Another year is quickly coming to a close and as we prepare for 2018, I wanted to take the time to dive a little deeper into the future of pay-per-click (PPC).

Let’s get started.

Search Advertising

The paid search market is highly competitive; nothing less than perfection is the general expectation. Because of this, Flying Cork focuses on more creative, impactful and effective digital advertising campaigns. Search advertising is one of the most effective ways to generate more exposure and business for your brand.  Whether your focus is B2B or B2C marketing, search ads are a must in any digital marketing campaign strategy.

We understand the stakes are high, so we take advantage of each component of search advertising by increasing our reach and conversions at a cost-per-acquisition that makes sense for your KPIs. Along the way, we identify a scalable process so the PPC formula can grow as your brand magnifies its reach online.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, also known as retargeting, requires more than just bid management from a marketing team. This strategy, if executed correctly, can be an extremely effective approach to increasing brand awareness and conversions.

Flying Cork focuses not only the PPC managers for this approach but also our designers. When executing a retargeting advertising strategy, it’s essential that user-centric design is included.

Focusing on the end user from the very beginning of the ad design process and continuing that mindset through launch, allows for a higher probability of conversions. In addition, Google’s display ads appear on over two million sites, that translates to thousands of users that could see your ad.

On the flip side, the impact on the brand if the ad didn’t appeal to these users could be grave.

Whether you’re executing search or display advertising it’s important to remember to do your homework. Make sure you know your brand and your competitors. Remember, your ad will be seen by thousands of potential customers, so make a good first impression!

Here are a few steps you need to take before publishing your ads to the public.

Executing a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

Digital advertising comes in many forms, knowing what PPC channel and what portion of the campaign budget should be allocated to PPC, can make or break your digital strategy. It’s the difference between outperforming your competitors or getting lost in the internet shuffle.

It’s important to note that allotting too much in digital ad spend can put you at risk to burn through your budget before the end of the month which will give your competitors an advantage.

Now, if you don’t allow enough spend or you’re not strategically spending, then you run the risk of underperforming and never setting the campaign up for success. When this happens, a brand’s digital footprint never fully matures, leaving the company with a major sales deficiency.

In the end, if the issue is left unresolved, the campaign will fall short and will never produce the desired conversions or adequate traffic.

As you can see, managing your ad spend correctly is a balancing act and if you don’t have an experienced in-house marketing team creating a strategy that will produce ROI within a designated timeframe, then you need to hire one and fast. Remember, the longer you wait, the longer it could take to catch up to the competition.

Designing a Digital Marketing Strategy

Whether you plan on going on this journey on your own or are actively searching for an experienced marketing team to hire, you will need to do your homework.

Well planned digital marketing campaigns are developed based on information found in three areas, competition in your vertical, financial goals established for the business, and what your audience is searching for.

So, dig into your competitors; understand who they are, how you stack up against them and what their online strategy is. This information should then be handed off to your marketing team along with the goals created for the business. From there, research on your brand’s audience will be completed to better understand who they are, what they respond to and what they need in order to convert online. All of this information will act as the foundation for a successful digital marketing strategy.

If you’re unsure of who your online competitors are or where you can find information on your competitor’s strategy check out SPYFu.com. Not only will SpyFu pull your online competitors based on the date you input, but they will also include the portion of the market they cover for organic and paid results.

The graph below shows you how your competitors will show up in SpyFu.

A SpyFu screen-grab of ASPCA.org for keyword research.

More than Words

Once the initial research is completed, the next step is keyword research. While developing your keywords list, it’s crucial to remember that these terms should mirror or act as an extension of the foundational research completed and the call-to-action you want users to engage with once they click on your ad. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Moz to determine the level of competition around certain key terms. Then, use tools like SEM Rush or SpyFu to better understand how your brand performs when placed alongside competitors at your designated price point. This should give you a general idea of how easy or difficult it will be for your brand to reach a level of success.

Most business owners or marketing team members have a general idea of what keywords users are utilizing in search. If you know what keywords your audience is using (based on your experience with marketing this brand), then research those terms and check out the competition level. Like most companies, you will probably have an initial PPC budget, so spend it wisely. If you find certain terms are just too pricey for you early on, find and include alternatives that are less expensive but still effective.

Remember to dig deep, think about the users that are further down in the buyer’s journey. What terms are being used when they are ready to convert?

Tip: Successful advertisers use 5 – 20 keywords per ad group.

In this scenario, our call-to-action (CTA) is “pet adoption”. We know that users searching for “dog breeds” are the type of users that we want to stay in front of. The problem here is that a user searching for “dog breeds” may not ready to adopt, so placing CTA “pet adoption” in front of these users will not be effective.

These users are still trying to find the right type of breed that fits their lifestyle. That said, education would be a better option for them. A blog that is created to help users decide what type of breed is best for different lifestyles would work well here. In this case, make sure your blog page is optimized for organic traffic.

Tip: If you’re a local business, consider using local advertising tactics. This will help your site rank for long-tail terms that include “near me” (i.e. pet adoption near me)

The Final Touch

Once you have your CTA and keyword list, it’s time to create your ads. Make sure you naturally tie your keywords and CTA to your ads. Google will provide you with a quality score that will influence your CPC (cost-per-click) and ad positioning.

When PPC is executed correctly results are somewhat immediate and just like other digital marketing channels, PPC can have a positive impact on brand authority and overall conversions. After the initial 60 days of a digital advertising campaign, you will start to experience quick wins. For example, you will begin to get conversions on some long-tail keywords. Once we’ve achieved those quick wins at Flying Cork, we then double down and integrate high-priority phrases into your PPC campaign. This will increase your space on SERPs placing your site in the first position and allowing the brand to take up more real estate.

To help you better understand the rules in place for Google AdWords, we have teamed up with Google to host a hands-on webinar, but that’s not all!  Flying Cork would like to help you start the new year off right, so we will be auditing PPC accounts! The goal is to help you apply what you learn in the webinar to a well-organized and freshly audited AdWords account.  Both the webinar and the audit are free!

We hope to see you on Friday, January 12 at 1 p.m. (EST).