PPC campaigns are a tricky topic. However, to run PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns is also one of the most valuable, expedient ways to see return on investment (ROI) or eyeballs to the ad (impressions) in order to create awareness.
This process usually involves you paying $x per click on an ad (from very high – say $300 – to very low – like $.01 per click). PPC is also a colloquialism for the form of “running ads” on a PPC network such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords.
Let me restate, this is probably the fastest way to build an audience. But also the riskiest, as you have to put down cash investment directly to get clicks or views in return.
However, with an unlimited bank account, you can make anything popular in culture with enough PPC directed at it, and that’s not even touching on any ingenuity applied to the ad performance themselves from a psychological or sociological perspective.
You can make a dollar stretch very far in the PPC game. I’m going to share with you a few tried and true tricks to do so, platform-agnostic; all platforms work differently but with only slight variation.
For example, on Facebook demographics can be laser-positioned, i.e. birthdays can be targeted. On Google, they cannot.
But these are variables within the campaign and should be considered always when running ads.
This is to either make it less expensive or more accurate to your audience.
Market research is the backbone of your PPC campaigns.
The backbone of PPC, as with all other marketing campaigns, is of course market research. Good market research can make a campaign with low-funding fail. On the converse, bad market research can make a very well-funded campaign minimally successful.
This is maybe the truest in PPC, but for all marketing as well.
Let’s use Google for example.
If you want to run an ad for people searching for “gold bars”, it’s going to cost a lot. So, unless your copy on your ad/site’s title/description(what shows up in Google) is good enough to justify the cost, it may not make sense to run it.
This is where you can tweak the variables (like country, targeting, ETC).
Well, how do you know if it will make sense to run it? A/B testing. Marketers are increasingly turning to A/B testing because it’s easy, it’s flexible the learning is quick, and it’s the logical and practical approach, it’s been around since PPC has been itself.
Illustrating the power of A/B testing in running PPC campaigns in 2023.
Before we get to A/B, let’s run down the specifics of market research and “twisting” a method, as they say. This will get you your “B” to compare to your “A”.
Say for instance you have a niche – “buy gold”. Let’s keep with the same example even though it is a bit silly. Now “buy gold” itself might be too expensive, but let’s say you come up with “buy rose gold in Boston”.
With the ad only targeted to people in the Greater Boston area, because you have a surplus of rose gold, and you’re in Boston, this not only targets your advert to a more likely target audience, but it will also lower your PPC cost.
This is because you’re no longer competing with global companies vying to sell gold. They are likely paying as much as possible to keep the broadest spots at all times, even if it doesn’t bring them direct profit – they may want to prioritize pure brand recognition; they may just want to eliminate the competition.
So now let’s say the cost-per-click used to be $100 for “buy gold” – they’re now $20 for “buy rose gold in Boston”. Maybe you can drill this down further. Let’s say $5 per click by using “buy rose gold rings in Boston” if you buy/sell rings or make them.
So now, you’re getting the same, if not more value, for much less money.
Now here’s where A/B testing comes in for PPC campaigns.
You can implement 2 different ads – in this case: “buy rose gold in Boston” vs “buy rose gold rings in Boston”.
Put an equal amount of money into them as your control, and see which has the best overall performance. Analyze thoroughly and then keep pushing what is bearing the most fruit. You can do this endlessly with one concept, i.e. “buy rose gold rings with diamonds in Boston”, “buy white gold rings in Boston”, etc., or start using different vernacular or extending your niche to nearby niches. Such as “buy silver in Boston” vs “buy gold in Boston”.
You can do this infinitely, keep tweaking the target audience, and keep track of your analysis and test results in a spreadsheet.
Track everything from dates and campaign length, ad creatives (graphic design of the advert and/or text descriptions on your ad), demographics, etc. and keep track of this information even when they are an obvious control/constant across all of your ads – because this way you can thoroughly identify the differences, especially as you adjust new elements of your campaign that you previously didn’t.
You’ll quickly find the best place to drop the most amount of your budget into. Start with the keyword focus as your control and work out from there. The next best element to A/B test is your advert creatives (graphics & text).
Why use PPC ads?
SEO of your content is great and works very well, however, it costs a LOT of time, effort, and planning. PPC is basically “hacking” search engine marketing, but the price is of course the hurdle. Once you’re generating, A/B testing your PPC will allow you to tackle that hurdle with more prudence, confidence, results.
So ask yourself: Do you want to bring the traffic yourself through content propagation and proper promotion – a lot of time and effort – OR just pay for it? Of course, analysis and campaign management is still a very real part of your time and effort, but the margin is wide in time, especially if you are creating AND optimizing your content yourself or in-house!
Every case is different for every business, so you’ll have to decide the answer to that question for yourself. However, if you’ve been on the fence about PPC campaigns, it’s not a bad idea to pop $10 into an advert, A/B test and see what happens. You might be surprised what a small data set (and pretty small investment!) could show you. And if you don’t ever start to try.. you won’t ever really know?
If you need advice with PPC, you can schedule an appointment with me to talk about it. I would love to use my expertise to get the most out of your ad campaigns or help you break the conceptual barriers surrounding what it takes to get there.