What is PPC?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising boosts traffic to your website by enabling you to display ads in the sponsored results section of Google’s search results page – simply, you are buying listings in Google’s search results.
You pay for traffic using the PPC advertising programmes provided by Google Adwords. It’s a website marketing method that involves bidding a rate you want to pay for every click on your ad, and then paying that fee whenever a visitor clicks through from your ad to your website. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number one in the search results.
It’s different from the time-intensive and complex process of search engine optimisation (SEO), through which you can build traffic for free by achieving high rankings in the natural search results.
Is PPC for you?
Businesses that achieve great results from this marketing channel share common traits:
- Customers have a high lifetime value so it’s worth spending money to acquire them.
- It has high margins on a single purchase, such as a car, computer equipment or appliances.
- It sells products that are hard to find, like hobby supplies or rare collectibles.
- The business sells a vast array of products. Think Amazon or Kalahari.
- It’s seasonal or event-based, such as florists or wedding planners.
- The business is local, for example plumbers operating in Sandton.
Pros & cons of PPC advertising
- Quick results: You can set up a PPC campaign within a few hours.
- Ad positioning: PPC ads appear in the ’sponsored links‘ section of search results. The conversion rate of shoppers who turn to buyers is higher than SEO because those who click on sponsored ads are more serious shoppers.
- Big selection of words: PPC allows you to use words that you wouldn’t usually include in your website, such as your competitor’s name, so your ad appears when someone searches for that business.
- Region-specific targeting: You can focus on regions where you conduct business so that your ads only appear to people in that area.
- Settings are easy to change: You can easily change the budget, keywords, ads and landing pages of your website online.
- Paying for every click: You have to pay for every visitor who clicks your ad, regardless of whether they buy or not.
- Stopping the campaign: When you end the campaign, your ads will disappear. Be prepared for traffic to your site to drop.
Hiring a professional
Before you hire someone to manage your PPC account, make sure you ask the right questions.Find out who will manage your account and what level of experience they have.
- Have they helped other companies to achieve success?
- Beyond clicks and traffic, can they help to generate sales of your products or services?
- Will they track conversions so you can determine the success of your PPC ads?
- Will they test your ads from time to time to minimise cost and increase traffic?
- What proven methods do they have to eliminate guesswork and get your campaign running smoothly, quickly?
- How do they justify their costs versus the promised yield?
- What is the budget required and can you afford it?
Lesson 1: Kick-starting your PPC ad campaign
What keywords will you use to reach your market? Answering that question the right way can spell the difference between your Google ad campaign’s success and failure. Ultimately you’re out to hunt down the top one or two keywords that will bring you the most paying customers, and tweak your entire sales process around that. That’s what the most successful advertisers we know are doing now.
AdWords displays related sponsored listings along with unpaid listings that result from a Google search. One of its huge advantages is that it links you with people who are already sold on the concept that you are promoting. You don’t have to talk them into anything — they’re already on Google looking for what you’ve got. You just need to figure out the keywords they use to describe what you offer so that you can connect with them.
To answer this question, you need to describe what you’re promoting as clearly as possible — and identify who wants to buy it, in other words, your ideal customer.
Here are four tips that can help you get started building your own Google ad campaign.
1. Define your perfect customer
We recommend that you stop right now, pull out a piece of paper and write down a one-sentence description of your ultimate money-in-hand-and-ready-to-buy paying customer.
Those are the people who already know something about the type of product (or information) you sell or the service you offer. These people probably don’t know about you, but they do know about your product.
Often they have an immediate problem and have decided to go online looking for a solution. They may have already made up their mind about how they want to solve the problem. Now they’re searching Google trying to locate the product that fits their solution and then buy it.
Your description may look like one of these:
- My best prospect is someone who already believes in non-pharmaceutical and natural remedies for migraines and is searching for the best one to buy.
- My best prospect is someone who has already made up his or her mind to buy pottery via the web.
- My best prospect already knows that pay-per-click management services exist and is proactively searching to hire one.
Keep your customer description in front of you as you go through the keyword search process.
2. Identify the keywords that potential customers are using to search for your products and services
Head to Google’s keyword tool and enter some phrases that you think reflect customers who are in that mind-set.
Let’s take the migraine example. A starter idea would be ‘natural migraine remedies,’ because that would seem to specify people who are looking for a ‘natural solution’, something for ‘migraines’ as opposed to more general issues, and ‘remedies’ as opposed to facts or data or information.
Based on that search, Google gives a decent-sized list of keywords. We can now go through the list keyword by keyword and compare each to our written customer description, choose the keywords we feel are a fit and ignore the ones that aren’t. You may end up with no more than one to two dozen keywords. That’s perfectly fine.
3. Determine the number of people searching on those keywords
For your one to two dozen keywords, you can go with what Google’s keyword tool has already told you. Or you can take each one and do a further keyword tool search on it and add in totals from other variations that you believe would fully match your written customer description. Consider search volume when choosing your top keyword or keywords.
4. Determine how much money advertisers are making off a keyword
You can judge this by how much the keyword costs. You’re looking for the keywords where the money is. The market has its own way of answering this. The maximum cost per click that people pay represents the upper limit of the money available in that market.
Head over to Google’s traffic estimator to find this out. You can collect as many relevant keywords as you want, and then make an educated comparison to find the best fit for your customer profile.
You’re off to a great start when you’ve got six to 12 tightly matched groups of keywords. Ultimately, you’re best off with one, single bull’s-eye keyword.
Lesson 2: The most common PPC mistakes to avoid
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website quickly, but businesses too often make mistakes that undermine their campaigns.
Although PPC advertising may sound simple, plenty of novices have created campaigns that generate little click-through action because they target the wrong keywords or lack a compelling message. So, consider these suggestions for avoiding these mistakes that most new advertisers make:
1. Avoid ‘broad match’ keywords
One of the biggest mistakes is ignoring the difference between choosing specific keyword match types and setting all keywords as ‘broad match,’ which means that your ad will appear not just for your chosen keyword phrase, but also for any similar phrases or relevant variations your advertising programme deems appropriate. Although broad match placements can help increase your exposure, they can also attract irrelevant traffic that costs you money.
For example, a PPC ad with the broad match term ‘show ideas’ could be displayed for the search query ‘baby shower gift ideas.’ Even though the search query contains the broad match term, it isn’t a relevant match.
To avoid losing money on irrelevant clicks, focus on phrase or exact match keywords.
2. Separate search and content ad placements
Search network placement refers to PPC ads that appear in search query results, while content network placement means websites that display PPC ads as blocks within their pages.
Most new PPC marketers select both the search and content networks when they set up their first campaigns, and they usually use the same keywords, ad content and payment amount for each click.
But the specific queries and websites that trigger your content network placements can be significantly different than what yields results on the search network. Running the same ads on both networks, therefore, could cost you money in terms of irrelevant placements. Although customising takes more time and effort, it’s far more efficient to tailor your keywords, ad copy and keyword bids for each network.
3. Use negative keywords, too
PPC marketers often fail to use negative keywords, which allow you to specify where your ad should not appear. For example, in our ‘show ideas’ and ‘baby shower gift ideas’ example, the words ‘baby,’ ‘shower’ and ‘gift’ could be designated as negative keywords to help eliminate such irrelevant ad placements.
4. Efficiently target ad campaigns
Many advertisers aren’t precise enough in targeting their campaigns. To increase efficiency, take advantage of features in PPC accounts that allow you to specify who sees the ads.
Here are a few areas to consider in targeting your campaigns:
- Multiple countries. If you plan to advertise in several countries, set up an ad group for each. Otherwise, limit your ad to country-specific placements.
- Micro-geographic focus. If you create an ad for a local business keyword — ‘Mexican restaurants in Pretoria,’ for example — use the micro-geographic targeting features in your advertiser account to select the specific suburbs in which your ad will appear based on your business’s delivery area.
- Time of day. If your ads generate the most conversions during a particular time of day, set them up to run only during those time periods.
5. Test ad copy
Writing effective ad copy can be difficult. Unless you test different versions of ads to see which perform best, you aren’t maximising the ROI of your campaign.
Most PPC platforms allow you to set up split tests that rotate different ads for each of your targeted keywords. To do the test effectively, adjust your setting so that ads will be served up randomly, rather than according to the platform’s formula of displaying the ad it determines will result in the most clicks.
6. Track your return on investment
To effectively manage PPC campaigns and improve your ROI, you need to know exactly which clicks are resulting in sales. To generate this data for free, tie your PPC account to Google Analytics to track which ads led visitors to your page and which visits resulted in sales. Without this information, you can’t adjust your keyword bids or eliminate less effective ads and keywords.
FOR MAXIMUM ROI, CORRECTLY MATCH PPC ADS TO LANDING PAGES
Say you’re running a PPC ad for the keyword ‘Nikon D90 digital camera’ — a product you sell on your website. You set up the ad to run whenever this keyword is searched for on your chosen engine, and you use a URL that redirects readers who click on your ad to your site’s home page.
Now, this user must painstakingly click through your website’s navigation to find this exact camera model — if he or she even bothers to stick around. In this case, you took an engaged, targeted visitor and forced him or her to work for the information you promised.
A better approach would have been a link to the camera’s product page, avoiding any frustration and bringing your visitors one step closer to completing their purchase.
Whenever possible, drive PPC visitors to targeted landing pages. If you don’t have a product-specific landing page to refer visitors to, create custom landing pages that provide the exact information the reader is looking for.
A Basic Guide To Twitter Analytics, How It Works, and How It Can Help Your Marketing
As a business owner, your marketing efforts on Twitter can now be tracked via the new Twitter Analytics tool, which shows engagements & impressions on each tweet.
In 2014, Twitter finally launched Twitter Analytics, which allows the more serious user to track their tweets from a marketing perspective. Using this tool, you can see which tweets reached the most users, how many impressions it received, and the overall reception for specific marketing campaigns. Here is a simple guide to using Twitter Analytics.
Using this tool means that you can gauge tangibly and transparently the reach of each marketing campaign you launch. The launch might have been long overdue, but since then Twitter has been updating their analytics tool little by little and improving the user experience.
They have since launched a Twitter Analytics standalone app called Engage. They also launched Twitter Moments, which allows users to edit multiple tweets and stitch them together into a single slideshow or video. This is another excellent tool for concluding or summarising a marketing campaign from beginning to end for prosperity and marketing purposes – for example, Rocket Ellie, the flying elephant billboard in Cape Town, South Africa.
For any regular Twitter user, you might have given Twitter Analytics a quick look when it first came out, but unless you’re interested in evaluating the reach a sponsored tweet would have versus a regular tweet, it won’t mean much to you. Just a glance shows that you can view impressions and engagements, but unless you know how to use this tool to its full potential, it might as well be useless.
How To Use Twitter Analytics
This tool can be found in the drop down menu underneath your name on the homepage. Here you’ll also find options for your profile, Moments, Twitter Ads, settings and more. With this tool, you can see your Twitter engagement rate. This is where you can view how many people saw your tweet, how many new profiles have followed your account, and how many likes, impressions and retweets each tweet has gained. It also includes replies and how many clicks your links or hashtags received. This is very helpful to see if your content is getting the desired reaction, and maybe you should take your hashtag back to the drawing board.
What’s the point in posting content that your audience isn’t interested in? This tool is an excellent way to evaluate how your target audience has received your content. You can use it to see what works, and what doesn’t. Your audience will tell you if they like your content, but it might not be as blatant as you would prefer. Therefore, using this to drive your content and marketing strategies provides a massive benefit when launching future campaigns, if you want them to be successful.
Use it to better connect with your audience, and at the end of the day, more prospective buyers will become real, paying customers who are interested in your business, and who will help further your brand.
Impressions vs Reach
A Twitter impression is how many times your content has appeared on someone’s timeline. Twitter’s new algorithm has made this easier by posting your tweets onto other users’ timelines if many accounts they follow have liked or replied to your content already. The point of this algorithm is to help people engage with others who are like-minded, which means that if five like-minded people enjoy your content, the chances are high that some of their followers will enjoy it too. However, the number of impressions doesn’t tell you how many accounts, if any at all, actually interacted with your tweet. Therefore, how do you know how many people you are reaching with your content?
If impressions tell you how many times your content appeared on people’s feed, then your reach is how many users have the potential of seeing it. When your content appears on the timelines of people who do not follow your account, as stated before, that is your reach.
So how do your tweets perform on this platform? The tweet activity tool allows you to see, in a chart, if your tweets are achieving their goals. For many users, a question they ask themselves frequently is how their tweet took off so suddenly, in comparison to others? Even regular accounts who use Twitter for the social aspect of it, can spend time constructing the perfect joke only for another to perform better. There are tools available that can analyse your followers or recommend what time of day, or day of the week, is best to post your best content. However, the easiest way to answer the question of performance, and how to get to know your audience, lies within your own account data.
There are two ways to do this: you can either post tweets in groups within a particular time frame or analyse the activity on specific tweets individually. The latter is simple – when you select one of your own tweets, along the bottom bar, next to the attach images, GIF and emoji tabs – picking the bar graph icon shows the number of impressions, likes, clicks and retweets that single tweet received. It can be time-consuming; however, it provides valuable information according to what your audience likes. For example, your tweets with images or video content attached may receive more impressions than tweets without, meaning that you should post more content like that, more often.
In Twitter Analytics, under the tweets tab, you can customise your tracking to show only a certain period – for example, the weekend where most people receive their salary, or over the Christmas holidays – to see how your tweets performed during that time.
Using Twitter Analytics, you can do so much more than what has been mentioned. You can track your followers, and more specifically, the types of people who follow you. If you notice that a large portion of your followers is stay-at-home mothers between the ages of 28 – 35, you can customise your content according to the interests of that demographic. You can also learn about Twitter ads, how to promote your business, what works and doesn’t work, and if it is even worth the money. Twitter Analytics is an untapped oil reserve when it comes to tracking and gauging your audience’s reaction to your content, and adjusting your content and marketing strategies accordingly. Take the plunge into Twitter Analytics; it’s worth it!
The Top Ten Marketing Trends To Look Out For In 2019
With 2018 behind us, there is no better time to start looking to the future.
Most people start making their new year’s resolutions this time of the year, goals to make things better for themselves in the coming year. This is something that businesses need to look at doing too.
Running a digital marketing agency means one needs to keep ones finger on the pulse.
The world is continually changing and developing, and if businesses want to survive and thrive, then they need to grow and develop too.
As with everything else, marketing is also continuing to change over time, so it is important for businesses to be on top of the newest trends. Even if 2018 was a successful year for you and your marketing team, don’t get left behind by ignoring the latest trends. Make the necessary adjustments to ensure that 2019 is just as successful.
Maintain an advantage over your competitors by preparing yourself and adjusting your marketing strategy before they do. Whether your current marketing strategy is working for you or not, this article will help you by identifying the top ten marketing trends that businesses should look out for in 2019.
The first few trends look at technology that you have likely already heard of, but with constant advancements in technology, it is still worth taking a look at.
1. Chatbots and live chat
Although this is not a new technology, chatbots and live chat is becoming very popular with businesses all over the world. People are interacting with more and more chatbots on a daily basis. This technology has become so popular because of the benefits it offers businesses in terms of customer interaction and better customer service.
In a very conversational way, chatbots message back and forth with customers for a number of tasks, such as suggesting products to customers and ordering the items. Chatbots enable businesses to provide a 24-hour service to customers by providing customers with an instant response to questions, providing an easy form of communication, resolving complaints quickly and providing a good customer experience. It is a lot easier for customers to communicate with chatbots online than it is for the customer to phone or send an email to a company representative.
According to research, live chat makes it three times more likely that customers will complete the purchase process. With so many benefits to businesses, it is very likely that the use of chatbots and live chat will continue to grow in 2019 and beyond.
If you want to experience chatbots, feel free to visit this link and click on the chat button that appears on the screen.
2. Enhanced personalised recommendations
This technology has already stared becoming the way of the future. Personalising the customer experience is a trend that most businesses are already starting to implement, whether it is recommending movies or series when watching Netflix or recommending other products that the customer might be interested in based on previous buying behaviour, this technology can help businesses enhance the customer experience by giving the customers more of what they want.
This artificial intelligence algorithm is constantly being bettered and is making more accurate recommendations as time goes on. This is a trend that should not be ignored in the coming year.
3. Facebook and Instagram adverts
The trends around paid social media ads are constantly changing. With these changes it is becoming obvious that businesses prefer to focus their attention on Facebook and Instagram ads over other social media platforms.
Social Media Examiner published the following data to show how ads on social media sites like Snapchat and Pinterest are becoming less popular with businesses, while Facebook and Instagram are growing in popularity.
As we know, Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it is not a surprise to see these two social media sites growing in popularity together. Businesses are able to manage ads on both these social sites in the same place. The format of these sites make it much easier for businesses to create ads that target the right audience, based on its needs.
Although it is a good idea to advertise on as many social media sites as possible to ensure that you are reaching the largest audience possible, it would be wise to focus most of your attention on these two top trending sites. If you are only looking at making use of paid social media ads in the coming year, then these two sites are the ones to start with.
4. Voice search
Voice recognition software has been around for a while, but the technology is evolving at a steady pace. Google Home now has a 95% word accuracy which shows how the technology is gradually getting better and more accurate. Voice search makes it easier and faster to search apps, to conduct web searches and even conduct image searches. Very soon, voice searches may represent the majority of total searches.
With voice search technology, people are searching for information, making purchases and even interacting with websites using only their voice. In time businesses will need to rethink how information is presented to audiences and may even be forced to come up with entirely new structures to keep up with this change.
In was reported that as of January 2018, voice searches were conducted 1 billion times a month, and in 2019 this figure is expected to grow. As a business, this should be flagged as technology of interest.
5. Mobile payments
Marketing your products and reaching potential customers is only half the battle won, the other half is completing the sale. Being able to offer customers a variety of payment options is something all businesses need to look at. A growing trend in this regard is mobile payments, so this is another option that businesses need to look at offering customers.
One portion of mobile payments allows customers to pay for goods and services directly from a mobile app, another portion of mobile pay comes from alternative payment options.
In 2018 an estimated 440 million users across the globe used contactless pay options, and this number is expected to increase in 2019.
The following graph shows exactly how this trend has been growing.
Your business should be prepared to accept these types of payments because consumers are getting used to it. If you don’t have their preferred payment option, they may take their business elsewhere.
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
6. Interactive video content
Video marketing is a trend that has been on the rise for many years. More and more videos are being uploaded to social media and websites as part of marketing strategies. Video blogs (vlogs) have also been taking off in this regard. In 2019 we will start seeing changes to the way video is consumed with an increase in interactive videos.
An example of an interactive video is a 360-degree video that allows users to view the whole area being discussed in the video by clicking the navigation button in the top left-hand corner of the screen while the video is playing.
This 360-degree video was uploaded to YouTube by Washington Post.
Offering interactivity with videos means that more people can engage with your content. Interactivity also makes your videos more exciting for your viewers to watch than traditional videos. Research has shown that 360-degree videos have a greater click-through rate than traditional video formats, offering a higher return on your investment.
This is a trend that will continue to grow due to its popularity, so it definitely worth looking into now.
Instagram has decided to re-envision mobile video with the introduction of IGTV. This new standalone platform has been developed specifically for mobile phones. Instagram has caught onto the fact that people these days are watching less TV and more videos. They have decided to develop this trend and cater to the growing wants and needs of the masses.
Instagram is definitely evolving with the times and its popularity has continued to grow because of this since its launch in 2010. Instagram currently has over 1 billion active users on its site, so even if a small percentage of these users download IGTV, it is still a large audience for marketers to target.
It will be highly beneficial to have an active presence on both Instagram and IGTV in order to use the large number of current users to your advantage. With the IGTV platform being so new, try to get a step ahead of competitors by getting to know the platform and producing content for it.
8. Beacon technology
In a mobile era where mobile apps are becoming more and more popular, businesses need to get onboard with the latest technology if they want to stay current. Beacon technology is a great way for businesses to improve the profitability of their mobile app. This new technology works in a similar way to GPS, just not quite as complex.
Firstly, with this technology retailers need to encourage their customers to download their mobile apps. Once the customer has downloaded the app on their mobile phone, the app will be able to track their location. Retailers can then strategically place beacons around the shop so when the app users walk past a beacon, the business will know exactly where the customer is and what the customer is shopping for. With this information businesses can then send the customer a promotion via push notifications.
This technology can even be used by businesses that only have an ecommerce platform. Beacons can be placed in public areas relevant to what the business offers. Promotional push notifications can then be sent to the user when they are in the vicinity of the beacon.
Below is a visual representation of how the beacon technology works.
2019 Will see a rise in popularity with this technology because of the rise in popularity with mobile apps.
9. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics is very much related to personal recommendations in the sense that it uses a variety of statistical techniques that analyse current and historical facts to make predictions about the future. Businesses can use predictive analytics to gain a competitive advantage by uncovering new opportunities. Predictive analytics are used to determine customer responses or purchases and help businesses to attract and grow their customer base.
Technology like this can be so beneficial to a business, and that is why more businesses are making use of it. Its popularity is growing and will definitely continue to grow throughout the coming year and many years to come.
10. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is by no means new technology, in fact, many of the trends discussed in this article make use of AI and machine learning. It is so important for businesses to learn the marketing skills needed to survive in this age of AI as it is the fastest growing technology and no business can afford to ignore it. Ignoring developments in technology could mean that businesses will not be able to keep up with competitors.
It is so important for all businesses to recognise the newest trends and to keep developing their marketing strategies along with new technology in order to be able to compete in such a competitive, ever-changing market.
2019 Is sure to be a very big year for marketers so I hope that by following these trends, your business will find success in the coming year.
Now’s The Time To Go Digital
The digital age has completely transformed the way businesses market their products and services to their customers. As a result, the playing field of industries both big and small has forced companies to relook their strategies.
- Call: 086 142 8710
- Visit: www.digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za
Digital marketing is a broad term covering digital channels that people use to market their products. But what makes digital marketing different and unique compared to traditional marketing channels?
It gives the marketer or advertiser the opportunity to hone in on specific audiences that are more likely to purchase or see value in their offer, says Lisa Schneider, Managing Director at the Digital School of Marketing.
“Because digital marketing is computerised, it allows the marketer to get accurate analytical data about their campaigns, both in the research phase and when their campaign has finished. This makes digital marketing an easy way to gauge ROI of marketing and advertising efforts.”
Do you know how to market your businesses online?
Regardless of the size of your business, to remain successful, you need to have a good understanding and grasp of what digital marketing is and train your organisation on the skills it involves. According to Lisa, digital marketing skills encompass aspects that include:
- Analytical skills
- Social media skills
- Search marketing skills
- Copywriting skills.
“Without a doubt the most important element is understanding who your customers are and what makes them tick. One of the biggest advantages by far in digital marketing is the ability to market to an audience, assuring that your message will be seen, heard and appreciated,” says Lisa.
“The technology that is made available to market products in the digital realm is sophisticated software that allows the marketer’s message to be seen as widely or as granularly as they would want. A solid understanding of your target market is absolutely one of the most fundamental and important elements of digital marketing.”
Advance digitally without breaking the bank
Marketing is an expensive exercise no matter how you look at it, says Lisa. “Digital marketing requires a solid understanding of many different areas that are quite broad, and how to manage and understand a multitude of platforms and analytical data is imperative. This will allow the marketer to extract the most value without burning a hole in their pocket.”
As a business owner, you must look at what is out there in terms of online education providers. It’s important to do your homework about the company and what accreditation and endorsements the company holds.
Lisa suggests contacting the accreditation body to find out the legitimacy of the educational provider. The Internet provides a wealth of information regarding different institutions and how their courses can benefit the company.
What defines a reputable online marketing education provider?
Authentic online education providers have a third-party accreditation or endorsement. In a nutshell, accreditation means that a third party, that is usually government regulated, has looked through the institution’s educational material and internal business procedures to see that it has met their standards of approval.
What this means is that the education provider is not self-governed but is regulated by higher government authorities. This makes your course more credible, recognised and respected compared to a non-accredited provider.
For best results, choose the experts
“The Digital School of Marketing stays on top of trends through solid research,” Lisa explains.
“Google is constantly updating algorithms and adjusting their online marketing platform capabilities. Social networks also come and go and adjust their marketing and advertising platforms.”
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
DSM prides itself on the ability and appetite to constantly research trends by reading industry journals, attending workshops and seminars, but only publishing what is relevant and has longevity. “We also benchmark the changes that are made on online learning platforms, so we can offer our students an experience that is unique and truly fulfilling on their educational journey,” says Lisa.