This is a guest post, created by Georgia Leeds at Strawberry Forge for paid advertising.

For every business, having a strong marketing strategy is essential, whichever way you decide to do it.

More often than not, Different Gravy Digital find themselves rectifying businesses who are easily persuaded by Google Ads to jump on the paid advertising bandwagon, without being fully informed or aware of what is required of them.

Pay-per-click advertisements tend to be the ads which are clicked on the most, as they’re featured at the top of the search engine, but do you know how to make the best of them?

In this blog, we’re going to be exploring whether your business can benefit from paid advertising, and what it’s all about.

So, without any further ado…

The Basics: What is Paid Advertising?

Paid advertising comes in a variety of types, but the most frequently used tend to be: pay-per-view, pay-per-install, pay-per-download, display ads, video ads, but what we’re all about in this blog is pay-per-click (PPC).

PPC is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee for every time one of their ads is clicked. It’s basically a way of buying visits to your site, rather than earning those visits with an organic growth strategy from Strawberry Forge..

Ads show up when people search for items online using a search engine like Google or Bing, especially when they’re performing commercial searches, which means they’re looking to make a purchase.

This could be anything from a mobile search (Chinese take-away near me, you know the sort), or a local plumbing service. All of these searches trigger PPC ads.

For such ads to show up alongside the results on a search engine (often referred to as ‘SERPs’ — search engine ranking pages), advertisers aren’t able to pay more to ensure that their ads appear more than their competitor’s ads. So, ads tend to be subject to what is known as being the ‘Ad Auction’ — an entirely automated process that Google and other search engines use to seek the relevance of ads that appear on their SERPs.

What Can It Do For You?

PPC is good for searchers, because they tend to click on paid search ads more often than any other form of digital advertising. This means that people don’t mind being advertised to, so long as the services advertised actually fit the searcher wants and needs.

In terms of advertisers, PPC is a great option, as they will be offered a unique means of putting their message in front of an audience who is actively and specifically seeking out their product. Due to searchers revealing their intent through their search query, advertisers are able to measure the quality of traffic that results from search engine clicks.
It’s great for search engines, as PPC allows search engines to cater to searchers and advertisers simultaneously. The searchers embrace their user-base, while the advertisers provide them with their revenue stream. The engines want to provide relevant results while offering a highly targeted, revenue-driving advertising channel.

One of the advantages that is unique to PPC marketing is that Google and other ad networks don’t just reward the higher biggers for that ad space, they reward the highest-quality ads. This means the ads that are the most popular users. Essentially, Google recognises good performances and rewards you. The better your ads, the greater your click-through rates, the lower your costs.

So, What is a Google Ads Account?

Pay per click

Google Ads started it’s ever-growing journey in 2000 when Google was already handling over 20 million searches per day. In 2019, Google will be handling billions every single day, and Ads has millions of advertisers using its platform to reach new customers.

Google Ads does appear to be simple. It’s an online advertising platform on Google’s search network or sites which are connected to it.

But actually, Ads is pretty tricky to navigate and get your head around. If you don’t take advantage of all the new features and strategies, you Ads triumphs may just turn to mush.

It’s fair to say that it’s definitely far too easy to create an ad on your phone. We can definitely say, at Different Gravy Digital, we get the same scenario every day.

People get so caught up in the fact that it’s so easy to do, but they don’t actually have a scooby-doo what they’re doing and don’t necessarily realise that Google is very happy to take your money all day long, regardless of whether you actually know what you’re doing or not. The latter is pretty common, for sure.

This is predominantly smaller business’, but of course, no one really has any experience or enough money/budget to do so.

Google Ads Express

Ads got its big brother in 2011. Enter: Ads Express, damn! It had the goal of simplifying their original, complex platform into an easier way to advertise with Google.

The OG Google Ads involves countless components which you have to manage. From bidding to keyword research, ad creation and so much more, it’s genuinely like a full-time job to run just a single account to its full potential.

The dashboard of Google Ads can be a little intimidating to a new user, let alone the rest. However, this is where big brother Google Ads Express comes in to save the day.

It simplifies the user experience by making it so much easier to navigate for someone who may have limited time and resources or little or no experience with PPC advertising.

Much to our knowledge, Google Ads Express means you can get started in less than twenty minutes and have live ads up and ready to go – terrifying, isn’t it? (Well, for us it is!)

So while it may seem pretty appealing, it can get a little bit messy for those who aren’t too sure on what they’re doing. Easy to get carried away, huh!

What About Other Search Engines, Though?

Google has around 82% of the market share, which is likely the reason why Pay per clickpeople tend to neglect Bing. However, Bing offers less search, but this actually means there’s more conversion, because there is less choice. So, it’s really a matter of perspective…

Government bodies such as the NHS aren’t allowed to install anything on their work computers, and the computers they’re given will come with Bing as their default browser, so that’s all they’re able to use anyway.

What Happens if a Company Already Has a Running Account?

If a company already has an account running, then it tends to be a lot easier to conduct competitor research.

What about Click-to-call?

It’s all well and good that you’re using Google Ads, but are you making use of it?

Click-to-call is a contribution which is going to aid your business massively if done correctly on your ad.

It’s a way of communication where an individual clicks a button or link which has a business number featured on it. This is particularly useful on mobile devices, because instead of it taking you onto the website, it simply asks you ‘do you want to call this number’ (or something similar) right there and then.

Search monetisation for Google, as we know, has always been all about the clicks and measuring online activity, the click-to-call essentially validates the complementary relationship between online and offline search and consumer purchasing behaviour.

Essentially with click-to-call, Google can more effectively prove mobile advertising value, after all, that’s the way it’s going.

They’re also a great way to grab hold of the Millennials who are pretty much glued to their smartphones. However, so many businesses, through no fault of their own, are just merely unaware of the process and what call-to-click can do for them.

The way the advert is presented is essential. The signs of a good ad will feature the different pages listed on the website, which will be direct links to those pages on the website and allows the consumer to go exactly where they need to go.

Doing this and ranking second in the search list is going to be cheaper, and likely see more business from it (sometimes top spot doesn’t always pay off, folks).

This brings us into our next part…

Are You Converting Customers?

Landing page conversion rate is one of the most poignant things of PPC. There isn’t necessarily a ‘right way’ to do this, but the success of a test differs case by case, and you only really know by trying it out yourself.
People are pretty savvy when it comes to what they want to click on and what they don’t. This is when Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) make an appearance.

In order for you to convert your customers, believe it or not, you should know a thing or two about CRO: through identifying your competitors, doing your keyword research ensuring it’s relevant, exhaustive and expansive, and tracking your landing pages, you’ll eventually have a grip on what it is your customers look for.

When you’ve established all of the CRO end of things, using SEO is going to help you identify where your potential customers either drop off and leave your page, or where potential customers become buying customers, and you can continue to gain the latter.

Can You Even Combine Them?

Yes, you can absolutely combine the two together. Of course, each method has its perks and each is a little better. Using organic keyword research in order to find good paid keyword to build your campaigns can be a great insight than just for your organic search campaigns. You can also use them to create paid search strategies.

But then you could use paid marketing to raise traffic and attention for some new content that you’re publishing. Posting content and then earning rankings on the search engine high enough to capture a significant portion of the relevant traffic, within a pretty short period. But, of course, nothing is straight forward.

This is particularly for smaller brands whose sites don’t carry a large amount of domain authority. Nevertheless, paid search can help you push this gap together. Through using paid search strategies to raise the prominence of your site for high-value keywords, as this will help you attract traffic and engagement to the page you would have initially been relying on organic, and only organic.

If you use organic content to build stronger paid campaigns, this will also drive your paid search campaign. Just like any other type of click, when a potential customer clicks on an ad, they want the content on that page to cater to their needs. Essential organic = helping the paid campaigns.

“It’s All About the Formula”

According to Michael Goldman of Different Gravy Digital, it’s all about the formula that works best for you, and scaling according to your business’ budget.

Even if you start off with a relatively low budget, and you do what you can with that, and you soon see results, which will allow your budget to increase. It’s just a case of finding what works best for you.

Goldman suggested that around 60% of paid advertising is done via Google, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram take up around 30%, and then a little 10% sprinkling coming in from LinkedIn.

You might feel like you’re in a little bit of a pickle when it comes to paid advertising. Pay-per-click can be extremely beneficial for any business hoping to get that little extra out of it, but you’ve got to know what your goals are and be realistic about what you can achieve with your budget in mind.

Also, contrary to popular belief, PPC, or any type of paid advertising isn’t the be-all and end-all — it’s not going to transform your business growth. Well at least, not alone it’s not.

A combination of paid and organic marketing is likely to be your best bet. Through organic blog posts shared on your site, and some pay-per-click ads, they’re going to make a team of success.

However, not to insult you, or your business, don’t be fooled by the ease of creating a Google Ads account, it’s far too easy, but an expert like Different Gravy Digital can help your business excel, as opposed to getting just about getting by.