Often people tend to steer clear of paid ads at first. It costs money and there are so many experts singing the praises of outbound marketing channels that it starts to feel weird thinking about spending money to drive traffic to your site. So why consider paid ads on networks such as Google, Facebook, or Bing? One word: targeting.

PPC Campaigns
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You’re putting carefully crafted, creative, eye-catching ads in front of the people who are most prepared right that moment to take whatever action you want them to take. So it should be no surprise that PPC ad campaigns are a great way to drive targeted traffic to your WordPress website. And no worries: Advertising is perfectly fine with Google, as long as you follow the rules.

PPC and how it works to drive targeted traffic

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First things first, though: Let’s make sure we understand what we’re talking about here. Pay-per-click advertising — or PPC — is an inbound marketing strategy in which you operate as an advertiser to place an ad on some network. Instead of paying a flat rate for your ad, as you would in a print newspaper, you pay based on the number of clicks your ad earns.

Your ad gets displayed to a user based on the criteria you set when you place your order and bid on your ad’s keywords. The exact way these criteria get specified varies a bit from platform to platform, but it’s all done in the ad campaign setup process. Why would you show an ad to anyone and everyone? That deprives you of the biggest advantage of Facebook ads: its ability to target ad displays tightly to only cover your specified target audience.

So a bridal shop’s site owner could target the people most likely to be first-time brides: women in their twenties, let’s say. The owner could further target only those women who live within 100 miles of the brick-and-mortar store, or women who have previously liked other wedding vendor pages on Facebook. That’s a great advantage for our hypothetical site owner because those women have demonstrated a greater than average interest in making a bridal or wedding-related purchase.

PPC search engine advertising

Google Search
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Another form of PPC is search engine advertising. Google’s AdWords program is probably the biggest and most well known; in 2016, Google generated $79 billion USD in advertising revenue. These ads get displayed to users on the basis of their search terms — their keywords. Overall, the price you’ll end up paying for your ad depends broadly on a number of factors, chief among them:

  1. The popularity of the search term
  2. The number of clicks your ad receives
  3. Your quality score as an advertiser

If you’re just getting started on using PPC ads to drive traffic to your site, don’t worry so much about your quality score and advanced budgeting techniques. Instead, focus your attention on the creative side (the ad copy, for example), and on monitoring your results so you can adjust later efforts.

PPC is a terrific way to increase your traffic and diversify it at the same time. But as with most new marketing methods (especially online), it’s also a little intimidating when you’re new to it. The answer is to first educate yourself — learn the basics. Then dive in and get your hands dirty, so to speak. The best way to learn is by doing. Fortunately, you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to get that necessary experience.

Facebook, Google, or something else?

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When you’re embarking on your first foray into PPC ad campaigns, it’s easy to get hung up right away on a fundamental question: where should you advertise? More accurately, where should your ads display? If you’ve never done PPC or other advertising campaigns before, it’s worth considering one of the two most common choices: Facebook or Google.

You’ll find the most helpful information on these platforms, especially for beginning advertisers. The key is to target the correct keywords, and that requires adequate keyword research. For example if you’re advertising for product or service sales — meaning that’s your desired conversion — you’ll want to target keywords with a high degree of commercial intent.

Keep your focus tight

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Whether you’re using PPC ads to drive traffic to a landing page, email opt-in form, or product page, it’s crucial to focus tightly. Don’t try to do too many things at once. That means pursuing a single, narrowly drawn goal and pinpointing the metrics that will help you determine whether you met that goal. Everything else in the PPC workflow depends on that goal.

A tight focus also means keeping your targeted audience narrowly “sliced”. Who are you trying to reach? The more relevant information you can provide in response to that question, the more targeted, and thus successful, your campaign will be. This is probably most true for Facebook advertising, because Facebook boasts dozens of data points you can use to target your ad displays.

Additional resources

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From keyword research and budget setting to creating your ad and tracking your results, a successful PPC campaign is made up of a lot of moving parts. Entire books have been written about this subject. Instead of winging it or learning by trial and error, take a look at some of the following comprehensive resources, for example the official Bing Ads blog and Google’s Inside AdWords blog.

Conclusion: PPC campaigns for targeted traffic

If you’ve tried PPC ads in the past, but didn’t like your results, don’t give up. It takes experimentation and a willingness to revise your approach. Have you already tried PPC ads to drive traffic to your site? Share your insights and best tips on PPC advertising in the comments below.

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