SEM Guide: How to Run a Pay-Per-Click Campaign

SEM Guide: How to Run a Pay-Per-Click Campaign

Once you've chosen where you will be advertising, it will benefit you to know how the advertising will work. The most common form of online advertising today is Pay-Per-click (PPC) advertising. According to Wikipedia, a PPC campaign is:

"Pay-per-click (PPC) (also called cost per click) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked. Farris have defined it simply as "the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked."

Google AdWords is one of the most popular choices for a PPC campaign. If you're concerned about your budget, AdWords allows you to spend as much or as little as you can. You're not responsible for payment when your ad is displayed; instead, you owe when your ad is clicked.

Rates are determined by an automated auction system, and you decide on the maximum amount, or the highest CPC bid, you'd like to spend on each customer that clicks your ad.

The higher your bid, the higher your ad's position on the search results page. Bidding higher increases the chances of your target customers seeing, and therefore, clicking your ad.

You don't have to be the highest bidder to get results. As long as your ad is highly targeted with relevant keywords, it will gain a substantial Quality Score.

Your Quality Score is important because it determines the usefulness of the keywords, ads, and landing page to someone who spots your ad.

Google AdWords enables you to calculate your Quality Score for any of your keywords. Other features which assist your relevancy include location,

Other features which assist your relevancy include location, day of the week, and time of day, etc. Although it is a good, measurable method, a PPC campaign does not ensure financial success but is a valuable learning experience for the future.

PPC advertising is an experimental medium with which you will test what works and what doesn't.


In terms of Google AdWords, a campaign encompasses many tools which Google has to offer. A campaign is defined as a "set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings". An AdWords account isn't limited to one campaign, and multiple campaigns are actually encouraged. Based on location, budget, distribution settings, language, etc., individual campaigns can target different components. The purpose of an ad campaign is "to organize categories of products or services that you offer."


As described, AdGroups assist a campaign as a set of keywords, ads, and bids which also play an integral role in how an account is organized. You also choose a bid for each ad group. Google AdWords encourages you to build ad groups for each related product or service in order for keywords and ads to belong to a certain theme. According to Google AdWords, it's also helpful to divide your ad groups into "selling points (like free consultation and gourmet menus), or ways to describe your business (like caterer and on-site food service)."

Landing Page Quality

The goal of a PPC campaign is to direct customers to your landing page. It is the page on your website that they see upon clicking your ad. When clicking through to your landing page, make sure they see exactly what they expected. Otherwise, you can bet on your potential customer making a snap decision to hit the back button, which results in what is called a bounce.
Regardless, you want your landing page to quickly engage a potential customer. Your content should be high quality and correspond to their search or the ad clicked.

Keep in mind that the landing page experience also plays a role in a keyword's Quality Score. It is based on the number of links on the page, how easy it is to navigate, the content's value and suitability to the customer, among other factors. When making your ad, you will be asked to choose a destination URL. This will most likely be your landing page, unless you use a redirect feature for tracking purposes. Per Google policy, a landing page and display URL must belong to the same website, sharing the same domain. A display URL is the link featured in your ad.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Bing Advertising

SEM Guide LinkedIn, Facebook, and Bing Advertising

Before choosing a LinkedIn ad, you have to answer the question as to whether it benefits you and your business. The key is your business' audience. If your products or services are targeted at working professionals or business owners, then you want to look into LinkedIn ads. The cost runs from two to five dollars, with a clickthrough rate of 0.025%. There are a couple of tips you can use to help your clickthrough rate, or CTR. The first is to run no more than two ads at a time. In this case, less is more because you don't want to hurt your ads' chances of getting clicked. Another tip is to change your ad every month. Not only does this assist with the number of times your ad is shown (called impressions), a new ad will also increase your opportunity to get a clickthrough than an older one.

As it turns out, users are clicking on Facebook ads. Generating more than $4 billion in revenue for the social networking site, it may be useful to think about placing an ad. The unique thing about Facebook ads is that they are somewhat personalized. Based on profile information, demographics, and location, Facebook offers options that are exclusive to how they create ads.
Once you've created an ad, you're ready to set a budget. You have a couple of options on the bidding process: each click or thousand impressions which your ad acquires. A useful thing to remember about Facebook ads is that users are not on the website to buy a product. The ad serves the purpose of a user becoming familiar with your brand and products, such as via a display ad. Expecting a purchase is risky; instead, asking someone to sign up or submit their email address is a low key approach to encouraging a potential sale.

In the case of Bing, it is one of the largest paid search vendors. With more than 162 million searchers on Microsoft and Yahoo! sites, Bing has more than 6 billion searches every month and 30 percent of total search engine share. Bing ads work roughly the same way as AdWords, sharing features such as setting your own budget and only paying when your ad is clicked. A unique feature is importing your existing PPC campaigns (i.e. Google AdWords) to Bing ads. It may be something to think about, considering that keyword bidding is actually lower because the competition is lower. If you're focusing on business-to-business campaigns, Bing achieves a higher rate of traffic and ROI than its main competitor. Not to be counted out, Bing ads can be just as useful when contributing to your PPC campaign.

Next Steps

We've tried to be as thorough as we can here, but we can only scratch the surface. However, with this overview, and the first three blog posts in the SEM Guide series, you're probably well on your way to planning your SEM campaign. You'd like to execute now.
However, we have more to share with you! Next week we cover the mechanics of SEO and the mechanics of Google Places. Stay tuned!