Using PPC & AdWords for Marketing

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Marketers have many tools at their disposal for reaching their target audiences. In this lesson, you'll learn about Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and how Adwords can be used to earn clicks and customers.

A Targeted Offer

Imagine you're at the mall, shopping in one of your favorite stores. You notice there are lots of sales going on, but not for the item you want. Just as you're about to leave, a sales associate approaches you and presents you with a special offer for the exact item you want. Score! But, how did she know what you wanted?

That's a fictitious example of a targeted promotion, but it's happening every day--in real life--on the internet. Brands, businesses, and organizations now have a tool called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) they can implement in conjunction with a program titled AdWords, which can deliver the precise message you were searching for, directly to your search engine results.

What is Pay-Per-Click Anyway?

Pay-per-click campaigns using AdWords can send your message directly to those searching for it.
Pay-per-click campaigns using AdWords can send your message directly to those searching for it.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a very targeted way to reach customers and prospects searching for a particular keyword through a search engine like Google or Bing. Marketers use Pay-Per-Click to create ads with specific keywords. Then, when someone completes a search containing those keywords, the marketer's advertisement shows up alongside the natural search results. Once a customer clicks on the marketer's ad, the customer is re-directed to the brand or business' website, and the marketer is charged a fee based on each click. This type of marketing is sometimes also referred to as search engine marketing.

What is AdWords?

AdWords, a service of the search engine Google, allows businesses to take advantage of the Pay-Per-Click model. Businesses can set a budget for how much they're willing to pay each time their ad is clicked, and customize the ad itself with their designated keywords and other appropriate text. The stronger the text and keyword selection, the better chance they have of reaching their target audiences.

The search engine Bing, owned by Microsoft, also features a similar concept that they've titled Bing Ads. The concept is the same, in that advertisers craft ads with keywords they believe will reach their desired audiences. As with AdWords, marketers pay only when a viewer clicks on an ad that shows up during search results.

How Does it Work?

Google AdWords and Bing Ads work in relatively similar ways. Marketers create an ad campaign based on carefully selected keywords (generally, drawing from their websites and knowledge of what prospects might be searching for). Selecting effective keywords is the key to a successful campaign. For example, if you sell a very specific type of health product that is all-natural, gluten-free, organic, and hypoallergenic, you might want to consider some of those as keywords to target your prospective audience. From here, campaigns can be built and a budget selected. Then, you're just steps away from your ad going live! Once ads are live, they are placed alongside regular search results and can be located above, below, or to the right of those results. Your viewer will see your ad along with their overall search results. Many search engines will assign your ad a quality score, meaning how relevant they determine your ad to be, which will impact where your ad is ranked and placed on the page.

How Do I Get Started?

The first step in identifying whether Pay-Per-Click advertising is a fit for your message or business is to determine your objective for the ad. What are you hoping to do? Maybe you want to build awareness of your brand or receive more traffic to your website, or perhaps your goal is the bottom line: sales and conversions. Google AdWords or Bing Ads can be a great choice for your marketing message if you're reaching out with a niche product or trying to reach a specific audience.

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