The major players are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture), Microsoft adCenter, others include Ask, Kanoodle, LookSmart, etc.
Let’s examine the top players of the pay-per-click advertising medium.
Yahoo! Search Marketing
PPC Programs Comparison
PPC Advertising is an essential element of a pay-for-performance strategy. And Google AdWords is definitely your first and arguably most important stop.
AdWords is Google’s flagship advertising product, and it’s main source of revenue. AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution. Google’s text advertisements are short, consisting of one title line and two content text lines.
Let’s look at Google’s results for “Search engine marketing” to see it in use. (You might see somewhat different results in your browser due to Google’s geotargeting).
Among the top paid results we can see are SEM businesses – this confirms our assertion that PPC advertising is better suited for the needs of an SEM business, because of exposure to a highly targeted audience. Costs per click for keywords like “search engine marketing” or “search engine marketing firm” are about $10 / click. Therefore, if your services cost on average $2000, you should have a 0.5% conversion to break even.
Obviously, costs-per-click varies with different keywords and sectors, but $50/mo for each and careful keyword selection will be enough to give you a good start.
One vital factor to remember about Google AdWords ad is your advertisement display URL. It will be seen on your ad and needs proper attention while creating the advertisement for listing. For more advice on creating your ad, please refer to Lesson Ad Writing Tips. Where do you want your visitors to go after clicking the ad? Don’t waste an opportunity by sending your customers to unfocused pages. More tips and guidelines on ad writing and a detailed explanation of how to direct visitors will be available in our next lessons.
Getting Feedback from Your Account:
When opening up a Google AdWords account many people are hesitant to spend much money. In spending too small amount the business is essentially ignoring the feedback loop Google has set up.
Is it better to lose 100 dollars today, than to lose it over three months to finally come to the conclusion that you need to change? We think you would rather want to know what you need to change now. Not all industries will make money from AdWords. It is not a business model that will work perfectly across the board.
Lower-placing ads have a lower bid price. That can help save money if the top placed ads are overpriced. Another great benefit of having a lower-placed ad is that a user that clicks on one is more prequalified to make a purchase. By scrolling through a bunch of ads they have displayed a greater intent to make a purchase.
These two mathematical facts often mean that listing at 5 or 6 often provides a better ROI than listing at the top. You will need to determine the profit elasticity for your market to see what ad locations will return the highest overall profits.
Lowering Click Price after Bidding:
After you get 10 or 20 clicks and have a decent click-through rate you may want to slash your bids in half or by 2/3. Often it is best to start off with your ad around the #1 or #2 positions to collect feedback and then let it fall back after you drop ad price.
It is advisable to limit your ad budget by help of the availability of well targeted ads. If your ad spend is limited by a budget and you are showing high for many of the search terms lower your max bid to lower the position down to 5, 6, or 7.
Thus you can show up on more search results and people who are looking at the lower ad positions are more prequalified to buy.
Google’s AdWords is a great opportunity for your business to get customers who are searching for what you sell. During the search using one of your keywords your ad will appear directly with the relevant results on SERP. Moreover only a highly targeted audience interested in your services will see your listings.
The Demographic targeting feature introduced by Google AdWords program is a way to find and run your ads on sites with the right audience for your add campaigns.
The right audience or demographic group is an audience that shares a particular trait or characteristic such as age, gender, income, etc. Some site-publishers (e. g. social networks) ask their users to identify themselves by age and gender.
Armed with this kind of information, Google can display your AdWords ads to the demographic groups that you prefer, or prevent your ads from displaying to groups you don’t want to reach.
The system will analyze the preferences you choose and create a list of available Google Network sites that are popular with that audience.
Learn more about AdWords demographic targeting.
If you are serious about pay-per-click advertising, Yahoo! Search Marketing is a reliable top player for your advertising campaign.
Lately Yahoo! had an upgrade of their Paid Search Advertising Platform. The Update dubbed “Panama” is replacing the system that Yahoo! acquired from Overture (formerly Goto.com). The new Yahoo Search Marketing Interface provides you with the new Sponsored Search.
Sponsored Search is a form of search engine marketing with new, improved features: budget control for the marketing expenses, targeting ads to the specific audience and/or customers, easy management of tools and features. Content Match – new feature can extend your business’s reach and increase web site traffic by featuring your ads on publisher sites and in newsletters and emails.
In the base of the new Sponsored Search is the New Ranking Model. With the new ranking model, an ad’s rank in search results is determined by bid amount and ad quality. Thus, ads with higher quality can deliver a lower cost per click and/or may receive better placement on the results page relative to lower quality ads.
Ad quality is determined by quality index calculated each time your ad is shown. The ad’s click-through rate relative to its position and to other ads displayed at the same time will affect the quality index. Remember you may be rewarded with a better rank or lower cost on your ads making your ads more appealing.
Yahoo! Sponsored Search lets you create ads that appear in search results on the Web’s most popular destination and other sites in the Yahoo! distribution network. Their Start-Up helps to get your campaign online with five easy steps.
Generally all the pay per click solutions will require you to take the steps like following to list your ad.
5 steps for listing via the Yahoo! Search Marketing service:
Step 1. Select keywords directly relevant to your site content. The editorial staff of Yahoo! Search marketing will check your site content for correspondence with your keywords.
Step 2. Write a search listing which consists of a title, description about your site and what you have to offer and URL.
Step 3. Determine bid amounts for your search listing.
Step 4. Your listing is distributed across the web.
Step 5. Finally, your listing appears in the results of search engines.
If you use Yahoo! Search Marketing as any other pay per click provider you get only the targeted prospects and pay only when prospects click on your listing. Fortunately, it is a powerful way to find your site for customers who are searching for what you sell.
Microsoft offers their own pay-per-click ad-bidding system called Microsoft adCenter that pairs search results with sponsored text messages from advertisers.
They help to start your online advertising campaign and target ads to the times, places, and customers you want the most. This program also has built-in tools to manage your advertising process for better results.
Keyword generation tool will automatically generate keywords based on the word or website address you choose.
This add-in has been developed for Excel 2007. Among its basic functions are building or expanding your keyword list, monitoring performance and researching trends. Keyword Forecasting option gives historical and future forecasted impression counts for the specific keywords, monthly reports and shows daily traffic.
Moreover, you can optimize ad campaign performance by preparing timely reports with help of another special built-in tool. Thus you can create the advertisement for listing, define keyword match options, set your own price per click and manage the campaign to see when your clicks lead to sales.
All you need is a credit card and $5 for a one-time sign-up fee to create your Microsoft adCenter account. To start registering go here https://adcenter.microsoft.com/Default.aspx.
Here you can see the top PPC programs comparison:
|Google Adwords||Yahoo! Sponsored Search||Microsoft adCenter|
|Demographic targeting||Limited to the U. S. area ads only.||+||+|
|Dynamic keyword insertion||+||+||+|
|Keyword matching options (allow you to control how precisely you want a user’s query to match your specified keyword)||+||+||+ (bidding types)|
|Ranking (important factors in how an ad is ranked)||A combination of several relevance factors including CPC and clickthrough rate||Bid amount and ad quality (ad quality is determined by quality index calculated each time your ad is shown.)||Bid, click-through rate, and relevance.|
|Minimum deposit to start||$5||$5||$5|
|Keyword analysis||Enhanced Keyword Tool||The ROI calculator – CPC, CPM (cost per thousand)
Note: Keyword research feature for keyword ideas
|Keyword Generation Tool
(a plug-in for MS Excel 2007)
|Traffic estimation||Traffic Estimator Tool
Get quick traffic estimates for new keywords without adding them to an account or using the AdWords sign-up wizard. You can see clicks per day, average CPC, cost per day and average estimated position.
|Ad management||–||–||AdCenter Desktop application to manage your ads.|
|Ad exposure||Advertising network of sites and products for increased ad exposure.||Content Match extends your business reach via publisher sites, newsletters and emails.||Content Ads displays content-targeted ads on Web pages.|
|Ad testing||–||Test multiple versions of your ads to determine which message works best for your customers.
The Sponsored Search system automatically displays the ads receiving the most clicks.
|Competitive pricing||AdWords Discounter automatically monitors your competition and lowers your CPC to one cent above theirs.||–||–|
|Campaign budgeting||Daily||Daily||Daily or monthly|
|Ad scheduling||Run your ads on the days and hours you want.||Set specific start and end dates for your campaigns and choose time-of-day / time-of-week for each campaign.||Set a schedule to run your ads on the days and hours you want.|
What You Should Remember:
- Using the PPC advertisement method prepare your ads properly. The most important point here is to select keywords directly relevant to your site content.
- Lower-placed ads have a lower bid price. That can help save money if the top placed ads are overpriced. If you are running your ads correctly then the availability of well targeted ads should be what is limiting your spending.