors. The cost of an ad typically work through a bidding system participated in with other advertisers targeting the same markets.

The term SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing which used to be an encompassing term that includes both paid searches and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As the Internet further developed, SEM came to be known as directly related to paid search.

At the heart of PPC Marketing are keywords and how advertisers choose and group keywords can spell the success or failure of a search engine marketing campaign. Search engines where your PPC ads are registered with, will showcase them on websites or search results once someone search the keywords your ads are based in. This paid advertising service will ensure you that your ads will only attract targeted traffic that will allow you to have a bigger chance of converting them into a customer or client.

Top 3 PPC Networks

Google’s AdWords dominate the market and is the largest PPC provider as can be seen in the chart below from ComScore. SEmarketshare

Yahoo! Search Marketing is another network holding its own in the PPC market. Yahoo later teamed up with Microsoft, which eventually launched Bing, and formed AdCenter as a PPC platform that will compete against Google in this arena. The following provides an overview of each of these top three PPC networks.

1. Google AdWords

AdWords is undoubtedly the most popular PPC network not only in terms of market share but in terms of delivering the most traffic to a particular campaign. It is Google’s main advertising product and riding on the infrastructure that powers this search engine giant can deliver you the results that you want. The network allows you to have local, national or international distribution for your campaigns and you may even include location-based or even IP (Internet Protocol) address exclusion for a more streamline campaign to ensure reaching out only to targeted audiences. AdWords offers advertisers site-targeted advertising facilities for various kinds of ads including text, banners and rich-media advertisements based on a daily budget that you can set. The network also assists advertisers by offering them different tools that they can use to enhance their marketing campaigns including tools for keyword research, tools that can improve conversions and a whole lot more.

2. Bing Ads (MSN AdCenter)

Bing Ads is the latest iteration of the MSN AdCenter network that caters to both the Yahoo! and Bing search engines, offering PPC advertising for your campaigns. In terms of CPC or cost-per-click, Bing Ads can offer a considerably cheaper alternative than AdWords. The only drawback is the large disparity in terms of traffic share between Google and Bing networks.  Just like AdWords, Bing Ads offer various tools for advertisers that can help them gain a better insight of the market they are campaigning for to help. This can help them develop strategies on how they can get a better ROI like the ability to restrict or increase ads and bids on keywords based on exposure to a particular demographic.

3. Yahoo! Search Marketing

This is the internet advertising service provided by Yahoo! that offers PPC or sponsored search advertising based on keywords. Although the traffic rates for this network is not as extensive as that of AdWords or the MSN networks, it still suggested to use this network to have an even bigger reach and traffic for your website.

Basic Terminologies You Should Know

If you’re contemplating on using PPC/search engine marketing as part of your overall Internet marketing campaign, it would be to your greatest advantage to come and learn more about the terminologies and abbreviations that you will often encounter when using this tool. This includes the following:

  • Pay-per-Click or PPC – As discussed earlier, PPC ads are paid ads based on targeted keyword combinations and are posted on websites or search results. Payments however will be charged only from click-through, or when people actually click on the ad. If the ad is displayed but no clicks on the links occurred, no payments will be charged.
  • CPM or Cost Per Impression – Unlike PPC, this one allows you to pay the PPC network per 1,000 views or impressions regardless if people will click the ad or not. We don’t recommend using this in a PPC network.
  • Advertiser – Business owners promoting their websites through PPC ads will fall under this category, either buying or bidding on particular keywords or sets of keywords relevant to their brand, products or services. Ads will be displayed on advertising spaces on a network of websites as well as search results where the particular sets of keywords appear as content or typed in during searches.
  • Publisher – This is where advertising spaces are showcased and where the paid ads may appear depending on keyword relevance. Paid ads on Google’s search results make the search engine a publisher for these particular ads. In a similar manner, websites that is integrated with Google AdSense will run paid ads from AdWords depending on the keywords used.
  • CTR or Click-Through-Rate – A click-through is made whenever a site visitor clicks on a displayed ad from the website or a search result. The cost of a particular PPC campaign maybe affected by the number of clicks made through that particular ad. CTR can be computed by clicks / impressions then multiplied by 100 to make it as percentage. So let’s say 500 people viewed your site and 10 people clicked on it. So your CTR is approximately 2.0% which is very high (10/500 = 0.02×100 = 2%).
  • Cost-Per-Click or CPC – is a system used by PPC network to determine the minimum CPC that you need to bid before your ads can run. CPC differs greatly from market to market, it usually depends on how competitive the market and keyword is. CPC can also be affected by your campaign performance.
  • BID – a term for setting the max amount of money that you are willing to pay on the PPC network. Either CPC or CPM, it’s advisable that follow the minimum bid that the PPC network is suggesting.
  • Budget – The max amount of budget that you are willing to spend per day for your campaign. Some networks like Bing allow you to have a monthly and daily budget while Adwords focused on daily budget.

The Five Most Important PPC Components

To have an effective Pay-per-Click SEM campaign each PPC component should be carefully taken into consideration and every aspect that would make that particular component an effective tool for your PPC campaign well addressed. The following provides a brief overview of each of these top 5 components and their importance to your campaign.

1. Keywords 

This is probably the most important component of your PPC campaign. Failing to identify the most relevant and most targeted phrases for your business can result to great disaster in your PPC campaign. Make sure to use the top keyword research tools out there to aid you in finding the best keywords for your business.

Pointers when searching for keywords:

  1. Avoid using very general words
  2. Find specific keywords with a decent traffic
  3. Start with the name of your products or services

Top Keywords Research Tools

  1. Google Keyword Planner (need an Adwords account)
  2. Bing Keyword Research Tool (need a Microsoft account)
  3. Ubbersuggest at http://ubersuggest.org
  4. Wordpot at http://www.wordpot.com/

2. Landing Page

This is where the action usually takes place. They are linked from your PPC advertisements which serve as the page that your visitors will be redirected after they clicked on your ad. The primary purpose of landing page is to convert visitors either into sales or leads.

  • For lead generation – These types of pages can also be called as squeeze pages, where you extract contact information from your visitors in exchange for subscription to a newsletter or a free eBook offer. More often than not, squeeze pages will provide another link that goes to a Sales Page.
  • For sales generation – A landing page designed to generate sales can also be called a Sales Page. This is where you pitch your sales copy where call to action (to purchase or enroll to a program) are strategically placed throughout the page.

3. Campaign Budget

PPC Campaigns run on a particular budget set on a monthly or daily basis depending on the settings you specified at the network you are using. The monthly feature will let the campaign run and qualify for particular auctions and will stop once the budget have been fully exhausted. Daily budgeting features allow you to set a particular budget each day, letting you spread your campaign across each day of the entire month.

4. AD Message

Your ad message is the spearhead of your PPC advertising campaign. These are short, text-based messages or flashy images that should be carefully planned and chosen to make the ad as powerful and appealing as possible. The key is to make your ad stand out from your competitors, getting the attention of readers and enticing them to click on your ad to have more info. A whole new article can be written to show you how to write good AD messages but a summary can be given here to give you an idea:

  • Eliminate unnecessary words
  • Focus on compelling benefits
  • Make use of power words
  • Avoid generic copy and clichés
  • A good call to action statement

5. Campaign Performance Metrics

Monitoring the performance of your campaigns is very important to give you a gauge on how effective your ads are and if interventions and adjustments are necessary to produce better results. Some of these metrics include:

  • Average CPC – Cost Per Click
  • CPM – Cost Per Impression
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • Quality Score
  • …. and more

The Benefits of SEM or Pay-Per-Click Marketing For Your Business

If a particular Pay-per-Click SEM campaign is done properly, with all preliminary components addressed such as choosing the right keyword or set of keywords to use in the campaign, paid PPC can delivery very high quality targeted traffic that have higher chances for conversion or sale.

Businesses can get the most benefits from their PPC marketing particularly in reaching out to targeted people who you are actually intending to connect with your brand, product or service. From the clicks that your visitors will make through your PPC ads, you will also gain an insight of what your target audiences really want or prefer, how they search for particular products and the search terms they actually use, and what particular information on the landing page or website will actually entice them to purchase a product or service.

As a conclusion, it is important to reiterate that significant traffic is still generated through search engines, and the use of Pay-per-Click search engine marketing ensure the influx of targeted traffic from the intended market of a particular brand, product or service. People are always looking for information and search engines help them look for this information – which they can eventually find through your Pay-per-Click ads.

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Jomer Gregorio

Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.
  • Robert Rutledge

    PPC is indespensable. Good article Jomer.

    • Thanks for the comment Bob! Truly, PPC in addition to other Internet Marketing activities can provide great exposure for businesses.

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