The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Pay Per Click Advertising

New technology is annoying - especially PPC advertising. But by ignoring this cost-effective and fast advertising solution, you're leaving money on the table.
PPC Advertising

New technology is annoying – especially PPC advertising.

For one thing, the developer(s) always act like their “ground-breaking” new product is way easier to use than it really is. And it’s always the case that for every demonstration video or article you dig-up during your efforts to master these innovations – one more caveat arises that seemingly no one else on the planet has ever encountered (besides you, of course).

Does this diatribe about PPC advertising sound like a classic case of sour grapes? Does it seem like I’m yelling at a cloud? Do you assume that this tirade is merely the toxic mental runoff of a person whose temper is shorter than his attention span? Are you sitting there wondering why this feckless curmudgeon is blaming technological innovators for his inability to quickly grasp the basic functions of what he refers to as “new technology”? Hasn’t PPC been around for roughly 17 years?  Does the term “new technology” seem like a broad, blanket term that this person has engineered to represent things he’s too lazy to take the time to thoroughly understand?


But one thing’s for sure – I’m not alone. There are hard-working, intelligent people – business owners – reading this right now who are way busier than myself the hypothetical person I’m describing above. Most business owners (who are the opposite of lazy) legitimately don’t have the time to master the basics of digital marketing, much less PPC advertising.

PPC advertising for the admirable layman

Everyone knows why Google exists. Not everyone knows how Google works. I know, I know, PPC advertising is available on platforms other than Google – for simplicity’s sake, let’s forget about that for right now.

If you type in a word, any word at all, you’re aware that a series of links will pop-up. What people don’t always realize, is that some of these search results are considered “organic” and some of them are “paid for”.

The listings at the top (and often on the side), are usually marked with a little green box that says “Ad”. These are PPC advertisements, like the one shown below.

Pay Per Click Google Ad Results

How is PPC different from other advertising platforms?

The main distinction that can be made for PPC ads is in the name, Pay Per Click. This means that the advertiser is only charged for the number of people who click on their ad.

Unlike other digital advertising mediums, PPC ads are auction-based, meaning that advertisers are competing against one another for the coveted top position on Google. So, if Business Owner X says they’ll pay $0.50 for a click, but Business Owner Y says they’ll pay $1.00 – Business Owner Y will theoretically get the higher spot on Google.

How much does PPC cost?

The reason PPC advertising is seemingly harder to grasp for a lot of people is because of the way it’s priced. There are multiple factors that will ultimately decide how much a PPC ad campaign will cost.

Your budget is generally going to dictate the price of your PPC ad campaign. You’ll be given the option of setting an ad budget so you don’t wind-up unknowingly biting off more than you can chew.

Keywords are a far more complex factor that will ultimately influence the overall cost of your ad campaign. If the keywords you need to use are in high-demand, you can expect to pay more.

For example, you’re going to encounter more advertisers looking to pay for the keyword “Bacon Cheeseburger” than “Commercial Truck Battery”, thus, you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny to be at the top of the list when someone searches for “Bacon Cheese Burger” on Google, whereas that position when someone searches “Commercial Truck Batteries” is going to be less sought-after simply because there are more people trying to sell bacon cheeseburgers than there are people trying to sell commercial truck batteries.

How does Google determine where my ad gets placed?

As I mentioned in the above paragraph, your bid is going to play a factor in determining where your ad gets placed. But it’s not necessarily as simple as, the more you bid, the higher your ad appears in the search results.

A more abstract factor that decides where your ad will appear in the search results is the quality of your ad.

To determine your ad’s quality, Google’s algorithm takes into account how relevant your ad and your landing page are to the keywords you’ve bid on, as well as your ad’s click-through rate (or ratio of people who’ve clicked on your ad to people who’ve seen it).

This all seems very confusing. What’s the point of this article? Why bother with PPC?

The point of this article is to confirm your suspicions about PPC advertising – it’s one of the more complex digital advertising platforms out there.

But it’s also written to demonstrate to you why taking a curmudgeon’s attitude towards PPC is essentially the equivalent of burying your head in the sand. There are several very real (and very easy-to-comprehend) facts about PPC that should be of interest to all business owners. Especially those who’ve had little luck in the digital advertising game:

  • It can be very cost-effective. If you can work to develop low-demand, yet specific, relevant keyword phrases that yield high placement for your website – you can generate traffic for an extremely low price.
  • It works fast. The act of opening a Google Ads account and starting to have ads placed is actually relatively easy – it’s the whole, doing it the right way and effectively analyzing results thing that is difficult for most people. With a little trial and error, you can start to comprehend why you’re seeing the results you’re seeing.

In short, the potential to decrease the amount of money you’re spending each month on advertising can compensate for PPC’s incumbent complexities. It’s also a good way to supplement your primary advertising efforts if you’re only willing to dip your toes in at first.

If your business offers a very specialized product or service, you’d be crazy not to give it a shot – the potential to save on ad spend within an esoteric industry using PPC ads is high. This is also true if you’re promoting a new service or product, assuming no other businesses have put out a product or service that has the exact same name as your new product or service.

Or, you can continue shouting at clouds and telling people to get off your lawn – I’m no stranger to partying. However, it’s important to understand the benefits of getting with “it” (“it” in this case, being PPC advertising) and how you stand to benefit from doing so.

Ready to get your PPC strategy off the ground? Contact us or give us a call at 800.926.2451 to get started today!

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