Saturday, 10 March 2012

Deciphering the meanings within PPC

This is a business development post and part of letting you know our story as we grow and develop as a company.  Obviously over the last few weeks we've been working on the site, things that need improving, deciding what our immediate priorities are business development stuff as any business does.  But we have been branching out into PPC and this is what I'm going to look at within this post.  

For the uninitiated PPC stands for "Pay per click" basically it is the type of on-line advertising which is the text adverts you see on top of a Google search result or along the right hand side of a Google search result.  Bing, Yahoo and other search engines also use more or less the same type of advertising.  Other places that you can see PPC adverts is perhaps displayed in the text around your email, on websites that are linked to PPC programs from search engines.  

The primary benefit of PPC is that it allows you to advertise in places that are really specific to your business. And means you can tailor your ads to appear at the top of the right searches, even if your ranking within the search results is not very high.  You get to write the ad yourself, so you can look at what searches people do, think about what your business does and try and then create an ad which people are likely to click on, when they click on your ad they are taken through onto a specific page within your website, in order to buy a product or service your business offers.  It can be your homepage, but as anyone who has tried PPC will tell you, ideally you want to match your pages as closely as possible to the users searches, so the likelihood of buying that product or service is maximised when they land on whichever page.  If people do buy you product or service, this is called a "Conversion".  I hope you're with me so far.  So these are the basic principles of PPC.  

One of the things I love about the internet is that there are plenty of gems to be found for free, obviously there's lots of rubbish too, and you have to sift through it.  As I worked on growing my understanding of PPC I found lots of handy information, the problem was that much of it assumed an existing knowledge PPC and the terminology that goes with it.  So I found myself having to conduct research into my research in order to make sense of it.  I know, that's what you expect when you start getting to grips with a completely unfamiliar field.  Anyway, I spent some time learning what a number of abbreviations mean.  So below I have hopefully saved you some effort if you are also new to the world of PPC.  

PPC Definitions

“CTR” – Click through rate, action taken after a user has seen an ad, read it, thought it is relevant and clicked on it so as to arrive at the landing page of the advertiser.  

“CPC” – Cost per click, how much each individual "Pay Per Click" advert costs.  

“Ad Creative” – The short paid for advertisement that appears above the search results when a user runs a query through the search engine.  

“SEM” – Search engine marketing – A blanket term which includes SEO, PPC and PPC Blog advertising or “Contextual Advertising”. 

“Contextual Advertising” – PPC advertising promoted or displayed around related content.  Eg an advert for travel insurance placed on a travel bloggers page.  

 “Negative Keywords”    These are words which you can specify to Google which will not appear in your ads.  Negative keywords are part of your strategy to target ads effectively.  The more comprehensive the negative words list, the more measurable the success of the ads placed.  A perfect example of a negative keyword is a word that could have two or more meanings.

The “Head” – Usually keywords that set you apart from other websites.  These are a small number of highly brand specific words.  

The “Long Tail” – The words used in ad that are specific and make it far more detailed, these will usually be at the end of the three word “headline”, on the 1st line of your ad.  

“Quality Score” – The value assigned to each PPC “Ad creative” by the search engine.  The quality score of each “ad creative” will determine where the advertisement rank, from 1 at the top to3 at the bottom.  The “ad creative” with the highest “Quality Score” will rank at the highest position.   

“Quality Score” is determined by three factors:
1) The individual keywords CTR
2) The quality of text displayed in the “ad creative”, the relevance of the keywords in the “ad creative” and the keywords of the “landing page”.
3) And the competitiveness of the CPC of the words used.

“Rank Number” – Each set of results will be ranked, so whatever “ad creatives” are displayed they will be displayed in one of three positions.  The “Rank Number” is determined by CPC bid price X the “Quality Score”.  
Benefits of a high quality score
1) Having a higher quality score lowers per click of an “ad creative”. 
2) The higher your ad will appear on the tier of three PPC results if your “Quality Score” and your “Rank Number” are higher.  If your Quality Score is low it may not be displayed at all. 

“Keyword Matching” – 

Broad match: keyword and allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations  - (The broad match modifier may also be used to further refine your broad keyword matches: +keyword.)

Phrase match: 
Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase

Exact match: 
Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively

Negative match: 
Ensures your ad doesn't show for any search that includes that term

I hope the definitions above help those who are new to the world of PPC, and with luck after we've road-tested our PPC campaign I will post other helpful PPC tips.  

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