The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and all you can think about is the summer vacation you want to plan. Will you go on an outdoor adventure to the Grand Canyon? How about a tropical getaway to Hawaii? Maybe a trip to Disneyland? The options seem endless! Your boss passes by, and you jolt back to reality. You scramble to remember where you left off. You spot the bright yellow sticky notes on your desk with the three questions your boss wants you to research and answer:

  • What is pay-per-click?
  • How does pay-per-click work?
  • Is pay-per-click worth it?

You’re a bit overwhelmed. You’ve been pulled away from your daydream far too early, and you’re not sure where to begin. Luckily, we’re here to help indulge your summer vacation daydreaming while also explaining pay-per-click. How’s that for a win-win situation?

What is Pay-Per-Click?

Let’s start with the basics: What is pay-per-click? Pay-per-click (often referred to as “PPC”) is a form of online advertising where companies create an ad and only pay when someone clicks on their ad. The beauty of PPC is that the company does not have to pay when someone merely sees their ad. By only paying when the ad is clicked, they are spending their money in a more valuable way that results in site visits and new leads. One of the most popular providers of PPC advertising is Google Ads. Through Google Ads, companies can create campaigns and ads associated with specific keywords. These campaigns are focused on achieving a specific business goal. Then, they set their bid amount, which is the maximum amount of money they are willing to pay for someone to click on their ad and visit their site. Once these factors are put into place, it’s time for Google to work its magic with the Ad Auction Process.

How Does Pay-Per-Click Work?

Once a company has completed the initial set up for their pay-per-click campaign, what comes next? The answer is Google’s Ad Auction Process, which is Google’s method of algorithmically ranking ads according to their quality and relevance to user search terms.

The Ad Auction Process

Let’s take a look at this 4-step process for someone that wants to book a summer vacation for their entire family.

  1. User conducts a search on Google using the keyword, “Family vacation packages.”
  2. Google finds all ads associated with the keyword, “family vacation packages”
  3. Google then pares all these ads down to only the ones that are eligible, relevant, and valid.
  4. Google displays ads in order on the results page based on their Ad Quality Score.

Whenever a user conducts a search on Google, the Ad Auction Process is completed automatically according to an algorithm that looks at the Ad Quality Score. '

Ad Quality Scores

Google’s Ad Quality Score was created to make sure that users see ads that are relevant to their search terms and intent. Companies can increase the likelihood that their ads are seen by optimizing the quality factors that Google looks for when determining a quality score. The 5 factors that contribute to your Ad Quality Score are:

  • Bid Amount
  • Expected Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Landing Page
  • Ad Relevance
  • Ad Formats

Now, what exactly do each of these factors mean? We’re going to examine each of these definitions from the perspective of a company managing a Google Ads campaign for family vacation packages.

Bid Amount

Bid amount is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for a user to click on your ad and visit your site. The maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for someone to click on your ad targeting “family vacation packages.” Using Keyword data about Cost Per Click (CPC) can help you determine an appropriate bidding amount. TIP: Remember that having the highest bid does not mean your ad is automatically shown - bid amount is just one of the factors that Google looks at during the Ad Auction Process.

Expected Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Expected clickthrough rate (CTR) is the prediction of how often your ad will get clicked on when displayed for a keyword. The expected number of people who will click on your ad for “family vacation packages” when it shows up in their search results. TIP: Improve your clickthrough rates with calls to action. An ad that says “Book your Vacation Today!” will drive more clicks than one does not encourage users to take action.

Landing Page

A landing page is a page on your website that users are directed to after clicking on your ad. When users click your ad, they should be taken to the “Family Vacation Packages” page of your website. This page needs to contain information about destinations, prices, and features of your family vacation packages. If the user is taken to a page about solo travel trips, they will quickly bounce from your website to go find the information they were looking for. TIP: Google also looks at the quality of your landing page when determining your quality score. Make sure your landing pages are easy to navigate and load quickly.

Ad Relevance

Ad relevance is the relevance of the language and content in your ad to the search query of the user. When designing an ad for the keyword, “family vacation packages,” you want to make sure that the language and offerings are relevant to what the user is searching for. Ads that talk about having activities and entertainment for families of all sizes and ages will be considered relevant. Mentioning honeymoon packages or adrenaline vacations in your ad will be considered irrelevant. TIP: A strategy to make sure your ads are relevant is to have the keywords that the user enters = the keywords in the ad = the keywords on the landing page. Do your research to determine what these keywords should be!

Ad Formats

Ad format is the type of ad targeting the customer such as text, responsive, image, video, product shopping, etc. In this example, we’re focusing on text ads. With text ads, you want to provide as much information as possible that will encourage the user to choose your business. For example, you might want to include the phone number of your travel experts that deal exclusively with family vacations. Or have an ad extension link that directs users to an area of the site for vacations for families with older children. TIP: Ad extensions make it easier for the user to access the content or information they’re looking for. Display your business address, phone number, email, and encourage users to take action to help drive clicks! Creating ads with high ad quality scores comes down to putting yourself in the user’s shoes. Imagine what will provide your audience with the most information, encourage them to click on your ad, and make their experience on your site a positive one.

Is pay-per-click worth it?

Pay-per-click is absolutely worth it if it is managed well. PPC maintenance requires continuous review and management to make sure you are paying for quality clicks that result in new leads and sales for your business. Unfortunately, a poorly managed PPC campaign can result in hundreds of dollars lost and no new business to show for the money spent. Your goal should be to implement your PPC campaign in an ROI-focused manner. Focus on driving traffic to your site that will result in new leads and sales. If the clicks you’re paying for aren’t resulting in quality leads or new sales for your company, then it’s important that you reevaluate your campaign and adjust your ads accordingly. PPC is particularly effective for new companies trying to enter into a competitive industry. PPC is a great way for businesses to climb to the top of the Search Engine Results Page and drive traffic to their site when first starting up. Ultimately, PPC is worth it if managed effectively and implemented in an ROI-focused manner.

Pay-Per-Click by Denverdata Web

If you want to take advantage of the benefits of PPC but don’t have the time or resources to manage a campaign, Denverdata Web offers competitive PPC maintenance at an affordable price. We will work with you to establish your campaign goals, setup your ads, and manage your account accordingly. We offer monthly PPC maintenance to make sure your money is being used well and getting you quality leads and sales. Additionally, we understand that campaigns are continuously evolving according to search trends and seasonal traffic. We use up-to-date keyword data to make strategic decisions that will benefit your business. If you’re interested in learning how PPC can help achieve your business goals, get in contact with us.

Written By Shayla Frederick

After graduating from Villanova University with a degree in Marketing, Shayla Frederick returned back to her home in Colorado and joined the Denverdata Web team. She meets every project with a high level of enthusiasm and attention to detail.