Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004
Two of the most important factors of any Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign are creating successful ads and deciding how much to pay per click. There are many PPC options out there to choose from, I am going to focus on the two most popular, Google AdWords and Overture.
Creating your ads for AdWords
Creating your ad copy is the single most important part of any ad campaign. You want your ad to stand out amongst the others and scream out ‘click me!' If your add looks and says the same thing as everyone else users will simply pass it by.
Before creating your ads you need to determine your target market and keyword selections. If your company focuses on a specific market niche try to target your ads in regards to that niche. Properly targeted ads will almost always out-perform those directed at a general audience.
When creating your first ad be sure to fit in your main keywords either in the title or near the beginning of the body text. Say something to draw attention by using call to action phrases and words that provoke enthusiasm and response. Things like “ Save on DVDs," "Get cheap stereos," or "Join now for 20% discount,” etc. Just be cautious, if you advertise something that you don't offer, Google will pull your ad. If your ad says you have something for free, you better have something for free listed on your landing page! Always be sure to follow Google's Guidelines .
Once you are happy with your first ad, create 3 more ads that are radically different from the first. After 3 or 4 days take a look at how your ads are doing. (If you are using less frequently searched terms you may have to wait 1-2 weeks for better results.) Check the click through rate (CTR) of each ad. In most cases one of the 4 will show to be out-performing the rest. If this is the case, delete the poorly performing ads and create 3 new ads that closely resemble the successful one, each with subtle differences in the title and body text.
Again wait 3 or 4 days to see which of the ads is out performing the rest. If you again notice that one stands out, repeat the process. Eventually you will end up with 4 quality ads that are performing equally. Once the ads have levelled out, continue to keep an eye on them, I recommend daily. If one begins to slip, slightly tweak the wording. You must always keep an eye on your ads if you wish for them to continually perform well.
Determining your Max Cost Per Click with AdWords
With AdWords when you enter your MAX CPC, it will then show you what Google estimates your average position will be for each keyword. ( The position predictions provided by Google are based on historical data from previous advertisers and are not 100% accurate, but it will give you an idea what to expect.)
Unfortunately there is no way to see what the competition is paying, so in most cases it's a bit of a duck hunt in the beginning. I suggest starting out with a MAX CPC slightly higher than you would normally, this will give you a slightly higher ranking and increase your chances of accumulating clicks. If your ad performs really well your rank will increase. As you begin to establish a good click through rate (CTR) you can adjust your max CPC to reflect the position you wish to obtain. (See part one of this article to find out how Google ranks ads.)
Creating your ads for Overture
With Overture, writing the perfect ad is slightly different than with AdWords. Overture only allows you to create one ad per keyword, so this takes away the option of trying out various ads and going with the obvious winner, however, the basis for creating your initial ad remains virtually the same. After you have selected your target market and main keywords, write a specific ad targeting each individual keyword and be sure to include the keyword in the title or beginning of the main body text along with a call to action phrase or something that is sure to draw attention. Remember to check the status of your ads on a weekly basis, and tweak as needed. Keep and eye on your click through rate and regularly tweak poorly performing ads
Determining your Max Cost Per Click with Overture
Deciding how much to spend on Overture is simple. Take a look at what the competition is spending, and out bid them. With Overture you should always try to be in the top 3 if you wish to have your ad dispersed among partner sites. (Yahoo, Lycos, MSN, etc). If the number 1 spot is currently paying 25 cents per click you need only bid 26 cents to grab the number 1 spot. If you want the number one spot, but are also willing to pay more, you can bid 40 cents, and will only be charged the 26 cents. One penny above the competition. Keep in mind though, if someone else increases their bid, your actual cost will also increase up to the max CPC you have entered.
Managing an AdWords or Overture PPC campaign can be confusing at first, but it doesn't take long to get a handle on what works. Creating a highly successful ad the first time around with either AdWords or Overture is a rare occurrence, but with a bit of regular maintenance and a well targeted campaign it won't take long to start seeing results.
About the Author
Scott Van Achte
StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc.